Leopard cat - amazing in color animal, which is a bright representative of the cat family. Very close to the original predators, with its graceful appearance, it evokes the respect and admiration of others.
This rather unusual cat, which has a luxurious spotted skin, like a leopard, has about a dozen different subspecies. All of them have minor differences in color and size of spots. The Asian leopard cat living in a warm climate is darker in color. The closer to the north, the more reddish spots in the color are, which are located on a gray background.
The tail of these cats is usually in spots or rings, and the tip is necessarily black. The lower part of the body (belly, chest, inner side of the limbs) is white. Four dark stripes stretch from the head along the neck, torn in the area of the shoulder blades into small oblong spots. The color is bright, contrast, has a horizontal orientation. Like many wild cats, there is a bright spot on the back of the ears.
Leopard cats are excellent swimmers, but rarely enter the water. Usually the fish cat swims, which mainly eats fish caught on its own. For other subspecies, the main food is rodents, small mammals and birds.
The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, China and Korea are the countries in which the leopard cat is most often found in the wild. These animals prefer to dwell in the hollows of tall trees, under snags and in small caves. The cat is especially active at night, it is at this time of day that she hunts birds, squirrels, climbing to the tops of the trees, and also checking the nearest bushes in search of shrews and mice.
A cat is a solitary animal, and only during the breeding season can these animals be seen in a group. At the end of May, two to three kittens are born, which the mother feeds until they have fangs. Okotec can occur a second time during the year, if the kids for some reason do not survive.
Care and maintenance
The Asian leopard cat is a rather exotic animal, so it will take a lot of effort to ensure that co-existence does not cause inconvenience to her or to the owners. Under certain conditions, the cat gets on well in an apartment or a country house. Especially comfortable it will be where there is a large spacious aviary.
It is best to buy a kitten not older than three months, so that from a very young age you can seriously engage in its upbringing. In this case, in the future, a tender and tame cat will grow out of it, which with incredulity and caution will only apply to strangers.
When drafting a ration for leopard cats, it should be remembered that it is a predator and the basis of food for it is “live food” - mice, rats, etc.
Living in captivity, the leopard domestic cat spends significantly less energy than in the wild, so it may well have her health problems associated with obesity. This should be taken into account when feeding an animal and arranging periodic fasting days, once a week without giving food at all, and one more day it is necessary to reduce the daily ration of food by half.
This breed was bred by crossing a leopard cat with a domestic cat. From the wild ancestors they got the ability to climb, increased activity and developed hunting instinct, thanks to which it is not difficult for a cat to catch a bird or some kind of insect on the fly. In order to satisfy the need for movement, special sports corners, claw posts, and posts are installed in the house, which can be freely climbed up.
Like relatives living in the wild, the Bengal cat loves to play with water. Many owners of these animals set up decorative fountains and other water devices for their homes. Bengals are distinguished not only by their leopard color, but also by their extraordinary intelligence. They will never be bored, always finding some kind of entertainment. Such playful and fun, they remain until old age. Their curiosity also conquers: it is interesting for cats to be always close to the owner, to walk alongside (only on the harness), to watch TV, sitting on their knees, to do the cleaning or to play with the children.
These are magnificent nannies: you can safely leave a small child with a Bengal cat, without fear that the animal can harm him. Their intelligence and interpersonal skills are beyond praise.
Unfortunately, the leopard cat is listed in the Red Book today and needs protection. One of the main reasons for the decline in their numbers is poachers, slaughtering cats because of the beautiful skins. In addition, a large role in this was played by the implementation of agricultural work, drainage of wetlands and deforestation, which led to a significant reduction in animal habitats.
According to the owners, the leopard cat, whose photo so resembles a formidable lynx, actually behaves quite peacefully at home, likes to sleep, play and gently purr. This beautiful animal can bring a lot of positive emotions.
Asian Leopard Cat
In 1858, the Russian explorer and naturalist Nikolai Severtsov for the first time proposed classifying wild cats living in the vast territory of Southeast Asia. In 1917, the taxonomic classification was finally recognized by the British zoologist Reginald Iness Pokok, who later described them in more detail. The genus Oriental (Asian) cats (Prionailurus) includes 4 types:
- Asian leopard cat, she is also a Bengal cat (Prionailurus bengalensis),
- Spotted red or rusty cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus),
- Angler Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus),
- Sumatran cat or flat-headed cat. (Prionailurus planiceps).
Bengal wild cats are called Asian leopard cats due to the characteristic spotted coat and habitat color.
In turn, the species Asian Leopard (Bengal cat), which will be discussed further, includes more than 20 subspecies. They have external differences and live in different territories.
- Indian Bengal cat,
- Chinese Bengal cat,
- Himalayan Bengal cat,
- Far Eastern cat or Amur forest cat,
- Iriomotey cat (often it is isolated in a separate species), etc.
Video about Asian leopard cats “Living with a mini-leopard. Is it possible to tame the wild Bengal ":
The size of an Asian cat is about the same as that of a domestic cat, but there are minor regional differences. So the inhabitants of Indonesia have an average body length of 45 cm plus a tail of 20 cm, weight 4.5-6.8 kg. Cats from the Amur region grow to 60 cm, plus the tail, which reaches 40 cm, weighs about 10 kg, cats in the winter period can weigh up to 15 kg. The color of the coat is also slightly different depending on the habitat. In the south, the base color is more yellow, really resembles a leopard. In the north, it is predominantly gray-brown. In northern cats, the spots have the shape of circles, whereas in the southern ones more often there are rosettes or black strokes. You can see the differences of some subspecies of ALK in the photo in the gallery.
Character and behavior
The Asian leopard cat is by nature very unsociable and cautious, does not attack unnecessarily and tries to take refuge in a protected place rather. Similar behavior can be traced in tamed individuals. More often, they only get used to family members, while others stand apart and are afraid. With an assertive desire to stroke, they will aggressively defend themselves. Very independent. Caressing and stroking do not give them much pleasure.
Tamed ALKs are very playful, especially at a young age. Preference is given to those games where you can show your hunting instincts. Often happy to catch a live fish in the bathroom.
They get along well with other cats, but rarely do really friendly relations arise. Dogs, as a rule, are shunned, but small animals invariably remain for them potential prey.
The content of leopard cats in captivity
Asian leopard cats are kept both at home and on the street in the aviary. For outdoor maintenance, they equip the cage with a size of 1.5 × 3 × 1.5 m. The grid cell should be no more than 50 × 50 mm The floor is preferably wooden. Sometimes they arrange sites with a mound of land in which various herbal plants are planted. This is done to enrich the habitat of the cat and for the aesthetic component. To maintain cleanliness, it is most convenient to organize a restroom, which is a large tray. Be sure to set up a cat shelter. This is a small wooden box with straw bedding inside. As for temperature, different types of Bengal cats suffer frosts in different ways. For the southern subspecies, the booth should be heated, the optimum temperature is + 20 ° C. The North calmer bring cold weather. In the aviary establish saw cuts and shelves at different heights.
Upon reaching puberty, even domesticated animals become aggressive and unmanageable. Especially in the absence of the ability to exercise sexual instincts. Further castration or sterilization helps to solve this problem. If no dilution of ALK is planned, the operation is indicated before puberty.
For physical and social development, as well as reproductive health, maintaining an active lifestyle is very important. It can be various games, toys, artificial mice. Periodically, on the floor of the cat enclosure, several bunches of tears or pyria are plucked. The smell of freshly harvested grass diversifies the pastime and makes you activate the olfactory center. Another useful activity will be catching live food.
Walking kittens and adult cats is very important for full psycho-emotional and physical development. The domestic Asian leopard cat needs regular walks in the fresh air, where it receives ultraviolet light, feeds on meadow grass, and learns about new smells.
ALK exclusively carnivores. They feed on a variety of small prey, including mammals, amphibians, lizards, birds and insects. In the majority of the area, small rodents, mice and rats form the basis of the diet; birds, eggs, fish and grass remain for snacks. Bengal cats are active and agile hunters, with a jerk from an ambush they pounce on prey and bite it. Unlike many other cats, do not play with food and tenaciously hold it with its claws until its demise. This is probably due to the high proportion of birds in their diets that fly away, unlike rodents.
How to feed an Asian cat at home
The main food for the Asian leopard cat in captivity will be low-fat varieties of meat (beef, rabbit, veal), but to maintain health and physiological activity, live food is imperative (mice, rats, daily chickens and quails). Without the realization of the hunting instinct, behavioral reactions are dulled, which leads to boredom and obsessive movements. It is also necessary to maintain the health of the animal. After all, in addition to fresh meat, the cat eats the contents of the intestines, part of the skin, the brain. For completeness of the protein diet, fish is offered once a week.
An Asian leopard cat usually eats once a day. The daily rate includes 2 mice, one rat or 200 g of lean meat. In the absence of live food, the diet must be supplemented with vitamins and minerals.
Once a week, arrange a fasting day. In captivity, cats do not spend as much energy as in the wild, as a result of gaining excess weight, often sick or even die. Some, in addition to one hungry day, are satisfied with another half-starved, when half the daily portion is given out.
ALK pervorodki often throw kittens that have to be fed artificially. Various feeding methods have been developed, but the best replacement for a mother would be a domestic cat. Alternatively, use dry cat milk, goat or baby food.
Taming and keeping Asian Leopard kittens
Without a doubt, wild cats more difficult to adapt to life next to a person. However, in general, they learn well, quickly learn to walk on a tray with sand or other filler, by the way, it should be quite spacious.
The kittens fed literally from the first days completely trust the person, become strongly attached to the owners, get used to various hygienic procedures and veterinary examinations more quickly.
If it is planned that the leopard cat will become a pet, it is better to buy a kitten in the nursery, where babies know the person since birth, they are fed by them and socialize from an early age. It is better if the parents are such, but their captive content is also possible. Unfortunately, many kittens that appear on the market were at an early age taken from the mother by local residents and bought by secondhand dealers. They are very difficult to tame and retain the habits of a wild animal throughout life.
Health and life expectancy
In general, the Asian leopard cat has good health and good immunity, it is subject to the same diseases as domestic relatives, but it is sick less often. To maintain her health, she is shown regular vaccination against major infectious diseases, good conditions and proper nutrition. Life expectancy in captivity can reach 20 years.
