Skip to Content

22 Wild Cats in Asia (All Asian Wild Cats W/ Photos!)

From tiny and cute to massive and imposing, the wild cats in Asia are among the most remarkable felines in the world.

In today’s article, we’ll talk about all Asian wild cats, from the tiny rusty-spotted cat to the massive tiger.

Whether you are curious, homeschooling your little ones, or have homework about Asian cat species, you’ll find lots of information about these gracious felines here.

Let’s learn about the wild cats of Asia!

Wild Cats in Asia

For better organization, we divided this article by types of wild cats: small wild cats, medium wild cats, and big wild cats in Asia. We hope you enjoy it!

Small Wild Cats in Asia

Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

Leopard Cat facing camera
  • Lifespan: up to 13 years
  • Tail length: 6.8 to 12.2 inches
  • Body length: 15.3 to 26 inches
  • Height: 16 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 to 8.4 pounds
  • Top speed: unknown

Mainland leopard cats are wild cats of Asia native to the southeastern part of the continent.

They live throughout Asia, including Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Laos, Thailand, China, and Japan. These animals are one the smallest wild cats in Asia. 

They can live in various habitats that include forests and even plantations.

In tropical locations, mainland leopard cats have brownish-yellow color fur. At the same time, the ones that live in the north have brownish-gray color. 

Typically, the northern mainland leopards are heavier than the southern ones. These animals are carnivores and enjoy hunting insects, birds, lizards, amphibians, and mammals. They also eat eggs, birds, grass, and aquatic creatures. 

According to the IUCN, these Asian wild cars are classified as Least Concern.

Did you know? Leopard cats have slightly webbed toes, facilitating swimming and movement on slippery ground.

Sand Cat (Felis margarita)

Sand Cat among Rocks
  • Lifespan: unknown in the wild, but up to 17 years in captivity
  • Tail length: 9.1 to 12.2 inches
  • Body length: 15 to 20 inches
  • Height: 9.4 to 14.2 inches
  • Weight: 3.3 to 7.5 pounds
  • Top speed: 19 to 25 mph

Sand cats have a light sandy to gray-brown coat that is occasionally striped on the legs, slightly darker on the back, and lighter on the tummy. 

Their limbs are short, and large eyes and low-set ears are on their broad head. Sand cats are well adapted to live in desert environments with little flora. 

They are sand-dwelling species that live on rocky slopes and dry areas where the weather is extreme.

This species of African wild cats usually consume tiny rodents, like spiny mice, jirds, jerboas, and hamsters. But they also prey on hares, birds, spiders, insects, and reptiles. 

The IUCN classified the sand cat as Near Threatened in 2002, but luckily by 2016, it had been upgraded to Least Concern.

However, it doesn’t mean the dangers faced by the species have disappeared. The sand cat is particularly at risk from habitat deterioration because desert habitats like theirs are sensitive to human settlements and activities.

Did you know? Sand cats are daring snake hunters and can live from water from their prey.

Flat-Headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps)

Flat-headed Cat stalking prey
  • Lifespan: up to 14 years
  • Tail length: 5.1 to 5.9 inches
  • Body length: 16 to 20 inches
  • Height: 13 to 20 inches
  • Weight: 3.3 to 5.5 pounds
  • Top speed: 24.8 mph

Flat-headed cats are amazing wild cats in Asia. They typically prefer to stay in the rainforests, marshes, swamps, riverine forests, and wetland habitats. 

Generally, the main requirement for their habitat is to have a freshwater source. Therefore, one of the primary food for them is fish and frogs. Yet, they also enjoy eating mice, rats, birds, and even fruit. 

Flat-headed cats are found in Sumatra, Borneo, the Malaysia peninsula, and the southern part of Thailand. 

They have light-colored fur with a white chin and muzzle. Two vertical stripes are located right between the eyes and on the sides of the nose. Their close-located eyes help to have stereoscopic vision. 

On the IUCN list, flat-headed cats are listed as Endangered. 

Did you know? Flat-headed cats are about the size of domestic cats.

Borneo Bay Cat (Catopuma badia)

Borneo Bay Cat
Borneo Bay Cat – Photo by Jim Sanderson (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Lifespan: unknown
  • Tail length: 11.8 to 15.9 inches
  • Body length: 19.5 to 26.4 inches
  • Height: unknown
  • Weight: 6.6 to 8.8 pounds
  • Top speed: unknown

Borneo bay cats, as we can guess from their name, are native to Borneo Island but are also found in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Like most wild cats in Asia, they prefer dense forests and places where rocky limestones are common. The prey of this creature includes carrion, birds, small rodents, and monkeys. 

