Maria Ny Designs Home
About Maria Ny Designs
Breaking News
Online Portfolio
Writing Samples

Contact Maria Ny
Small Cats (Felinae): F - M
Small Cats (A - E) | Small Cats (F - M) | Small Cats (O - S) | Big Cats | How Cats Purr
Image Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Small Cats (A - E) | Small Cats (F - M) | Small Cats (O - S) | Big Cats | How Cats Purr
Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Asia
The fishing cat has olive-grey fur with dark spots. Its face has a distinctly flat-nosed appearance. It is a sturdily built, strong-looking powerful cat with a short broad muzzle, strong jaws, very small rounded ears, rounded head and thick neck. It has short, sturdy legs, a short thick tail and a heavy-set body. Fishing cats are well-adapted for the water. They have webbed front paws, and a double layer of fur so when they go in the water they don't get wet down to the skin. Fishing cats don't have fully retractile claws (similar to the cheetah), so their claws are partially visible even when retracted, which is another adaptation for catching slippery fish.

Fishing cats can be found in India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sumatra and Java. Their sizes vary by quite a bit. In india they're about 32 inches (80 cm) in length with a tail that's 12 inches (30 cm) in length. In indonesia, they are only 26 inches (65 cm) in length with a tail that's 10 inches (25 cm) in length. Fishing cats found in India can weigh up to 26 pounds (11.7 kg), while the ones in Indonesia only weigh about 13 pounds (6 kg). As its name implies, the fishing cat mainly eats fish, but only about 10 species of it. It also hunts other aquatic animals like frogs and crayfish, as well as terrestrial (land) animals like rodents and birds. Like its closest relative, the leopard cat, the fishing cat lives along rivers, brooks and mangrove swamps.

Did you know that the fishing cat sometimes uses its short, flattened tail like a rudder, helping control its direction in the water while swimming?
Flat-Headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps) Flat-headed Cat Prionailurus planiceps Southeast Asia
The flat-headed cat is one of the most unusual members of Cats. It is ideally suited for water hunting. It has a long sloping snout, and the top of the skull is flattened (hence the name). They have unusually small ears and large, close-set eyes which allow for maximum binocular vision. Its molars are larger and sharper than other cats and are designed to hold on to slippery prey.

Like the fishing cat and the cheetah, the flat-headed cat does not have completely retractile claws. Its feet are even more completely webbed than the fishing cat's, and the pads are long and narrow like the Bornean bay cat's. The flat-headed cat has a long, soft, thick coat that is reddish-brown tinged with gray. The underparts are white. The top of its head is more reddish. Flat-headed cats are small. They're only about 18 inches (45 cm) in length with a tail that's about 6 inches (15 cm) in length. They stand about 16 inches (40 cm) at the shoulder, and only weigh about 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg). They inhabit low-lying tropical forest and scrubland of the Malay peninsula, Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo, in areas near water.
Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) Geoffroy's Cat Leopardus geoffroyi South America
The Geoffroy's cat is South America's most common cat and lives in parts of the Andes Mountains, Pampas grasslands, Chaco shrub and woodlands. It prefers isolated forests near rivers and streams, but sometimes is found in the savannas. They live in trees and on the ground. The Geoffroy's cat was named after the French Naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire. It is a small cat, about the size of a domestic cat.

The Geoffroy's cat has a rounded head with large, rounded ears which help it to hear its prey in the thick stands of grass. Geoffroy's cats in the north have a reddish/yellow base fur, and in the south, a grey base fur. Malenistic (black) individuals are fairly common. Their bodies are covered with small black evenly-spaced spots which merge into stripes over the neck, face and chest. Their tails are over half their total body length and are striped. The fur is shorter in the summer and longer in the winter.

This nocturnal hunter is a good climber and swimmer. It can swim across rivers up to 100 feet wide. The Geoffroy's cat mainly eats rodents, hares, fish, reptiles, birds and various small mammals. They'll occasionally eat frogs, fish and insects.
Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus Spain
As its name implies, the Iberian lynx is confined to the Iberian peninsula, where it appears to exist in fragmented populations spread mainly over the southern half of Spain. The Iberian lynx (sometimes referred to as the "Spanish Lynx") at one time was misclassified as a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx, but is now considered a separate species. It is similar in appearance to the Eurasian lynx with its characteristic bobbed tail, wide feet and tufted ears and jaw, but is about half its size. Adult males weigh on the average 27.5 pounds and the females average 20 pounds.