Most of the subspecies of a leopard cat are endangered.
In nature, wild cats have many enemies; in fact, they are all larger predators. Due to the fact that it is clever and accurate, rarely comes across. A much greater threat is posed by people who prey on ALK because of a beautiful fur coat. From 1984 to 1989, about 200 thousand spotted skins were exported from China. In 1988, the European Union imposed a ban on their import, but this did not lead to a complete cessation of hunting. Japan continued to buy raw materials. In addition to ALK furs, local residents are killed because of meat or in retaliation for the dead bird. Also, poachers catch cats and kittens for the purpose of selling on the black market to lovers of the exotic.
Where to buy ALK: kitten selection and price
As mentioned above, it is better to buy a kitten in the nursery, where from the very young age kittens are raised by a human being, domesticated and minimally aggressive. Companies that trade in exotic animals should be treated with caution. Often they buy small kittens caught by locals in the countries of Southeast Asia and sell them as babies from the nursery. When choosing a breeder, it is important to make sure that the kittens are born from his animals, to personally evaluate their living conditions. The average cost of a kitten Asian leopard cat 15 000 dollars.
The direct descendant of wild Asians - Bengal
At the moment, the Asian leopard cat is used in various breeding programs, whether they will give any result will be known over time. Today, a bright descendant of wild Bengal is a breed of domestic cats known for its gorgeous color and quick temper - Bengal. Work on the breed began in the 60s, when an American Jean Mill brought with her from Asia two wild Bengal kittens. For a long time, everyone was skeptical about her work, but she brought results. And in 1991, the Bengals took part in the TICA Championship. Today, the breed is accepted by almost all felinological associations, loved and popular in many countries around the world.
The story of the dream
The beginning of the formation of the Bengal breed should be considered in 1961, when the Asian leopard cat fell into the hands of the felinologist Jane Mill, who was inspired by the creation of a new breed. It was then that thoughts of creating a wonderful pet appeared, but with a wild coat color and a certain peppercorn in character.
Jane's many years of work and effort have borne fruit.
After crossing a wild Asian cat with a simple domestic purr, baleen babies were born, which later also gave birth to offspring - this was the first success.
After painstaking work on the temperament of pets and other studies, Jane managed to realize a dream - cats of leopard color, as a breed, were recognized by a large felinological organization TICA. Two years later they already actively participated in exhibitions. And in 1991, after the standard was approved, the Bengals gained worldwide recognition.
Leopard cats are medium or large in size. Their weight ranges from 4 to 7 kg. Females are significantly smaller than males.
Exceptional signs of Bengal is a beautiful body constitution with developed muscles, slender limbs (hind legs longer than the front ones) and a thick tail.
On the background of the body, their wedge-shaped head seems smaller. The nose is wide, the ears at the base also expand and round out at the tips. Eyes are found in various colors, their shape is almond-shaped.
Limbs, as noted, of different lengths. Very strong paws. Хвост имеет коническую форму и закругляется в своей крайней точке.
Расцветка шерстки бенгалов не имеет множество вариантов. Базовый окрас или фон, на который нанесены пятна или узоры, может быть песочного цвета, либо серо-серебристого. Рисунок встречается следующий: в виде темных пятнышек, либо узоров или розеток. В последнем случае светлые пятнышки окаймлены более темным цветом – такой окрас невероятно эффектно выглядит и очень ценится.
The blood of a wild leopard flows in the veins of the Bengal cat, so its character retains some independence and love of freedom. He has extraordinary adaptive abilities and a high level of intelligence, thanks to which he easily remembers home rules and is amenable to training.
Bengalls appreciate the care and attention of all households and do not prefer the only family member. They are devoted to everyone at the same time and love to play with both children and adults.
Incredible energy is enclosed in every cell of a leopard-colored cat - it can run around for a whole day, investigate something and find other entertainment for itself.
With other tailed and baleen households, Bengalis will certainly find a common language, but will establish certain boundaries beyond which it will be impossible to tread.
Interestingly, domestic leopards do not fear water procedures at all - they love to watch and play with water, and they can even jump into the bath in their host.
Unlike other purrs, Bengals do not meow, but make some steep sounds that are unique to this breed of cats. They do not cut the ear, and very pleasant.
Bengal is not difficult to keep. This is a short-haired breed of cats, so special efforts to care for the fur will not be required. Twice a week it is worth stroking wool with a rubberized brush and the pet will be pleased.
You should focus on the following:
- Ears and eyes - eliminated discharge. Inspect them regularly and wipe with a damp cotton swab when contaminated.
- Claws - must be of normal length. It is necessary to shear about 2 mm of the nail plate 1-2 times per month.
- Teeth must be clean. To do this, use brushes or cleansing stones.
- Walking is a desirable event. Bengals love to run on the grass, climb a tree and scratch their claws on the snag. Problems with this should not be, because domestic leopards are quickly accustomed to the leash.
Having provided a leopard-colored cat with proper care and, most importantly, a balanced diet, you can enjoy its presence for more than 15 years.