These animals typically have dark red hair decorated with black marks and golden brown spots. Yet, the melanistic specimens are also found with the colors of bluish gray. 

On the IUCN list, the Borneo bay cat is listed as Endangered.

Did you know? The Borneo bay cat is one of the most mysterious and rarest species of wild cats in the world.

Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)

Jungle cat, Felis chaus, in the desert
  • Lifespan: unknown in the wild, up to 20 years in captivity
  • Tail length: 8.3 to 14.2 inches
  • Body length: 23 and 30 inches
  • Height: about 14 inches
  • Weight: 4.4 to 35.3 pounds
  • Top speed: 20 mph

Closely related to the domestic cat, the jungle cat is a feline with reddish, sandy brown, or gray coat that lacks spots. It has a black-tipped tail marked by two to three dark rings on the last third of the length.

Because of its long legs, short tail, and tuft on the ears, the jungle cat resembles a small lynx, but they are not directly related.

In addition, this Asian cat is found in Egypt too but mostly in Asia and preys on rats, mice, young wild pigs, birds, squirrels, lizards, snakes, and frogs.

Despite being listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, the jungle cat is considered threatened in several regions.

Did you know? Ancient Egyptians used jungle cats for hunting birds and were featured many times in Egyptian art.

Rusty-Spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus)

The rusty-spotted cat is the smallest of all wild cats in Asia
The rusty-spotted cat is the smallest of all wild cats in Asia
  • Lifespan: up to 18 years
  • Tail length: 7.9 to 9.8 inches
  • Body length: 14 to 19 inches
  • Height: about 8 inches
  • Weight: 2 to 4.5 pounds
  • Top speed: 50 mph

Rusty-spotted cats are found in the territories of Sri Lanka, Nepal, and India. Even though they liked moist forests, currently, these animals inhabit bamboo forests, scrublands, dry forests, rocky slopes, and wooded grasslands. 

The eating habits of rusty spotted cats have not been well-researched. However, it is believed that they consume rodents, birds, small mammals, lizards, frogs, and sometimes poultry. 

These wild cats of Asia have grayish-red fur with spots and markings all over their body. The distinctive characteristic is the black lines that are presented on the eyes. 

In addition, these cats are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.

Did you know? The rusty-spotted cat is the smallest wild cat in the world. It is half the size of a domestic cat.

Pallas’s Cat (Otocolobus manul)

Pallas's cat walking on grasslands
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Tail length: 8 to 12 inches
  • Body length: 18 to 26 inches
  • Height: about 13 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 to 11 pounds
  • Top speed: unknown

Pallas’s cats are wild cats of Asia that are unique because of their cute appearance. They have flat faces, fluffy coats, and stocky build. 

The coat of these animals gets lighter during the winter months. However, in summer, more stripes and vivid color is presented. These animals have a large list of prey, including the carrion, reptiles, birds, rodents, and insects.

Pallas’s cats live in Central Asia, including China and Iran. They prefer areas with rocky steppes, shrublands, grasslands, and scree slopes. 

An interesting fact is that even though this Asian wild cat has the same size as the domestic cat, it has a bigger appearance because of its fur.

On the IUCN Red List, these Asian felines are classified as Least Concern.

Did you know? Unlike other wild cats, the pupils of Pallas’ cats contract into small circles rather than vertical slits.

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti)

Closeup of Chinese Mountain cat
  • Lifespan: unknown
  • Tail length: 11 to 14 inches
  • Body length: 23 to 33 inches
  • Height: unknown
  • Weight: 12 to 20 pounds
  • Top speed: unknown

Chinese mountain cats are among the wild cats in Asia with sand-colored fur and black lines on its tail. The ears of these creatures also have black tips. 

Unlike other cat species, this one has a broader skull. Also, it has relatively long hair growing between the foot pads. 

Chinese mountain cats are mainly nocturnal animals and typically hunt rodents such as voles, pikas, and mole rats.

On top of that, Chinese mountain cats are only found in China. They love alpine areas, specifically the shrublands, grasslands, and meadows. 

These creatures are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and are less than approximately 10,000 individuals left.

Did you know? Until 2007, the Chinese mountain cat was known only from six individuals living in Chinese zoos.

