Fishing cat is a medium-sized wild cat native to South and Southeast Asia. Although named as a fishing animal, this cat got its name due to something else. Thus, the scientific name comes from its civet-like appearance rather than any adaptation for fishing. Sadly, this beauty is listed as vulnerable since 2016. But, let’s learn something new, shall we?

fishing cat

Where can we find the fishing cat?

Native to South and Southeast Asia, this cat is found in Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, and parts Pakistan, India, and China. Strongly associated with wetlands, it occurs in swampy areas around oxbow lakes, reed beds, tidal creeks, and mangrove forests. The bottom line, our cat feels the best alongside rivers or near jungles.

fishing cat

How does the fishing cat look?

Olive gray coat with a pattern of rows of parallel black spots is the main characteristic of our cat. Further, these patterns will often form stripes on its back. Moreover, females are noticeably smaller than males. Yet, this cat has one major difference from its other relatives. Claws that do not fully retract, with tips remaining to stick out, whereas most cats can retract their claws completely. Of course, when they are not using them. Finally, an adult can grow between 22 to 31 inches, while the weight goes from 11 to 35 pounds.

Diet and hunting.

Our solitary and nocturnal hunter will rest through the day. Yet, when the night falls, this predator makes its move. Finding food near the water, this cat is an extremely strong and able swimmer. Thus, it will often swim huge distances while pursuing a fish. Yet, other diets will include frogs, water insects, crabs, snakes, crayfish, rodents, and birds.


Just like their relatives, fishing cats are also polygynous, with one male mating with multiple females. In January and February, when the mating season occurs, the female calls the males in the area indicating she is ready to mate. After the gestation of 60 to 70 days, 1 to 4 kittens are born. Developing fast, the kittens start eating solid food about the 53rd day and at 4 to 6 months old they are weaned. Finally, when they reach 10 months, they are fully independent, ready to explore the world by themselves.

Although cuddly, the fishing cat is a very clever hunter. In fact, it has quite interesting way to catch prey. Patting the water, our cat makes tiny waves which make insects land on water. Since this attracts fish, the cat catches them in its paws or dives into the water to catch them! Pretty smart, isn’t it?

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