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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Monday, February 25, 2013

It wasn't pleased to see me

It was only last week -- we were driving back to camp through the western hills of Burma when I spotted a kid on the road carrying a big cat.

It didn't look exactly like a house cat, so I asked the driver to stop -- "Yeppa, yeppa" and jumped out with my camera.

The boy was clutching a jungle cat (Felis chaus), one of Asia's most widespread small cats (Egypt to SE Asia and SW China).

It wasn't pleased to see me and meowed constantly, but it didn't attempt to escape.

Normally I would have asked more questions, but I was part of a group, and the group had a busy agenda.

My guess is that the cat's mother was caught for the pot, and the boy raised the kitten.

Only a hand-reared jungle cat would be so tame.


Christopher Moore said...

I love cats, but that is A TERRIFYING PHOTO!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful photo. It is known throughout history that these cats bond exclusively to an owner, and are fiercely loyal. In fact, even the exotic domestic hybrid "Chausie" breed pets derived from these wild cousins most certainly continue to possess this trait - even in family homes!

Camera Trap Codger said...

Very interesting, Anon. Hadn't heard of that.

randomtruth said...

Welcome home Codge. What a great cat. I can hear the mews just looking at the photo.

Unknown said...

We know so little about the ecology and distribution of Jungle cats. They appear to be associated with open deciduous forest a forest type that hasn't received much attention from camera-trappers. Where did you run into this animal and do you have any idea how long the cat had been in the boy's company?

Camera Trap Codger said...

Tony, this was near Gwa in pretty degraded forest. It was a quick snap shot opportunity, but I assumed the young man has had it since it was a kitten.

biobabbler said...

That is a lovely shot.

Every time I look closely at such a photo (jungle cat, or one of my own of a local bobcat), I am struck by how little my cat differs from wildcats re: coat color and pattern. 'Course his tremendous girth is a dead giveaway, but he has the stripy forelegs, black racing stripes running from his nose to the back of his neck, and my favorite, the black dorsal stripe ALL the way down the back and tail. Plus dark spots on his tummy.

And he's mega smart. And it took him years to decide being on my lap was okay. Raised in the wild by feral mom, but unusually social. Wily, no-longer-wild-but-well-equipped-for-it cat. They are beautifully equipped for their work. =)

Camera Trap Codger said...

Right BB -- variations on the feline body plan are relatively small among species and the tabby pattern is found in several species. They're well designed to do what they do, the way they do it.