Table of contents:

Chinese Cat: Breed Standards, Character And Habits, Health And Nutrition, Photos, Habitats, Keeping In Captivity
Chinese Cat: Breed Standards, Character And Habits, Health And Nutrition, Photos, Habitats, Keeping In Captivity

Video: Chinese Cat: Breed Standards, Character And Habits, Health And Nutrition, Photos, Habitats, Keeping In Captivity

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Chinese cat: princess of the Gobi steppes and Tibetan mountains

wild cat
wild cat

On the outskirts of the Gobi Desert and in the rocky crevasses of Tibet, a poorly studied and small "clan" of mountain cats has lived for a long time. They are outwardly similar to their European counterparts, but they are found only in China and in the southern regions of Mongolia. The species is listed in the Red Book due to the fact that human economic initiatives have led to the almost complete extermination of these mysterious predators.

Content

  • 1 How was the fate of the Chinese (mountain) cat
  • 2 Distinctive features of appearance
  • 3 The life of a Chinese (mountain) cat in nature

    • 3.1 Where does the gobi gray cat live?

      3.1.1 Video: Chinese Mountain Cat Sits in Tall Grass at Night

    • 3.2 Features of reproduction
    • 3.3 What do Chinese (mountain) cats eat?

      3.3.1 Video: Chinese Mountain Cat Eats Prey

  • 4 Keeping in captivity

    • 4.1 Behavior in captivity
    • 4.2 How to keep a gobi gray cat
    • 4.3 How to feed a Chinese (mountain) cat

How was the fate of the Chinese (mountain) cat

These unique animals began to attract close attention of naturalists only at the end of the 19th century, when China opened entry to foreigners. At the same time, the French missionary Felix Bie first gave a detailed description of the species, and later these wild cats were named in honor of the scientist - Felis bieti.

Chinese mountain cat stands on a log
Chinese mountain cat stands on a log

Chinese mountain cats have a thousand-year history

Once upon a time, the Chinese mountain cats were common throughout China and even in Mongolia. But the regular capture of animals to use the skins as decoration for traditional clothing has led to a decrease in the number of the species. And the beginning of the use of chemical poisons in the fight against rodents put the endemic species of these animals on the brink of extinction.

By the 60s. XX century, already secretive animals began to be seen less often, and interest in their study became stronger. And by 1973, about 30 different-sex individuals were settled in one of the Chinese zoos, which provided a constant opportunity to observe them.

Scientists could not decide on the name for the Chinese mountain cats until 1992. The Han people themselves call the predators the inconspicuous phrase huang mo mao, which translates as "a cat that lives in a desert with rare vegetation." Moreover, most often these animals are still noticed in the steppes and plateaus, rather than among the dunes of the Gobi. Therefore, in the 1990s, zoologists convened a special commission, according to the results of which, along with the name "Gobi Gray Cat", it was decided to use the name "Chinese Mountain Cat".

And in 2007, geneticists presented the world with new information that sheds light on the origin of this predator. According to data obtained during the study of mitochondria from the DNA of representatives of the cat family, the kotofei living in the mountains of China were isolated from the species of forest cats Felis silvestris as long as 230 thousand years ago. And only after such a statement, the Gobi cats were singled out as a separate species, changing the classification of these endemics.

Distinctive features of appearance

At first glance, the Chinese mountain cat looks like a European forest cat. However, the Gobi representatives are larger and more powerful than the latter, and the paws of the "Chinese women" are narrower and shorter than the "European" ones.

Chinese mountain cat stands on its hind legs, leaning on the fence of the cage in the zoo
Chinese mountain cat stands on its hind legs, leaning on the fence of the cage in the zoo

Outwardly, Chinese mountain cats are similar to forest cats and lynxes

Also, inexperienced tourists and nature lovers often confuse mountain cats with a lynx, because both have pronounced tassels on the tips of their ears.

And here are the unique features by which you can recognize the mysterious beast from the Chinese plateaus:

  • wide muzzle with round "cheeks";
  • powerful rounded chin;
  • close-set eyes of medium size;
  • long fluffy tail (takes up almost 35% of the total body size).

