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.
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, scientific classification or higher classification of the Fishing Cat species (Prionailurus viverrinus) 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)
Species: Prionailurus viverrinus (Fishing Cat)
Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) Subspecies
The global conservation status for the Fishing Cat is Vulnerable (VU) and populations are declining.
Two subspecies 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 latest Felidae taxonomic revision (2017).
Fishing Cat Conservation & Research
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of Fishing Cats:
- Fishing Cat Working Group - Asia
- Urban Fishing Cat Conservation - Sri Lanka
- Fishing Cat Conservancy - USA based
- Various Fishing Cat projects across Asia
Please support these organizations with their important work. No matter how small or large your donation, every bit helps!
Fishing Cat Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Fishing Cats:
- Fishing Cat Fact Sheet - International Soc. for Endangered Cats (ISEC)
- Fishing Cat Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive