Flat-headed cats are small, about the size of a domestic cat. The tail is short, measuring only a quarter to a third of the head and body length. They have small, rounded ears that set widely apart and lower than the apex of the skull. They have long fur that is thick and soft. The pelage is reddish brown on top of the head, dark brown on the dorsum, and mottled white on the venter. Individual hairs have white, buff, or gray tips, giving them a grizzled appearance. The face is paler than the body and the muzzle, chin, and chest are white. Their eyelids and the inner side of each eye are whitish but do not form a complete eye-ring, and two dark stripes run along each side of the head, one from the corner of the eye to below the ear and the other from below the eye to below the ear. The lower vibrissae are completely white, whereas the upper vibrissae are black at the base and white at the tips. The head is distinctly elongated and flattened relative to other cats. Hair between the ears is quite short; this, combined with the low setting of the ears, gives the cat a flat-headed appearance. The legs are short relative to other cats, and the feet are long and narrow. The claws, as in the fishing cat and the cheetah, cannot be fully retracted. The nasals are short and narrow, placing the eyes farther forward and closer together than those of other cats. A long and narrow rostrum, nearly parallel tooth rows and well developed first and second upper premolars all specialize the cat for seizing and gripping slippery prey with the anterior portion of its mouth. Meanwhile, the sagittal crest is well developed and the zygomatic arches are robust, indicating great biting power. Flat-headed cats are sexually dimorphic, as males are slightly larger than females. Male head-and-body length ranges from 42 to 50 cm, tail length from 13 to 20 cm, and weight from 1.5 to 2.75 kg; female head-and-body length ranges from 33 to 37 cm, tail length from 15 to 17cm, and weight averages 1.5 kg.
Range mass: 1.5 to 2.75 kg.
Range length: 48 to 70 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
- 1996. "CSG Species Accounts: Flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps)" (On-line). IUCN / Species Survival Commission (SSC) Cat Specialist Group (CSG). Accessed April 17, 2011 at http://www.catsg.org/catsgportal/cat-website/catfolk/plani-01.htm.
- 2010. "Prionailurus planiceps" (On-line). ARKive. Accessed April 17, 2011 at http://www.arkive.org/flat-headed-cat/prionailurus-planiceps/.
- Muul, I., B. Lim. 1970. Ecological and morphological observations of Felis planiceps. Journal of Mammalogy, 51/4: 806-808.
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