Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Fishing Cat Enrichment

Native to South and Southeast Asia, fishing cats are amazing animals that actually go head first into a stream or pond to catch fish and other aquatic prey. At the National Zoo, keepers offer our two fishing cats goldfish from time to time.

This stimulates their natural behavior and maintains their hunting prowess. Watch a video.

fishing cat stalking fish

A fishing cat eyes the goldfish swimming by, waiting for the best moment to pounce.

The cat dives head-first to snare a fish.


Resting on a full stomach.

Fishing cats fish for fish and other aquatic animals, and this behavior is amazing to watch. A brook will run through the habitat, with several pools where the cats can dive in to catch prey. A successful hunt will end with the wet cat retreating to eat its catch, usually to the applause of visitors.