Sand Cat - Felis Lineage
Persian Sand Cat (Felis margarita thinobia)
By Payman sazesh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Sand Cat (Felis margarita) is one of the few wild cat species occurring in very dry desert habitat.

Large ears and thickly furred pads are special adaptations that allow the cat to detect underground prey and survive in extreme conditions.

Due to the remote, harsh terrains of its habitat, limited research has been conducted and populations and actual ranges are mostly based on estimates.

Felis Lineage

1. Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)

2. Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti)

3. European Wildcat (Felis silvestris)

4. Afro-Asiatic Wildcat (Felis lybica)

5. Sand Cat (Felis margarita)

6. Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes)

Key Facts about Sand Cats

~ Occupies true desert ~

~ Large ears & furred pads ~

~ Multi-continent - Africa & Asia ~

Sand Cat (Felis margarita) Classification

Sand Cats belong to the genus Felis and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Sand 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 margarita (Sand Cat)


F.m. margarita

F.m. thinobia


The scientific name for the Sand Cat is Felis margarita 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).

Sand Cat (Felis margarita) Classification Chart
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

Sand Cat (Felis margarita) Subspecies

Four subspecies of Sand Cats have been recognized in the past, however the last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 proposed two subspecies, pending further research:

1. Felis margarita margarita - North Africa (smaller with yellowish fur and bold markings)

2. Felis margarita thinobia - Southwest Asia and Arabian Peninsula (larger with greyer fur and less markings)

Sand Cat (Felis margarita) Research

Here is a list of papers published on Sand Cats. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.

View more articles on Felis margarita 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.

Sand Cat Conservation

The global conservation status for the Sand Cat is Least Concern (LC) due to the wide range and estimated numbers, however it is not abundant anywhere and occurs naturally at low densities.

The following organizations are involved with Sand Cat conservation and research, either regarding the species directly or indirectly via programs within its specific desert habitat:

Sahara Conservation Fund - Sahara Wildlife

African Parks - Conserving Africa's Protected Areas

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

Past Projects

(some links may no longer be active)

Sand Cat Facts and Information

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

If you find this website useful, please consider a small contribution of $5 so I can continue to keep it updated. Thank you, Mandy 🙂