The diet of bengal mainly consists of protein products:
- Meat - dietary beef, lamb, chicken fillet. Their. better to give your pet slices and raw. Pre-meat need to freeze to kill the parasites.
- Offal - liver, udder, chicken heart.
- Sea fish. Bengal can be given small fish without removing the bone. With a large, they are worth extracting. Not all Bengalis favor seafood. If you do not want, then do not give - they have enough meat.
- Sour-milk - low-fat cottage cheese, kefir and sour cream.
- Boiled, you can soft-boiled, eggs - pamper your mustache 2-3 times a week. Can be mixed with cereals.
- Cooked vegetables and roots are mixed with protein foods.
In the initial stages, find out the preferences of your pet and, based on his desires, plan your diet.
Another option is a good premium premium food.
Most of the Bengalis do not get sick at all during their cat life. Thanks to good genetics, they have excellent immune protection.
Several diseases can still occur in representatives of this spotted breed:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a hereditary disease that leads to the development of heart failure. Often causes the spontaneous demise of the animal.
- Gastrointestinal sensitivity is a disease that causes inflammation of the colon. It is necessary to monitor the pet's reaction to the introduction of new products.
- Feline leukemia is an infectious disease that suppresses the animal's immune system.
It is important, at least twice a year, to visit a veterinary clinic with Bengal to exclude diseases or early diagnosis - this is necessary for the health of the mustache and perhaps for timely treatment.
Choosing a Little Leopard
Bengals are unique in their own way and to get a kitten of this breed at a reasonable price will not work. This is the rarest breed of cats, especially for European countries.
It would be ideal to buy a domestic leopard at an international exhibition or directly in the US nursery. If this is not possible, then you should choose a registered nursery with a proven reputation.
Seeing the spotted baby, appreciate how active and curious he is. Eliminate aggression in his behavior. Look at the ears, nose, eyes, and coat of the spotted creature: they should be clean and the coat shiny.
Be sure to check the availability of vaccinations and all necessary documents.
The history of the discovery of the form of ALA
In 1958, the Russian scientist Nikolai Severtsov conducted the first classification of wild cats in Southeast Asia, and in 1917 the English zoologist Reginald Pocock confirmed and developed this classification. They divided the Asian or Oriental cats (Prionailurus) into 4 species, one of which was the Asian leopard or Bengal cat. In Latin, it is called Prionailurus (Felis) bengalensis, by analogy with the name of the Bengal region in India, where Europeans first saw these animals. By the way, about those places R. Kipling's book "Mowgli" was written. Now this territory - in the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra - is divided between India (West Bengal) and Bangladesh (East Bengal). The region has preserved its roots, it is inhabited by Bengali people who speak Bengali.
Bengal cat - the most numerous representative of wild cats in Asia.
Prionailurus (Felis) bengalensis cat has many names: Chinese cat, Ellat cat, Javanese cat, dwarf cat, Vagati cat, coin cat, Asian leopard, Far Eastern cat, etc.
The Chinese called this cat "monetary" because the spots on its skin resembled their form of a coin that had circulated in ancient China.
This number of names is due to the latitude of geographical distribution and the number of subspecies living in different parts of Asia: Indian, Himalayan, Chinese, Far Eastern and others. In total, there are about 20 varieties that differ in color and shape and size of the spots: cats living in warm regions with a humid climate have a brighter skin color (yellow-brown with black spots) than living in the north (yellowish-gray colors with red brown spots). All Asian leopards have spots stretched horizontally.
Description of Asian Leopard Cats
Asian leopards live in forests and plains of Asia, and in Russia - in the Ussuri taiga. In size, wild Bengal cats do not differ from ordinary cats, but they are longer than limbs. Body length with a tail is 80–100 cm, height at withers 40–41 cm, body weight from 4 to 7 kg. Cats are much larger than cats.
Leopard cats are considered shorthair. The basic tone of their color is from pale yellow to golden yellow, reddish yellow or gray-yellow. Dark spots are scattered over the main background, which can be of different sizes and merge into strips or sockets on the neck and back of the animal. Often from the forehead on the head are 4 black stripes, which are broken on the neck and back and turn into oblong spots. The lower part of the head and the body (chin, breast, abdomen, inner surface of the legs) are necessarily light, almost white, with a spotted pattern.
The body of these small predators is elegant, but strong, with a small head and rounded ears.
The head is small in size, the muzzle is short and narrow, with rounded ears averages in height and width. On the dark outer side of the ears there is a white (wild) spot in the center. The eyes are large, the color is yellow, amber, brownish, less often light blue. Two pairs of black stripes with a white area between them descend from the outer corners of the eyes. The nose is large, convex, pink or brick-colored and dark lips.
Characteristic features of this species of wild cats are rounded ears and large round eyes with a dark rim around.
The body is compact, but muscular, with long legs (rear above front) and noticeable membranes between the fingers. The tail is about half the length of the body of the predator, well pubescent, covered with spots or stripes, with the obligatory black end.
