Rajasthan abode to World’s smallest cats, declared 'vulnerable' by IUCN

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Udaipur abode to World’s smallest cat
Udaipur, Oct 30: Two Rusty-Spotted kittens were found in a soyabean field by villagers at Naugava road near Arnod town in Pratapgarh district. Mistaking it for panther cubs, the villagers called the forest officials, who later realised that they were one of the rarest species of small wild cats, found only in India and Srilanka.

This variety of cat was declared 'vulnerable' by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in 2002.

One of the forest guards said,"The two kittens were too small, golden in color and slightly bigger than squirrels. Perhaps they were left by their mother at some safe place in the fields and the kittens happened to roam around."

Udairam Meena, assistant conservator of forests, instructed the villagers to take care of the kittens until the mother cat came. However, no one was allowed to hold or touch them. However, after four days the kittens were nowhere to be seen, presumably taken away by their mother.

Rahul Bhatnagar, chief conservator forests (wild life) said,"Rusty cats were long thought to be confined to south India, but records have established that they are found over much of the country. In Udaipur, these cats have been spotted few times at Fatehsagar and Sajjangarh sanctuary area."

Being spotted for the first time in the area, the cubs were confused to be those of a panther, but their very small size confused the villagers. A fully grown cat of this species weighs less than 2 kilos, has short furs with spots over the back and the flanks. The underbelly is white with large dark spots.

The Rusty-spotted cat is considered to be the world's smallest cat, competing in size with the black-footed cat.

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