Leopard Cat Facts

Leopard Cat Facts

Leopard Cat

Common Name: Leopard Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Prionailurus) P.b. euptilura Amur Leopard Cat
Species: bengalensis
Misc: This cat has been the subject of long debate as to its taxonomic status. There are numerous subspecies that some feel should be classified as individual species in their own right and other species that are felt should be classified as a subspecies of the Leopard Cat.


Subspecies: P.b. bengalensis – India, southeast Asia, China Thailand
P.b. sumatranus – Sumatra
P.b. javanensis – Java and Bali
P.b. borneoensis – Borneo
P.b. trevelyani – Pakistan Asian Leopard Cat by Anthony Blueman
P.b. euptilura – Manchuria AKA the Amur or Tshushima (thought by some to be a separate species)
P.b. nminuta – The Phillipines
P.b. chinensis – North China
P.b. iromotensis – Iriomote Island – disputed and still recognized as a separate species by some.

Size and Appearance: Weighing in at 6-15 pounds and reaching lengths of 35-38 inches, this is the most common cat of Southern Asia. It is similar in overall size and shape to the domestic cat, but it has longer legs. Its coat has a great deal of variation in its color throughout its range, and tends to be yellowish-brown in the tropics and grayish-brown in the northern part of its range. The coat is dotted with black spots, which sometimes are solid and sometimes rosettes. The tail is banded with dark rings towards its buff colored tip. The ears are dark with central white spots. Sumatra cats are smaller with fewer markings; Java and Bali cats are duller; Borneo cats are brighter and redder; Pakistan cats are grayer; Manchuria cats are much larger than the other subspecies with much thicker fur, grayer in color and less spotting; Philippines cats are the smallest.

Habitat: Woodlands, forests, and scrub at all altitudes (as long as snow isn’t deeper than 4 inches.

Distribution: India, southern and eastern Asia including Indonesia and the Philippines. The Tshushima, or Amur lives in the Tshushima Islands.

Reproduction and Offspring: In the northern part of its range, breeding occurs once per year usually in February/March. In the tropics, there is not believed to be any set season and mating takes place year round. Gestation is 65-70 days, after which females produce a litter of 2-4 kittens. At birth, the newborns weigh approximately 2.75 ounces, and will gain about 11 grams per day. Their eyes will normally be open by the 10th day. They reach sexual maturity around 18 months.

In captivity, they have lived up to 15 years, but tend to lose their teeth at 8-10 years.

Social System and Communication: Unknown.  Leopard Cat Sounds

Hunting and Diet: Primarily nocturnal, they hunt both on the ground and in the trees. The primary diet consists of rodents, young ungulates, hares, birds, reptiles, insects, eels, fish, and occasionally carrion.

Principal Threats: The primary threats facing the Leopard cat are deforestation, commercial exploitation (in the past numbers as high as 400,000 pelts per year). This was also the first cat recently to be used by man in a hybrid situation in a quest for a new breed of cat. The Leopard Cat crossed with the Domestic Cat has produced a now recognized new breed of domestic – the Bengal Cat. This has removed potential breeding cats from conservation programs and has diminished the gene pool for helping to save the pure Leopard Cat.

Status: CITES: Appendix II (except F.b. bengalensis which is on Appendix I). IUCN: Not listed.

Felid TAG recommendation: Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). Leopard cats from various geographic origins were commonly imported into this country during the 1960s and early 1970s. The public donated most leopard cats in zoos. With the end of leopard cat harvesting by the fur industry, this species has become more common in nature. This, combined with the small, mixed population in zoos is the reason that this species is not recommended for support in North American. Several species of cats are naturally rare and, although not legally endangered, have never been available for zoos or other holders. Other species are native to remote areas and highly regulated because of endangered status. The following species meet these criteria, and, therefore, are not presently in North American collections. The Felid TAG does not support future acquisition.

How rare is this cat? The International Species Information Service lists 218 Asian Leopard Cats worldwide, with 29 being in the U.S. There are only an 9 Amur Leopard Cats in the U.S. according to ISIS.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.

Watch the video below to see why Leopard Cats should not be used for creating hybrid cats.



Leopards Cats of BCR


Meet our leopard cat friends:



What should I do with an old fur coat

What should I do with an old fur coat

Willow Siberian LynxJust about every day I am giving a tour, or overhearing a tour, or responding to a reporter and discussing the way that Big Cat Rescue started; which was in buying all of the cats off U.S. fur farms to end that trade. Since I am thinking about cats being killed for their coats almost every day, I forget sometimes that there are people out there who don’t realize the cruelty involved in all fur products, until I hear from someone like Leigh.

She wrote to me recently and said, “In going through many belongings, I came across something I’d almost forgotten about. I have a lynx coat which was a gift that I want to “dispose” of. I do not want to sell the coat or donate it to any organization that would resell it or auction it off to anyone that might wear it (as some people have suggested).

