The record lifespan recorded of the rusty-spotted cat was at the Frankfurt zoo with a cat reaching 18 years of age.
Rusty-spotted cat deaths occur in India due to vehicular slaughter, amounting to 2.8% of all vehicular mammals deaths observed.
The home range of rusty-spotted cats has not been determined, but in a related species of similar size, the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), individuals have home ranges of 1.8-3 square km.
The rusty-spotted cat has been described as widespread and new research continues to increase its known range, but its population densities, distribution, and dynamics are poorly known.
Because of its small size, the rusty-spotted cat is preyed on by larger predators, such as jackals, foxes, and other cat species.
Compared to other species, rusty-spotted cats have a relatively restricted and fragmented distribution and only occur in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
Rusty-spotted cats are mostly nocturnal, but zoo observations show that they’re not strictly nocturnal or crepuscular; sexually active individuals are actually more active in the daytime.
Young rusty-spotted cats already have well-developed locomotion abilities when they start to come and go from the den at 28 days of age.
The rusty-spotted cat is fully protected by CITES over most of its range as hunting and trade are prohibited in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, but domestic trade in Sri Lanka is uncontrolled.
At first, young rusty-spotted cats sleep near or on their mother, but as they get older, they sleep on high ledges alone.
Very little is known about the rusty-spotted cat’s reproduction and all the information comes from captive individuals.
The rusty-spotted cat shows tolerance for modified, human-populated, and agricultural areas away from forests because of the large rodent populations found there.
Mother rusty-spotted cats are not known to translocate their young or bring food to them, but males have been observed in zoos protecting the kittens and bringing them meat.
Rusty-spotted cats mainly inhabit dry deciduous forests and prefer dense vegetation and rocky areas, but also reside in semi-arid and tropical climates, such as mixed, moist, tropical thorn, and scrub forests.
For the first 100 days of development, male rusty-spotted cats are smaller than females, but afterwards have a greater average body weight.
There is little information available of the rusty-spotted cat and the lack of knowledge about its status and distribution may hinder its effective conservation.
Female rusty-spotted cats prefer to give birth in low-level areas such as within hollow trees or under rock cliffs.
Rusty-spotted cats are “Near Threatened” as less than 10,000 are estimated to remain with no subpopulations with more than 1,000 breeding individuals.
Although the rusty-spotted cat doesn’t fare well in captivity and only a few are held in zoos, observations from the West Berlin Zoo and Frankfurt Zoo have helped provide information about this species.
The mating system of rusty-spotted cats hasn’t been explicitly studied; their closest relatives, leopard cats, suggest they may be polygynous, but zoo observations suggest monogamy.
Because they are largely carnivorous, rusty-spotted cats play a role in controlling populations of small vertebrates.
Most interactions between mother rusty-spotted cats and their young are play-oriented which is crucial to locomotion development.
The main threat of the rusty-spotted cat is habitat loss and deforestation characterized by a decline in natural forest environments and an increase in agricultural areas.
The gestation period of the rusty-spotted cat lasts between 65-79 days and each litter has 1-3 offspring.
Rusty-spotted cats are solitary animals that are mostly terrestrial, but have arboreal tendencies as they are active, agile, and good at climbing.
The rusty-spotted cat’s diet isn’t properly documented, but they’re known to be largely carnivorous and eat rodents, poultry, birds, insects, lizards, frogs, and other small mammals.
Rusty-spotted cats mate year-round, but 50% of their young are born between July and October.
Rusty-spotted cat communication is scent-oriented and both male and females spray urine for scent-marking.
The rusty-spotted cat has relatively large eyes, which may be an adapatation to its seemingly nocturnal behavior.
Rusty-spotted cats have short, brownish gray coats with a rusty tinge, but the Sri Lankan supspecies is less gray and more of a russet color.
The mating activity of the rusty-spotted cat lasts from 1-11 days and includes nape biting and straddling.
Three subspecies of the rusty-spotted cat are recognized.