The Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire, 1831) (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) in Rajasthan, India – a compilation of two decades

Main Article Content

Satish Kumar Sharma
Meenu Dhakad


In Rajasthan, the presence of the Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus was first reported in 1994 in Udaipur District, the southernmost district of Rajasthan.  Since then, it was also recorded in four more districts scattered over an area of about 86,205km2.  We compiled information about the occurrence of the Rusty-spotted Cat in Rajasthan based on direct sightings, road kills, rescued kittens, and camera trap images.  Our data set shows that the Rusty-spotted Cat is also present in eight more districts of Rajasthan that form part of the Aravalli Hills and Vindhyan Hills in the semi-arid zone of eastern Rajasthan.  The area encompassed by these records amounts to 71,586km2.  Kittens were rescued in six instances.  Adult cats were recorded in 45 instances including 41 live cats and four roadkills.  Ten adult live Rusty-spotted Cats were sighted in the mornings, and 31 were recorded after dark between late evenings and early mornings.  They were recorded in eight habitat types including foremost thorny and dry deciduous forests, but also ravines and agricultural fields adjacent to forests, and in forest patches in the vicinity of human settlements.  The preservation of forests is of utmost importance for the long-term viability of the Rusty-spotted Cat.  We strongly recommend surveys outside protected areas to determine the connectivity between Rusty-spotted Cat population units in Rajasthan.

Article Details



Acharjyo, L.N., K.L. Purohit & S.K. Patnaik (1997). Occurrence of the Rusty-spotted Cat in Orrisa. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 94(3): 554–555.

Adhikari, D., R.R. Joshi, L.P. Poudyal, P. Sigdel, S. Poudel, G.B. Shah, J.G. Sanderson, S. Chaudhary & S. Dahal (2019). Road-kill record of a Rusty-spotted Cat in Shuklaphanta National Park, Nepal. Cat News 69: 29–30.

Aditya, V. & T. Ganesh (2016). Camera trap records of Rusty-Spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus and Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) from Papikonda National Park, northern Eastern Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(5): 8815–8819.

Anwar, M., D. Hasan & J. Vattakaran (2012). Rusty-spotted Cat in Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh State, India. Cat News 56: 12–13.

Anwar, M., H. Kumar & J. Vattakavan (2010). Range extension of Rusty-spotted Cat to the Indian Terai. Cat News 53: 25–26.

Appel, A. (2016). The First records of Rusty-Spotted Cat in Nepal. Small Wild Cat Conservation News 2: 8–10.

Athreya, V. (2010). Rusty-spotted Cat more common than we think? Cat News 53: 27.

Basak, K., M. Ahmed, M. Suraj, C. Sinha, B.V. Reddy, O.P. Yadav & K. Mondal (2018). First picture and temporal activity of Rusty-spotted Cat from Chhattisgarh, Central India. Cat News 67: 27–28.

Behera, S. (2008). Rusty-Spotted Cat in Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve. Cat News 48: 19.

Bhandari, M.M. (1990). Flora of the Indian desert. MPS Repros, Jodhpur, 435pp.

Bhardwaj, G.S. & B.K. Sharma (2013). Status of Tiger in Rajasthan. Pp453–468 in: Sharma, B.K., S. Kulshreshtha & A.R. Rahmani (eds). Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India. Spinger International Publishing, New York, Heidelberg, Dordrecht, London, 645pp.

Bhatnagar, R., V.S. Rana & S.K. Sharma (2000). The occurrence of Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosa) near Thur-Magra forest block in Udaipur City, Rajasthan. Zoos’ Print 15(12): 8.

Bora, J.K., N. Awasthi, U. Kumar, S. Goswami, A. Pradhan, A. Prasad, D.R. Laha, R. Shukla, S.K. Shukla, Q. Qureshi & Y.V. Jhala (2020). Assessing the habitat use, suitability and activity pattern of the Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus in Kanha Tiger Reserve, India. Mammalia 84(5): 459–468.

Chakraborty, S. (1978). The Rusty-spotted Cat Felis rubiginosus I. Geoffroy, in Jammu and Kashmir. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 75(2): 478.

Champion, H.G. & S.K. Seth (1968). A Revised Survey of the Forest Types of India. Manager of Publications, Delhi, 404pp.

Chandrakasan, S., Ramakrishna & H.Q. Baqri (2010). Distribution, population structure and conservation of Fauna of the Thar desert of Rajasthan. Pp.87–95 In: Ramakrishna, K. Chandra, P. Bohra & G. Sharma (eds.) Impact of climate change on biodiversity and challenges in Thar desert. Desert Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Jodhpur, 384pp.