The tail of these predators is not very long and often has the shape of a carrot: wide at the base and tapering at the end
The Asian leopard cat is a loner by nature and only communicates with representatives of its species during the breeding and breeding season. However, when kept in captivity, she gets along well with her relatives, as well as with ordinary cats and dogs. In the wild, it is extremely unsociable, fearful, attacks only as a last resort. He prefers to hide from danger in a safe shelter and watch the events taking place from there. It is difficult to find such a cat in its natural habitat, since it is not only careful, but also knows how to perfectly mask itself, which is promoted by its specific color.
If there is a need to protect themselves or kittens, then ALK will do it desperately and rather aggressively. In the course go growl, hissing and snorting, as well as claws and teeth. Even small kittens, found in the woods and taken by man in their hands, will vigorously bite and scratch until they run out of power. That is why it is necessary to tame them from infancy.
ALA react to everything unusual and threatening, from their point of view, with hissing, and then growling, meowing these animals much less often.
The wild Bengal cat is very independent, and even being tamed since childhood, does not welcome excessive caress and stroking from the person, and also does not like to sit on his hands. Because of its fearfulness, this animal has a low stress tolerance and can easily get sick and die from the traumatic psyche of the situation - transportation, loud noise, contact with other animals, especially at a transitional age (6-7 months from birth).
These predators, being caught in a conscious age for zoos, very hard endure the situation of restriction of freedom
For humans, Asian leopards are absolutely safe, they can only hiss threateningly if they violate their personal territory of a cat. And the weight category is not the one to fight with a man. Adults ALA do not domesticate, accustoming them to the tray is almost impossible. In zoos rarely breed, as the stressful situation of restriction of freedom negatively affects even the sexual instincts of these predators.
Wild Bengal cats are predominantly nocturnal. They feel good in any forest: tropical, coniferous, deciduous, as well as in savanna, semi-desert and in the mountains. Daytime they spend in a den, which they arrange in hollows or roots of trees, caves, abandoned by other animals, burrows, and at night they go hunting. The best place for shelter for females with kittens is thick undergrowth that large animals and humans cannot get into. Asian Leopards try to avoid the person in every way and stay away from his settlements.
Asian leopard cats are very careful and try to hide in their shelters from all possible dangers, especially from humans.
Leopard cats prefer to settle near rivers and lakes, although they rarely climb into the water. They can swim and fish, but they usually hunt on land. Water prey is addressed in case of a strong famine. The territory of one animal, both male and female, can occupy 2-3 square kilometers. Wild cats tag their patches with urine and feces. Water serves these predators not only to quench their hunger and thirst - they have an interesting habit of urinating, and sometimes defecating, into running water. Most likely, this is due to the desire to hide the traces of their presence from potential enemies.
These predators are known as excellent climbers, they deftly move through mountains, rocks, trees and love to attack prey from above.
Wild Bengal cats are not only good swimmers, but also excellent climbers. They are excellent climb and jump on the mountains, rocks and trees, like to rest in the trees during the day. Hiding in the branches, they hunt birds, squirrels and woody shrews.
Asian leopard cats are exclusively carnivorous animals. Their prey is very diverse: hares, rodents, birds, amphibians, reptiles and even insects. If possible, they are happy to eat eggs, fish, and green grass to improve digestion. But the basis of their diet is mice, hamsters and rats, so sometimes cats settle near human houses and effectively hunt mice that live on farms. Unfortunately, at the same time, they often ruin chicken coops, for which they cause hostility among farmers.
Wild leopard cats are fast and agile hunters. They hunt from ambush, jumping out at lightning speed and biting prey. ALK does not play with its victim, but holds it in claws until it dies. Able to drag prey in the teeth and hide in a secluded place.
In nature, Asian leopards become sexually mature at the age of one and a half years, in captivity much earlier. In the southern regions, leopard cats breed at any time of the year, and in the northern regions - in March-April, when natural conditions allow for successful breeding. If for some reason the kittens from the spring litter die, then the female can bring offspring again, closer to the beginning of autumn.
ALK kittens are born blind, eyes open in about 10 days
Pregnancy with ALA lasts approximately 9–10 weeks, most often the litter consists of 2–3 kittens. Kittens are born blind, eyes open only for 10–11 day. After the appearance of kittens, the male often lives with the female and helps to raise offspring. The cubs do not leave the lair for about a month, eating only mother’s milk. Starting from one month of age, they grow fangs, allowing them to try meat food, the weight is rapidly increasing and they begin to leave their shelter for a while. Parents bring live prey to the den and teach the kittens to hunt. The female raises cubs to about 10 months of age, after which they begin an independent life.
Habitat ALK and role in the ecosystem
Asian leopard cats live in southern and eastern Asia, their range is very wide and diverse: Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, Korea, Pakistan and even the Russian Far East. It is surprising, but cats living in the tropical jungles of Indonesia or Thailand belong to the same species as our Far Eastern (Amur) cats.
Distributed in the Far East, in the Amur River basin and along the coast of the Sea of Japan
Leopard cats, like many other predators, play an important role in the ecosystem - they regulate the number of rodents, small mammals and birds, destroy weak and sick individuals. With a decrease in the population of predators, the number of their potential prey increases, which more actively destroy forest vegetation and harm human crops.
