Smaller Than a Housecat

The hardy sand cat endures immense desert heat, yet struggles to survive as a species.




A little smaller than housecats, sand cats are tawny colored with stripes on their forelegs. They look very much like housecats except for their huge ears, which they use to cool down by releasing heat and as radar to find small prey in the desert environment in which they live. They can hear at much lower frequencies than domestic cats.

Sand cats are found in the deserts of North Africa including the Sahara desert, Arabian deserts and Asian deserts of Pakistan and Iran. Unlike other wild cats, the sand cat exhibits a unique bark like a small dog, which males use as a mating call. While the number of sand cats in the wild is not well known, most estimates are fewer than 10,000.

 **Get the November 2011 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**

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