Chatterjee, N., P. Nigam & B. Habib (2020). Population density and habitat use of two sympatric small cats in a central Indian reserve. Plos One 15(6): e0233569.

Chavan, S.A., C.D. Patel, S.V. Panwar, N.S. Gogate & N.P. Pandya (1999). Sighting of the Rusty-spotted Cat Felis rubiginosa (Geoffroy) in Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary, Gujarat. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 88(1): 107–108.

Digveerendrasingh (1987). Sighting of a Rusty-spotted Cat (Felis rubiginosa). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 84(1): 200.

Digveerendrasingh (1995). Occurance of the Rusty-spotted Cat (Felis rubiginosa) in Madhya Pradesh. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 92(3): 407–408.

Dmoch, R. (1997). Husbandry, breeding and population development of the Sri Lankan Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus phillipsi. International Zoo Yearbook 35(1): 115–120.

Dubey, Y. (1999). Sighting of Rusty-spotted Cat in Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 96(2): 310.

Ghaskabdi, P., B. Habib, Z. Mir, R. Ray, G. Talukar, S. Lyngdoh, B. Pandav, P. Nigam & A. Kaur (2016). Rusty-spotted Cat in Kalesar National Park and Sanctuary, Haryana, India. Cat News 63: 28–29.

Government of Rajasthan (1953). The Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953. Rajasthan Gazette 10: Part IV A.

Kanwar, G. & K.K. Lomis (2020). First record of Rusty-spotted Cat in Punjab, India. Cat News 71: 26–27.

Khandal, D. & D. Khandal (2015). The elusive cat, spotted! Saevus Magazine 3(1): 74.

Kittle, A. & A. Watson (2004). Rusty-Spotted cat in Sri Lanka: Observations of an arid zone population. Cat News 40: 17–19.

Krishna, P.H. & C.S. Reddy (2012). Assessment of increasing threat of forest fires in Rajasthan, India using multi-temporal remote sensing data (2005–2010). Current Science 102(9): 1288–1297.

Kumara, H.N. & M. Singh (2007). Small carnivores of Karnataka: distribution and sight records. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 104(2): 153–160.

Lamichhane, B.R., R. Kalariya, N. Subedi, D. K. Dhakal, M. Dhakal, K. Thapa & K.P. Acharya (2016). Rusty-spotted Cat: 12th cat species discovered in western Terai of Nepal. Cat News 64: 30–33.

Manakandan, R. & S. Sivakumar (2006). Rusty-spotted Cat on India’s east coast. Cat News 45: 26.

Mathur, C.M. (1996). Natural Vegetation and Forests. Pp. 98–166 in: Chouhan, T.S. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Rajasthan, Volume I. Vigyan Prakashan, Jodhpur, 277pp.

Mukherjee, A. & P. Koparde (2014). Sighting of Rusty-spotted Cat in Anaikatty Reserved Forest, Tamil Nadu, India. Cat News 60: 32.

Mukherjee, S. (1998). Habitat use in sympatric small carnivores in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. University of Saurashtra, Gujarat, 103pp.

Mukherjee, S. (2013). Small cats of Rajasthan. Pp. 481–490 In: Sharma, B.K., S. Kulshreshtha & A.R. Rahmani (eds.) Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India. Springer International Publishing, New York, Heidelberg, Dordrecht, London, 645pp.

Mukherjee, S., J.W. Duckworth, A. Silva, A. Appel & A. Kittle (2016). Prionailurus rubiginosus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: e.T18149A50662471. Downloaded on 01 September 2020;

Nayak, S., S. Shah & J. Borah (2017). First record of Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) from Ramgarh – Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary in semi-arid landscape of Rajasthan, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(1): 9761–9763.

Nimalrathna, T.S., Y.R. Choo, E.P. Kudavidanage, T.R. Amarasinghe, U.G.S.I. Bandara, W.A.C.L. Wanninayaka, P. Ravindrakumar, M.A.H. Chua & E.L. Webb (2019). First photographic record of the Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus (I. Geofroy Saint-Hilaire, 1831) (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) in Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka. Journal of Threatened Taxa 11(4): 13506–13510.

Nowell, K. & P. Jackson (1996). Rusty-spotted Cat, Prionailurus rubiginosus (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1831). Pp. 72–74 in: Wild Cats. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland, 382pp.

Patel, K. (2006). Observation on Rusty-Spotted Cat in eastern Gujarat. Cat News 45: 27–28.

Pathak, B.J. (1990). Rusty-spotted Cat Felis rubiginosa Geoffroy: A new record for Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 87(3): 445.

