What the rusty spotted cat lacks for in size, it makes up for in daring. A true example of dynamite coming in small packages! The rusty spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is the smallest feline in the world! Read on to learn more about the smallest cat species on the planet.
The Interesting History of the Rusty-Spotted Cat
This is a very shy and elusive species of cat. Sightings are reported across most of India, and in parts of Sri Lanka. Because they are nocturnal and extremely shy of humans, it is difficult to track and study this species.
T.C. Jerdon, the 19th-century naturalist, had a rusty spotted cat as a pet. His pet rusty would hunt squirrels in the rafters of his house. He relates: “When the rusty-spotted cat was introduced to a young gazelle, the cat immediately grabbed the gazelle by the nape! It had to be pulled off before it would let go.” There is no doubt that these small wild cats are predators!
Rusty Spotted Cat Size! Hint: It’s the Smallest Cat in the World!
Also known as the hummingbird of the cat family. They are even smaller than the black-footed cat. An adult rusty spotted cat weighs in at a mere 2.2 – 3.5 pounds (1000 – 1600 grams). The difference between males and females is not great.
The length of their body measures between 14 and 19 inches (35 and 48 cm). Their shoulder height is about 8 inches (20 cm). Rusty’s usually have litters of only one or two kittens. Newborn kittens weigh 0.13 – 0.17 pounds (60- 77 grams).
The Beautiful Coat and Colors of These Small Wild Cats
The fur of this pint-size kitty is short and soft. It has a brownish-grey coloring with a tint of red. Rust-colored spots on their backs form almost-solid stripes. They have white tummies with large spots and bars. Like the black-footed cat, they also have black paw pads.
They have large, round eyes. Their eye-color ranges from amber to grey-brown. Their ears are small, short, and rounded.
What Does the World’s Smallest Cat Eat?
These little felines are ferocious hunters. They are carnivores. Despite being so small, they can kill prey as large as three times their size and larger. They feed mostly on smaller rodents. They do eat small birds, amphibians, and reptiles too.
Their fantastic tree-climbing skills make them particularly adept at hunting from above. In their natural habitat, they hide out in trees and then jump directly onto their prey below on the ground!
The Sad Truth About the Spotty’s Dwindling Numbers
The rusty spotted cat is an endangered species. They are a ‘vulnerable’ species, meaning that their population is steadily declining. There are, approximately, less than 10 000 mature adult rusty’s left in the world.
These miniature wild cats are native to the forests of Sri Lanka and India. Due to logging, deforestation, and expanding agriculture their prime habitat is decreasing daily. Apart from habitat loss, this species is also under threat because of the fur trade and the trade of exotic animals as pets.
Rusty Spotted Cat Pet? NO!
It would take a heart of stone to say no to owning something as cute as this pint-sized feline. However, it is really not a good idea to take a wild animal into your home. It is easy to forget that they are wild when they are as cute and as tiny as the rusty-spotted cat.
Yet, being wild, their first instinct is to attack strangers. Almost all cat bites can become infected. Also, they are very territorial. They will mark their territory by urinating around the area that they consider to be their own.
If You See “Rusty Spotted Cat for Sale” Call the Cops!
It is illegal to trade and own an endangered animal. If you see someone advertising the sale of rusty spotted cats, it is your duty to report this. The list of reasons for the illegality of owning wild animals as pets is extensive:
- Transmission of diseases.
- Injury to both humans and animals.
- Cruelty to the animals that are held captive by inexperienced owners.
- Death and injury during transport.
- Reducing wild populations of these animals even further, bringing them closer to extinction.
8 Fun Facts About the Smallest Wild Cat to Stalk this Earth!
- Their eyesight is six times better than ours!
- There are two sub-species of the rusty spotted cat. Rustys that inhabit the mountain forests of Sri Lanka are Prionailurus rubiginosus phillipsi. They inhabit the humid mountain forests. Those native to the scrublands and grasslands of India are Prionailurus rubiginosus rubiginosus.
- Unlike domestic cats, rusty cats have a very brief mating season. Also, they usually only have one mating season in a year.
- The rusty spotted cat is a nocturnal animal. They might have brief periods of activity during the day. For the most part, however, they spend the day napping safely tucked away. At night they hunt for their food.
- There are 56 rusty spotted cats kept in zoos around the world.
- The first litter of kittens to bred in captivity was in the Berlin Zoo in 2012.
- In captivity, rusty’s have reached the age of twelve years. Because they are so shy, their lifespan in the wild remains a guess.
- A fully grown adult rusty can fit into the palm of your hand!
Wild Animals are Not Pets! Get a Domestic Cat Instead!
Wild animals should stay in the wild. There are several implications in trying to domesticate a wild animal. Almost all of them ending in pain and suffering for the unwitting animal.
Why this senseless cruelty when there is any number of beautiful, affectionate, domesticated cats in need of a new home and a chance at a happy life. Make a visit to your local animal shelter. Spend some time with the cats there.
We’re pretty sure that in no time at all you will find a furry friend that will melt your heart into a little puddle! Please consider adopting a cat!