Asiatic Wildcat (Felis lybica ornata)

Asiatic wildcat
Asiatic wildcat – Photo by Raja Bandi (CC BY-SA 4.0)
  • Lifespan: up to 11 years
  • Tail length: 8.5 to 15 inches
  • Body length: 16 to 25 inches
  • Height: around 14 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 to 17 pounds
  • Top speed: 49.7 mph

Asiatic wildcats have yellow and red-colored fur and a long tail with a black tip. The whole body of this Asian wild cat is covered in black spots. 

The Caucasus mountain range is the transitional zone between the European wildcat to the north and west and the Asiatic wildcat to the south and east.

In this region, the European wildcat is present in montane forest, and the Asiatic wildcat is present in the low-lying desert and semi-desert areas adjoining the Caspian sea.

Generally, they prefer the scrub deserts, where the vegetations are common, and try to avoid the snow, dense forests, and vast deserts. 

The main diet of Asiatic wildcats includes gerbils, voles, jerboas, mice, hares, lizards, snakes, and livestock.

Due to excessive hunting for the pet trade, the Asiatic wildcat population is rapidly declining in its natural habitat.

Did you know? Compared to domestic cats, Asian wildcats have long legs.

Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis)

Sunda leopard cat isolated on white background
  • Lifespan: up to 13 years
  • Tail length: 8 to 12 inches
  • Body length: 18 to 25.5 inches
  • Height: unknown
  • Weight: 3.5 to 8.5 pounds
  • Top speed: 44 mph

Sunda leopard cats prefer tropical forests with evergreen trees in them. However, they managed to get adapted to various environments, including agricultural areas. 

They are wild cats in Asia that can be found in Bali, Borneo, Java, the Philippines, and Sumatra. 

In addition, Sundra leopard cats typically prey on mice, Polynesian rats, Tanzumi rats, and ricefield rats. 

From its name, we can guess that these Asian wild cats resemble leopards in color and pattern.

Yet, they are much smaller than leopards and weigh 3 to 9 pounds. They have cute shore muzzles, significant round years, and round heads. 

Did you know? These animals are interbred with domestic cats, yielding a species called the Bengal cat, which is globally kept as a house pet.

Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata)

Marbled Cat
  • Lifespan: up to 12 years
  • Tail length: 14 to 21.5 inches
  • Body length: 18 to 24.5 inches
  • Height: about 11 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 to 11 pounds
  • Top speed: unknown

The marbled cat actually resembles the leopard with its fur and color. However, it is much lighter in weight and goes up to an average of 4.4-11 pounds. 

Its fur is soft and has either brown-gray or yellow-red colors. The coat has blotch-like marks all over the body that gets paler as it goes to the center. 

This animal typically hunts arboreal mammals and birds, but its diet includes squirrels, mice, fruit bats, small primates, lizards, insects, and frogs. 

Marbled cats prefer tropical forests, however, they are not picky and can live in mixed deciduous, evergreen, and moist environments. These wild cats can be found in the Southeastern parts of Asia.

On the IUCN Red List, they are assessed as a Near Threatened species.

Did you know? Marbled cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, which humans and dogs cannot.

Medium Wild Cats in Asia

Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi)

Sunda Clouded Leopard facing camera
  • Lifespan: 11 to 17 years
  • Tail length: 24 to 36 inches
  • Body length: 27 to 42.5 inches
  • Height: about 20 inches
  • Weight: 26 to 57 pounds
  • Top speed: 40 mph

Sunda clouded leopards are wild cats in Asia living in the lowland forests of the Sumatra and Borneo Islands. 

These animals have yellowish-gray fur resembling clouds and a tail that can be as long as the body.

In addition, these Asian cats are considered to be Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. However, the population is decreasing rapidly, and its two subspecies are classified as Endangered.

Did you know? Clouded leopards are actually known for having the largest canine teeth of any living cat in proportion to their body size.

Mainland Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

Clouded leopard stalking prey
  • Lifespan: 15 to 17 years
  • Tail length: 24 to 36 inches
  • Body length: 27 to 42.5 inches
  • Height: about 21 inches
  • Weight: 35 to 51 pounds
  • Top speed: 40 mph

Mainland clouded leopards are native to Asia and live in forests and shrublands. They can be found in areas of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, as well as Malaysian peninsulas. 

