Pallas’s Cat (Otocolobus manul) - Leopard Cat Lineage
Felis Manul from Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam Zoo by Sander van der Wel (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The unusual looking Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) is found in the cold, arid montane grasslands of central Asia. The Pallas's Cat's thick shaggy coat enables it to survive the harsh climate and its short legs and low set ears help it to blend in with the sparse cover. Habitat loss and degradation due to human and livestock expansion are the primary threats to this unique wild cat, as well as declines in prey species targeted in pest control programs.

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 Pallas's Cats

~ Thickly furred coat ~

~ Low set ears help with camouflage ~

~ Pupils contract to circles, not slits ~

Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) Classification

The Pallas's Cat belongs to the genus Otocolobus and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Fishing Cat species (Otocolobus manul) 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: Otocolobus

Species: Otocolobus manul (Pallas's Cat)

Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) climbing over rocks

Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) on branch - reddish coloring

Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) Subspecies

Lower classification

The global conservation status for the Pallas's Cat is Near Threatened (NT) and populations are declining.

Three subspecies of Pallas's Cats have been described in the past:

  • Otocolobus manul manul
  • Otocolobus manul nigripectus
  • Otocolobus manul ferrugineus

However as per the current Felidae taxonomic revision just the first two subspecies are recognized pending further research:

  • Otocolobus manul manul - China (Gansu), Mongolia, central Asia and Kazakhstan, south Siberia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Otocolobus manul nigripectus (black markings more distinct) - Tibet, Kashmir, Nepal and Bhutan

Pallas's Cat Conservation & Research

The following organization is dedicated to research and conservation of Pallas's Cats:

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

Past projects:


Young Pallas'ss Cats (Otocolobus manul) amongst rocks

Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) in habitat

Pallas's Cat Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Pallas's Cats: