Pallas’s cat: origins, appearance, character and where it lives

It remembers domestic cats, but its gaze is anything but sweet and affectionate, if anything decidedly icy. Solitary and intolerant of humans, the Pallas’s cator Manul, is an introverted cat that does not allow itself to be approached easily. It lives mostly in the Transbajkalia steppes and neighboring areas of Mongolia, but sighting is almost impossible.

Pallas's Cat: Everything you need to know about the lonely steppe cat

Pallas’ cat origins

The Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), also known as steppe catis a feline originally from Central Asiawhose name derives from that of its discoverer, the German Peter Simon Pallas, who first described it assuming that it was the ancestor of Persian cateven if it isn’t.

It is a very ancient catwhich according to some researchers could even go back to 5 million years ago. Someone considers him the progenitor of the angora catselegant felines originating from Turkey with long and silky hair.

Pallas’s cat appearance

The Manul cat it has small, round eyes with circular pupils, and a glacial gaze reminiscent of that of the big cats. Here are the main characteristics of the various parts of the body.

  • Legs: court
  • Ears: low, small, distant and rounded
  • Muzzle: short and flattened
  • body size: squat
  • Fur: long, thick and soft, of ocher or gray color. The color is not uniform but has streaks and depending on the season it can turn towards light brown (in summer) or gray (in winter).

Despite looking particularly large, Pallas’s cat measures on average around 60 cm in length, more or less like a normal domestic cat. Appearances are deceiving due to the thick fur and long tail, which measures about 25 cm.

pallas cat
Its thick fur is one of the most characteristic features.

How much does Pallas’s cat weigh?

While looking majestic, the Manul is neither large nor too heavy: usually an adult specimen does not exceed 5 kgexcept in winter when it can reach 6-7 kg. In this period, in fact, temperatures become particularly rigid and therefore the accumulation of fat becomes essential for its survival.

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Pallas cat character

The Pallas cat is a kitten lonely and shy, absolutely does not like the human presence, and prefers to move in the quieter moments of the day, at sunrise or sunset. It does not share its territory even with other specimens of the same species, which it approaches only in the breeding season.

Where does Pallas’ cat live?

The steppe cat is widespread in several countries, not only Mongoliabut also China, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan and in various areas ofCentral Asia. It can live up to 5,050m of altitude. Usually, during the day, it hides in caves and caves, waiting for the sunset to go out hunting for prey.

In Italy it can be admired at the “La Torbiera” Wildlife Park, where by virtue of the particular environmental and climatic conditions, the species has managed to reproduce. The recovery in wildlife parks has the purpose of protecting it from disappearing as the number of specimens is in drastic decrease.

Pallas's cat<>Pallas's cat
It is not easy to spot it and even less so.

Types of Pallas’s cat

There are several subspecies of Pallas’s catwhich are as follows:

  • Otocolobus manul manul (Mongolia, western China)
  • Otocolobus manul nigropectus (Kashmir, Nepal, Tibet)

Some scholars also recognize the subspecies Otocolobus manul ferrugineus.

Domestic Pallas cat

Pallas’s cat is wild and practically is impossible to tame it, also by virtue of its suspicious and solitary nature. However, there are specimens in captivity bred in various zoos around the world, where more or less 150 specimens live.

Pallas cat price

In recent years the Manul has become particularly popular and many people have shown interest in buying. But it should be noted that they do not exist Pallas’s cat farms.

Moreover, since it is still hunted for its fur, it was decided to make it protected species. Therefore it is not possible to find Pallas cats for sale.

Pallas’s cat dangerous?

Pallas’s cat is not dangerous in itself but since it is a wild animal, moreover of a shy and suspicious nature, it is clear that seeing someone approaching will certainly not purr! In any case, it is not at all easy to spot it, not even in the areas where it is most widespread.

Pallas cat feeding

As a carnivore e nocturnal predatorthe Pallas cat prefers animals typical of its areas, from Mongolian marmot (the number of which unfortunately is drastically decreasing) al gerbilfromsilver vole to various wild mammals small and medium-sized. It also feeds on insects and of reptiles.

Conservation status of Pallas’s cat

Fortunately it is not yet considered endangered, however the number of specimens has significantly reduced over the years, mainly due to the poaching and of habitat loss due to the progressive expansion of agricultural activities, livestock, urban areas. Unfortunately still today it is hunted for its fine fur and for the wide use in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicinewhich is why it was decided to make it a protected species.

Another problem that threatens its survival at least in part is the progressive disappearance of the Mongolian marmot, whose burrows are often used by Manul as a shelter from predators while traveling in the steppes. Without them, the Pallas cat would not be able to move on the territory but the confinement within limited areas could, according to scholars, determine a considerable genetic weakening, to the detriment of the species.

Further threat is represented by shepherd dogs of local populations, who frequently attack cats, exterminating entire families. As regards the specimens in captivity, a high incidence of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, responsible for Toxoplasmosis, was found, which for Pallas cats is often lethal.

Pallas’s cat: photo

Here are another couple of images that portray both puppies and adult specimens, useful for discovering and admiring the curious appearance of this cat.

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And finally:

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Pallas’s cat: origins, appearance, character and where it lives

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