Rusty-spotted Cat

rusty-spotted cat photo

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Prionailurus rubiginosus rubiginosus (India)
Prionailurus rubiginosus phillipsi (Sri Lanka)

About the Rusty-Spotted Cat | Facts

The rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is one of the smallest wild cat species in the world – 14 to 19 inches in length, with a 5.9 to 12 inch tail, and weighs between 2 to 3.5 lbs.

The cat is found only in India and Sri Lanka, mostly in forested areas but also scrub and grasslands.

It is estimated that there are less than 10,000 mature cats in the wild.

India MapAppearance

Rusty-spotted cats have short and soft fur. Their coat is grey with small rusty-brown spots on the flanks, back and head area. The cat’s face has two dark streaks on each cheek along with stripes that extend from the eyes to the shoulders. The rusty-spotted cat’s tail has dark rings and its underside is white with more large spots.

Rusty-spotted cats are known for their agility and are considered skilled tree climbers. They generally spend the day sleeping in hollow logs or areas where there is dense foliage.

Hunting & Prey

It is believed that they hunt on the ground during the evening. Their prey consists mostly of small mammals, usually rodents, and birds. However the cat has also been known to feed on insects, frogs and lizards. Researchers believe that when the cat is threatened, it will climb and hide in trees.

Rusty-spotted Cat Reproduction

Gestation lasts for approximately 65 to 70 days. Female rusty-spotted cats will typically give birth to between one and two kittens, usually in a shallow, secluded cave. The kittens only weigh a few ounces and are marked with black spots. Their rusty-colored coat appears when they reach maturity.


It is not known how long the rusty-spotted cat lives in the wild. In captivity, the cat has lived as long as 12 years.

Rusty-Spotted Cat Videos

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Rusty-Spotted Cats in the News

Rusty-Spotted Cat Research

2007 Breeding Season of Rusty Spotted Cat Phionailurus Rubiginosus (Geoffroy) in Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary,Udaipur District, Rajasthan, India110.2 KiB357
2013 Sighting of a rusty-spotted cat in Anaikatty Reserve Forest, Tamil Nadu, India79.8 KiB354
Record of rusty-spotted catfrom Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary,Madhya Pradesh, India78.6 KiB373

Rusty-Spotted Cat Conservation

Like most wild cats, the rusty-spotted cat’s survival is threatened by habitat loss. Sometimes the cat is hunted for food or to protect domestic animals. Rusty-spotted cat skins have also been seen in illegal wildlife trade.

Rust-spotted Cat Conservation Groups

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