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Pallas’s cat


Pallas’s cats are small thick-furred felines endemic to central Asia. They can be found on the rocky steppes and semi-arid desert areas from western Iran to western China. Pallas’s cats are not fast runners. Instead of chasing they stalk their pray relying on their camouflage. Pikas are Pallas’s cats’ main pray but they also eat other rodents, birds and insects. Pallas’s cats are solitary. A male’s homerange can be as large as 98km2. The female pallas’s cat’s heat lasts only 26 to 42 hours, so they are in a hurry to find a partner when the time is right. Females find a sheltered cave to give birth to a litter of two to six kittens. The kittens are blind and helpless when they are born, but already at 4 months they are ready to hunt with their mother.


Pallas’s cats are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. They are still hunted for their fine, thick fur and their fat is used in oriental medicine to treat frostbite. However, the biggest threat to their survival is agriculture; overgrazing reduces their habitat and rodenticides kill also Pallas’s cats, whose diet consists largely of rodents. Pallas’s cat are one of the least studied felines in the world. Pallas Cat International Conservation Alliance is an international protection project with the purpose to increase our knowledge about the cat’s ecology and the threats they face in the wild.


Pallas’s cats are well adjusted to cold climate. They can survive on the mountains as high as 5000 m where temperature can drop to -45°C. They have very thick, long and silky fur, twice as long on their legs and stomach as on the rest of their body, protecting them from the cold when they are stalking their pray in the freezing winters of Central -Asian steppes. Like other animals of the cold climate, Pallas’s cat changes their coat twice a year: in the autumn they grow a thicker and longer coat for winter, and in the spring it is time to shed the coat.

Pallas’s cat

Otocolobus manul

Class: Mammalia – Mammals

Order: Carnivora- Carnivores

Family: Felidae – Felines

Size: Body length 46-56 cm, weight 2,5,-4,5 kg.

Breeding: The breeding season for Pallas’s cats occur from December to March and the female Pallas’s cat’s heat lasts only 26 to 42 hours. In April-May the female gives birth to a litter of 2 to 6 kittens. Pallas cats are fully grown at the age of 6 months and they reach reproductive maturity at approx. 1 year.

Lifespan: Up to 12 years

Did you know…

Did you know that unlike other small cats, the pupils in the eyes of the Pallas’s cat contract to small circles rather than slits?