Pillay, R. (2008). Sighting of a Rusty-spotted Cat in the Varushand Valley, India. Cat News 49: 26–27.

Pocock, R.I. (1939). Prionailurus rubiginosus Geoffroy. The Rusty-spotted Cat. Pp. 276–280 in: The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia Vol I. Taylor and Francis, Ltd. London, 463pp.

Prakash, I. (1963). Zoogeography and evolution of mammalian fauna of Rajasthan Desert, India. Extrait De Mammalia 27(3): 342–351.

Prakash, I. (1964). Taxonomical and Ecological account of the mammals of Rajasthan. Annals of Arid Zone 2(2): 150–161.

Prakash, I. (1986). Faunal diversity in the arid tract. Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences Supplement: 45–58.

Prakash, S., A.K. Mitra, I.M. Momin, E.N. Rajagopal, S. Basu, M. Collins, A.G. Turner, K. Achuta Rao & K. Ashok (2015). Seasonal intercomparison of observational rainfall datasets over India during the southwest monsoon season. International Journal of Climatology 35(9): 2326–2338.

Prater, S.H. (1998). The Book of Indian Animals. Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, Mumbai, India, 324pp.

Reddy, G.V. (2002). Management plan of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (2002–03 to 2011–12). Forest Department, Rajasthan, 557pp.

Roy, A.B. & R. Purohit (2015). Lithostratigraphic, geochronological and depositional framework of the Precambrian basins of the Aravalli Mountains and adjoining areas, Rajasthan, India, pp. 55–65. In: Mazumder, R.& P.G. Eriksson (eds.). Precambrian Basins of India: Stratigraphic and Tectonic Context. Geological Society, London, 352pp.

Roy, A.B. & S.R. Jakhar (2002). Physical Geology, pp. 1–15. In: Geology of Rajasthan (Northwest India) Precambrian to Recent. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, 421pp.

Sharma, N. (2002). The flora of Rajasthan. Aavishkar Publishers, Distributers, Jaipur, 280pp.

Sharma, S. & B. Tiagi (1979). Flora of North-East Rajasthan. Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi & Ludhiana, 540pp.

Sharma, S.K & V.K. Koli (2014). Population and nesting characteristics of the vulnerable White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis ar Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan, India. Forktail 30: 1–4.

Sharma, S.K. (1999). Mammalian Fauna of Rajasthan. Bionature 19(1): 7–13.

Sharma, S.K. (2006). Wildlife Management (Hindi). Himanshu Publications, Udaipur & New Delhi, 306pp.

Sharma, S.K. (2007). Breeding season of Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus (Geoffroy) in Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Udaipur district, Rajasthan, India. Zoos’ Print 22(10): 2874.

Sharma, S.K. (2011). Orchids of Desert and Semi-arid Biogeographic zones of India. Himanshu Publications, Udaipur & New Delhi, 133pp.

Sharma, V.D. (1998). Small cats in Rajasthan. Envis Wildlife and Protected Areas 1(2): 14–20.

Sharma, V., K. Jani, C. Bhatnagar & S.K. Sharma (2006). Biodiversity of Mammals in Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Udaipur Wildlife Division, Udaipur: An attempt to study the habit preference of some. Bulletin of Biological Sciences IV(1): 39–44.

Shetty, B.V. & V. Singh (1987). Flora of Rajasthan, Vol. I. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta, 451pp.

Singh, A., A. Mukherjee, S. Dookia & H.N. Kumara (2017). An updated account of mammal species and population status of ungulates in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan. Current Science 113(1): 103–111.

Singh, H.S. (1998). Records of small cats in Gujarat. Envis Wildlife and Protected Areas 1(2): 22–23.

Singh, P. & G.V. Reddy (2016). Lost Tigers Plundered Forests: A report tracing the decline of the Tiger across the state of Rajasthan (1900 to Present). WWF India, New Delhi, 131pp.

Tehsin R. (1994). Rusty-spotted Cat (Felis rubiginosus Geoffroy) sighted near Udaipur. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 91(1): 136.

Vasava, A., C.M. Vipin, R. Solanki & A. Singh (2012). Record of Rusty-spotted Cat from Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary Madhya Pradesh, India. Cat News 57: 22–23.

Verma, A. (2008). Mammals of Rajasthan pp. 244–253. In: Verma, A. (ed.). Conserving Biodiversity of Rajasthan: With Emphasis on Wild Fauna and Flora. Himanshu Publications, Udaipur and New Delhi, 549pp.

Vyas, R. & K. Upadhyay (2014). Sighting and distribution of Rusty-spotted Cat in Gujarat State, India. Cat News 61: 26–29.