Pallas' cat

Latin Name
Felis manul




These small cats (5-10 pounds) are hardy and tolerant of cold environments. Their long, shaggy coats are especially thick on the bellies, which protects them from the snow as they stalk prey. Pallas' cats have short legs, flat heads, and small, low-set ears, all of which help them hunt where there is little cover. They are named for eighteenth-century German zoologist Peter Pallas.



Pallas' cats can be found throughout Central Asia.


Uncommon in some areas, the species is vulnerable-to-rare in others due to hunting for the fur trade and the decline of its prey base. Lincoln Park Zoo cooperatively manages Pallas' cat populations with other institutions in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


This compact predator inhabits small caves, rock crevices and burrows.


Pallas cats primarily hunt pikas (small mammals) in addition to other rodents and small birds.

Life History

Up to eight kittens are born in the spring after a 70-day gestation. Pallas' cats reach sexual maturity at one year.

Special Adaptations
  • Pallas' cats are legally protected from hunters who prize their dense fur, but the species' harsh habitat shields them from most human intrusion.
  • Despite their small size, Pallas' cats are well known for their aggressive demeanors, which resemble those of much larger cats. As kittens, they will growl before they can open their eyes.
  • Compact bodies make Pallas' cats poor runners. Rather than speed away from trouble, they seek refuge near boulders or in small crevasses when chased.

Bonus Content

Learn about how zoo scientists calculate the life expectancy of Guam Micronesian Kingfishers among many other residents of Lincoln Park Zoo.

How Long Do They Live?
Learn about how zoo scientists calculate the life expectancy of Pallas' cats among other residents of Lincoln Park Zoo.


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