Even though these animals like to stay up in the trees, it is believed that they hunt on the ground and prey on squirrels, birds, monkeys, pigs, and even deer. 

These Asian wild cats have the body full of blotches and dark spots that can be gray, brown, black, and/or creamy.

They have a long tail which is very helpful in jumping and moving from one tree to another. 

Unfortunately, the mainland clouded leopard status on the IUCN Red List is Vulnerable.

Did you know? The mainland clouded leopard uses its tail for balancing when moving in trees and is able to climb down vertical tree trunks head first.

Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)

Fishing Cat stalking prey
  • Lifespan: up to 10 years
  • Tail length: 10 to 12 inches
  • Body length: 25.5 to 33.5 inches
  • Height: about 16 inches
  • Weight: 15.5 to 35 pounds
  • Top speed: 34 mph

Fishin cats like to be close to water, therefore, their habitat mainly includes swamps, wetlands, marshes, and mangrove forests. 

Like most wild cats in Asia, they can be found in the Southern parts of the continent.

These beautiful cats have gray and brown fur with black markings and stripes. The coat works like camouflage for them. 

In addition, they are called “Fishing cats” for a reason. These creatures can swim and fish very well. Diet-wise, they typically consume fish, small mammals, lizards, and amphibians. 

Unfortunately, they are Vulnerable species according to the IUCN Red List.

Did you know? The fishing cat’s ear contains 32 muscles and can rotate almost 180 degrees, so without turning its head, it is able to hear in several directions.

Asiatic Caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi)

Caracal closeup
  • Lifespan: 16 to 19 years
  • Tail length: 8 to 13 inches
  • Body length: 31.5 to 39 inches
  • Height: 16 to 20 inches
  • Weight: 13 to 39.5 pounds
  • Top speed: 50 mph

Asiatic caracals are found in the areas of savannas, semideserts, scrub forests, and lowlands. 

The location range includes the Middle east, the Arabian peninsula, the Western part of India, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. 

In addition, Asiatic caracals have reddish brown fur that is very thick and soft. The ears of these animals are long and pointedly with black tips. 

They are carnivore eaters and hunt rodents, birds, and any type of small mammals. 

Asiatic caracals are listed as the Least Concern on the IUCN Red List but are classified as Critically Endangered in the Oman National Red Data Book.

Did you know? The word caracal is derived from the Turkish word kara kulak, which means black ear.

Asiatic Golden Cat (Catopuma temminckii)

Asian golden cat
Asian golden cat – Photo by Cloudtail the Snow Leopard (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  • Lifespan: up to 17 years
  • Tail length: 16 to 22 inches
  • Body length: 28 to 41 inches
  • Height: about 22 inches
  • Weight: 20 to 35 pounds
  • Top speed: unknown

Asian golden cats are among the prettiest wild cats in Asia. They grow between 20 to 30 pounds and have red-brown fur with dark brown markings on the legs, chests, and faces. 

Even though these animals typically hunt on the ground, they can chase their prey in the trees too. The diet typically includes insects, rodents, birds, amphibians, ungulates, reptiles, and leaf monkeys. 

These Asian wild cats prefer to live in the evergreen, subtropical, and dry deciduous forests.

The area where they reside mainly includes China, Thailand, Sumatra, Nepal, Tibet, and Myanmar. 

On the IUCN Red List, these Asian wild cats are classified as Near Threatened.

Did you know? The Asian golden cat was first described in 1827 by Coenraad Jacob Temminck, a Dutch zoologist, and was named in his honor.

Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)

The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) sitting in the woods
  • Lifespan: 15 to 17 years
  • Tail length: 7.5 to 9 inches
  • Body length: 35.5 to 47 inches
  • Height: 22 to 30 inches
  • Weight: 26 to 71 pounds
  • Top speed: 50 mph

Among all wild cats, the lynx is one of the most recognizable felines due to its pointy ears.

They have reddish or brown fur coats that thicken in the winter, becoming gray to grayish-brown.

In addition, these wild cats live in a wide range from western Europe to central Asia.

The diet and hunting patterns of Eurasian lynxes depend mostly on their location.

Individuals in Asia feed almost exclusively on hares. In times of need, they’ll also go for small-hoofed animals. However, 79% to 99% of their diet consists of rabbit-like animals.

Once on the brink of extinction, the Eurasian lynx made a comeback, and hopefully, it is here to stay. According to the IUCN, this Eurasian wild cat is listed as Least Concern.