The life of Asian leopard cats in captivity
Asian leopard cats have a reputation as wild animals that are not amenable to domestication, but this is not entirely true. Indeed, it is very difficult to tame an adult as well as a young animal (after 3 months), it only remains to keep him in the aviary and observe his life and behavior from the outside. However, small kittens, especially those fed by man, are very tamed and treat people well. Females in captivity often behave inadequately, all the time they drag their kittens from place to place and they have to be taken away from their mother to save their lives. In this case, the cubs are fed from a bottle with artificial mixtures that are close in composition to the milk of the mother cat (dry cat milk, baby food, goat milk), and then gradually transferred to meat feeding. Such kittens become the most calm and devoted pets. But this is a difficult and time-consuming work for those people who decided to do this.
Growing up small kittens without a mother is hard work, but positive emotions go off the scale
A simpler option is to give ALK kittens to feeding and raising an ordinary domestic cat, whose developed maternal instinct will not allow to leave cubs to the mercy of fate. Such kittens can also be successfully kept in houses or apartments as pets. In nurseries they usually sell just such babies who grew up with people and domestic cats.
However, the owners of leopard cats must take into account that when they reach puberty, their character can deteriorate badly and their wild disposition will fully manifest itself. Therefore, when keeping ALA at home, it is better to castrate them, and to do this in a timely manner - at 7–10 months, then there will be more chances for the normal behavior of predatory pets.
ALK is kept in captivity not only as pets, but also as producers of hybrid kittens. The fact of the matter is that these wild animals were used to create a breed of Bengal domestic cats. The breed is popular in many countries of the world, and its representative has been living for 4 years already in the house of the author of this article. ALK successfully mate with domestic cats and bring hybrid offspring. For this, ALK cats and ordinary cats are mainly used, since the ALK female almost never lets a domestic cat close to her. Самцы АЛК менее разборчивы, но и они обращают внимание на внешний вид своей «дамы» и предпочитают пятнистых кошек с похожим на свой окрасом. Поэтому партнёршей для дикого самца чаще всего становится домашняя кошка бенгальской породы, имеющая коричневато-золотистую расцветку. К тому же став матерью, такая кошка хорошо ухаживает за гибридными котятами и заботливо выкармливает их до нужного возраста.Male kittens from the wild parent of the first and second generation are infertile, only in the third and fourth generation the appearance of fertile males is possible, although this happens quite rarely. Females are fertile and successfully produce offspring. The first generation hybrids are called F1, have an exotic appearance and are the most expensive as pets and for breeding. The price of such a kitten in Russia is 75 thousand rubles. In the content they are simpler than their wild parents, but they also have many features and bring additional problems to the owner. For example, these animals have difficulties with training to the tray, they often spoil things, carpets and furniture in the apartment, and steal everything without a shame of conscience - edible and not very.
First-generation hybrids from ALK have a softer and more friendly character than their predatory parents, but their behavior is still different wildness and waywardness
As for the more distant descendants of ALK - Bengal cats, these are full-fledged pets, friendly and affectionate, sociable and loyal to their owners. Breeders worked for a long time with their appearance and coloring and as a result they got bright animals with spots or marble patches on the skin and a golden shimmer of wool. Bengal cats are very intelligent, inquisitive and funny, they have a completely human look. Distinctive character traits - activity and playfulness at any age, up to old age, a developed hunting instinct, freedom of love and independence, which is manifested in the fact that the Bengal is extremely difficult to hold on his hands if he does not want it. This is not just a cat in your house, it is something between a cat and a dog. Bengals very well manipulate objects, open doors and cabinets, are not afraid of water and play with it, they love to walk on a harness and leash (or on their own, but they usually do not have this opportunity). My conclusion: if you like an Asian leopard cat, then get a descendant of your own at home - a Bengal cat (cat). This will save you from many troubles associated with keeping a wild animal in the house, and you will get a lot of aesthetic pleasure from the beauty of your pet and live emotions due to its unusual character.
Bengal cats were finally recognized as a separate breed with their standard in 1991, while the hybrids of the F1, F2 and F3 generations are intermediate links and are not allowed at the shows
Feed the ALA in captivity will have exclusively meat, and not only raw, but also live food. It is better to give meat low-fat: beef, veal, rabbit, poultry, as well as chicken necks, offal and sometimes fish. Live food recommended for feeding ALA and many other captive predators - mice, rats, day-old chicks and quail. It must be remembered that by eating a living creature, a cat receives not only animal protein, but also many other beneficial substances contained in the intestine, the skin and the insides of the victim. In addition, when playing with live food, cats satisfy their hunting instincts.
An adult cat is enough to feed once a day, the daily intake of food for the prevention of obesity is approximately 200 grams of meat or 2 mice or 1 rat. If there is no live food in the diet, then it is necessary to give meat with cartilage or chicken necks, paws and heads, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements and fresh grass. Veterinarians recommend that predators be given one fasting day a week: completely deprive of food or, in extreme cases, give half the daily norm. In zoos, this practice in the food of predators is generally accepted.
It is not recommended to limit the amount of food for pregnant and lactating females or kittens, they are fed 2-3 times a day.
Schooling kittens ALA to the tray usually occurs without problems, approximately in the same way as with domestic cats. Only it is necessary to take into account the size of the Asian leopard cat, which depends on its variety, and to purchase for it a spacious tray in which it will be convenient to be bored.
