The recently described Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) occurs on the south-east islands of Asia. Genetic studies have shown that these Leopard Cats are distinct from the Leopard Cats on the mainland (Prionailurus bengalensis). These Leopard Cats are one of the few felids to have colonized and persisted on islands, although habitat destruction is severely threatening some of these populations.
Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
Leopard cat image taken in Indian part of Sundarbans by Shan2797 (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons
(Temporary image - new slide required)
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 ~

~ Mainland and island species split 2017 ~

Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) Classification

The Sunda Leopard Cat belongs to the genus Prionailurus and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Sunda  Leopard Cat species (Prionailurus javanensis) 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 javanensis (Sunda Leopard Cat)

Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

Sunda 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. The conservation status of the Sunda Leopard Cat is yet to be determined (2018).

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 current Felidae taxonomic revision, 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 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