Jungle Cat Facts

Jungle Cat Facts

Jungle Cat

Common Name: Jungle Cat, Swamp Cat, Reed Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Felis)
Species: chaus

Misc: This cat, contrary to its name, is found in a variety of habitats but typically is not a frequenter of “jungles”. Like the African wildcats and domestic cats, the Jungle Cat has been mummified and placed in tombs in Ancient Egypt.

Size and Appearance: Similar in build to the Serval, the Jungle cat has long legs and a slender body. Their fur is sandy-brown, reddish or gray, and is unpatterned except for some brown striping on the legs. The ears are tall and rounded and are reddish with small lynx-like tufts on the tips. The tail is short, ringed faintly, and has a black tip. Melanistic animals have been seen. Adults weigh between 9-28 pounds, reach heights of 14-16 inches, and lengths of 28-48 inches. Like kittens of lions and cougars, which are born with spotting, these kittens are born with stripes for safe concealment, which they lose as they mature.

Sounds:  Hear Jungle Cats here:




Habitat: In Egypt they prefer swampy ground and reed beds, and in India they prefer woodlands, open plains, grasslands, agricultural crops and scrub.

Distribution: Egypt through Southwestern Asia to India.

Reproduction and Offspring: Mating has been recorded in February/ March in Central Asia and October in India. Females usually set up their dens in reed beds or thick vegetation. After a gestation of 63-68 days, females produce a litter of 1-6 kittens. They weigh around 4.5 ounces at birth and gain an average of 22 grams per day. Their eyes open between 10-12 days, they are weaned at 3 months, stalk and kill prey and reach independence by 5-6 months and are sexually mature at 11 months.

In captivity, they have lived up to 14 years at other places and past 17 years at Big Cat Rescue.

Social System and Communication: In the wild, family groups of males, females and cubs have been seen together, and in captivity, males are even more protective of cubs than females. The vocalization is a very loud “bark” as you would expect for a large breed of dog. It is such a peculiar sound coming from such a diminutive little cat.

Hunting and Diet: Primarily diurnal, these cats feed primarily on rodents, but also take hares, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, young chital and wild pigs, and being strong swimmers they will dive to catch fish.

Principal Threats: The greatest threat facing this cat is reclamation and destruction of natural wetlands. Also, they are killed by farmers because of their taste for domestic poultry, and sportsmen don’t like them because their prey base is the sportsman’s game species.

Status: CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: Not listed.

Felid TAG recommendation: Jungle cat (Felis chaus). Still common in nature, this species declined in captivity due to a general lack of interest. Viable populations are not present in North America. This species is not recommended for support in North America.


How rare is this cat? The International Species Information Service lists 64 worldwide, with 9 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.






Big Cat Rescue Wants to be the Only Big Cat Sanctuary

Big Cat Rescue Wants to be the Only Big Cat Sanctuary

That is the lie that animal abusers tell everyone to try and change the subject from protecting exotic cats to a message of mere competition.

Lion vs Tiger


They trot out their modified version of our 20 year plan to back up their ridiculous claims, but they leave out the most important part of the plan, which is that there no longer be big cats suffering in captivity, and thus no longer a need for sanctuaries, including Big Cat Rescue’s sanctuary.

As the public becomes better educated about why it is so wrong to breed wild cats for life in cages, they will cease to support industries that breed them as pay to play props, for circuses and other abusive purposes.  There will temporarily be an increased need for real sanctuaries, which are those who meet the following standards.

1.  Real sanctuaries do not breed exotic cats for life in cages.

2.  Real sanctuaries do not buy wild cats.

3.  Real sanctuaries do not sell their wildlife.

4.  Real sanctuaries do not let the public, nor their staff or volunteers handle the big cats, other than for veterinary purposes.

5.  Real sanctuaries do not endanger the public and the big cats by taking them off site for exhibition.


Big Cat Rescue LOVES real sanctuaries and helps them by:


1.  Providing guidance on best practices to help the sanctuary qualify for and obtain accreditation through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

2. Hosting workshops and conferences for those who want to do the right thing for wild animals.

3.  Training volunteers and international interns in understanding that each animal is an individual who is to be respected and treated with dignity.