Gobi cats can hardly be called miniature - the body length of a sexually mature animal ranges from 64 to 86 cm, excluding the tail. And the height at the withers reaches 36–48 cm. Females are noticeably smaller than males and weigh about 6–7 kg. Males can gain up to 10 kg in captivity. Wild individuals are much easier, since they lead a more mobile lifestyle. Their weight usually does not exceed 5.5-6 kg.

The fur coat of this cat is painted in sand and brown colors with speckled splashes of reddish spots. The shade depends on the season - in winter cold, the color acquires darker tones, and in summer the coat brightens noticeably.

The tail deserves special attention - along the entire length the limb is decorated with dark chocolate, almost black rings. But the base has the same color as the skin as a whole.

The life of a Chinese (mountain) cat in nature

By and large, no one has been able to do a thorough study of the gobi cat in its natural environment until now. Affected by the small number of individuals of this species and the secrecy of the animals. Therefore, most of the conclusions zoologists build on assumptions. And they observe the Chinese mountain cat only in zoos.

Chinese mountain cat stands rearing and preparing to attack
Chinese mountain cat stands rearing and preparing to attack

Chinese mountain cats are difficult to find in their natural environment

But locals sometimes notice this mysterious beast in the steppe regions of Sichuan and Xinjiang, Guansu and Qinhai provinces. The rare animal is being smuggled in both Inner Mongolia and the mountains of Tibet.

Where the gobi gray cat lives

Despite the connection of the name with the Gobi Desert, these predators cannot be found among the sands or salt marshes. Chinese cats prefer to inhabit mountainous terrain, sometimes reaching heights of 4,000 meters above sea level.

Chinese mountain cat walks through the forest at night
Chinese mountain cat walks through the forest at night

Chinese mountain cats are nocturnal

Gobi gray cats and thickets of alpine meadows do not bypass them, they like to go out to forest edges and climb hilly ridges among the vast Chinese steppes.

The animals settle their dwellings in bushes or abandoned burrows of other animals. If fate has prepared for the beast life in the mountains, then crevices in the rocks become his home.

And there are plenty of dangers for the Chinese mountain cat in the world. The main enemy at all times for her remains a person. Despite the international protection of this endemic species, illegal trapping and subsequent trade in Gobi gray cats continues to this day.

Among the natural enemies of the predator, zoologists call brown bears and wolves, who are not averse to feasting on a gawking cub. Other animals do not attack adults of the Chinese mountain cat.

Scientists know nothing about the duration of the life path of these unique animals in the wild. But in the conditions of reserves and zoos, gobi cats live for about 9-13 years.

Video: Chinese mountain cat sits in the tall grass at night

Breeding features

Like other cats, Chinese mountain cats do not form permanent family unions. These animals lead a solitary lifestyle and do not come into contact with each other almost all year round. But from January to March, the procreation instinct still forces males to unite around the female and arrange fights for the “marriage bed”.

Chinese mountain cat with cub play in the grass
Chinese mountain cat with cub play in the grass

Chinese mountain cats are anxiously caring for their offspring

Females go pregnant for 62–75 days, after which two or three, less often four, blind kittens are born. Up to seven months, young animals relentlessly follow their mother, and by the time of puberty (about 8-10 months of age) they become completely independent.

Scientists have not received information about the participation in the upbringing of the offspring of males, therefore it is considered that the Chinese mountain cats are "single mothers." However, some researchers are sure that in rare cases, gobi cats, for some time after the birth of cubs, protect the surrounding territories from attacks by other predators.

What do Chinese (mountain) cats eat?

Since the gobi gray cat belongs to the order of predators, the diet of these animals is appropriate. The classic components of the menu that unite them with other brethren are mice, voles and other small rodents.

Young chinese mountain cat sits in the grass at night
Young chinese mountain cat sits in the grass at night

Chinese mountain cats are agile night hunters

But in particular they love to feast on pikas and zokons, using not so much keen eyesight to get them, but surprisingly keen hearing.

However, in a zoo, gobi cats often shift the course of their biological clock and think about food already at dusk.

Chinese mountain cats also hunt:

  • shrews;
  • hamsters;
  • marmots;
  • pheasants;
  • gerbils;
  • partridges.