Iberian lynx have a brownish-grey to yellowish red coat, with sharply contrasting black spots and stripes, and a white underside. The Iberian lynx can distinguish a mouse at 250 feet (75 m), a rabbit at 980 feet (300 m) and a roebuck at 1,650 feet (500 m). The tufts of hair on its hears help it to detect sources of sound, which greatly increases their hearing capacity. The Iberian lynx is the world's most threatened species of cat, and the most threatened carnivore in Europe.
Iriomote Cat (Prionailurus iriomotenis) Iriomote Cat Prionailurus iriomotenis Japan (on the island of Iriomote)
The Iriomote cat, also known as Yamamayaa ("mountain cat") or Yamapikaryaa ("mountain sparkling-eyed") or Pingiimayaa ("escaped cat"), mainly inhabits the lowland coastal regions of the small Japanese island of Iriomotejima (just east of Taiwan), which bring it into direct conflict with the islands human population. It can only be found in the lowland subtropical rain forest.

The Iriomote cat's fur is brown in base and marked with rows of dark brown spots which often form into stripes around the neck and legs. The body size rarely reaches 2 feet and the tail and legs are short compared to body size. The backs of the rounded ears are dark with white central spots. It has a relatively short, spotted tail that is ringed toward the tip. Like the fishing cat, cheetah and flat-headed cat, the Iriomote cat does not have completely retractile claws and is a good swimmer.

The Iriomote cat is a solitary creature that is generally more nocturnal in the summer than in the winter. It is an opportunistic predator that hunts in trees and on the ground. Iriomote cats eat fruit bats, black rats, wild pig, night herons, quails, rails, pigeons, doves, scops owls, kingfishers, robins, thrushes, crows, box turtles, skinks and other amphibians. Known to cross rivers in the wild, they also catch fish and crabs in the water. More than 95 species of animal have been identified from their feces, which indicates the variety in their diet.
Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi) Jaguarundi Puma yagouaroundi South America
The jaguarundi is native to Central America and the northern and central countries of South America down to Argentina. There have been rare sightings of them in parts of Texas and New Mexico in the southern United States. And, a number of jaguarundi are also found in Florida, which are believed to be a small population of escaped pets introduced to the area in the 1940s. The jaguarundi is most commonly found in lowland habitats with good cover, such as forest margins and scrubland, and is less often found in dense tropical vegetation. They typically stay close to running water where these expert fishers can be found fishing with their probing front paws.

The jaguarundi is unique in the respect that it looks something like a large weasel or otter. Its name in English means "otter cat". The jaguarundi is uniform in color, ranging from dark grey/brown to an almost chestnut brown. It has a long, narrow body supported by short legs. They're about 30 inches long, with a tail length of about 20 inches. The head is small in proportion to the body size. It has small ears like a weasel and narrow brown eyes. Genetically, the jaguarundi can perhaps be considered more closely associated with the larger felids. It has a chromosome count of 38, as do both the puma and jaguar, whereas all other small felids in South America have only 36.
Jungle (Swamp) Cat (Felis chaus) Jungle (Swamp) Cat Felis chaus Africa, Asia
The jungle cat is found across a wide geographic area, ranging form Egypt, the Middle East, Parts of Southern Asia through to western China. The jungle cat is not actually found in the jungle, but rather is found in a wide variety of habitats, most often in wet grasslands and reed thickets near stagnant or slowly flowing water. Although some may be found in dry areas, they are never far from a body of water.

The jungle cat averages 28 inches (70 cm) in body length and has a relatively short 8-inch (20-cm) tail. It stands about 14 inches (36 cm) tall. Weight varies from 8.8 to 35 pounds (4 to 16 kg). They are compact and muscular they have short golden-grey coats with white facial markings around their muzzle and eyes with lighter colored undersides. Melanistic cats have been sighted in Pakistan and India. The black-tipped tail has several dark rings and the ears have black tufts. The jungle cat has the longest legs in proportion to body size of any felid in Indochina. Because of its physical resemblance to a lynx, the jungle cat is also known as a "swamp lynx". However, they are not related to lynxes.

Throughout its range, the jungle cat is mostly crepuscular in hunting but regionally it is known to be more active during daylight hours. Prey varies according to the diverse habitat over which they range. Ones that live in dryer areas will eat ares, gerbils, rodents, birds, snakes, lizards and domestic poultry (if they are near populated areas). Cats living close to bodies of water will swim and dive to catch waterfowl, voles, fish & frogs. The unique things about this species is that the males will "bark" during mating season, sounding like a large dog, and they are more protective of their young than the females, which is unusual among felids.
Kodkod (Leopardus guigna) Kodkod Leopardus guigna South America
The kodkod (alternate spelling Codcod, also known as Guiña and sometimes hûina or huiña) is the smallest cat in the Americas. It's about half the size of a large domestic cat, weighing in at only 4-6 pounds (2.2 kg). Kodkods are about 15-20 inches (39-51 cm) long, with a shoulder height of about 10 inches (25 cm). Kodkods can be found only in Chile and Argentina, in the Andes Mountains evergreen temperate rain forests, deciduous temperate moist forests, sclerophyllous scrub, and coniferous forests--areas that are relatively void of competing carnivorous species. Kodkods are unusual in the respect that they nest in bamboo thickets under trees.

