Pallas Cat Facts
- Common Name: Manul (a.k.a. Pallas’s Cat)
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Felinae (Octocolobus)
- Species: manul
Misc.: Peter Pallas who first described this cat, erroneously suggested that it was the ancestor of the Persian breeds of domestic cats because of its long fur, stocky build and flattened face.
Size and Appearance: This small cat weighs in between 5 – 9 lb. with a head and body length of 19.5 – 25.5 in. and a tail length of 8 – 12 in. Its coat varies in color from light gray to yellowish buff to russet. The white tips of the hair give a frosted silvery appearance. There are 2 dark streaks across each side of the head and 4 rings on the dark tipped tail. The coat is longer and denser than any other of the felid species. This extremely thick and heavy coat provides a good source of insulation for an animal that spends so much time lying on frozen ground and snow. They have small, rounded ears, set very low on the sides of the head.
Habitat: Pallas’s cats are best adapted to cold arid environments and occupy steppes, alpine deserts and rocky country at fairly high elevations. They make their dens in caves, crevices, or burrows dug by other animals. They were originally believed to be primarily nocturnal, but are now being considered crepuscular.
Distribution: Found throughout Asia, from the Caspian Sea and Iran to southeastern Siberia and Tibet.
Reproduction and Offspring: Females have up to 6 – 8 kittens after a gestation of 66-75 days, and are typically born in late April and May. They reach sexual maturity around 12 months old.
Social System and Communication: Unknown.
Hunting and Diet: Pika form the major part of their diet, with small rodents, birds and insects also part of their diet. They not only catch their prey by chasing, but also by waiting outside of dens and ambushing the prey. If the holes are shallow, they have also been seen “fishing” for prey with their paws.
Principal Threats: The two primary threats concerning the Pallas’s cat are the hunting of the cat for its fur, and the poisoning of its primary food source. The Pika in some parts of its territory is being poisoned because it is believed to be a vector for plague, and in other parts of the Pallas’s territory, they are considered to compete with domestic stock for grazing land.
Status: IUCN: Not listed. CITES: Appendix 2 Endangered.
Felid TAG 2003 recommendation: Pallas’ cat (Otocolobus manul). A mono-specific genus, the Pallas’ cat or manul is one of the few longhaired, cold-tolerant felids from Asia. Not available until recently, a number of founders have been imported from Russia in the last 2 to 3 years, and litters have been reported in most collections. This species is a seasonal breeder, and changes from a normal photoperiod (with artificial light) can disrupt the breeding season. Pallas’ cats, especially young, are highly susceptible to toxoplasmosis. The initial target population has been set at 80 individuals. Once reached, the target will need to be increased to achieve genetic and demographic objectives. An international studbook is currently in place. An SSP is recommended.
How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 117 worldwide, with 48 being in the U.S.
Information taken from IUCN Status Survey and Walkers Mammals of the World.
Big Cat Rescue’s Pallas Cat
When it was announced that a Pallas Cat was arriving, Vern was heard to say, “Is that a breed, or did the cat get kicked out of the palace?” (You never know around here)
This cat is being treated like royalty. He was imported from Mongolia in part of an effort to save this incredibly beautiful creature from extinction. As happens with males, he is surplus for the moment and not needed in the breeding program at the Oakhill Center for Rare and Endangered Species. His owner sent him to us knowing that his time here would not be wasted because in our naturalistic Cat-A-Tats he will become a well known face in educational media.
When the volunteers heard he was coming they all pitched in to build him a 400 square foot Cat-A-Tat in a single day. It includes privacy fencing for his security, a tree stump den, lots of logs to climb and “room service”. During his stay on Easy Street he’ll have every luxury that a Pallas Cat deserves.
These photos are the new arrival to Big Cat Rescue.
This Pallas Cat has a special love of fish as can be seen from the lip licking in the photo at the bottom. While we offer fish as a treat, it is not a staple in our diet.
Notice the bushy, ringed tail in the photo above. The underbelly fur of the Pallas Cat is longer than the fur on any other species of cat.
His primary diet will consist of fresh mice and rats and AFS. See Feeding Felines for more details.