Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) - Classification
Otocolobus manul by Gitanes232 (CC BY-SA 4.0) 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 or scientific classification of the Fishing 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: Otocolobus

Species: Otocolobus manul (Pallas's Cat)


O.m. manul

O.m. nigripectus


The scientific name for the Pallas's Cat is Otocolobus manul 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).

Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) climbing over rocks

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

Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) Subspecies

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 last Felidae taxonomic revision in 2017, 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 global conservation status for the Pallas's Cat is Least Concern (LC) and populations are declining (assessed 2019, published 2020).

(Prior assessment 2014, published 2016 - status Near Threatened (NT).)

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

Asia - Pallas's Cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA)

Please support them with their important work if you can. No matter the size of 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: