Solitary and secretive, Pallas’s cat is slow but purposeful in its movements, using its environment to conceal itself and blend into its background. Pallas’s cat has crepuscular activity peaks but can be active at any time during the day and night. It shelters in small caves or rock crevices and most commonly in the abandoned burrows of marmots and other animals (6). This species occurs at very low densities with as few as 8 to 11 cats within 100 square kilometres. Home ranges can be from 8 to 100 square kilometres with males occupying larger areas than females and overlapping those of several females (6). This adept predator hunts by stalking and ambushing its prey, walking at speed and opportunistically pouncing on prey. It will also wait at entrances to burrows and pounce when a small mammal exits. Pallas’s cat feeds primarily on rodents and small mammals such as mouse hares, pikas, murines, voles and ground squirrels, but also small birds, lizards and grasshoppers (2) (3) (4) (6).
Pallas’s cat is a seasonal breeder, with most litters born in April and May (5). Males follow a female for three to four days while mating, perhaps guarding her from other males while she is sexually receptive. Injuries found on males during this period suggest that fights break out between males wanting the same female (6). Litters of three to six kittens are born after a gestation period of nine to ten weeks (5). Those born in April or May will disperse by the end of August and are the size of small adults by October. Both male and female Pallas’s cats breed at an age of 10 to 11 months (6).