One of the three major groups of Wildcat, the Asiatic Wildcat, also known as the "Asian Steppe Wildcat" or the "Indian Desert Wildcat," is a beautiful desert species.
In the wild the Asiatic Wildcat's diet is comprised largely of rodents. They are also known to eat birds, insects, reptiles, hares, and occasionally larger mammals such as small ungulates. Female Asiatic Wildcats have been reported to teach their hunting behaviors to their kittens by bringing them injured rodents to practice with. The Asiatic Wildcat, unlike the European Wildcat, appears to be more active in the daylight hours. Because the Asiatic Wildcat lives primarily in desert scrublands they can live on very little water. If they are not roaming for food, the Asiatic Wildcat is often found in dens or burrows.
The Asiatic Wildcat can be easily distinguished from its cousins, the African Wildcat and the European Wildcat, by its yellowish fur. The coat of the Asiatic Wildcat will range from a reddish color to a striking grayish-yellow. Their coats have beautiful spotting that is generally black or reddish brown. In some cases the spots are melded together, giving the appearance of stripes. The Asiatic Wildcat is smaller than the African and European cats, weighing a mere three to four kilograms at maturity. Males are generally larger than females.
The Asiatic Wildcat is found primarily in the desert scrublands of Asia. The Asiatic Wildcat has a wide range; they are seen from Northeast India, across Central Asia to the Caspian Sea. In addition, they may also be seen in the south in parts of Pakistan. Populations of Asiatic Wildcats have decreased in recent years, and the Asiatic Wildcat seems to be the most threatened of the three major groups, including the European and the African Wildcats. Its decline is due in part to humans hunting them for their striking coats. In addition, hybridization with domestic cats and habitat destruction have contributed to their decreasing numbers.