Common Name: Marbled Cat
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Genus: Pantherinae (Pardofelis)
Misc: Genetic studies of this cats blood serum, shows that it shares an identical karyotype with Lynx, Panthera and Uncia, leaving this cats evolutionary history somewhat of a taxonomic puzzle. Perhaps, this little cat is similar in form to the forest ancestors of the big cats some 10 million years ago (Collier and O’Brien, 1985). However, it may have also diminished in size more recently due to competition with other big cats.
Size and Appearance: The Marbled Cat is like a miniature version of the Clouded Leopard, weighing between 9-18 pounds and reaching lengths of 32-46 inches. It has thick, soft fur, which varies from brownish gray through yellow to reddish brown in color, and is covered in large blotches, which are paler in the center. There are black spots on its limbs and some black lines on the head and neck. The Marbled Cat has a short, more rounded head than other felines, with a wide forehead and large pupils. Like the Clouded Leopard, the Marbled Cat also has relatively enlarged upper canines. The tail is very long and bushy, and well adapted to its arboreal lifestyle. It’s arboreal adaptations suggest that it is probably the Old World ecological equivalent of the Margay.
In captivity, Marbled Cats have lived 12 years.
Habitat: Primarily tropical forests, also reported in mixed deciduous-evergreen forests and secondary forests.
Distribution: Southern Asia from Nepal through southeastern Asia to Borneo and Sumatra.
Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of 81 days they produce a litter of 1-4 young. They weigh approximately 3.5 – 4 ounces at birth. They reach maturity at around 21 months. Their ears unfold from their head at 5 days, and their eyes open by 14 days.
Social System and Communication: Believed to be solitary and nocturnal, with vocalizations that are comparable to the domestic cats.
Hunting and Diet: Being primarily an arboreal dweller, its diet consists mainly of rats, birds, bats and squirrels, with the occasional reptiles, frogs and insects.
Principal Threats: Habitat destruction throughout their range remains to be their primary threat. Surprisingly and thankfully, for an animal with such a beautiful coat, they are not commonly found in the local wildlife markets.
Status: IUCN: Insufficiently known. CITES: Appendix I.
Felid TAG recommendation: Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata). A little-known felid from Southeast Asia, all recent captive-born specimens are derived from a single pair of founders at the Los Angeles Zoo. Apparently rare in nature, this little “big cat” is highly protected and not likely to ever be available from captive-born sources in range countries for North America.
How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 3 worldwide, with 1 being in the U.S. There are 0 living at Big Cat Rescue.
Information taken from the natural History of Wild Cats, and With Permission from IUCN Wild Cats.