The widespread and relatively common Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) occurs across Asia and the south-east islands, its size and coat characteristics varying considerably across its vast range. The cat's adaptable behavior has allowed this species to persist in spite of heavy trapping for the fur trade, and it appears to tolerate a degree of human disturbance. The 2017 Felidae taxonomy revision re-classified the Leopard Cat (including the Japanese Iriomote Cat) into a Mainland Leopard Cat and a Sunda Leopard Cat.
Note: The images on this page may either be the Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) or the Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) under the revised 2017 taxonomy.
Key Facts about Leopard Cats
~ Widespread and common wild cat of Asia ~
~ Readily swims & colonized offshore islands ~
~ Adaptable and tolerant of disturbance ~
Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Classification
The Mainland Leopard Cat belongs to the genus Prionailurus and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Mainland Leopard 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 bengalensis (Mainland Leopard Cat)
The scientific name for the Mainland Leopard Cat is Prionailurus bengalensis 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 Leopard Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Prionailurus genus.
Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Subspecies
Up to eleven subspecies of Leopard Cats have been described in the past with the Iriomote Leopard Cat (Japan) as a separate species Prionailurus iriomotensis.
However according to the last Felidae taxonomic revision in 2017, recent genetic studies show that the Iriomote species is in fact similar to the mainland Leopard Cat; yet there is a genetic divide between the mainland species and the island species on Java, Borneo and Sumatra - 'Sundaland'.
The revised taxonomy is proposed as follows pending further research:
Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) - larger blotches with lighter inner coloration
- Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis - South Asia from Pakistan to China with possibly the Malay Peninsula.
- Prionailurus bengalensis euptilurus - Manchuria, Russian Far East, Taiwan, Iriomote Island, Tsushima Island.
Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) - small solid spots
- Prionailurus javanensis javanensis - Java and Bali
- Prionailurus javanensis sumatranus - Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines
Leopard Cat Conservation & Research
The global conservation status for the Leopard Cat is Least Concern (LC) and populations appear to be stable.
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of Leopard Cats:
Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your donation, every bit helps!
Past Projects (links may no longer be active)
Leopard Cat Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Leopard Cats (includes Mainland Leopard Cat and Sunda Leopard Cat):
- Leopard Cat Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Leopard Cat Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Leopard Cat Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
Leopard Cat Research
For a list of papers on Leopard Cats view articles on Prionailurus bengalensis in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database (scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list).