This chapter describes the least thought of but important felines “the small Cats.” Out of the 36 species of cats found worldwide, India is home to 15 species of cats, the highest any country has and hence, is truly the “land of cats.” Despite this, apart from the large cats (lion, tiger, leopard and Snow Leopard), practically nothing is known of the smaller species. In some cases, such as the Fishing Cat and the Rusty-Spotted Cat, to date, even their distributions are not clearly documented. The Rusty-spotted Cat was first recorded from Rajasthan only in the 1990s. This hiked up Rajasthan’s score of cats to seven, including 05 small cats, namely Fishing Cat, Caracal, Jungle Cat, Wild Cat/Indian Desert Cat, and the Rusty-spotted Cat. In this chapter, the author discuses whatever information is available on these cats till date, including distributions at various scales, i.e., global, Indian, and in Rajasthan along with the feeding behavior, habitat choice, the time of activity, competition, reproduction, and taxonomy. The author has also mentioned the various techniques used for the study of cats and the potential for future work on this family. Finally, conservation issues related to small cats in Rajasthan have been looked into and ways to address these issues have been suggested.
Visitation Rate Golden Jackal Hill Forest Camera Trapping Small Carnivore
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Most of the work presented here was conducted at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The studies have been conducted as the part of my doctoral work at the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR). I thank everyone at WII for the help and support. I specially thank my guide Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh and my supervisor Dr. S.P. Goyal for support during my PhD work. I thank the Forest Department of Rajasthan for extending all the support, not only during my PhD work but also for my current work. I thank Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and everyone from laboratory 3 of NCBS for my work on the genetic aspects of small cats.
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