The Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti), also known as the Chinese Desert Cat or Chinese Steppe Cat, is endemic to China and can be found in small ranges over the north-eastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. It's similar to the European Wildcat in appearance, except that its fur color is typically gray or sand-colored instead of tawny.

It is a short, stocky cat with a broad skull. Adults can grow to a maximum of 33 inches (84 cm) and weigh about 20 lbs. (9 Kg). Its legs typically have dark horizontal strips, a few dark bands on its tail, and its large paws have tufts of hair growing between its foot-pads.

Relatively little is known about this cat, because before 2007, all the available evidence of its existence consisted of six individual animals living in various Chinese zoos, and some pelts on display in museums. The first photographs of Chinese Mountain Cats in the wild were taken by camera traps in Sichuan, at an altitude of 11,710 feet. They are nocturnal hunters, preying mostly upon birds, rodents, and pika.


They are listed as a vulnerable species, because the deliberate poisoning of pika either kills the cats directly, or indirectly by severely reducing the amount of available prey.