Can Rusty Spotted Cats Be Pets? | Unknown Facts Unravelled!

If you are the type of person that goes OMG that’s so cute, the moment you see a cute cat, the rusty spotted cats are going to take the prize in your book.

The rusty spotted cats are believed to be the world’s smallest wild cat holding the spot just beside the black footed cats.

The rusty-spotted cats or Prionailurus Rubiginosus are truly wild exotic cats who primarily dwell in the forests of India and Sri Lanka.

They have been by many referred to as a smaller and ‘washed out’ version of the leopard cat (Prionailurus Bengalensis).

But that is not all that is to know about these precious little beauties.

Welcome back my fellow cat lovers to the third edition to our wild cat safari.

In our first post, we discussed 10 incredible facts about the floof queen Pallas cat.

And in the second addition to our wild cat safari we discussed 10 astounding facts about the cute killer queen, the black footed cat.

Allow me to give a different kind of twist to this post.

Because of the physiology and similarity of rusty spotted cats to a house cat many people ask questions regarding the domestication of rusty spotted cats.

Questions like can rusty spotted cats be pets?, can you domesticate a rusty spotted cat?, how long do rusty spotted cats live, rusty spotted cat size in comparison to a house cat etc. are very common among cat lovers.

So in addition to learning about several facts about the Rusty spotted cats, let’s also address these questions alright?

This isn’t the first time I am covering a wild cat. I have already created articles on similar wild cats like Pallas cats and Black Footed Cats, that I feel you will like.

Now that you are all caught up let’s go ahead and discuss everything important you need to know about these cute little beasts.

Rusty Spotted Cat Physical Characteristics

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Image Credits

Here is a quick look at the physical characteristics of the rusty spotted cat.

Weight1-2 Kgs
Body Length35-48 cm
Tail Length20-25 cm
HeightApprox. 20cm
Litter Size1-3 cubs

You can clearly see where the kitty gets its name from.

These cats have short, soft fur with the upper parts
varying from reddish-brown to brownish-grey coupled with rust-brown spots.

The belly and inside area of their limbs are stark white with large black spots.

They have a short, rounded head marked with a couple of clear white streaks on the inner edges of the eyes.

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There are a lot of reddish-brown streaks on each cheek with the chin completely white.

All in all, if you ever happen to spot one you will know you just spotted a rusty-spotted cat.

They have fairly big eyes with amber-colored irises and their ears are short, round with light-colored basal ear spots.

The rusty-spotted cats have short legs with feet that have black soles. Their tail is relatively long with respect to their bodies, is rustier than their body and unmarked.

In short, they are cute, adorable and will easily into your palms.

Cute isn’t it?.

Okay, I know what you are thinking.

Where Do Rusty Spotted Cats Live?

Rusty spotted cats find primary residence in India, Sri Lanka and in some parts of Nepal.

Initial studies on the rusty spotted cats revealed that these cats only inhabited moist forests.

Recent researches however indicate that these kitties can also find habitat in dry forest, wooden grasslands, arid scrublands and rocky hill slopes.

Their physical features will depend on the situation and environment they exist in.

And so depending on the ecosystem they exist in their fur can have varying shades from rusty brown to brownish-grey.

They have confirmed presence in tropical forests of Northern India. In Sri Lanka, they are found mostly in humid forests and arid coastal belts.

There have been many accounts when rusty spotted cats and kittens were found in modified habitats such as old settlements, reforested areas and abandoned houses.

This is primarily because most of these modified settlements are a hot bed more mice, rats and other small life forms which serve as food for the rusty spotted cats.

Plus their size helps them to find and live in samll constricted spaces very easily.

Again, I need to point it out here that this doesn’t mean you can have these exotic cats as pets.

If you happen to find any of these precious beauties around your living space, you need to contact proper wildlife conservation authorities for proper action.

Because and I will discuss this later that rusty spotted cats are identified by IUCN as Near Threatened.

Apart from the dwelling places just discussed, recent observations indicate that rusty spotted cats are also found in Terai Region of India in Uttar Pradesh and Shuklaphanta National Park In Nepal.

Ecology And Behavior

As you might have noticed, in terms of the geographical expanse, the existence of the rusty spotted cat is very limited.