Did you know? The Eurasian lynx is the third-largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf.

Big Wild Cats in Asia

Tiger (Panthera tigris)

Tiger walking near water
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Tail length: 35.5 to 43 inches
  • Body length: 59 to 90.5 inches
  • Height: 2.3 to 3.9 feet
  • Weight: 140 to 660 pounds
  • Top speed: 40 mph

As one of the strongest animals in the world, tigers are robust creatures with muscular bodies weighing up to 660 pounds. That’s a big kitty!

These wild cats of Asia are solitary animals and live in southeast Asia, China, and India.

As carnivores, tigers mainly feed on large and medium-sized animals, like buffalos, wild pigs, wild boards, antelopes, and sambar deers.

Still, they also feed on smaller prey like monkeys, peafowls, and sloth bears. If living near humans, these Asian wild cats will feed on livestock, horses, and dogs.

Unfortunately, wild tigers are listed as Endangered by the IUCN due to poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, and they are extinct in many of their original habitats.

Did you know? A group of tigers is called a streak or ambush!

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Leopard walking in forest
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Tail length: 20 to 40 inches
  • Body length: 36 to 75 inches
  • Height: 25 to 28 inches
  • Weight: 46 to 165 pounds
  • Top speed: 58 mph

Often mistaken for jaguars, leopards are big cats from Asia that can live in a wide variety of habitats, like deserts, forests, and mountains.

These wild cats with rosettes are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, despite their relatively high number of subspecies.

Like most big cats, leopards are solitary creatures that only intermingle to mate.

They are opportunistic feeders, and their diet consists of a large variety of animals. They generally look for medium-sized prey like deers, warthogs, jackals, and antelopes.

Did you know? Because of their adapted retinas, leopards can see seven times better in the dark than humans.

Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica)

Asiatic lion walking on grass
  • Lifespan: 16 to 18 years
  • Tail length: 23.5 to 39 inches
  • Body length: 54 to 98.5 inches
  • Height: about 3.5 feet
  • Weight: 242.5 to 419 pounds
  • Top speed: 37 mph

With tawny fur, the Asiatic lions have folded skin that goes alongside the belly, which is one of the major visual differences when compared to the African lion

The males are typically shorter in size and have darker colors compared to the females. 

Today, these Asian wild cats can only be found in the deciduous forests and sanctuaries of Guhuart, India.

Diet-wise, these Asian wild cats often hunt mammals such as antelopes, wild boars, and deer. 

Because of the rapidly decreased population, the Asiatic lion is considered to be an Endangered species on the IUCN Red List.

Did you know? The ears of this wild cat species are visible at all times in males because its mane is considerably short.

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)

Snow leopard running on snow
  • Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
  • Tail length: 31 to 41 inches
  • Body length: 30 to 59 inches
  • Height: 22 inches
  • Weight: 49 to 121 pounds
  • Top speed: 40 mph

Snow leopards are found in the high elevation areas in the countries of India, Nepal, China, Pakistan, Mongolia, Russia, and Bhutan. 

They are characterized by yellowish-colored fur and black marks all over their bodies with short limbs. 

Their diet typically includes deer, sheep, argali sheep, ibex, pikas, marmots, and mammals that are smaller in size and easy to capture. 

These Asian cats are listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable because of constant urban expansions and global warming.

Did you know? Snow leopards’ wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes – helping distribute their weight over soft snow and protecting them from the cold.

Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus

Asiatic cheetah resting on grass
  • Lifespan: 16 to 18 years
  • Tail length: 26 to 33 inches
  • Body length: 44 to 53 inches
  • Height: about 2.6 feet
  • Weight: 75 to 119 pounds
  • Top speed: 79.5 mph

Asiatic Cheetahs are wild cats in Asia a light fawn fur and black spots all over their body, including the paws, tail, and head. The tip of the tail has dark-colored stripes. 

These felines generally consume medium-sized mammals such as goats, sheep, cape hares, and Indian gazelles.

In addition, Asiatic cheetahs generally are found on the small plains, open lands, and semi-deserts. They typically reside in the locations of Persian mountains and deserts ad only found in Iran. 

The IUCN Red List status of Asiatic cheetahs is Critically Endangered.

Did you know? The Asiatic cheetah diverged from the cheetah population in Africa between 32,000 and 67,000 years ago.

Hey you! Did you enjoy learning about the wild cats of Asia? Then share this article on your social media!