Meet This Critter: Do They Get Any Smaller?!

( – Ah, kittens. They’re tiny, cute, fluffy, and usually know exactly how to use their huge eyes and sad meows to win your heart (or at least convince you to crank open another can of food). That’s mostly because humans have spent centuries domesticating them into the ideal pets. They’ve had plenty of time to hone their adorable manipulation strategies along the way. So, why does this much wilder cousin to the common cat look even more charming?

The incredibly tiny — and extremely feral — rusty-spotted cat is the smallest member of the feline family on Earth. Most adults weigh in at a scant average of approximately 1.5 to 3 pounds and measure under 20 inches long. Toss in their tails for another 6 inches and you still have a cat you could quite literally hold in the palm of your hand!

The rusty-spotted cat, which typically hails from the South Asian regions of Sri Lanka and India, was at one point considered vulnerable. More recent reports from 2016 show evidence of sightings as far north as Terai, Nepal. That increased range suggests the little animal could be far more prolific than originally thought — but they’re just too elusive to spot!

Now, here’s the bad news: you won’t want to cuddle up to this fuzzy ball of floof, especially if you come across kitty in the wild. The rusty-spotted cat might be cute, but it’s also the true definition of a wild carnivore that wants absolutely nothing to do with human beings. This fierce hunter is way too focused on catching its next meal.

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