Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Classification
Leopard cat image taken in Indian part of Sundarbans by Shan2797 (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

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.
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 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)

Genus: Prionailurus

Species: Prionailurus bengalensis (Mainland Leopard Cat)

Subspecies:

P.b. bengalensis

P.b. euptilurus

 

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).

Fishing Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Fishing Cat
Leopard Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Leopard Cats
Flat-headed Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Flat-headed Cat
Rusty-spotted Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Rusty-spotted Cat
Pallas's Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Pallas's Cat

Classification Chart

This Leopard Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Prionailurus genus.

 

Leopard Cat Classification Chart (Prionailurus bengalensis)
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.
Credit: www.WildCatFamily.com.

Leopard cat resting in tree (Prionailurus bengalensis)

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:

Tsushima Leopard Cat

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)

Singapore Research

Leopard cat kittens (Prionailurus bengalensis)

Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

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 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).

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.

Leopard cat prowling through mangroves (Prionailurus bengalensis)