The clouded leopard is the largest of the small to medium sized cats, about the size of a small Labrador retriever. Average body length is between two to three feet in length. The exceptionally long tail usually measures between two and a half to three feet. The legs are relatively short with large broad paws.
The clouded leopard is immediately recognizable by its distinctive coat patterning. The base color of the fur is a pale yellow to a rich brown. Large irregular-shaped blotches on its side give the cat its name. These blotches are edged with dark brown or black and are paler in the middle, with pale areas ringing the blotches. Its underside is pale or white with few spots. The neck and back are streaked with elongated dark brown or black spots. The head and legs are usually spotted. The tail is heavily furred and marked with broken black rings. Its eyes are yellow.
The clouded leopard has an elongated skull that is different from all other cats, placing it in a separate genus. Its canines are the largest of all the cats in proportion to its body size. It is sometimes referred to as the "modern day saber-tooth."
(Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 1997; Defenders of Wildlife, 1997; Feline Conservation Center, 1997; Line & Ricciuti, 1985; Loxton, 1973; Minnesota Zoo, 1997; Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 1997)