The Fishing Cat has a broad but discontinuous distribution in Asia, with large gaps - some the result of its association primarily with wetlands, some the result of recent extirpation, and some supposed due to a lack of confirmed records. In Pakistan, the only known population was in the Indus river valley (Roberts 1977), but there are no recent records to confirm it still occurs. The fishing cat has been extirpated in recent years from parts of India, including the Bharatpur region of western India (Shomita Mukherjee, Jamal Khan pers. comms. 2007), home to Keoladeo National Park, one of the few areas in India were fishing cats were studied (Mukerjee 1989, Haque and Vijayan 1993). It has possibly disappeared also from the southern Western Ghats (Nowell and Jackson 1996; Shomita Mukherjee and Jamal Khan pers. comms. 2007). However, there is also a new record from Umred, near Nagpur in central India, an area well outside of the fishing cat's known range, when a Fishing Cat that had been killed by a vehicle was found (Anon 2005). It is primarily found in the terai region of the Himalayan foothills, and eastern India into Bangladesh, where it is widely distributed and locally common in some areas (Khan 2004), although in eastern India few prime habitats remain (Kolipaka 2006). On the island of Sri Lanka, it occurs apparently all over the island, and has been found on waterways near the capital city of Colombo in degraded habitats (S. Mukherjee pers. comm. 2007).
In Southeast Asia, its distribution appears very patchy,with few recent records (Anak, W. Duckworth and R. Steinmetz, Southeast Asia mammal assessment, 2003). There are no confirmed records of the fishing cat from Peninsular Malaysia, but a 1999 camera trap image from Taman Negara National Park, an incomplete image showing only the animal's hindquarters, suggests the species occurrence here (Kawanishi and Sunquist 2003). However, the fishing cat never occurred on Taiwan, where it was mistakenly reported in the past (Nowell and Jackson, 1996; Sunquist and Sunquist, 2002). Its possible occurrence (based on an old, unsubstantiated record) in southwestern China is unknown (J. Sanderson pers. comm. 2007). On the island of Java, it has become scarce and apparently restricted to a few coastal wetlands (Melisch et al.
1996). Although commonly considered to occur on the island of Sumatra, there are no definite historic records, recent records have been shown to be erroneous, and its presence there remains to be confirmed (Duckworth et al.
The map shows range within forest cover (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, 2003) to reflect patchiness caused by deforestation upon recommendation of the assessors (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007).