Top Ten Cats #10 – The Pallas’ Cat – Otocolobus manul

Kitten tax! A manul kitten looking just…I mean…Look if you met me you’d be like “That not the kinda bloke that turns to mush over kittens!” but…I am. You can already note the difference between the denser undercoat of fur and the fluffier outer coat. (Credit: Parken Zoo)

Nick-named after a Prussian biologist, the Pallas’ cat, or manul, is relatively small and extremely, and I mean ridiculously, fluffy, with low-set, rounded ears.

That basically gives it the appearance of a guilty stuffed-toy. I mean, it is going to be hard to talk about these little guys without getting all misty-eyed and squeeing. They’re small, fluffy, tiny round ears and big fluffy feet. They look like what toy stuffed-cats look like.

They were ‘discovered’ – in that way that everything was, which means a rich, white person (the aforementioned Prussian Biologist, Peter Simon Pallas, in this case) wrote about and/or shot one – in 1776 around the Lake Baikal region in modern Russia.

Man, Lake Baikal…that’s an article of its own on We Lack Discipline one day.

Today we understand it has massive range and distribution – basically stretching from Siberia to Armenia via the Himalayas. This is one of the reasons they are so fluffy, is temperatures can be very low and they need to keep themselves warm.

Diagram showing the distribution of the manul in the wild. As you can see, and especially if we compared it to other cat distribution ranges, it is quite sizeable. (credit: BhagyaMani)

As a result of its large distribution, though, it is one of the few species we’re likely to see on this list not of concern to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and not on their infamous red-list of endangered species or species of concern.

That is as of their 2020 reviews, and that’s not to say the cats don’t have their problems. The region they inhabit, like much of the world’s wilderness, is being rapidly inhabited, exploited or destroyed.

Often when they don’t look adorably adorable, manuls are in the habit of looking grumpily adorable. Don’t you just want to throw this cute little floof a pika and cheer it up? (credit: Albinfo)

Being small cats they mainly hideout in rocky crags, small caverns and crevices and it eats small things – rodents, bunnies, pika, that sort of thing.

One of the most remarkable things about the manul is, unlike so many other smaller cat species, they have round pupils, rather than the centred-vertical slit-type that most cats have.

They are absolute masters of disguise, as anyone who hasn’t seen one in a zoo will tell you. Their coat is perfectly coloured for the kind of sandy-grassy-shadows they like to dwell in and there is a famous image of a manul sitting among rocks and the challenge is to spot the cat.

It’s the game that every shy kitten plays when I’m around. WHERE THE FUCK’S THE CAT!? I JUST WANT TO SEE THE CAT! (copyright Steven Ross – Used without permission, if you would like the image removed contact us)

There’s not a lot more I can tell you about them, I’m afraid, because they’re much of a catness! A very catty sort of cat, is a manul. There’s a very cute picture of one with its feet up in a zoo, so I’ll probably just put that and be done.

Look at those adorable toebeans! (Credit: I have no idea! I’ve seen this on Facebook and Reddit and couldn’t trace an original source. If you are it and want due credit or this image removed then please contact us)

Want to understand what cats are? Why not read our Introduction?

Or if you want to see what number 9 is why not check out the enigmatic jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi)!


Published by Karl Anthony Mercer

Karl Anthony Mercer is a writer, poet, author, musician and part-time dandy. He can often be found squatting in fields looking at insects (he is an unapologetic wasp fanatic), wandering around museums over-dressed, or hiding in a dank corner singing sad songs on a small guitar. His writing on WordPress consists of MercersPoems - an outlet for his poetry often using natural imagery, gothicism and decadence to explore the struggles of living as an autistic person; and We Lack Discipline - Where he writes about factual, often academic topics he has learned and is interested in (e.g. biology, psychology, Roman history etc.) with an inimitable, often light-hearted and irreverant style. You can support Karl by; Subscribing to the We Lack Discipline Patreon - Or buying him a coffee (he loves coffee!) -

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Cats #10 – The Pallas’ Cat – Otocolobus manul

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