Weekend Cat Blogging: Wildcats, House Panthers and "erf day"

Luna continues to enjoy her “House Panther” status and all the warm compliments. But this weekend, we celebrate cats both domestic and wild, just as we did last year on Earth Day (or “erf day”).

We start again with the Cat Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union (CSG), but focusing on something positive. They are featuring a study of the jungle cat (Felis chaus) and leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), pictured to the right:

The family Felidae is well represented in India, with 15 species occurring here, making it the richest in cats worldwide. However, except for the large cats the rest figure very poorly in research and conservation policies in the country, probably because of their rarity and elusive nocturnal habits, coupled with cumbersome bureaucratic formalities in studying rare species. Fortunately, in the past few years non-invasive molecular techniques have been introduced in wildlife research in India, which has made small cat research easier.

Another endangered cat of India and Southeast Asia is the Fishing Cat. It is a close relative of the leopard cat, and shares some of the same habitat. However, the fishing cat (not surprisingly) is better adapted to hunting and eating fish, and is an excellent swimmer.

The fishing cat is one of many species featured in The Smithsonian National Zoo's Cat Conservation Project.

Note that these are all “small cats”, which often do not get the attention of the larger cat species, which are of course magnificent and also seriously endangered in many cases. Certainly, the small cats share some of the endearing qualities in appearance to our domestic felines (which are believed to be descendants of African wild cats).

Few wild cats resemble their domestic counterparts more than the Oncilla of South America. However, it seems relatively little is known about this species of cat. According to the CSG, it has never been studied in the wild, and little is known about its behavior or population. However, it is been trapped in the past for the fur trade:

n 1971, 28,000 pelts were counted in Brazilian warehouses, and in 1983, 84,500 skins were exported from Paraguay (Broad 1988)

The Oncilla closely resembles the better known Margay, which inhabits both Central and South America, and is not considered endangered. They are skillful tree climbers, and sometimes referred to as “Tree Ocelots,” taking the name from one of the more well-known wild cats of the Americas.

If you interested in this topic, please visit last year's article, which discusses some of the worlds most endangered cats, including the Iberian Lynx, which continues to be the most endangered in the world, with an estimated population in the hundred. Also, the intriguing little Andean Mountain Cat, illustrated to the right.

And speaking of house panthers…

Weekend Cat Blogging #151 is hosted by Luna's “twin” Puddy, along with Katie of A Byootaful Life.

And that's not all. The Carnival of the Cats is being hosted by the Diamond Emerald Eyes (whose mom created Luna's collage at the top of this article) at House Panthers!

The Bengal Brats may not be “house panthers”, but we still love them. They are hosting the Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos at Pet's Garden Blog.

And lest we forget, the friday ark is at the modulator.