Amur leopard cat a.k.a. Far Eastern Forest cat or Asiatic leopard cat

This short post is about getting the name right for the leopard cat. The scientific name is: Prionailurus bengalensis. This is the wild cat ancestor of the wild cat hybrid the popular Bengal cat.

There is going to be confusion about this small wild cat's name. My understanding is that the correct name for this cat is the Asiatic leopard cat or just the straightforward "leopard cat". Sometimes people refer to the cat as the Asian leopard cat. And sometimes as is stated in the title to this post, people refer to the same species as the Amur leopard cat and even the Far Eastern forest cat. This number of different names are going to cause confusion.

Leopard cat
Leopard cat. Photo: Joanna Ross and Andrew Hearn.

And I'll tell you why it is not only just to do with the number of names. Confusion is going to be caused because the Amur leopard is not the Amur leopard cat. The former is the Siberian leopard, a rare wild cat species while the latter refers to the Asian leopard cat or plain leopard cat which is a much smaller species of wild cat.

RELATED: Leopard cat - full page with plenty of detail.

The Siberian leopard is a big cat. It is one of the big cats with a roar. The Asian leopard is about the same size as a domestic cat. But don't be fooled that this species of small wild cat will behave like a domestic cat because it won't.

You will see videos in Russia of people treating this animal as a domestic cat but they've got towels and protective gear all over their furniture because it's being sprayed relentlessly by a nervous and stressed young Asian leopard cat who is marking territory relentlessly. 

It just does not work in my opinion. The young leopard cat looks cute with bright markings and strong patterns which make them very attractive but in my honest opinion they do not make good pets. You're going to encounter problems and, in any case, they are far better left in the wild where they belong.

But below we have a leopard cat pet. Clearly some people disagree with me and are captivated by this exotic cat.

People should not make pets out every animal on the planet. Why don't we just leave them alone to enjoy their life in a habitat which they love and which suits them. The only reason why people make a pet out of an Asian leopard cat is because they want to possess something beautiful. It is self-indulgent, no more and no less.

Asiatic leopard cat distribution
Asiatic leopard cat distribution. Source: IUCN Red List.

As you can see on the map above this small wild cat species is distributed over a large area including Russia which is in the Far East which accounts for its alternative name. And they like to live in forests as well.

My reference book on the wild cat species tells me that "the leopard cat has the broadest geographic distribution of all the small Asian cats. It is found in forest areas throughout south-east Asia". That helps to explain the source of its name.

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