Smallest Cat

The smallest cat in the world is the Rusty-spotted Cat. It is 35 to 48 centimeters (14 to 19 in) long. The tail is 5 to 30 centimeters (5.9 to 12 in) long. The animal weighs 0.9 to 1.6 kilograms (2.0 to 3.5 lb).

General Characteristics

Its short grey fur is spread over its body. There are also rusty spots scattered on the flanks and the back. There are dark spots on the cat’s white underbelly. The tail is half its body’s length and is quite thick.

The spots are less visible and the color is darker. There are half a dozen dark streaks on the head’s sides. These dark streaks are spread over its forehead and cheeks.


The Rusty-spotted Cat’s natural environments are India and Sri Lanka. They may reside elsewhere, but this is uncertain. The animal seems to have a very limited distribution.

The smallest cat in the world is rarely seen in evergreen forests. It is more likely to be seen in grassland, scrub and dry deciduous forests. The cat also frequents places with thick vegetation.


There are two known subspecies, Prionailurus rubiginosus rubiginosus in India and Prionailurus rubiginosus phillipsi in Sri Lanka. In India, the animal was thought to be confined to the southern area. However, they have been observed around the country.

Some were seen at the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. Others have been spotted at Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park. The Rusty-spotted Cat has also been seen at eastern Gujurat.

The animal has also been observed at lowland rainforests. One part of the population lives in the dry zone. The others live in the wet zone.

Behavior and Reproduction

The Rusty-spotted Cat spends of the day sleeping. They often hunt at night. Their diet consists of insects, frogs, lizards, small birds and rodents. Like other cats, it relies on speed to catch its prey. They are able to climb trees.

The cat does this more to escape a predator rather than hunt for food. The animal designates its territory by urinating on it. Even though the cat lives in the wild, it can be domesticated. Those who have done so say it can be affectionate. The cat usually gives birth to one or more kittens.

When the smallest cat in the world gives birth, the kitten will weigh 60 to 77 grams (2.1 to 2.7 oz). The lifespan of captive Rusty-spotted cats is 12 years. Their lifespan in the wild is still to be determined.

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