In good conditions of detention, with normal nutrition, physical activity and a comfortable psychological environment, ALA can live in captivity up to 20 years. In general, these predators have good health and strong immunity, however, psychosomatic disorders are of great importance when the animal can begin to ache from boredom and lack of movement, as well as from the dissatisfaction of its hunting instincts. It is very important to conduct regular vaccination of leopard cats from infectious diseases.
Kittens and adult Asian leopard cats love to play hunt and climb up. Active behavior for them is natural and they have to move a lot, climb and jump. Such a lifestyle of a small predator in a man’s home, combined with proper nutrition, will contribute to his health and longevity. It is best to keep adult animals in enclosures, where there is a lot of space and there is grass, logs and trees, and also to provide them with the opportunity to hunt for live food. You can keep them in the yard, if you can create obstacles to escape from the owners over the fence.
When keeping ALA in an apartment, there should be numerous toys, claws and climbing pads, so that the cat can occupy itself and not be bored. This applies more to kittens, and adults sooner or later transferred to the aviary. If there is no such possibility, then animals should be tried more often to take for a walk.
If it is not possible to keep homemade ALA in an open-air cage on the street, then you should regularly walk with it
It is necessary to accustom ALA to hygienic procedures, such as grooming claws, cleaning eyes and ears, combing wool, as well as harness and leash from childhood, otherwise the adult cat will actively resist.
Despite the exotic appearance and habits of the predator, ALK is able to play, purr, sleep with the owner and communicate with people with pleasure like a normal domestic cat.
Photo Gallery: Asian Leopard Cats
The maintenance of an Asian leopard cat in a city apartment is possible only if the owner has plenty of free time, patience, strength and material costs, and above all - a strong desire to keep a predatory cat from the forest in his house. At the same time, the successful result of domestication cannot be guaranteed, because such a pet remains a predator whose behavior is based on instincts. It is more expedient to keep ALA in country houses, having equipped special enclosures for them. Before acquiring a wild Bengal cat, it will be useful to inquire about legislation in this area, because in some countries certain types of ALA are protected, and their maintenance at home is prosecuted. There are no such prohibitions regarding hybrids of wild and ordinary cats, and the simplest option is to look at the domestic Bengal breed, whose representatives are no less beautiful than their wild ancestors, but at the same time are much more adequate in communicating with people.
What cats belong to the leopard?
Leopard cats have a color with typical black or brown spots, graceful habits.
They resemble an animal leopard, reduced several times. They need special care and care related to specificity, and it is not so easy to get offspring from them. In order for them to feel well in the home of the owners, the latter require careful attention to their uniqueness, characteristics, and habits.
You can list several popular breeds that have similarities with the leopard.
- Bengal cat characterized by beauty, is very popular. The spots on the body are large, black or brown, graceful habits, agility is present. If bengals do not pay enough attention, their character can turn into a wild one with elements of aggression
- Savannah obtained by crossing a domestic cat and a wild African serval. Individuals may differ in shade. They are characterized by large size up to 140 cm in length, as well as weight up to 15 kg. By the nature of the cat livable, friendly with children, other pets, tied to the owners. Savannahs need a lot of space for movement, they like walks and water.
- Ashera has a large (meter) size, long legs, spotty coloring, predatory appearance, look of a wild animal. However, it is distinguished by kindness, agility, unpretentious to food, in contact with children. Behavior her, like ordinary cats.
- Serengeti - large leggy spotted cat, bred in the United States.
- Kanaani (Canaani) - a new mixture of several breeds, short-haired spotted cat.
- Arabian Mauhaving rather the appearance of a leopard.
- Asian tabbybred in England.
Ocelots and servals also belong to leopard-like cats. But these are predators, which practically can not live in a man’s house. They have large sizes and dangerous instincts. Frequent cases of manifestation of aggressive behavior to people. They do not feel comfortable in human habitation, preferring nature.
Homeland Bengal - America. It was there that they were bred by obtaining a hybrid of Asian wild leopard and domestic cats. It is believed that this experiment began in the 1960s. Characteristics of Bengal cats - excellent immunity, endurance. But the stomach is a weak point, which malfunctions when improperly fed.
Bengals have the following distinguishing features:
- Large size from 50 to 80 cm, conical tail. The weight of the female is up to 5 kg, and the male is up to 8 kg.
- The head is wedge-shaped, small.
- The nose is wide - a wild sign.
- Ears of medium size, rounded at the ends. Their base is quite wide.
- The eye color of the almond-shaped or oval shape is the most varied: green, brown, yellow.
There are a number of differences, in connection with which the Bengal cat differs from other breeds: plasticity along with predatory habits, love of water, unique coloring, similar to leopard. You can buy a Bengal cat in the nursery or from breeders. Its price is from 30 to 150 thousand rubles, which depends on the class.
Food Bengal cat depends on age. The kitten is 4 times a day, and as it grows, the cat goes on two meals. Bengal cats stomach can not digest any food taken from the table owners. Need to buy ready-made feed industrial production.