Kodkods are said to be very similar in appearance to Geoffroy's cat. The kodkod's fur is grey-brown/buff and marked with round black spots with some streaking on the head and shoulders. The under parts are white. The short, bushy tail is narrowly ringed, and the back of the ears black with a central white spot. Melanistic (black) individuals are not uncommon.

The Kodkod is extremely reclusive and does not adapt well to areas disturbed by humans. They typically travel and hunt during the day, but they can be nocturnal in order to avoid contact with humans. The larger males will frequently take domestic free-range chickens and geese, but females will generally restrict their diets to small rodents and insects.

Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis Asia
The Leopard Cat has one of the widest spread ranges of any of the Asian species of wild cat. It can be found from parts of Pakistan to the west of its range, all across South East Asia to the east and down through Java, Borneo to the central Philippine Islands. It is usually found in the forests and rainforests in both low and mountainous areas near water, but not typically in arid regions. They are excellent climbers and swimmers, but generally will not swim.

There is a marked difference in the size, coloration and markings among leopard cats. It is a little larger than a big domestic cat, has longer legs and a longer back. Leopard cats have a relatively small head with a short narrow muzzle, large eyes and a thick tail of about 11 - 14 inches in length. Body length varies between 25 - 32 inches, and they weigh between 7 - 15 pounds. The leopard cat's fur has a base color that ranges from yellow/brown to grey/brown, found mostly in the north of its range. The underparts, chest and lower head are usually white as is a large spot which is commonly found on the back of the otherwise black ears. Depending on the sub-species the leopard cat is covered with medium to large dark brown to black spots with solid stripes on the top of the back and thin stripe markings on the top and side of the head.

The leopard cat is a nocturnal hunter, mainly eating hares, birds, rodents and other small mammals, but sometimes will eat bats. In areas near villages, they may be a threat to domestic poultry.
Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata) Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata Asia
The marbled cat looks something like a miniature clouded leopard, except it has the face of a small cat and a bushier tail. Like the Clouded Leopard, the marbled cat has very long canine teeth. Though the head resembles that of small cats, it is closely related to the big cats. The marbled cat is about 21 inches (53 cm) long with a tail length of 18 inches (45 cm). It weighs about 10 pounds (4.5 kg).

The marbled cat's thick, soft fur is brownish-yellow, covered in large blotches which are paler in their centers and margined with black. There are black spots on the limbs and some black lines on the head and neck. Interrupted bands run from the inner corner of each eye over the head. Cheek stripes mark the face. The bushy tail is about 3/4 the body length of the cat and acts as a counterbalance when climbing. it is dull black on the upper side, spotted and tipped with black. The marbled cat's short, rounded ears are black with grey median bars. Its skull is broad, and like that of the cheetah, it is shorter and more rounded than that of most of the other cats. It also has unusually long canines, similar to clouded leopards.

Marbled cats are mainly arboreal, relying on the treetop canopy for both shelter and food. They are very shy and secretive, rarely being photographed in the wild. Marbled cats prefer prey that also occupies the treetop canopy such as squirrels, fruit bats, birds, mice and rats. They may also feed on fish, reptiles, frogs and insects. Marbled cats can be found in the forests of southeast Asia, from northern India, Malay peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo.
Margay (Leopardus wiedi)
Margay Leopardus wiedi North America, South America
The Margay, also known as the long-tailed spotted cat, is similar in appearance to the Ocelot, but the body is much smaller. The margay also has longer legs and a longer tail. This cat's markings are similar to that of the ocelot and its smaller relative the tiger cat (Oncilla) except that the margay's is a tawny background patterned with black-ringed rosettes and elongated blotches. The margay's eyes are very large, and the eye shine at night is extremely bright.

The range of the margay extends from Mexico down through Peru, parts of Paraguay to the northern areas of Argentina. The margay lives exclusively in forested areas and is a highly accomplished climber. It has specially adapted claws and ankle joints which can move 180 degrees, enabling it to move with almost monkey-like ease among the tree tops. It can also scamper down trees head-first (most cats must descend backwards) and run upside down beneath branches.

Margays are very secretive, and prefer the more remote and dense sections of forests in Belize. They hunt almost exclusively by night. Their prey includes birds, small monkeys, tree frogs and insects which inhabit the forest canopy. However, they will also hunt various rats and cavies from the ground and have been know to supplement their diets with fruit.