Udaipur : Two kittens belonging to the Rusty Spotted Cat family, the smallest of the species, were seen recently at a soyabean field at Naugava road near Arnod town in Pratapgarh district. The villagers who discovered the kittens initially had mistaken them to be panther cubs and hence alerted the forest department. However, when the officials rushed to the scene, they were ecstatic to spot the kittens, whom they confirmed to belong to the smallest variety of cats. The rusty-spotted cat is found only in India and Sri Lanka and it has been listed as “vulnerable” by IUCN (Internation Union for Conservation of Nature) in 2002.
“ The two kittens were too small, golden in color and slightly bigger than squirrels. Perhaps they were left by their mother at some safe place in the fields and the kittens happened to roam about” said Mannaram Meena, one of the forest guard. Since they were spotted for the first time in the area, no one knew them to be cats and hence mistook as cubs. Later Udairam Meena, the ACF identified the kittens and instructed the villagers to safeguard them until the mother cat came. However, no one was allowed to touch or hold the kittens. After four days the kittens were not to be seen, probably the mother cat took them away, said Mannaram. “ Rusty cats were long thought to be confined to the south, but records have established that they are found over much of the country. In Udaipur, these cats have been spotted few times at Fatehsagar and Sajjangarh sanctuary area” informed Rahul Bhatnagar, chief conservator forest (wild life). A fully grown cat of this variety weigh less than 2 kilos, he said. Its short fur is rusty in color over most of the body, with spots over the back and flanks, while the underbelly is white with large dark spots.