Meet the Pallas’ cat – the most ‘expressive’ cat in the entire world

Meet the Pallas’ cat – the most ‘expressive’ cat in the entire world

This strange-looking cat is what leopards used to look like over five million years ago! Peter Pallas, a German naturalist, initially believed the flat-faced, shaggy cat was related to the domestic Persian breed. He originally classified it as Felis manul in 1776, but the genus has since been changed to Otocolobus. The word roughly translates to ugly or truncated ear.
Meet the Pallas’ cat – the most ‘expressive’ cat in the entire world
Sure, their ears are short and wide, but ugly? No way. These fuzzy guys are super cute, especially with those teddy bear ears. Pallas’s cats look big, but they’re mostly fur. Dunk one into a bathtub full of water, and the resulting drenched, snarling ball of fury will have shrunk down to the size of a domestic cat —about 8 pounds, body length of 22 inches, and a 10 inch tail.
Meet the Pallas’ cat – the most ‘expressive’ cat in the entire world

Their stubby legs and stocky build makes them horrible runners so they hunt by stalking their prey. Imagine all that adorable fierceness crouched behind a rock, whiskers quivering, then a mighty pounce of furry fury to rain death and horror onto an unsuspecting rodent.
Biologists and conservationists don’t know much about these cats. Due to dwindling numbers and a solitary nature, it’s rare to see one in the wild. Natural habitats include steppes and mountains throughout central Asia. They also like the cold and prefer elevations around 15,000 feet. Unfortunately, the cats are currently listed as Near Threatened, and their population continues to decrease due to loss of habitat and hunting. Their food source, pikas and rodents, are also being threatened thanks to poisoning campaigns across China and Mongolia.
Meet the Pallas’ cat – the most ‘expressive’ cat in the entire world

Back in September 2016, remote-sensor research cameras captured a series of rare footages of wild manuls in the Zoolon Mountains in Mongolia. The cameras belong to Pallas’s Cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA) — a research initiative formed by Swedish breeding center and zoo Nordens Ark, US-based Snow Leopard Trust, and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). The study will continue for at least three years thanks to the generous support of Fondation Segré.
Meet the Pallas’ cat – the most ‘expressive’ cat in the entire world

“We still don’t know much about the Pallas’s cat’s behavior, or even it’s true range”, says Emma Nygren, a conservation biologist at Nordens Ark who coordinates the research project. “If we’re hoping to conserve this mysterious cat, we need to first understand it, and we’re hoping this study will bring valuable new insights.”
Let’s hope we learn enough about these fuzzy, curious creatures before it’s too late. It would be a shame if they disappeared forever.