Fishing Cat

The fishing cat is the largest cat of its genus. It is a medium-sized wildcat roaming across South and Southeast Asia. This beautiful and unique feline earned its name for its extraordinary swimming skills. It has webbing between the toes that come in handy when swimming and roaming across muddy wetlands. The fishing cat is the largest cat of its genus - Prionailurus.

Fishing Cat stats

Scientific Name
Prionailurus viverrinus

The fishing cat is the largest of the 5 known species of its genus. There are no available data about when these species may have diverged.

South East Asia

11 to 31 lbs

14 inches

Physical Description

The fishing cat has an elongated body, short legs and short tail and it's strong and heavy built. Its olive-grey to ashy-grey coat is covered in darker stripes on the shoulder and round spots on the flanks and sides. It has typical, short and rounded ears set low on the head, with a white spot in the back. It typically sports two lines across the cheeks and four running from above the eyes and between ears all the way to the shoulders. It's characterized by webbing between the toes.

Habitat and Ecology

Fishing cats are small to medium-sized wild cats native to South and South East Asia. They’re often spotted in India, China, Thailand, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Sumatra. Fishing cats don’t tend to wander off too far from river beds, lakes, and marshes. This is because their main source of food is fish, shellfish, amphibians and lizards. However, they have been known to consume livestock during food shortages.

Conservation Status

As wetlands now face destruction, many fishing cats are being driven from their native habitat. In 2010 the fishing cat was considered an endangered species, however, as of 2017, the IUCN lists them as vulnerable. Fishing cats are often hunted, trapped, snared or poisoned by villagers. Recent reports sent to the IUCN suggest that fishing cats are killed for food in certain poor countries.