This week's cat is unusual for two reasons:
1. It is the first sub-species to be featured on Caturday.
2. It is the rarest cat in the world.
The Iriomote Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis) is one of the twelve sub-species of the Leopard Cat, but can be found only on the Japanese island of Iriomote. The Iriomote Cat grows up to 60 cm with a tail about 24 cm long, and weighs up to 5 Kg. Iriomote Cats have a stocky build, with solid shoulders and a thick neck. They are not as flexible, nor as adept at jumping as other small cats.
Iriomote Cats prefer life on the ground, but they have been known to climb trees and even swim in order to catch their prey, which consists of amphibians, rodents, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, bats and birds. Having no competition with other predators on Iriomote, the Cats have no need to limit themselves to their own ranges to avoid becoming prey themselves. Thus, their diet is quite varied. They are nocturnal, and are most active during the twilight hours.
The Iriomote Cat is extremely rare. It's listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. The most recent population estimates are fewer than 250 individuals remaining in the wild, and likely no more than about 100.
In Japanese the Iriomote Cat is known as Iriomote-yamaneko, which means "Iriomote mountain cat," and the locals have several names for them as well:
Yamamaya: the cat in the mountain.
Yamapikaryaa: that which shines in the mountain.
Meepisukaryaa: that which has flashing eyes.