Rusty Spotted Cat

Picture taken by David Raju, Naturalist

Rusty Spotted Cat

Rusty Spotted Cats are a near threatened species native to India and Sri Lanka, commonly known as the world's smallest cat.

Rusty Spotted Cats (Prionailurus rubiginosus) are mainly found in deciduous forests. Their diet consists mainly of birds, rodents, and frogs. They are a secondary consumer, as they eat birds, who eat mice. It is a nocturnal animal, allowing it to hunt at night. There are about 10,000 mature Rusty Spotted Cats in the world. Unfortunately, the population of the Rusty Spotted Cat is trending downwards, meaning that it may be headed for extinction, or at least severe endangerment.

Why are they endangered?

The main reasons for the endangerment of Rusty Spotted Cats are hunting and habitat loss. Due to their tendency to hunt near farms, they are considered a pest, and often shot by farmers. In addition to this, their habitat, the deciduous forest, is slowly being destroyed by deforestation.

What can we do about this?

In order to save the Rusty Spotted Cat, there are many courses of action, but the most important and immediate plan is to preserve as many as possible so that they do not lose any more population. The main factors lowering the Rusty Spotted Cat population are hunting and habitat loss, so a maintained habitat could prevent further harm, and even cause the population to rise.
However, this is a temporary solution, as unless we can fix the basic problems of habitat loss and hunting, they can never be in the wild again. To further this, we can disincentize hunting while protecting people's property by offering a reward for any living Rusty Spotted Cat brought to the habitat reserve. If it goes well, people may even begin breeding Rusty Spotted Cats on their own in order to get more rewards. We can't totally fix habitat loss, but we can attempt to plant more trees in order to grow more deciduous forests.

Fun Facts

Kittens are born blind and covered with dark spots. It takes about 68 weeks for one to become an adult.

Rusty Spotted Cats are excellent climbers, but only use their agility to avoid predators by climbing trees.

The Rusty Spotted Cat is two times smaller than a housecat.

Despite being a deadly predator in it's own right, Rusty Spotted Cats are friendly and playful with their keepers while in zoos.

Rusty-spotted cat Facts

Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Species Prionailurus rubiginosus". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 543–544. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0.