World’s Smallest Wild Cat Fits in the Palm of Your Hand

There are a few wild cats with whom I am completely enchanted and intrigued, eager to learn more. There’s the Pallas’s Cat who has an owl-like countenance when viewed at the right angle, the rusty spotted cat that can fit in the palm of your hand, and the sand cat who lives in the desert.

A new BBC program has revealed the little known world of the smallest cat on the planet, in footage captured while filming a documentary about its much larger relatives. They profiled some of my favorites.

Rusty Spotted Cat

Rusty spotted cat

The rusty spotted cat (featured in the video clip above),  weighs just over one kilogram, and is featured in Big Cats – a new BBC series celebrating all the different species of felines around the world.

This extremely rare miniature cat is found only in the forests of Sri Lanka and India and is 200 times lighter than a lion – but is equally predatory when it comes to the search for food.

Although it looks very similar to a family pet, this one is different from domestic moggies and ‘what it lacks in size it makes up for in daring’, as it doesn’t mind getting a little wet.

The Sand Cat

sand cat

Sand cat

He’s the only cat to live in the desert, and he looks a little like a house cat. The sand cat is found primarily in both sandy and stony desert and has a wide but apparently disjunctive distribution through the deserts of northern Africa and southwest and central Asia.

The sand cat prefers flat or undulating terrain with sparse vegetation, and avoids bare sand dunes, where there is relatively little food. He can survive in temperatures ranging from 23 °F to 126 °F.

Although he will drink when water is available, he is able to survive for months on the body fluids in his prey. 

Pallas’s Cat

Pallas’s Cat
He doesn’t look exactly like a cat. Sometimes he looks like an owl or some sort of badger The Pallas’s cat is about the size of a domestic cat. His body is 18 to 26 in. long and his tail is 8.3 to 12.2 in. long. He weighs 5-1/2 to ten pounds. The combination of its stocky posture and long, dense fur makes it appear stout and plush. Here’s one of the stout ones:

Pallas Cat

These and many more wild cats are documented in the BBC program. Unfortunately, it cannot be broadcast in the U.S., but there are a few clips on their website which should inspire you to learn more about them. (Live in the U.K.? You can watch the entire series!)






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About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at

Comments (2)

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  1. Dip & Dot says:

    Maybe BBCAmerica will show it eventually. They do a good job showing the other BBC nature shows.


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