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Pallas a Cool Cat for a Cold Climate
A Cat of the Asian Steppes
Have you ever seen a cat like this before? I certainly haven't and all cats are my cousins. The Pallas Cat is a long lost, once-removed cousin.
He is the oldest living species of cat, traceable in the fossil record to 10 million years ago, one of the first two modern cats to evolve from Pseudaelurus, the prehistoric cat that lived in the Miocene epoch.
That's pretty old by anyone's standards.
Pallas has BIG fur
(and little ears)
Have a look at that thick fur! And that thick furry tail. It's obvious these cats live in a cold climate.
Check out his ears too.
Short ears tell you that the Pallas Cat has to live in extreme cold.
Because ears stick out, they act like little heat radiators. Smaller ears don't lose so much heat so natural selection has produced smaller ears in species like Pallas.
Beauty is in eye of the beholder, so they say.
The Pallas Cats are the only living species of small cat whose eyes have round pupils.
My size, but sturdier
Pallas looks somewhat like the lynx in facial structure, with a large, sturdy body and short legs.
His head is short and broad, with large round eyes and blunt wide-set ears.
The long, silky coat varies in colour from light gray to russet brown, with white tips on the hairs giving a sparkling, almost iridescent appearance.
There are dark lines on his cheeks, rings on his tail, and his lips, chin, and throat are white.
Where does the Pallas Cat live?
You'll find this small wild cats up in the Asian steppes between heights of 1,000 and 4,000 metres - 3,300 and 13,000 ft.
Pallas is also along the eastern and southern coasts of the Caspian Sea,. He's in northern Iran, India, and Pakistan, in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
China has the Pallas cat too, in western and central China, and in Mongolia.
He prefers rocky areas with relatively few trees, including barren hills, steppe country, and semidesert.
The Pallas is NOT the ancestor of the Persian
What does Pallas eat?
Pallas mainly hunts by night, from the ground, looking for small mammals and birds. The vast majority of his diet is pika, something like a rabbit.
Pallas is SOME cat!
Get your own Pallas Cat!
Pallas is hunted for his fur
As you can readily imagine, this little cat is hunted for his beautiful fur.
Pallas is protected now, as an endangered species. But that gorgeous fur is prized and worth a lot of money.
You and I both know that laws don't stop poachers.
I wish they'd get a little plushie instead!
Pallas Cats live underground, in snow caves, abandoned animal burrows and in crevasses in the rocks. Or, like this fellow, in a Zoo.