4.  Sending work groups of our own volunteers out to help after disasters and when other sanctuaries are short handed.

5.  Sharing the secrets of our success with those who demonstrate clearly that they are putting the animals first.


Those who exploit wild animals for their own gain hate us because they don’t want the public to know that:


1.  There is no reason to breed big cats in cages, as none of them in private hands can ever be set free.

2.  There is no captive breeding program that benefits conservation, other than AZA administered SSP programs.

3.  Paying to play with a cub or see one on display actually harms conservation efforts.

4.  Tigers could disappear from the wild because of the smoke screen caused by their legal breeding of generic tigers.

5.  A ban on private possession is the first step toward saving tigers in the wild.

Exploiters claim that if the Big Cats & Public Safety Act were to pass that they would be put out of business and wouldn’t be able to help “rescue” lions, tigers, leopards, ligers and other exotic cats, but that isn’t true.  Big Cat Rescue is one of the most successful sanctuaries in the world and we do it by being open, honest and treating the cats with kindness and respect.  We want sanctuaries to thrive, and they can do that if they employ the same attitudes and behaviors that we have in being a real sanctuary.

Any real sanctuary, who is doing their work for the animals and not their own sense of satisfaction, will share our goal of a world where all wild cats live free.

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 9 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 9 2014

Tiger Swims, Bobcat Runs and Jungle Cat gets Scratched


Alex the Bobcat goes back home.

The flooding at the sanctuary has the roadways being used by ducks.

Working on a room addition for Jumanji the black leopard.

Playing with kittens.

Moving Mickey Cougar back out to his Cat-a-Tat.

Our new net launcher arrives for catching injured bobcats at a distance.

Enrichment Committee makes a huge candle for Nik Tiger’s birthday, but he mostly just needs to pee.

Sundari Leopard gets locked up so she can get some new platforms.

Willow’s first attempt and using the telescoping back scratcher to help Rambo Jungle Cat with his grooming.

Zeus Tiger comes home from “vacation” in Vacation Rotation enclosure.

You saw TJ tiger in SloMo in the water, but here is some full speed video of him having fun in the lake.




Join me for unlimited drinks, food, dancing to support the cats

The Centre Club at Westshore and Kennedy is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a party that is the bargain of the century and will help fund the surgery on Mickey the cougar’s other leg.

For only $30 you get unlimited hand crafted cocktails, delectable hors D’oervres by their expert chef, live music, dancing, silent auction, all the in elegant setting of this exclusive dining club.

What a deal! Please come join me on Saturday, October 18 for a fun evening that will help us provide Mickey with the medical treatment he needs.

To reserve call 813-286-4040 or visit https://classic.als.net/Register/?id=1201


Enrichment in a Puzzle Box Quiz for Cats





Big Cat Rescuers help researcher determine if cats can figure out a puzzle



and if they do, can they remember how they figured it out a few days later?


Cats are VERY smart.  The question in our mind is whether the puzzle makes sense to a cat?


Each cat has their own way of approaching the challenge.


As in life, it doesn’t matter if they win or lose.  The fun is in playing the game.


TJ Tiger

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 3 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 3 2014

Genie the Sandcat is rushed to the vet when her keepers note that she is acting weird.


Genie Sandcat was sedated in a glass box used for domestic cats.



This was to make sedation easier on her since she is only 3.3 pounds and 14 years old.



Dr. Wynn keeps a close eye on her vitals.



The monitors are just all over the place, so she has to rely on feel, sound and instincts.



For such an old and tiny cat, Genie Sandcat has some fearsome teeth!



The tiniest mask straps are too big, so Carole holds the gas mask in place.



Sandcats are the softest of the exotic cat species.



No spinal issues and her lungs don’t look terrible, but she has a case of bronchitis.



