Fishing cats are considered one of the largest of the lesser cats. Fishing cats are powerfully built with short limbs and a stocky body. They have a long head and a short tail that is roughly one-third the length of their body. Their fur is coarse and brownish gray in color with distinctive dark markings (Finn, 1929). The markings are a combination of both spots and stripes. These spots are arranged longitudinally across the body. Six to eight dark lines run from above the eyes between the ears over the crown to the nape of the neck. These lines gradually break up into shorter bars and spots on the shoulders. The fur on the underside of P. viverrinus is longer and spotted, and the tail is ringed. The paws are webbed, and the claws extend past the claw sheaths when retracted (Prater, S. 1971).
The short hair on the face is spotted, and the whiskers are short. The ears are short and round and the back side is black. When viewed from the front the ears have a distinctive white spot in the center (Phillips, 1984).
Fishing cats show strong sexual dimorphism. The size of P. viverrinus varies with gender, males are considerably larger. The measurements of P. viverrinus are as follow: length 658 mm to 857 mm, tail 254 mm to 280 mm, hind foot 134 mm to 158 mm, and the ears are 47 mm to 51 mm in length. Fishing cats stand over 350 mm high at shoulder level and weight 6.3 to 11.8 kgs depending on gender (Sunquist and Sunquist, 2002; Phillips, 1984).
Range mass: 6 to 12 kg.
Range length: 658 to 857 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
- Sunquist, M., F. Sunquist. 2002. Wild Cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.