Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) Classification
Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) by UrLunkwill [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 de] via Wikimedia Commons

The diminutive Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) only occurs within India and Sri-Lanka and a small region of Nepal.

The Rusty-spotted Cat is very active and an agile climber, however little is known about this rarely seen cat and crucial research is needed.

Rapid transformation of remaining natural land for human use is dramatically reducing available habitat for this and other small wild cats in the region.

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 Rusty-spotted Cats

~ Smallest of all wild cats ~

~  Only occurs in India, Nepal & Sri Lanka ~

~ Agile climber and highly active ~

Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) Classification

The Rusty-spotted Cat belongs to the genus Prionailurus and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Rusty-spotted 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 rubiginosus (Rusty-spotted Cat)

Subspecies: None


The scientific name for the Rusty-spotted Cat is Prionailurus rubiginosus 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 Rusty-spotted Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Prionailurus genus.


Rusty-spotted Cat Classification Chart (Prionailurus rubiginosus)
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) Subspecies

Three subspecies of Rusty-spotted Cat have been described in the past, and the last Felidae taxonomic revision in 2017 continues with this classification pending further research:

  • Prionailurus rubiginosus rubiginosus - India and Nepal
  • Prionailurus rubiginosus phillipsi - Sri Lanka wet forest zone
  • Prionailurus rubiginosus koladivius - Sri Lanka lowland dry zone

Rusty-spotted Cat Conservation

The global conservation status for the Rusty-spotted Cat is Near Threatened (NT) and populations are declining.

The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of Rusty-spotted Cats and other small cats:

Sri Lanka - Small Cat Advocacy and Research SCAR

Global small cat conservation - Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation SWCCF

Please support them with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your donation, every bit helps!

Past projects:


Rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) hunting on the ground

Rusty-spotted Cat Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Rusty-spotted Cats:

If you find this website useful, please consider a small contribution of $5 so I can continue to keep it updated. Thank you, Mandy 🙂

Rusty-Spotted Cat Research

For a list of papers on Rusty-spotted Cats view articles on Prionailurus rubiginosus 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.