|Manul or Pallas's cat - photo copyright all rights reserved: Rosemarie Lamb Photography|
This is a Pallas's cat picture with impact by Rosemarie Lamb Photography published here with her permission. It is copyright protected. If you would like to use it please ask her. You can see the original on Flickr if you want to. Pallas's cat is a small wildcat that steps out of line in terms of appearance. The other, and perhaps more proper, name for this cat is "manul". This is a cute looking cat that reminds me of the domestic Persian in a very roundabout way. The very long fur and small ears with a rounded head are similar, which brings me nicely to a 19th century idea that the domestic cat was mated with the manul to produce the long haired Persian. That now looks far fetched and is wrong. All domestic cats originate in the Near Eastern wildcat which is short haired and relatively lanky so how did we arrive at the stocky, rounded Persian? Well, the original long haired cats may have come from Persia but the modern Persian cat has no genetic connection with cats from that part of the world. Things have moved on and the Persian domestic cat is wholly created in the West. The manul is the same size as an average domestic cat at about 6-10 lbs (manul description). It lives in the area north of India up through Mongolia to Russia. A chilly climate, hence the long coat. It feeds on small mammals such as pickas (a mouse hare) and gerbils.