Come and meet the charming Pallas’ cats, the beloved figures of the wild cat world.
As two cat-loving reporters with busy schedules, we were on the lookout for a feline companion that would offer us more than just the usual cuddles. This search led us to discover Pallas’s cats – a species with a distinct appearance and expressive features that we couldn’t resist. We decided to pay a visit to Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi Prefecture to get up close and personal with these unique wildcats.
Pallas’s cats are believed to be the oldest species within the Felidae family and have a distinctive look that is undeniably cute. With their round pupils, wide eyes, flat faces, and thick fur, these felines are hard to resist. At Nasu Animal Kingdom, Bol and Polly, the two resident Pallas’s cats, have become famous for their viral videos and peculiar hunting habits.
When we arrived at the animal kingdom, we were introduced to Bol, who immediately ran over to us and perched on a stump in front of a glass wall. His fluffiness exceeded our expectations, and his intense gaze was mesmerizing. According to animal keeper Yuri Chiba, Pallas’s cats’ round pupils give them a facial expression similar to that of humans.
Our encounter with these extraordinary cats left us feeling enriched and grateful for the opportunity to observe them up close. While we can’t keep a Pallas’s cat as a pet due to our busy schedules, we will always appreciate their unique beauty and presence.
A video captured Polly, a Pallas’ cat, strolling on snow and steadily approaching humans. These felines originating from Central Asia have adjusted to survive under extreme conditions with scorching summers and freezing winters. Their thick winter coat supports them in enduring the cold Japanese climate. Polly exhibited hunting behavior by moving slowly while keeping her body, tail, and limbs close to the ground. The facility is dedicated to promoting their natural instincts. Despite their adorable appearance, Pallas’ cats possess a wild aura and seldom make any noise except during breeding season when males may emit threatening meows or hisses.
Bol, the Pallas’s cat, loves to stretch but dislikes being handled. These cats are powerful and need protection when entering their exhibition room because they have a hearty appetite for horsemeat! It’s essential not to underestimate these impressive felines. Sadly, their numbers decreased due to unregulated hunting for their fur, which led to them being categorized as a near-threatened species. However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List has now downgraded their status to “least concern.” Sixteen Pallas’s cats reside in Japanese zoos and animal parks, where staff work tirelessly to safeguard them from infectious diseases. We discovered during our visit that these cats have an array of expressions and movements that are captivating to observe. We left the place determined to protect Pallas’s cats and looking forward to seeing them again soon.