Despite their name, leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) are not closely related to the big cats known as leopards. Their common name comes from the fact that they all have leopard-like spots, though the color and patterns can vary greatly over the different subspecies.
Leopard cats can be found throughout Southeast Asia from as far north as Russia and Pakistan to the Philippines and Indonesia in the south; they are the most widely distributed of all small Asian cats. On average, leopard cats are slightly larger than most domestic cats and have longer legs, though weights of these cats can range from 2-17lbs.
The preferred habitat for the leopard cat is tropical or subtropical forest, though they can often be found in agricultural areas as well. They are excellent climbers who commonly rest in trees; swimming is possible as well, but leopard cats prefer to avoid water.
As with most small wild felines, leopard cats hunt a wide variety of birds, small rodents such as hares and shrews, as well as insects such as beetles. They are solitary animals, but males usually have larger individual ranges that overlap the ranges of several females.
Due to the tropical climate, there is no specific breeding season throughout much of the leopard cat’s range, and mating will occur any time the weather is mild enough to support newborns. Most litters consist of 2-4 kittens that will become independent after 7-10 months. Leopard cats are known to live for up to 13 years in captivity.
Leopard cats have traditionally been hunted heavily for their fur, though many European countries have banned its import in recent years. Despite this pressure, most subspecies of leopard cat have healthy populations and are not considered endangered.
LEOPARD CAT FACTS
There are twelve known subspecies of leopard cats.
Asian leopard cats are often mated with domestic cats to produce a hybrid pet animal known as the Bengal cat.
Big Cats Online
Encyclopedia of Life