Pallas Cat Facts

Avatar BCR | March 15, 2015 1829 Views 1 Like 3.67 On 3 Ratings

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Pallas Cat

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.

Captive Pallas’s cats have lived up to 11.5 years

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.

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This post currently has 14 responses.

  1. Alexandra Ormsby

    February 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Here's another 'spotted cat' beloved of High Priestess Spotted Cat Rescue — they live in the Himalayas and Mongolia, SE Asia, and are highly endangered. However, World Wildlife Fund set out cameras in Bhutan, and captured the image of one (or two) observed in the wild. So! They're there! Size of a housecat, with a really, really odd feral look! See 'em here!

  2. Hazel Harrison

    May 31, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    What a gorgeous creature! I love your comment, "As happens with males, he is superfluous at the moment"…that crosses many species barriers 🙂

  3. Meredith Harley Inserra

    March 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I learned something new today! I hope the people in his Asian home will take the necessary action to preserve his species!! Don't leave it to zoos in western culture to save these animals! They need people in their home turf to appreciate and foster their survival!!

  4. Kat Penrose-DeClark

    September 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I am currently obsessed with these gorgeous creatures, as you can see by my profile pic. Thank you for educatiing us about them.


    June 26, 2019 at 7:16 am

    I thought it was extremely difficult to keep Pallas cats in captivity because they generally live at a high altitude and suffer at low altitudes, also their immune systems are underdeveloped so they are prone to many infections. I hope that’s not the case and this little fella has a long, healthy and happy life ???

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