|Chinese desert cat - photographer unknown but presumed to be Jim Sanderson Ph.D.|
This is a nice clear, clean Chinese desert cat picture. The cat is in captivity unfortunately. There is a second cat in the image. This is a rare and relatively little known subspecies of the wildcat. As you can see it looks similar to the domestic cat (but is twice the size), which is how it should be because the wildcat is the ancestor of today's domestic cat. This cat is found in China and Mongolia including the Tibetan Plateau. It lives at high elevations and in a rocky, semi-desert, mountainous landscape. It feeds on rodents. The primary prey is the little rock rabbit (pika) which unfortunately is poisoned by local people. This results in a shortage of prey for the Chinese desert cat. This together with being hunted for its fur means that it is assessed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List™ and it has a diminishing population size. The assessment of "vulnerable" refers to its status in wild regarding survivability. The Chinese desert cat is a subspecies of the wildcat. Its scientific name is: Felis silvestris bieti. Read and see more.