A ‘Marble’-ous Small Cat- Deep in the jungles of south and southeast Asia lives a wild cat that could almost be mistaken for your house cat, if you didn’t know any better. The marbled cat is about the same size as a small domestic cat, weighing 4-11 lbs, but it’s long, puffy tail and shimmering marbled coat would give it away as the exotic, wild species that it is.
Living an arboreal lifestyle, marbled cats use their adaptations to travel through the treetops hunting birds, squirrels, rodents, and other small prey. As they jump from one tree to another, their long, puffy tail serves as a counterbalance while their stout legs, big feet, and claws all work together to keep them steady.
It may not be as famous as its big cat cousins, like the lion or the tiger, but marbled cats and other small wild cats still face their own set of threats. Marbled cats rely on dense forests for shelter and prey but logging, agriculture, and land development into forest habitats means they have less and less habitat to call home. A species that we may never see could still disappear right beneath our noses from habitat loss and climate change.
Small cats are elusive, independent, and able to hide better than their larger cousins. Out of 36 species of wild cats, the 22 species of small cats can be harder to study, as many live in areas that are inhospitable for most humans—which is why conservationsits rely heavily on camera trap technology to monitor them in these areas. Our partners at Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation have made it one of their goals to tell the world about all the very special and important small cat species that are out there, to ensure these little but tough survivors don’t disappear forever.