And for this reason and their inherent shy nature, not everything about these precious beauties is known.

These cats are primarily nocturnal which means they go out for hunt just like the black footed cats after sunset.

During daytime, they spend their hours sleeping and resting in burrows dug by other animals, hollow logs, or places like thick scrubs where they can easily blend in.

These cats thanks to their tiny size are very active, agile and can climb trees very easily.

They use trees as vantage points to stalk and hunt for prey. in a video released by BBC the little kitty can be seen climbing a tree in search for prey.

While they are very good climbers, the majority of her prey and hunting happen close to the ground.

When threatened thanks to her tiny size,she can execute rapid maneuvers to flee, hide into tree thickets, or in gaps between big boulders and stones.

Her fur is an asset that helps her to blend in easily with the surrounding environment if and when needed.

In eastern Gujarat, India, rusty spotted cats were observed to be taking shelters in gaps of big boulders.

Another interesting observation was these kitties prefer to live near the edges of forest rather than in the dense thickness.

This behavior is easy to understand as semi cultivated areas offer a lot of rats and mice that they can prey upon.

Can Rusty Spotted Cats Be Pets?

Okay, I think this is the right time to answer the question can rusty spotted cats be pets.

And the answer is ideally speaking you can but realistically speaking you shouldn’t.

Here is the reasoning behind this right at this time the rusty spotted cats are not only endangered but also deeply wild in their tendencies. At least most of them are.

What this means is their physical and psychological framework is still accustomed to the wild and the ecosystem that comes along with it.

So forcefully trying to domesticate a wild animal that has lived on generations in the wild will cause unconscious harm to its existential framework.

Now one can argue that he or she has seen many people domesticating wild cats.

Well, there have been very brief and limited reports of people having rusty-spotted cats as pets and the behavior they expressed in the domesticated environment.

But the fact remains that not all of us are experts or experienced in wild animal behavior and their ecosystems. So putting our hands into things that we don’t truly understand will bring harm not only to us but the cat as well.

Plus most of the time a wild cat or a cat that has spent most of the time in the wilderness has very different tendencies than what you will expect from a house cat.

They are deeply territorial and do not train easily, they can and will eliminate all over the place in response to their deeply alert and territorial behavior which they have to keep up in the wild.

I know it seems that they can be domesticated easily because they to a great extent a scaled-down version of your neighbourhood tabby.

But just going by the looks you cannot predict anything about an animal which includes cat.

Their psychological structure is as important part of their existence as their physical framework.

And if there is a deep need in you to share your life with a pet, which is beautiful of course, I want you to know that there are thousands of cats in shelters in dire need of a forever home.

Can we find it in our heart to give a good look at them? Because if we do you are bringing a cat home I am telling you and you and she will love each other.

So I don’t think that obsessive need to have just that “one exotic pet” is a good thing for anyone, when there is that right path of adoption right in front of you.

I am not trying to be moral or anything just relaying the facts as I am seeing it.

Now I also need to point out one more aspect to it.

I mentioned this in the habitat section that because of human encroachment to the natural habitat they are now finding shelter in abandoned buildings and structures like that.

So does that mean they are inclining towards domestication and can be domesticated?, And what to do if you find one in a situation like that?

Well, to that I say nobody can truly say that just because a rusty spotted cat has found shelter in an abandoned house it can be domsticated.

It’s again a very subjective topic and we have to ask the questions like.

Is that really a rusty spotted cat? Or is it a hybrid?

How long has it been in the abandoned settlement?, or has there been previous generations that have existed where it exists right now?

The best course of action would be to accept the fact that it lives there and ensure that it doesn’t face any imminent threats where it lives.

Or better yet if you can and if the wildlife/forest authorities or NGOs around you are trustworthy, contact them so that they may do the needful to categorize her current state and possibly leave it in the wild where it belongs.

Okay, so what about hybrids?

Well, hybrids can be okay, provided, and i can’t stress this enough, the breeder is certified, authentic and knows every single thing about what he is doing.

Not all hybrids react well, to domesticated environment the same and most will require at least two generations to get well, accustomed to the proper domesticated environment.

