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The world smallest cat is the Rusty-Spotted Cat

The world’s smallest wildcat is not the Black-footed Cat but rather the Rusty-Spotted Cat.

smallest cat Rusty-Spotted Cat

The Rusty-Spotted Cat is incredibly tiny, with the combined weight of 200 of these cats equaling that of a single lion. Despite its palm-sized appearance, this small cat is a top predator in the forest’s food chain.

It excels in various hunting techniques, including tree-climbing to catch birds, fishing in the water, and preying on animals such as mice, rabbits, frogs, lizards, and insects. Its agility and comprehensive skills have earned it the nickname “miniature marvel” of the cat family.

How Rusty-Spotted Cat Look Like?

The Rusty-Spotted Cat boasts a delicate appearance, even more refined than that of domestic cats. Its intelligent face features large eyes encircled by a ring of white fur. Adult cats have reddish-brown spots distributed on their fur, resembling rust, hence the name Rusty-Spotted Cat.

This is the world's tiniest cat

This is the world’s tiniest cat; newborn kittens weigh only about 60 grams, equivalent to the weight of an average chicken egg. An adult Rusty-Spotted Cat typically measures 35 to 48 centimeters in body length, with a tail length half of its body size. Females weigh around 1 kilogram, and males about 1.6 kilograms, which is less than half the weight of a domestic cat, making them fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.

Rusty-Spotted Cat is Agile Little Cat

Much like the world’s second smallest, the Black-footed Cat, can be held in the palm of your hand. However, the Black-footed Cat is known for its aggressive and untameable nature, whereas the Rusty-Spotted Cat has a much more agreeable temperament, making it easier to domesticate.

Rusty-Spotted Cat is Agile Little Cat

In the 19th century, British naturalist Robert Templeton raised two Rusty-Spotted Cats during his expedition in India. During the day, while Templeton was away from the camp, the cats would stay within the campsite. They would climb to the top of the tents in the morning, play in the treetops, and curl up in a basket for naps in the afternoon. In the evenings, when Templeton returned to camp and worked on his papers, one cat would lie on his lap while the other rested on his back, keeping him company.

For several months, they enjoyed peaceful days together. However, one evening, a kitten that had ventured into a hollow tree came running back to the camp, convulsing and collapsed at Templeton’s feet. It had been bitten by a snake hiding in the tree, and within two to three minutes, it stopped breathing. The other kitten, mourning the loss of its companion, refused to eat and would not venture outside, spending its days whining and rolling at Templeton’s feet.

To console the grieving Rusty-Spotted Cat, Templeton bought a regular domestic cat from a nearby village. Initially, the two cats were hostile to each other, hissing loudly. However, they eventually became good friends. Although the domestic cat was twice the size of the Rusty-Spotted Cat, it couldn’t match its companion’s agility. The Rusty-Spotted Cat would climb up the campsite’s outer walls, leap onto branches, and chase squirrels in the treetops. The domestic cat tried to follow but fell after climbing just one meter on the outer wall. It could only sit on the ground, watching the Rusty-Spotted Cat chase squirrels in the air.

Rusty-Spotted Cat Has An Enormous Appetite

The Rusty-Spotted Cat, also known as the “cat-like hummingbird,” has two meanings in its nickname: firstly, its agility and comprehensive skills make it a skilled athlete like a hummingbird. Secondly, like a hummingbird, it has a high metabolism and needs to eat a lot of food daily, expending a significant amount of energy.

Rusty-Spotted Cat Has An Enormous Appetite

In Frankfurt Zoo, a male Rusty-Spotted Cat caught a rabbit larger than itself. The kitten weighed 1.6 kilograms, while the rabbit weighed 1.77 kilograms. After killing the rabbit, the Rusty-Spotted Cat ate 320 grams of rabbit meat in one go. It consumed 20% of its body weight in a single meal. To put it in perspective, if you weigh 70 kilograms, you would have to eat 14 kilograms of meat to match the appetite of this little cat. That’s more than the weight of a whole roasted lamb!

Like other cats, Rusty-Spotted Cats enjoy eating meat and occasionally consume some grass. The zoo provides them with a daily menu, including raw beef, beef heart, a small chicken, a mouse, along with a bit of carrots, apples, and boiled eggs.

Rusty-Spotted Cat Needs Protection

Upon hearing this, are you perhaps a bit tempted? Although the Rusty-Spotted Cat has a large appetite, it hasn’t exceeded what you can handle. You can keep one as a pet and cherish it in your hands. However, I’m sorry to say you can’t actually keep one. The Rusty-Spotted Cat has already been listed as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Rusty-Spotted Cat Needs Protection

Its habitat is very limited, found in only a few areas of India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. These small cats prefer dense vegetation in deciduous forests and grasslands. Like many other members of the cat family, they face challenges due to the increasing human population and the expansion of agricultural land. As a result, suitable natural habitats for Rusty-Spotted Cats are gradually diminishing, and their numbers have been decreasing. Today, there are fewer than 10,000 wild Rusty-Spotted Cats. Without timely and effective conservation efforts, these adorable cats may disappear within a few decades.

Rusty-Spotted Cat Youtube Video Close-up


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