Chinese Desert Cat
Scientific Classification
Binomial name
Felis bieti
The Chinese Desert Cat (Felis bieti), also known as the Chinese Mountain Cat, is a small wild cat of western China. It is the least known member of the genus Felis, the common cats. Except for the colour of its fur, this cat resembles a European Wild Cat in its physical appearance. It is 80 cm long, plus 35 cm tail. The fur is sand-coloured; the underside is whitish, legs and tail bear black rings. In addition there are pallid vertical bars, which may be hardly visible.

This cat is distributed over the following regions of China: Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan. It inhabits sparsely-wooded forests and shrublands, but despite its name it is seldom found in true deserts.

Chinese Desert Cats are active at night; they hunt for rodents, pikas and birds. This cat is protected in China, but it is still endangered due to the organised poisoning of pikas, their main prey; these poisonings either kill the cats unintentionally, or withdraw their food basis.

There are three subspecies, Felis b. bieti in the eastern parts, and Felis b. chutuchta and Felis b. vellerosa in the west. Some authorities regard chutuchta and vellerosa as subspecies of the Wild Cat.