Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) - Felis Lineage
Chinese Mountain Cat / Kot tybetański
By nn [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) is a little known wild cat occurring in the remote mountainous regions of China. This cat looks very similar to the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) in terms of size and markings but has a much paler yellow-grey coat. Recent surveys have not found any evidence of this cat in parts of their expected range and it is suspected that poisoning of prey species may have affected numbers.

Felis Lineage

1. Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)

2. Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti)

3. European Wildcat (Felis silvestris)

4. African & Asiatic Wildcat (Felis lybica)

5. Sand Cat (Felis margarita)

6. Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes)

Key Facts about Chinese Mountain Cats

~ Mountainous areas ~

~ Very little known ~

~ Endemic to China ~

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) Classification

The taxonomy or scientific classification of the Chinese Mountain Cat species (Felis bieti) is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Felis

Species: Felis bieti (Chinese Mountain Cat)

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) Subspecies

The current Felidae taxonomy revision regards this species as monotypic (no subspecies), although more genetic studies are required.

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) © M. Zhang

Chinese Mountain or Steppe Cat (Felis bieti) © J. Sanderson

Chinese Mountain Cat Conservation and Research

The global conservation status for the Chinese Mountain Cat is Vulnerable (VU) as there are likely fewer than 10000 individuals in the wild.

As with many small cat species there are currently no dedicated conservation programs. Here are some articles of interest and research about this species listed by year:

  • Yin Y.F., Drubygal, Achu, Lu Z. & Sanderson J. 2007.

First photographs in nature of the Chinese mountain cat. Cat News 47, 6-7.

  • Driscoll C. A., Menotti Raymond M., Roca A.L., Hupe K., Johnson W.E., Geffen E., Harley E., Delibes M., Pontier D., Kitchener A.C., Yamaguchi N., O'Brien S. J. & Macdonald D. 2007.

The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication. Science express 28 June 2007, 1-6.

  • Chen N., Li L., Shan S., Yufeng Y. & Sanderson J. 2005.

Status of the Chinese Mountain Cat in Sichuan Province (China). Cat News 43, 25-7.

  • He L., Garcia-Perea R., Li M. & Wei F. 2003.

Distribution and conservation status of the endemic Chinese mountain cat Felis bieti. Oryx 38(1), 55-61.

  • Garcia-Perea R. 2000.

Morphological characteristics and affinities of the Chinese mountain cat, Felis bieti (Preliminary Report) Madrid, Spain: Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, 4 p.

Chinese Mountain Cat Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Chinese Mountain Cats:

  • Chinese Mountain Cat Fact Sheet - ISEC
  • Chinese Mountain Cat Conservation Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
  • Chinese Mountain Cat Detailed Information and Academic Reference List - IUCN Cat Specialist Group

Note this species is sometimes described as a subspecies of Wildcat ie Felis silvestris bieti.

Chinese Mountain or Desert Cat (Felis Bieti) © J. Sanderson