Pinkie thinks about the smallest wildcat

Pinkie thinks about the smallest wildcat

Pinkie, my calico cat, thinks about the smallest wildcat

Pinkie contemplates the world’s smallest wildcat. She loved watching BBC’s clip on you-tube.

World’s smallest cat


The rusty-spotted cat aka prionailurus rubiginosus

The rusty-spotted cat aka prionailurus rubiginosus is one of the cat family’s smallest members. This tiny wildcat is found in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. “Since 2016, the global wild population is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List as it is fragmented and affected by loss and destruction of prime habitat, deciduous forests.[2]” (Rusty-spotted cat, Wikipedia) These cats, also known as the hummingbirds of the cat family, like caves and can shelter in the gaps made by big boulders.

However, the rusty-spotted cat have been found denning in abandoned buildings or near tea plantations, feeding on the rodents and chickens.  They’ve also been seen to feed on termites. People often kill them for stealing chickens.  The rusty-spotted cat are also sometimes killed because they are mistaken for leopard cubs or for their fur and as meat to be eaten.  Feral dogs like to eat them.

The world’s smallest wildcat in zoos and an 1884 account

The Cincinnati Zoo had had a pair that had nine litters with one or two cubs each litter.  Yet, when I looked at the Cincinnati Zoo page I don’t see them listed so I don’t know if they all died or were sold to other zoos.  The Berlin Zoo and Parc des Félins in France are among the few that are breeding them.  We don’t have them here in Tucson at the Reid Zoo, just the big cats like lions and tigers.

In 1884, British naturalist Robert Armitage Sterndale adopted a couple, writing

“I had two kittens brought to me by a Gond in the Seonee district [in Central India], and I kept them for many months. They became perfectly tame, so much so that, although for nine months of the year I was out in camp, they never left the tents, although allowed to roam about unconfined … At night the little cats were put into a basket … and on my arrival next morning I would find them frisking about the tent roof between the two canvasses, or scrambling up the trees under which we were pitched.

Whilst I was at work I usually had one in my lap and the other cuddled behind my back on the chair. One day one of them, which had been exploring the hollows of an old tree close by, rushed into my tent and fell down in convulsions at my feet. I did everything in my power for the poor little creature, but in vain, it died in two or three minutes, having evidently been bitten by a snake. The survivor was inconsolable, refused food, and went mewing all over the place and kept rolling at my feet, rubbing itself against them as though to beg for the restoration of its brother.

At last I sent into a village and procured a common kitten, which I put into the basket with the other. There was a great deal of spitting and growling at first, but in time they became great friends, but the villager was no match for the forester. It was amusing to see the wild one dart like a squirrel up the walls of the tent on to the roof; the other would try to follow, scramble up a few feet, and then, hanging by its claws, look round piteously before it dropped to the ground.”

You can use the Amazon search bar to do any search at Amazon as I did with “world wildcats” again.
I am an Amazon affiliate. This has no effect on your price. You pay the same price you would normally. Amazon disclosure: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”

calico cat photograph by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved.


Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon

Rusty-spotted Cat
International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada : Working for the smaller wild cats
Rare rusty-spotted cat kittens born in Berlin
By Becky Crew, Scientific American, on October 7, 2012
Rusty-spotted Cats: Not Your Average Kitties
ZooBorns, November 09, 2013

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14 Replies to “Pinkie thinks about the smallest wildcat”

  1. Your kitty is beautiful.

    I heard about this small cat last week. Awful about the snake bite though. Getting another kitty to have as a pal was a brilliant idea.

    Have a purrfect day and weekend. ♥

    1. That was very smart of Sterndale to think of getting a domestic kitty. I wonder how long it lived and if it had kittens. It sounded pretty sweet but I couldn’t find anything else on it and it was more than 100 years ago.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend! ?from emoticons at

    1. Pinks purrs her thank you! ?from emoticons at

      I agree about the little wildcats. They have a tough life. I read though that a small group have migrated and established themselves outside a tiger sanctuary of all places. Maybe they are safer there because they are too tiny for tigers to want to eat them and maybe the tigers will scare away the wild dogs and hopefully people will get arrested if they kill them there. I hope they don’t become extinct.

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