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Chinese Desert Cat

Chinese Desert CatThe Chinese desert cat which is a very rare cat, is a well-proportioned cat- sized cat. Like the sand cat, the soles of its feet are covered with thick mats of fur to protect it from the hot sands. Its coat is sandy brown with distinguishable darker brown spots set in wide-spaced vertical rows. It's undersides are very pale.

Zoological Name: Felis bieti

Distribution: This cat is distributed over these regions of China: Tibet., Qinghai and Sichuan. It inhabits sparsely-wooded forests and shrublands, but despite its name it is seldom found in true deserts.

Species: Three subspecies have been recognized: F. b. bieti, F. b. chutuchta (the Gobi cat), and F. b. vellerosa (the Long-haired Ordos cat). There are reasonable doubts about these and some authorities believe that they result from mis-identification of other species.

Physical appearance: The Chinese desert cat is very closely related to the wildcat (Felis silvestris) and the jungle cat (Felis chaus); it may yet prove to be a subspecies of one of these two. Poorly studied, the Chinese desert cat is actually known through the information availed from museum specimens. It is also known, more appropriately, as the Chinese mountain cat, and also as the pale cat, the grass cat or the pale desert cat.

Chinese Desert Cat Larger than a domestic cat, this species is thickset and robust with a heavy coat. Coloured a pale yellowish grey, it is darker on the back and more orangey on the underside. The coat is peppered with black guard hairs. There are few body markings, just two or three transverse pale brownish streaks on the legs and haunches. Two indistinct brownish streaks across the cheeks are usually present.

Reproduction: The Chinese Desert Cats breed between January and Mark, with litters most often born in May. Litters range from 2 - 4 young, and the offspring reach independence at 7 - 8 months.

Conservation status:
The Chinese desert cat is found in similar habitat to the giant panda. A restricted range and extensive habitat destruction have caused the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to place it on Appendix II . This classification recognises that the species listed are in danger of becoming extinct if trade is not strictly regulated. The Chinese desert cat is also hunted for its skin.

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