Pallas’ cats have the same thick, long fur, flat faces and stocky builds of domestic Persian cats. Their round ears are set low on their heads, so they can peer over rocks while keeping their ears hidden. Their coats range in color from tan to gray to an almost orange-red, sometimes changing with the seasons to help them blend into the landscape. They can have dark stripes, especially on their tails. Many of their hairs have white tips, giving their coats an almost frosted look.
Pallas’ cats are carnivores and eat mainly small rodents, including gerbils, voles, hamsters, pikas and small marmots. They will also eat small lizards and birds.
They ambush their prey rather than chasing it, often waiting at the exits of rodent burrows or even sticking their paws in to try to scoop out their prey.
They have a short breeding season in the early spring when males and females come together to mate. About 74 to 75 days later, the female gives birth to a litter of three to six kittens.
The kittens are born blind and helpless, and they measure about 5 inches long. Their eyes open about three weeks later, and their mother begins to teach them to hunt.
The main threat the Pallas’ cat faces is accidental poisoning. In some areas, people poison pikas and other small rodents (the cats’ main food source) because the rodents eat farm crops and produce. Pallas’ cats can die if they eat a poisoned rodent.
They are also at risk from habitat loss. Their survival depends on having enough scrubby, rocky habitat with places to hide and sleep.
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