The first thing that catches your eye about them is a size that makes them look, at the very least, like two cats in one, with so much fur that you'll want to sink into it by petting it, but it's not that easy.
More than one will believe that it is a joke, others that it is a unique case of a domestic cat that ate too much, but the manul or Pallas's cat shows us that there are many more breeds and forms of animals than we think, even of those animals that we say we know because the manul or Pallas's cat is that, a cat, but with characteristics that go much further than its chubby appearance.
It is the first thing that catches your attention about them, of course: a size that makes them look, at the very least, like two cats in one, with so much fur that you'll want to sink into it by petting it, but it's not that easy, even though it increasingly stars in more memes and viral videos.
Originating from Central Asia, they are found in scattered populations from western Iran to western China, especially in areas with cold and arid environments such as rocky steppes and grasslands, at heights of more than 5,000 meters. Moreover, many of these populations are now endangered, as explained by the International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC).
Its size is an illusion
As part of the efforts that organizations like this and research groups are making so that this cute kitten proliferates, its own wildlife reserve was recently created in the Altai Mountains in Asia, but the truth is that research on its history is still scarce.
The Pallas's cat, also known as the manul, is a small, endangered wild cat native to Central Asia. pic.twitter.com/zX1Mb6Hwsk
— Fascinating (@fasc1nate) July 26, 2023
We know, for example, that it comes from the wildcat family, and we also know that its flat and round face will arouse tenderness in anyone, but perhaps also fear for its dimensions. You should know in this sense that another thing we know about it is that it deceives: it is not as big as it seems. It is an illusion created by the huge amount of fur they have. Like a fluff under which is its muscular mass: in reality, more or less the same as that of domestic cats, that is, they have a body length that on average can reach just over 60 centimeters, although some reach 90 (with a tail of between 20 and 30 centimeters) and a height of between 30 and 35 centimeters. As for its weight, it is around 4 or 5 kilos.
It likes the cold
Yes, its coat is almost twice as long as that of a domestic cat. As you can imagine, this helps to keep them warm among the snow or on frozen ground in the lands they frequent. By the way, precisely because of this the length and density of their fur changes according to the season, and it becomes longer and heavier in winter. Not only that, since Pallas's cats also go through two main color phases: in winter, their fur is grayer and more uniformly colored, while in summer it has more stripes and ochre colors in its fur. We can distinguish black rings on the tail, scattered black spots on the forehead, and dark stripes running from the eyes to the cheeks.
As explained by BBC's Wildlife Magazine or Wired, its scientific name, Felis Manul, was coined by Peter Simon Pallas, a Prussian explorer and naturalist who first academically described the species in 1776. However, the term Pallas's cat is the one most commonly used to refer to it on the internet.
As the experts explain, Pallas's cat females have litters of between one and six kittens, with three or four being the most common number, but the most curious thing is that they only go into heat for two to four days a year. Thus, mating takes place between December and March, and the kittens are born between 66 and 75 days later, between late March and May.
Throughout their lives, they face several dangers that have led them to the critical situation they are in. Beyond the predators that also inhabit the same areas, such as eagles and other birds of prey, grey wolves, shepherd dogs, and foxes, Pallas's cats are hunted by humans for their fur, mainly in Mongolia where hunting is legal (they can also be hunted in China if a special license is obtained). And not only that, but others are accidentally shot when they are mistaken for marmots, which are hunted in most of the range of this feline.
My name is Maggie and I'm a writer for thesilverink.com, a website dedicated to news, culture and lifestyle. I have always been passionate about writing and I decided to make it my profession by becoming a web editor. I work on counterpoint.info and I mainly take care of the lifestyle section. I like to share my discoveries and my favorites with the readers, whether it's about fashion, beauty, decoration or gastronomy.