The interesting Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is found in patches across south and south east Asia. This cat readily takes to water and dives and swims to catch fish, its principal prey. Although the Fishing Cat has partly webbed feet, this is not unique to this species and it does not appear to have any special adaptations for hunting in water. Unfortunately its dependence on wetland habitats means its populations are fast diminishing as wetlands across Asia are being drained for agriculture and human settlement.
Leopard Cat Lineage
1. Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
2. Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
3. Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis)
4. Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps)
5. Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus)
6. Pallas’s Cat (Otocolobus manul)
Key Facts about Fishing Cats
~ Primarily feeds on fish and aquatic prey ~
~ Readily swims and dives into water ~
~ Dependent on wetland habitat ~
Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) Classification
The Fishing Cat belongs to the genus Prionailurus and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Fishing 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)
Species: Prionailurus viverrinus (Fishing Cat)
The scientific name for the Fishing Cat is Prionailurus viverrinus 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).
This Fishing Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Prionailurus genus.
Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) Subspecies
Two subspecies (or lower classifications) of Fishing Cats have been described in the past:
- Prionailurus viverrinus viverrinus - India, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina, Nepal and maybe Bhutan.
- Prionailurus viverrinus rhizophoreus - Java
These two subspecies are still recognized in the last Felidae taxonomic revision in 2017.
Fishing Cat Conservation
The global conservation status for the Fishing Cat is Vulnerable (VU) and populations are declining.
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of Fishing Cats:
Urban Fishing Cat Conservation - Sri Lanka
Fishing Cat Conservancy - USA based
Various Fishing Cat projects - Asia
Fishing Cat Working Group - Asia
Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your donation, every bit helps!
Fishing Cat Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Fishing Cats:
- Fishing Cat Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Fishing Cat Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Fishing Cat Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Fishing Cat Fact Sheet - ARKive
- Fishing Cat Overview - International Soc. for Endangered Cats (ISEC)
Fishing Cat Research
For a list of papers on Fishing Cats view articles on Prionailurus viverrinus 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.