So we as responsible pet owners have two very real actions in front of us.

So I hope I covered most of the essential aspects one needs to know if he or she has a question can rusty spotted cats be pets or any other query surrounding it.

If you have any other queries please mention them in comment section for discussion.

Rusty-spotted Cat Size Comparison To House Cat

Ok, so many people seem to not comprehend how big rusty spotted cats really are as compared to a domesticated house cat.

Which is I guess a very good curiosity to have when looking at rusty spotted cats.

Well, I could have just relayed their physical dimensions here but I guess a visual info-graphic does a better job.

So here it is.

Rusty-spotted Cat Size Comparison To House Cat
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As British short hair cats are very popular breed in America I am using their size as a reference to see the size of a rusty spotted cat when compared with a house cat.

I have also used the wild black footed cats as they are also one of the world’s smallest cats and will serve as a good reference point.

The rusty spotted cats can reach a maximum length ranging anywhere from 34 cms to 37 cms.

Compare that with a common British shorthair that can go as big as 64 cms in length.

Similarly, the shoulder height of a rusty spotted cat will peak around 20-24 cms while the British shorthair cats can see a shoulder height of 46 cms.

This really puts the physical characteristics of a rusty spotted cat into perspective and gives you a fair idea as to how small they are when compared with a regular house cat.

How Long Do Rusty Spotted Cats Live?

Given their solitary life, tiny size and limited geographical expanse not much is know about their natural reproductive behaviors apart from that observed in captivity.

Most female rusty spotted cats remain in estrus for a short period of 3-5 days.

After a gestation period of 65-70 days female rusty spotted cats give birth to a litter of 1-3 kittens.

The rusty spotted kittens weigh less than an egg at the time of their birth and lack their trademark rusty spots which eventually appear as they mature.

They most likely also develop similar to the domesticated kittens and that is pretty much all that is know about their reproductive behaviors.

The lifespan of a rusty spotted cat is reported to be 12 years studied in captivity.

Conservation Efforts and Threats To Rusty Spotted Cats

As I pointed out earlier, rusty spotted cats are classified by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature As Near Threatened.

I feel so concerned now, every single post that I have created on wild cats on this wild cat safari is vulnerable or threatened.

And I don’t think I need to tell you why that is. It is always humans not knowing how to handle their own freedom.

I mean look at these tiny life forms?

Why is it so that compassion from our human existence is insufficient to allow for the flourishing of beautiful cats like rusty-spotted cat, black footed cats or Pallas cats?

As you might have guessed the primary threat to these tiny little forms of nature is due to the imprecision we as humans have towards how much and what we really need.

Now I know we can’t take a position and say oh we don’t need anything.

We do. Humans needs resources for sustenance and to actually flourish as humans.

But my argument is how much of that is need and how much of that is greed?

Just today I was creating a video on clouded leopards for kitty county’s channel on YouTube when I came to know that there are only 10,000 clouded leopards left in the wild in the world.

Yep, I said world.

And they are actively hunted for their skin and teeth.

And this makes me so sad to even write here that there bones are being harnessed to be deployed into “traditional Asiatic medicine“.

I am relaying all these facts for the simple reason that simple things like just being aware of the fact that we share this world with other creatures does something within us.

We start walking on this planet more gently. And these gentle steps go a very long way. Very long way in fixing stuff that needs to be fixed around us.

I am not trying to be moral or teaching you what you or shouldn’t do.

It’s not my place.

I am just trying to convey an understanding which at the conclusion of this post hope I was successful with.

And that is what I am trying to promote via this blog

I hope you enjoyed this post on rusty spotted cats as much as I enjoyed writing it.

If you have any more questions regarding these cats or any wild cats for that matter, don’t forget to express them in the comments section below.

And also don’t forget to subscribe to this blog and get a FREE Guide on understanding cat behaviors.

But more than that I want you to subscribe to this blog so that I can shower you with cat love as much as I can.

I love you all and I will see you in the next one.


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A Humble Parent To Two Cats, One Dog, One Turtle And One Indian Ringneck. Have Been With And Around Pets And Animals For My Entire Life. Everything You Read Here Is An Expression Of my Love Towards Animals And The Innocence They Embody.

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