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.
Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
Leopard cat image taken in Indian part of Sundarbans by Shan2797 (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons
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 and 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, scientific classification or higher classification of the Mainland Leopard Cat species (Prionailurus bengalensis) 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)

Genus: Prionailurus

Species: Prionailurus bengalensis (Mainland Leopard Cat)

Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Subspecies

Lower classification

Leopard cat resting in tree (Prionailurus bengalensis)

The global conservation status for the Leopard Cat is Least Concern (LC) and populations appear to be stable.

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 latest Felidae taxonomic revision (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
References:

Leopard Cat Conservation & Research

The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of Leopard Cats:

Please support these organizations with their important work. No matter how small or large your donation, every bit helps!

Leopard cat kittens (Prionailurus bengalensis)

Leopard cat prowling through mangroves (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):

 


Wild Cats of the World - Luke Hunter 2015

Wild Cats of the World

by Luke Hunter 2015

(general and academic interest)

Amazon US (incl Kindle)

AbeBooks global

The Wild Cat Book - Sunquist 2014

The Wild Cat Book

by Fiona and Mel Sunquist 2014

(general interest)

Amazon US (incl Kindle)

AbeBooks global

Small Wild Cats - Sanderson and Watson 2011

Small Wild Cats

by J. Sanderson and P. Watson 2011

(general interest)

Amazon US (incl Kindle)

AbeBooks global