Category: "Rusty-Spotted Cat"
Cat of the Month ~ June 2013
The rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is the smallest member of the wild cat family. It has been called 'hummingbird of the cats', due to its small size and sprightly actions. As far as wild cats go, the smallest rival (the Black-footed cat) measures in at 1.7cms larger than this tiny feline, which is just 48cms from snout to tail. Even the largest example of this small predator has weighed at no more than 1.6 kg (however these cats are extremely rare in the wild - they are seldom seen and it's been reported that they have only been photographed 7 times in their natural habitat).
The rusty-spotted cat is nocturnal and partly arboreal (living as it does for much of its time in trees), spending the day sleeping in dense cover or sheltered places such as in hollow logs or undergrowth. It feeds mainly on rodents and birds, but may also stalk and catch lizards, insects and frogs. Frogs are a particular favourite food after heavy rainfall flushes them out into the open. These felines hunt primarily on the ground, making rapid, darting movements to catch their prey; they apparently venture into the trees primarily to escape larger predators rather than when foraging for food. As with other cats, they mark the boundaries of their territories by scent spraying (with urine).
After mating, the female rusty-spotted cat will prepare for birth by occupying a den in a secluded location. The kittens with grow during a 65-70 day gestation and when born (typically in April) the one or two kittens may weigh as little as 60 to 77 g (2.1 to 2.7 ounces), and are marked with rows of black spots. Such cats will reach a breeding age at around 68 weeks, by which time they will have developed the distinctive adult coat pattern of rusty blotches.