Flat-Headed Cat

Prionailurus planiceps

Quick Bio for Flat Headed Cats:

Status: Endangered
Weight: 2-3 kg
Diet: Carnivore, Piscivore

Physical description of Flat-Headed Cats

The important, distinctive feature of a flat-headed cat is obviously its flat head. The ears are small and rounded and set a bit to the sides making the top of the head look quite flat. It is also short-haired on the head, maintaining the appearance of flatness.

The face is a bit lighter colored and sometimes even has a white mouth and chin. The cheeks have two distinctive stripes radiating from the eyes. These eyes are not positioned in quite the same ways as in other cats, being a bit further forward and fitting in with the flat-headed theme.

It is a small cat, about the size of a domestic cat, with a very short tail. Red-brown fur, darker on the back and with some white flecks on the stomach, is standard. The chest is much whiter in color.

The cat has a relatively stocky appearance caused by its flat head and quite short legs. There is a difference between males and females, males being significantly larger. Up to 50 cm long compared to a female’s 35 cm. Weight is similarly different, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 kg.

Distribution and habitat of Flat-Headed Cats

Flat-Headed Cats occur in Malaysia and Indonesia. They are not widespread, neither on the mainland nor on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Their preference for lowland tropical forests means that suitable habitats on the Malaysian mainland and Sumatra have been hugely fragmented due to human habitation and development. They do, however, live in secondary forests and have even been spotted in monoculture forests like palm oil plantations.

Flat-Headed Cat behaviour

These are rarely spotted cats, and it is thought that they are nocturnal. However, some specimens have been seen to be active around dusk and dawn.

The evidence we have at the moment does imply that flat-headed cats are, like other cat species, solitary, with larger male ranges and smaller ones for females. However, there is still a need for more detailed research.

What do Flat-Headed Cats eat?

`Like the fishing cat these cats are known to be piscivores. Of the limited sightings, the majority are along or near waterways, as fish is their main prey.

Mating and Parental care of Flat-Headed Cats

Like a lot of the lesser-seen jungle cats, not much is known about the behavior and mating systems of the flat-headed cat.

Flat-Headed Cats and their ecosystem

These are rare cats, so their role in the ecosystem is probably limited. However, it is often the case that our lack of knowledge pushes this idea for all species. Small niches in ecology often have an outsize influence on the larger ecosystem.

Impact of Flat-Headed Cats on the human economy

Because these cats don’t prey on livestock or poultry, they don’t affect human activity much.

Conservation status and human impact on Flat-Headed Cats

The Flat-headed cat is endangered according to the IUCN Red List. One of the reasons is that its habitat, the wetlands and river areas of SE Asia are rapidly being degraded. The low numbers of this species are not surprising, given the massive populations in its range.

Flat Headed Cat in French, German, Spanish ...

Latin Name
Prionailurus planiceps
French Names
Chat à Tête Plate
German Names
Flachkopfkatze
Spanish Names
Gato Cabeciancho
Swahili Names
Paka Kichwa-kipana

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