Video: Chinese mountain cat eats prey

Keeping in captivity

These endemic animals are listed in the International Red Book and should be kept only in zoos and reserves. But despite this, the smuggling of animals and their skins almost never stopped. Therefore, with certain financial capabilities, it is not difficult to acquire a gobi gray cat as a pet.

Chinese mountain cat sits in the corner of the zoo cage and looks up from under its brows
Chinese mountain cat sits in the corner of the zoo cage and looks up from under its brows

Chinese mountain cats are prohibited from keeping at home

In my opinion, in order to avoid problems with the law (and it is forbidden to keep the Red Book animals at home) and to avoid troubles for the life and health of households, it is better to abandon the idea of ​​having a Chinese (mountain) cat as a pet. Indeed, in fact, this animal will spend most of its time in a shelter, and during the mating season it may become too aggressive due to unnatural conditions of detention.

Behavior in captivity

Living in conservation areas and zoos, Chinese mountain cats use every opportunity to avoid collisions with humans and other animals.

Because of this, when such an animal appears in an apartment or a private house, you need to be prepared for the fact that the animal will instinctively look for a secluded place or even try to build a kind of nest, hole.

Even if the gobi gray cat was taken as a kitten, it will retain the habits of a nocturnal predator for life. Nobody managed to tame and re-educate the wayward beast. And even in zoos with an incessant flow of visitors during the day, these animals sleep in burrows, only beginning to show activity at dusk.

Therefore, owners need to be prepared for nightly pet rounds of the territory and impromptu hunting with jumps and "races".

How to keep a gobi gray cat

Since this unique animal in nature lives in the vastness of the steppes and mountains, then in captivity, for normal life, it requires vast territories.

Chinese mountain cat stands in the steppe grasses, looking forward
Chinese mountain cat stands in the steppe grasses, looking forward

Chinese mountain cats are accustomed to wide open spaces

Thus, for home keeping a gobi gray cat, it is better to choose large aviaries, where there will be a place to rest in the form of a house or a nest made of branches. Trees with hollows are also suitable for similar purposes.

In addition, to maintain a healthy physical form of the pet, you need to equip its living space with shelves and slides, saw cuts and ladders.

It is much more difficult to keep such a wild animal in an apartment. And it's not just unsociability and lack of desire to obey. It is almost impossible to train a Chinese (mountain) cat to send its natural needs into a specially prepared tray. The beast will not abandon the habits that pass from generation to generation, and will regularly mark "subordinate" possessions.

Another nuance of the life of a gobi cat at home is a seemingly banal desire to “sharpen its claws”. However, taking into account the size of the animal, such an activity will create many inconveniences, including the need for a complete renovation of furniture in the house.

With other pets, be it other cats or even dogs, an independent predator will not be friends. And males during the mating season can perceive even their own master as an enemy.

A prerequisite for keeping a wild Chinese cat at home is annual vaccination. Vaccinations are first given at eight and twelve weeks of age. And as they grow older, they begin to put the vaccine against rabies.

How to feed a Chinese (mountain) cat

If such animals are perceived as ordinary domestic purrs and fed with simple food or food from the master's table, then the age of the Chinese mountain cat will not be long.

Chinese mountain cat sits on the rubble of an abandoned house
Chinese mountain cat sits on the rubble of an abandoned house

Chinese mountain cats should eat exclusively natural food

However, the owners of such animals, as a rule, have an idea of ​​the diet of such exotic "smaller brothers". Therefore, we are ready to provide pets with all the necessary food.

With regard to Chinese mountain cats, there is a strict rule - the animal's menu must completely consist of natural products, and the latter must be absolutely similar to the meat consumed in the natural environment. If the gobi cat has at least a little to reduce the volume of fresh meat dishes (including live rodents and birds), then the pet will begin to manifest diseases of the musculoskeletal system against the background of impaired metabolism.

Treating such a cat is also quite problematic. After all, not every veterinarian will undertake healing from the ailments of a wild, untamed animal.

Chinese (mountain) cats turned out to be those wild animals that man put on the brink of extinction. But despite the rapid decline in numbers, these endemic predators continue to live in reserves and zoos. Well, enterprising Han people even catch them and sell them abroad to wealthy exotic lovers. Therefore, it is not difficult to acquire such a Red Book beast, but it will be very problematic to keep a gobi cat at home.

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