This is good news, because Genie Sandcat is given a long lasting antibiotic shot and has a good chance at recovery.



Dr. Wynn gives her fluids, steroids and antibiotics to help tiny little Genie fight off her symptoms.



Genie Sandcat’s paw is the size of the tip of Jamie Veronica’s finger.




Sandcat paws are fully furred on the bottom for running on desert sands.


Violations at Big Cat Facilities 2011-2014


The USDA site doesn’t work most of the time and when it does it is so slow that most browsers will time out and quit before you can download the information you are looking for.  This information is current as of Oct. 3, 2014.

USDA Facilities with big cats who have had citations

USDA Facilities with big cats who have had repeat violations

USDA Facilities with repeat violations for all animal species



Now at Big Cat Rescue May 3 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue May 3 2014

Wildcat Walkabout 2014 05 03



If a tree falls in the woods and there is only a tiger to hear it, did it make a sound?  Ask Shere Khan.

Reisa, Ares and Narla Cougars say “Hello.”

A kitten goes to the vet after chewing the nipple off his bottle and Jamie has to dig through the poo to find it.

Great Canada Lynx vocalizations in this video by Gilligan at dinner time and we check in with Skipper who is feeling better. Jungle Cat vocalizations too, by Rambo.

Some rare video of Nico the Geoffroy Cat, and Diablo the hybrid, and extremely rare footage of Genie the Sandcat.  King Tut the hybrid chows down on raw meat.

Cybil Serval says it is way too cold (64 degrees on May 3) and Serengetti, Kalahari, Nairobi and Desiree Servals go nuts because it is dinner time.  So does Nikita Tiger.  Max and Mary Ann Bobcats play and pounce and pace for dinner.  Check out some of the cutest bobcat bellies you will ever see, when Apache does his thing and Divinity pees on their toys.

Regina spends her S.A.V.E. award on toys for Sassyfrass Cougar and Simba Leopards.

Sassy, Mac, Cody and Tobi Cougars get ramps for their platforms; built and installed by the Holley’s.  Gale asks them to build a special platform for Tommy Girl the bobcat who is pretty much blind.  Some nice footage of her.

The Bravo fence guys come and fix a gate and more of our donor inscribed bricks are turned into an entrance to the sanctuary.  Reisa Cougar chirps, as Tonga the white serval takes a bath.  Canyon Sandcat hisses from inside his barrel.  Ocelots, Amazing Grace and Nirvana come out to see what is happening.  Little Feather turns 21 and gets a doll house.

Simba Leopard is acting friendly while Interns and Volunteers are working in Cameron and Zabu’s enclosure.  Sundari Leopard is on vacation and we see her exploring after dark on a night cam.



More Lynx Vocalizations

This footage of Canada Lynx fighting was not at Big Cat Rescue.  Our Canada Lynx do not have to share a cage.



Donate Now

Canada lynx

Help end Idaho’s wildlife slaughter.

Dear Cat Lovers,

Idaho’s vicious war on wolves now threatens to devastate another endangered species: the Canada lynx.

The state’s keeping it quiet, but endangered lynx are dying because of the state-sponsored explosion of wolf trapping. There are just 100 of the beautiful cats left alive in the state, and they won’t last long if the illegal killing goes on.

So the Center for Biological Diversity is going to court to stop it. Please help us win the case by donating today to our emergency Predator Defense Fund. The Max and Anna Levinson Foundation has generously offered $50,000 if we can raise that much from our members too. This will make your donation worth twice as much, so please give as generously as you can.

To kill as many wolves as possible, Idaho isn’t just spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on sharpshooters and helicopters; the state has also dramatically ramped up the number of leghold, snare and body-crushing traps strewn across its landscape. The number of trapping licenses has skyrocketed from 1,114, before wolves were stripped of federal protection, to 1,943 in 2013.