Care of bengalami is minimal, and these animals are cleanly. You need to comb them, trim the claws by 3 mm, clean the ears. They are not afraid of water treatments. The character of Bengal cats is not fearful towards other animals.
The breed is distinguished by its ability to train, it remembers the commands, listens attentively. At the same time playfulness is constantly manifested.
Another desirable breed of leopard cats is Ashera (mini-leopard). It is recognized as the most expensive. The biotechnology company, Lifestyle Pets, introduced it in 2006 as a result of an experiment with the genes of an African serval, a wild leopard and an ordinary domestic cat.
The weight of the animal is up to 14 kg, powerful legs, there is a grin of the beast. But as a pet, Ashera is perfect, has the usual feline habits.
Care is not difficult to implement, the breed is unpretentious, the nature is not different aggression. Loves delicious food, sleep and play with the small inhabitants of the house. On the street she walks with a leash. Its cost is significant, from $ 22,000, but it is very difficult to buy a copy.
People are queuing up for the year ahead.
There are 4 types of Usher:
- snow (with white color),
- the royal, spotted color of which is orange on a caramel background, the rarest.
Kittens of the latter type are born no more than 4 per year and cost more than $ 125,000.
The biggest cat, like a leopard - savanna. This hybrid has the greatest similarity with wild animals. This is a unique and very expensive animal, the cost of an individual is from $ 4,000.
The breed appeared from the crossing of a wild serval and an ordinary domestic one; it has a large appearance with long legs, a neck, and huge ears. The official registration of the breed with all its standards in the international association of cats occurred in 2011.
The signs observed in the habits are as follows.
- Significantly larger than ordinary cats, savannahs are very playful, while smart.
- Easy to train, happy to walk down the street on a leash, do not like the cold, but willingly bathe.
- Easily accustomed to the toilet, do not need a strict diet, special care.
- Show affection for the owners, are friends with children and other pets.
Although it is a young breed, not yet fully accustomed to the house. According to the habits of the cat is such that near it can not make sharp movements, as she immediately attacked the object. Aggressive anger is not observed, only a manifestation of the reflex.
The cat of the serengeti has signs: big ears, long legs, spotted color on the body and honey-colored hair around the eyes. Males are usually larger (up to 15 kg) with weight of females up to 12 kg. The behavior is more playful than with the hunter’s habits, curious, and the breed is talkative.
Serengeti can make a lot of different sounds. Dexterity and courage are inherent in them. For example, they attack dogs, rather than hiding from them. And also they climb on any heights, realizing curiosity, and are sociable on walks.
With the withdrawal of this breed (in America) the goal was set - a resemblance to the serval. The Serengeti was obtained by crossing several breeds, including Bengal, Abyssinian and others. The experiment continues until the serval analogy without impurities in its blood is derived.
The Canaani (or Kanaani) cat is a new breed, bred by a resident of Israel D. Pollachek, registered in 2000. Crossed several breeds: Bengal, Libyan steppe, Abyssinian, ordinary home and others.
A mixture of Libyan and home was the most successful. The animal has an independent character, distinguished by a love for walks and freedom. But also the cat was well adapted to the new environment, was unpretentious in the care and undemanding to food. Balanced habits and love of caress do not exclude the fact that she definitely needs a leash on the street, otherwise she will run away.
Kanaani is a breed with short and hard wool with color ranging from light yellow to brown with contrasting spots. With an average size there are large specimens.
They are strong, have developed muscles, high legs, which run fast. It is necessary to add almond-shaped eyes and tassels on the ears of some individuals. Health is good, you just need to find a common language with the pet to live with him in harmony.
He also has spots, and the wool itself has no undercoat. Color from white with black spots to black, without spots. The main color of the breed - brown or gray with patterns.
This cat can not claim the title and is recognized only temporarily, but in 2008 she was still standardized. For the Middle East, this animal is aboriginal. Characteristics - large size, muscularity, high legs, tail with narrowed end. Paws are rounded, large ears are located above the head. Males are larger than females, weigh up to 8 kg.
Arabian Mau has oval eyes, the color corresponding to the color of wool. Character friendly: accompanies owners, plays with children. Care - weekly scratching, ear brushing, walks.
The breed standards are as follows:
- Muscular body on long legs can not be called very slim.
- The coat is adjacent to the body, tough; in adult specimens, silkiness is excluded.
- The color is very diverse: black spots on a white background and white on black, tabby (drawing on the body), gray and brown tones.
This breed is of British origin, bred in the 1980s. To get it crossed the Burmese cat and the Persian chinchilla. The result - a short-haired animal, strong, with a good physique.
There is a necklace around her neck, and her eyes and nose with mouth are also circled. Tape tapering, with spots in the form of rings.
Coloring happens with 4 types of patterns:
- marble (with stripes and divorces),
- ticked (with a pattern on the face and striped hairs on the body).
Colors - from blue to cream and chocolate color. The ears are straight, the eyes are almond-shaped, the iris is golden, there are cheekbones. Character friendly, gentle, communicates with people and other inhabitants of the house.
Leopard cats are a mixture of different breeds, including wild ones. The most important thing in communicating with them is to try to find mutual understanding. A close study of the pet will help to find a common language and create comfort for all.