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Species Facts

The Chinese desert cat is a fairly large felid, about twice the size of a domestic house cat. This cat has a coat of a uniform pale yellow-gray, ticked with longer dark brown or black guard hairs. The fur on the desert cat’s belly is white, with yellowish brown underfur showing through. Small tufts of dark hair grow from the cat’s ear tips.

  • Scientific Designation: Felis bieti
  • Endangered Status: Vulnerable (VU)
  • Lifespan: Unknown
  • Weight: 6.5-9.0 kg
  • Length: 70-85cm
  • Height: 25cm
  • Tail Length: 29-35cm


Active primarily at night, the Chinese desert cat preys largely on rodents, but will also consume pikas and birds. Little is known about the cat's ecology and behavior.

This distribution map is zoomed in closely to the Chinese-Mongolian border. A small area is shaded in where this cat is a resident.

Species Distribution

This species has a limited geographic range in China. Existing records suggest that the cat inhabits montane forest, alpine meadows, and high semi-desert areas. It has been observed at elevations ranging from 2800 meters to 4100 meters.

Distribution map courtesy of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), compiled in 2015.

Threats to the Chinese Desert Cat

The species is threatened by hunting by humans for its pelt.

The Chinese desert cat is classified as Vulnerable (VU) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is protected under appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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