Idaho's breeding wolf packs

It’s illegal to trap or kill lynx because they’re a federally protected species. Yet Idaho is ramping up trapping licenses to kill more wolves, bobcats, coyotes and other species knowing that lynx will get caught as well — in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

This level of trapping is deeply unsustainable. It may wipe out all the state’s lynx. And it will only get worse if we don’t stop it now.

Please help stop the killing of wolves and lynx by donating to the Predator Defense Fund.

The Center has formally notified Governor Butch Otter we’ll sue if the state doesn’t stop killing lynx — and that’s exactly what we’ll do. But we’ll need your help to win what’s bound to be a difficult legal challenge.

For the wild,

Kierán Suckling
Kierán Suckling
Executive Director
Center for Biological Diversity


hear big cats


Male Jungle Cat

2/22/99 – 10/13/14

Rescued 12/5/99


Rambo the Jungle Cat at Big Cat RescueRambo came to Big Cat Rescue on 12/5/99. He was bred for the pet trade. His owner had sent him to live with her daughter who died unexpectedly and his primary caregiver became the 12 year old grand daughter. She and her relatives agreed that they did not want to see Rambo exploited as part of a hybridization breeding plan for profit and asked if he could come live at Big Cat Rescue.

He is very talkative and loves to carry on conversations with his keepers.

Most Jungle Cats only live 10 to 12 years but Rambo is much older than that already.  He cannot groom himself very well any more and spends most of his time sleeping.  It’s hard to look at him, with his ragged coat and slow gait, but it is a part of life and we don’t hide that from the public.  Rambo still loves to climb to the top of his platform to hold court with his admirers and to watch for the food carts, so we won’t shut him away from public view.

We let our cats tell us when they are ready to pass over the rainbow bridge.  As long as they are eating and enjoying life we will provide supportive care and pain management, but when their bodies begin to shut down, our volunteer vets will ease them to over to the other side.  Our vets, Dr. Liz Wynn and Dr. Justin Boorstein, come out at least twice a week and our cats’ health is documented daily by our volunteers into a google site that sends immediate emails to the vet care staff.





More about Rambo the Jungle Cat

Rambo the Jungle Cat.  There is a notorious breeder of servals, jungle cats and hybrids in Okeechobee, FL known as Sue Arnold.  Former volunteers complained that you could smell her urine soaked home and cattery the minute you opened your car door at the street.  Despite her reputation she still breeds and sells more of these smaller cats than anyone else I know of and from all accounts is never willing to refund or take a cat back.  It was 12 years ago, but I am pretty sure that Rambo was born there.

Rambo the Jungle Cat

He was sold to another woman who gave him to her daughter who planned to breed hybrid Chausie cats.  When this breeder / dealer died she had a tiny chain link enclosure on concrete in her back yard with two Jungle Cats and two domestic cats, cordoned off into even tinier cells.  The daughter of the woman who died was only 12 years old and the Internet had only been around for about 3 years when she found us online and called.  She told me that she loved Rambo and Cha Cha and that she was afraid that they would end up back in some awful hybrid breeding scheme.  She asked if we would come rescue Rambo and Cha Cha from such a fate.

Who could turn down such an incredible young woman?  When we arrived catching Cha Cha was no easy feat.  She about wore me out.  I put the carrier in the van and turned to go back to the jail cell they had called home.  If I live to be 100, I don’t think I’ll ever forget what I saw next:

This little girl was clutching Rambo to her chest, tears streaming down her cheeks and she hurriedly carried him down the driveway toward me.  You could just tell that she couldn’t get these cats to safety fast enough.  It made me cry.  I opened the carrier for her to gently put Rambo in, she said her quick good byes and Rambo and Cha Cha were finally on their way to a place where they would never be exploited again.

A few months later the little girl talked her family into driving up from South Florida to see Rambo and Cha Cha.  I was so proud to be able to show her the wonderful life her precious friends had now thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers here.  That little girl is 24 now and I don’t remember her name, but if she were to come visit again, she would be even more happy to know that Rambo has had such a long, happy, healthy life here at Big Cat Rescue.