I no longer wear fur, have not for a long time, and am very depressed, disgusted and want to cry any time I look at this coat. I do not want to do anything to promote the wearing of it.

Other than burning it, (or burying as some friends have suggested), I’ve tried to think of some way that it can be put to use as an educational tool. I do not even want to think about how many animals went into the making of this thing.”

I was touched by Leigh’s letter. She had obviously learned a long time ago that there is no humane way to part an animal from his skin. I know that I naively believed that animals were shorn for coats and have heard many, many people tell me they thought their fur coats came from animals who had died from natural causes. I think a lot of people just don’t think about where fur comes from in order to justify wearing it.

Leigh obviously had spent a lot of time thinking about the origins of this coat and how to honor the cats who had died. By donating it to our Education Department we can use it as a teaching tool to explain how such coats are made, how to tell real fur from faux and to contrast how beautiful our lynx are and how ugly a person wearing their fur is to those who have respect for life.

In talking with Leigh we told her that our presentations are limited to cat issues, so if the fur turned out to be made of fox or other animals, then the only use we would have for it would be to cut it up for nesting materials for our rehab bobcats. Her response was as beautiful as she is, “I do not even want to think of how many beautiful lynx died to make nothing more than an embellishment for the human willing to pay for it. I’d rather them become animal bedding than that.”

Who knows how many precious animals may be spared the horrific lives of being farmed for their fur or trapped and killed for the trade because of Leigh’s thoughtfulness?

For years I had mink coats, that had been purchased as gifts for me by my late husband, in the back of my closet. I didn’t know what to do with them either. I wouldn’t think of wearing them, but didn’t want to give them away and have others stimulate the demand for fur by wearing them either.

Part of me; that part that was raised to eat everything on my plate because children were starving in China, was sickened as I took scissors to the coats and made them into cat beds, but by the time I was done, I felt liberated. I believe that if I had been the mink who were turned into those coats, I would be happy to be set free from the awful design that took my life and glad to be back in the circle of life that enables the survival of wildlife.

We only rehab bobcats here, and very few each year, so we have all the coats we can use, but if you have a fur coat in your closet there are a lot of wildlife rehabbers, or even domestic cat foster homes, who can use the fur for bedding.  You can get more information on those organizations here: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/fur_fashion/fur_coats_for_cubs.html


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 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



Trick E

Trick E

hear big cats

Male Amur Leopard Cat

DOB 4/15/01  DOD 7/27/14

Sponsor Trick E http://www.bigcatrescue.biz/servlet/the-1002/Leopard-Cat-Sponsorship/Detail


Trick E is one of the only Amur Leopard Cats born in this hemisphere since the year 2000 according to ISIS. These cats have been recommended for phase out by the Felid TAG to make room for “more important cats”. There were only 11 left on this side back in 2001.

Trick-E has been neutered and his father Draikko, who has since passed on, was neutered as well.

Trick E. was named so for the trick he played on the keepers at Big Cat Rescue. When he was born, it was believed he was actually a she and so was named Miss. E. That all changed once he was actually examined and it was discover that “she” was a “he”. This earned him the name Trick E.

Trick E. is very shy around most people, however, when some of his favorite keepers are around, he will joyfully pounce out into the open and converse in his very special language, EARRRRRRRR EARRRRRRR! We do not believe that any cat should be born for life in a cage and have altered all of our male cats or permanently separated males and females so that no other cat will ever again be born for life in a cage here.



We quit breeding cats in 1997.  We spent the next 3 years building better Cat-A-Tats for our 100+ residents.  We neutered and spayed all of the bobcats, cougars and lynx first.  We never did breed lions or tigers.

We had a pair of ancient Amur Leopard Cats who had lived together since 1995 in the “Bengal barn”.  All of the Bengal Cats have since been altered.

When the Leopard Cats moved into their new 1000 square foot Cat-A-Tat with it’s bushes, trees and underground dens. It must have been very romantic because the old cats surprised us with a his birth, but they have since died of old age.


Mr E

Mr E


hear big cats


Male Leopard Cat

DOB 6/30/00 – 5/27/14


We quit breeding cats in 1997 when our Co-Founder disappeared.  We spent the next 3 years building better Cat-A-Tats for our 200 residents. We neutered and spayed all of the bobcats, cougars and lynx first.

We had a pair of Amur Leopard Cats who had lived together since 1995. In the Spring of 2000 the Leopard Cats moved into their new 1000 square foot Cat-A-Tat with it’s bushes, trees and underground dens. It must have been very romantic.

Much to our amazement, Shalimar and Draikko gave birth to a beautiful, bouncing baby boy on June 30, 2000.

While it was not our intent to breed this endangered species we are are so blessed to have had this little bundle of joy join us. He was named Mr. E as a sound a like for Mystery. He has always been an elusive cat, however, his participation in the operant conditioning program will soon change that.



You can read tributes to Mr. E here:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/mr-e-leopard-cat