Leopard Cat - Small Asian Wildcat
There comes a time in every child's life when they see one of the great "big cats" of the world (lion, tiger, etc) and wish that they could take home a smaller version of them. Well even though having one as a pet might not be the best idea, the leopard cat is pretty much that dream come true. In fact, although it's illegal to keep them as pets in the United States, the cats are bred with domestic cats over generations to create "Bengal cats", which are popular pets.
Named for its spotted fur, which makes it resemble a shrunken version of its larger relative, the leopard cat grows no larger than 16 pounds (about 7 kilograms) and 30 inches (75 centimeters), making it one of the smaller wild cats in the world (some weigh as little 8 pounds). Populations exist in the Russian far east, Korean Peninsula, China, Indochina, India, The Philippines, and the Sunda Islands of Indonesia making them the most widely distributed small cats in the area.
Leopard cats often live near rivers, valleys, and ravine forests; feeding off of small lizards, mammals, amphibians, birds, and insects, with small rodents being the largest part of the diet. Unlike other cats, these wild creatures don't "play with their food", and are known to maintain a tight grip on their prey until feeding can take place (this is suspected to be a result of them hunting birds, which can escape if let go). Unfortunately, they are hunted for their fur, and this has left some subspecies at risk of extinction. The species overall is safe, but their smaller populations are often the subject of conservation efforts. As previously stated, leopard cats are not the best pets because of their feral nature, but people have kept them in captivity before in special circumstances. For now, kids will have to settle for taking home one of their mixed descendants.