Earlier this month, BBC debuted its new documentary series, Big Cats, which follows several different cat species from all across the globe. But the cat that stood out the most wasn’t the biggest—on the contrary: it was the smallest feline in the world, the rusty-spotted cat. As you can see in the accompanying clip, he looks like someone miniaturized a kitten:
But don’t be fooled by his natural cuteness and the fact that he’s ridiculously small. This cat is still a predator, and he’s fully capable of surviving in a deciduous forest. Nevertheless, it’s next to impossible to watch his natural curiosity in action and not be charmed.
It may be difficult to believe, but this male rusty-spotted cat is nearly fully grown. Like most cats, he primarily hunts rodents and birds. And at that size, he’s almost certainly vulnerable to predators as well. Rusty-spotted cats are so rarely observed outside of captivity that there isn’t a lot known about their behavior in the wild. That’s one of the reasons that this video is so compelling.
This Big Cats footage was filmed in Sri Lanka, which is one of the few areas where the rusty-spotted cats have been known to live. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers this species to be “Near Threatened” because of the loss of its habitat. Many larger cats have become endangered for the same reasons, though the rusty-spotted cat hasn’t earned this designation, and hopefully won’t anytime soon. We’re rooting for the survival of all wild cats! How could anyone not love a kitty with those wide expressive eyes?
New episodes of Big Cats are currently airing on BBC One in the United Kingdom. Presumably the series will eventually make its way to BBC America as well.
What did you think about this preview from Big Cats? Say “meow” in the comment section below!