Chinese Mountain Cat - Felis Lineage
Chinese Mountain Cat / Kot tybetański [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 Chinese Mountain Cats

~ Mountainous areas ~

~ Very little known ~

~ Endemic to China ~

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) Classification

Chinese Mountain Cats belong to the genus Felis and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Chinese Mountain Cat species is:

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)

Subspecies: none

The scientific name for the Chinese Mountain Cat is Felis bieti (or Felis silvestris bieti) which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) Classification Chart
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.
Credit: www.WildCatFamily.com.

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) © M. Zhang

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) Subspecies

The last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 regards this species as monotypic (no subspecies), although more genetic studies are required.

 

Taxonomy Papers since 2017

He Yu et al. Genomic evidence for the Chinese mountain cat as a wildcat conspecific (Felis silvestris bieti) and its introgression to domestic cats. 23 June 2021, Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg0221

Article on Sci Tech Daily about the paper: Evolutionary Unique: The Natural History and Conservation Importance of Elusive Chinese Mountain Cat

 

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti) Research

Here are some articles of interest and research about the Chinese Mountain Cat species listed by year:

  • Sanderson, J.; Yufeng, Y.; Naktsang, D. 2010.

Of the only endemic cat species in China. Cat News (Special Issue 5): 18-21.

  • 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.

View more articles on Felis (silvestris) bieti in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database (scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list).

Consider joining the Friends of the Cat Specialist Group to access the full articles and receive their journal Cat News covering the latest wild cat research.

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

Chinese Mountain Cat Conservation

The global conservation status for the Chinese Mountain Cat is Vulnerable (VU) as there are likely fewer than 10 000 individuals in the wild.

As with many small cat species there is rarely a conservation program dedicated to one species however the following organizations support multiple small cat projects:

International Society for Endangered Cats - ISEC

Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation - SWCCF in partnership with Wildlife Conservation Network - WCN

Panthera - Small Cat Program

Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!

Chinese Mountain Cat Facts and Information

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

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

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