Pardofelis marmorata

marbled cat

Pardofelis marmorata

marbled cat

They say that the marbled cat is a miniature version of the clouded leopard. Indeed, the coats of these cats are very similar and both cats have the same love – trees. They love to be there and feel best above the ground.


The marbled cat is within the size of a domestic cat. However, it differs significantly from it thanks to its slender body and incredibly fluffy tail, which is almost as long as the rest of the body. The marbled cat uses it to cover itself while resting, and when walking, does not allow it to touch the ground. Tail is also useful for it while moving around trees, because it works like a rudder.

The colour under the visible rosettes and spots may be reddish-brown or brown-grey. The occurrence of melanistic (black) individuals was also detected. Just like clouded leopard, it has disproportionately large canines.

They have unique forepaws. They are twice as wide as they are long and have a web between fingers. They have amber eyes with vertically-oriented elliptical pupils, thanks to which they can see well in low light.


It can be found in tropical forests of Asia, very warm and humid. It is that much easier for marbled cats are active mainly during the day. They feed on all available small animals like birds, mice, frogs, worms and probably bats.

The largest animals I hunt for are size pheasants. Even such clever animals as monkeys are within its paws, especially the young and inexperienced.

Marbled cats feel great in tree crowns and can descend a trunk head down, which is a rare skill among cats. They rotate their rear paws at 180 degrees which allows them do it with ease. Only margay and clouded leopard can repeat this trick.

Those cats are polygynous, which means they don’t mate for a lifetime. That feature is common in animal kingdom, because it ensures greater gene pool. No mating season has been observed between these cats, it may vary depending on the place of occurrence.

Pregnancy lasts 81 days and female marbled cats are very caring mothers. Kittens open their eyes when they finish 16 days, after finishing 22 days they can walk. Two month are enough for these arboreal acrobats to start climbing trees. After initial milk diet, cats start to absorb meat at the age of 59 days. At the age of about two years, they begin to be fertile.

In captivity, marbled cats are very docile and easy to tame, but also very cautious. They have a lot of energy that they use for jumping between branches. In the wild they usually run away from areas where people start to appear.


Marbled cats are considered the most beautiful of all small cats and it is certainly worth taking a look at its photographs. This beauty, unfortunately, is a blessing and a curse for them at the same time, because poachers hunt for their beautiful fur.

Unfortunately, some groups of people see marbled cats as a meal and they hunt it for meat. Others, celebrating the traditions of the ancestors, perform magic rituals involving parts of their body. They kill marbled cats, believing they have supernatural powers.
There are many populations of marbled cats, but they are small and scattered over a large area, which means they cannot mix. The density of this animal can be estimated at 0.52/km2 (1,35/mi2).

For comparison: the most populous city – Tokyo has around 14 million people, covering 2190.93 km² (845.92 mi²). The population density is 6,325 people/km2 (16,382/mi2). In the least populated district in Poland (podlaskie district), the population density is 58.8 people/km2 (152.3/mi2). Population density in Moscow: 4,870 people/km² (12,613/mi2).

The biggest threat to the marbled cat is cutting down its beloved forests to make room for all kinds of plantations. The marbled cat is defined as vulnerable and its population is decreasing. At Save Wild Cats Foundation we believe that we can still save this species from gene degradation, despite such staggering statistics. That’s why we want to focus our efforts specifically on the marbled cat.

We are looking for organizations and private breeders who take care of at least one of the two priorities of the foundation: marbled cat or flat-headed cat. Please contact us if you have any information about where to find representatives of these species, so that we can accquire genetic material from them. In this way, you will help us locate cats that will become heroes of their genre.

Source of picture:

Author: Małgorzata Banaszkiewicz

sand cat
Felis margarita
Leopardus wiedii
Panthera pardus


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