Pallas’s Cat

pallas's cat image

The Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), also known as the manul, was first discovered by German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas in 1776. The cat can be found in grasslands and steppes in Central Asia, including Tajikistan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Kashmir, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In 2012, a camera trap recorded the first pictures of the cat in Bhutan. In February of 2014, the cat was photographed for the first time in Nepal, an area it was believed to inhabit.

The Pallas’s cat is a small wild cat that is similar in size to a domestic cat. It can weight from 5.5 to almost 10 lbs. The Pallas’s cat is listed as NEAR THREATENED on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

More About the Pallas’s Cat

Physical Characteristics

The Pallas’s cat has a stocky appearance, due in part to its extremely thick fur but also because of the cat’s short legs, which are proportionately much shorter than other wild cats. The fur is a yellowish orange color with dark bands on the central part of the cat’s body and back legs. The cat also has dark rings on its tail and spots on its forehead. Black stripes can be seen running from the corner of the cat’s eyes to its white cheeks.

Hunting & Prey

The Pallas’s cat spends its days hidden in burrows, caves and the crevices of rocks. They prey on various rodents and the Chukar partridge (a member of the pheasant family), and will also eat spiders and insects. Because the cat doesn’t run very fast, it stalks and ambushes its prey.

Pallas’s Cat Reproduction

The female Pallas’s cat will have a litter of between two and four kittens. The litters are usually born during the months of April and May. The kittens will start to hunt at about four months of age.

Unusual Characteristics

  • Extremely short legs
  • Ears that are wide apart and low on the cat’s head
  • Very short claws
  • A flat-looking face
  • Fewer teeth than most wild cats


The cat’s declining population is the result of habitat loss, hunting and a reduction in prey. It is illegal in every country but Mongolia to hunt the cat.

Pallas’s Cat Videos

Organizations Involved in Pallas’s Cat Conservation

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