Otocolobus manul

Pallas’s cat

Otocolobus manul

Pallas’s cat

Description

It has the softest, longest and densest fur among all cats. Pallas’s cat has interesting and rich facial expressions, which is why you can find many interesting photos on the Internet. Pallas’s cat can melt hearts with sweetness, make you laugh and scare you.

At first glance, the cat gives the impression of an eternally dissatisfied and obese pet.

Long and thick fur protects it from the cold and changes its colour seasonally. Shades range from grey to red, and ends are always white. The fur under the body is twice as long as in the upper and lateral parts of the cat’s body. It makes the cat seem not in good shape.

Pallas’s cats have darker stripes on the fur, and on the forehead a collection of black markings in the shape of watermelon seeds. On the cheeks they also have a few dark and light stripes starting at the bottom of the eyes and running down, which resembles the Indian war colours.

Pallas’s cat has a flattened muzzle and a very tiny nose.

Big eyes have a golden or green colour and round pupils. They show a huge wildness closed in a small body.

Pallas’s cats have a third eyelid, the so-called haw. It protects their eyes during sandstorms and cold winds. It moves horizontally and is independent of the eyelids.

Tiny, round ears are hidden in thick fur and very wide apart. This helps the cat in camouflage among the stones.

Pallas’s cat has fewer teeth than a domestic cat, but very prominent fangs. It also has much shorter legs.

It has a fairly broad, fluffy tail half the length of its body, dyed in a few laps of darker fur and a dark tip. The cat uses it as a quilt while resting.

The low height and stocky structure combined with the rest of the minimalistic characteristics, helps the cat to disappear on the background of poorly developed vegetation.

Behaviour

Despite the look of sulky fatty, Pallas’s cats can climb the steep, rocky slopes.

Pallas’s cat hunts mostly at night for small mammals, rodents or insects. It uses an ambush. Sometimes it involves stalking in dense grass, and sometimes watching the victim’s den, until it comes out. Pallas’s cat also try to reach the inside of the burrow with its paw when it is shallow. Sometimes they also use their thick and long fur, which, waving, resembles a high grass in the wind, providing a perfect cover.

Pallas’s cat is a very weak runner because of its undersized, short legs. In an emergency, it relies on its ability to disappear among stones, snow or a grassy steppe. Usually, it lays on the ground motionless.

It likes to take a nap in the sun and rest in caves and holes dig by other animals. It also uses the opportunity when another predator leaves its prey untouched, because it also eats carrion.

The environment in which Pallas’s cat lives, does not spoil. The temperatures are extreme, rain is very rare and the humidity is low. Pallas’s cat lives in Russia, Mongolia, China and Afghanistan, among others.

Pallas’s cat like mountainous areas, but avoid places with deep snow. They like rocky deserts and grassy steppes most.

Pallas’s cats do not like company and provide themselves with peace by marking with urine very large terrain, as for a cat. With a male it can be up to five times larger than with a female.

These cats are very aggressive towards all living creatures. Even newly born kittens growl and hiss at their siblings before they even open their eyes. Therefore, it is not difficult to find an enraged cat ball picture from the genus Otocolobus manul.

Even the female cats look after the young only for half of their puberty. After five months, kitties have to cope on their own, only in the eighth month they end up growing, and after the tenth they can reproduce. As a result, the high kittens mortality phenomenon occurs, only about 30% of them survive.

Heat in female Pallas’s cat appears in the period from December to March and lasts only 24-48 hours. This is the shortest period of mating among felids. This is the only time in the year when the female allows the male to come closer. During this period, males follow a female all the time, probably defending her against other males. The first mating season for females happens at the age of one.

Small Pallas’s cats are born dark and with very distinct stripes on the sides of the body. During the first two months of life, the stripes disappear, the coat grows and acquires a white colour at the ends.

Pallas’s cat likes to pretend to be a small dog by growling and whining. It can also purr with satisfaction. Mating sounds for Pallas’s cat sound like a combination of the bark of a small dog and the hooting of an owl.

Threats

Pallas’s cats are snatched by eagles, foxes and dogs. The latter are responsible for up to half of those deaths.

Pallas’s cat hunting for domestic use is allowed in Mongolia. Fortunately, these cats are well hidden in unfavourable conditions.

Pallas’s cat fat is used by local people as a frostbite medicine, and its extraordinary fur has a high value on the market due to its uniqueness and quality.

Sometimes Pallas’s cats are killed by accident, when people hunt marmots. These animals have a similar fur colour and body build. Frequent hunting for marmots also threatens Pallas’s cats indirectly, because they need dens burrowed by these rodents. Pallas’s cats cannot dig and they need hiding places to protect themselves and give birth to the young.

People often poison the victims of Pallas’s cats, because these are pests and spread diseases. Cats die after eating the poisoned victims and suffer through a small, available amount of prey.

Loss of land, especially with large territory required by Pallas’s cat, is a serious threat to them. The land is destroyed by ungulates and the establishment of arable fields. People take natural areas away from the Pallas’s cats for the development of infrastructure and mines.

Pallas’s cats are close to threat of extinction and their population is decreasing. High susceptibility to infection, on the other hand, results in low efficiency of captive breeding.

Author: Małgorzata Banaszkiewicz

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