The Pallas’s Cat

Doodlewash of Pallas's Cat - Watercolor painting and sketch of wild cat

Today we have a wild kitty known as the Pallas’s cat (suggested by Guest Doodlewasher Ros Jenke). Named after German naturalist Peter Pallas, it was first called a Felis manul and it’s scientific name is Otocolobus, which comes from the Greek and can be translated as the somewhat insulting term of “ugly-eared.” These creatures are wildcats and built to look larger than they actually are, due to their unusually fluffy and dense fur (the longest and densest of any cat species). But in reality, their bodies are about the size as a domestic cat.

The pupils of their eyes contract into circles rather than vertical slits like other cats. This combined with their flat face, gives them a variety of unique and sometimes comical expressions. They prefer to live at high elevations and can be found throughout central Asia, from western Iran to western China. A Pallas’s Cat will scent mark a territory for up to three miles to keep other cats away from them. So, yeah, they’re pretty much loners and don’t like to mingle much.  It helps that the breeding period is only 26 to 42 hours so they can simply have a quick little mating session and return to their solitary lifestyle.

When excited, they sort of yelp or growl like a tiny dog, although they can also make a more traditional purring sound. The fluffy and compact body of Pallas’s cats make them terribly poor runners, so when faced with adversity, they will simply run into a small crevasse in some rocks and hide. For hunting, they like to ambush their prey, which includes mainly pikas, small rodents, birds and if they get really desperate, even insects. If you have an idea for an uncommon creature to see doodlewashed next, be sure to shout it out in the comments!


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Yellow, Permanent Green Pale, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
45 Comments
  1. debiriley 1 year ago

    love how you’ve done the fur Charlie, and those eyes! what an odd cat with round eyes. I might even go google it up for more info, you have intrigued me. very unique. thanks for sharing!!

    • Author

      Thanks Debi!! 😃💕 Glad you liked this one! I hadn’t really heard of this until Ros suggested it! Strange little wildcat! Hehe

      • debiriley 1 year ago

        love the fur. sad its being hunted for its fur though, and is endangered. Thank you for sharing the info Charlie!

  2. Well this is also a new one to me…even as a cat fan I have not heard of it, certainly unusual, especially the eyes. Off to look him up, google him!Thank you Charlie, great doodlewash.

  3. Jacob 1 year ago

    Love the harsh and messy execution of the fur – it does add to the character and comedy of the chap (love the expression too!). I’d never heard of this one either; I rather want one now, though I don’t know why I’m saying that as if it’s any different to any other doodlewash. Great stuff!

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob! Hehe..:the messy execution was me desperately trying to figure out how the heck to make the fur. The end result was less actually thinking so hard and just a mad attack with the brush… 😊 he’s probably a little overdone, but I liked the comedic effect as these creatures are kind of funny cute in real life. You definitely need one!

      • Jacob 1 year ago

        Oh, I think the way you’ve done it really plays to the character! Funny cute indeed, and surprising how the circular pupils make such a difference to the feline complexion. I’ve just had a good chortle at a google search! 😛 They’re so cool!

      • Author

        The videos are even funnier! lol Super weird cats and fun to watch!

  4. Kari 1 year ago

    This must be the ultimate grumpy cat! Love those hauntingly expressive eyes! And wowza on the texture! I’ve actually seen pictures of them and love their tiny ears.. I’ve seen one that’s basically a giant furball! Lol.. Very cute!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! 😃💕They have an insane amount of fur! Hehe… Didn’t quite know how to get it across so I went a little texture crazy. 😊

  5. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    A rag-taggle cutie, a very unique kittie, thanks Charlie.

  6. memadtwo 1 year ago

    Yours looks much sweeter than mine! You also have much more information! (K)https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/manul-pallass-cat/

    • Author

      Oh yeah!! I had forgotten you did one of these, Kerfe!! Cool!! You captured the eyes so well…that kooky expression they get. Love it!! ❤️😃

      • memadtwo 1 year ago

        It’s nice to see them together! And we both focused on the face.

      • Author

        It is! and yeah… face only…there was NO way I was going to tackle a body full of that fur! 😊haha

      • memadtwo 1 year ago

        Yes, me too.

  7. Curious to the Max 1 year ago

    X-Rated Pallas’s cat, read at your own risk

    Romantic it’s not
    and when put on the spot
    there’s no flying fur
    nor loving purr
    No lingering longings
    just quickie boingings

  8. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    Your cat looks like it went through the washer on the spin cycle! Lol! 😜 Maybe that’s because I have been doing so much laundry today… Anyway, I’d never hear of this cat. Amazing how you painted the fur and it does have a comical sort of smile on its face. 😺 Good work, Charlie! 💕🎨

    • Author

      Haha!! It totally looks like that Jill! 😃💕 I was so frustrated with the fur I just went nuts on it to see what would happened! Think it would have looked better with a little more restraint! 😊 It’s totally a freshly spun kitty. Lol

  9. kathiwerner 1 year ago

    Lovely drawing of this nice animal! We had this animal in the zoo in the town I used to life before. Apparently it was in many smaller zoological gardens in Europe some twenty years ago and then somehow became “unfashionabe”. But now the interest is raising again (and our zoo had lot of requests for breeding, being one of the few ones left with the Palla’s cat).

    • Author

      Thanks Kathrin!! 😃💕 And that’s so cool about your zoo. I think they’re interesting creatures and glad they’re making a comeback. I ran across a lot of funny posts about their unusual expressions, so perhaps this is helping to bring them back in fashion!!

  10. ann christina 1 year ago

    What a cute little cat! I never heard of it before. I completely understand that she rather wants to be alone – wise decision. 😊 Thanks for sharing, Charlie!

  11. She’s really cool, gives me a leopard feeling. Great texture and I love her expression. Wouldn’t wanna cross her in a dark alley!!

    • Author

      No you wouldn’t!! It’s an ambush hunter!! That said if you happened to look her in the eye she’s run away immediately. They’re such strange little creatures, but they do have a bit of a leopard feel to them. Thanks Laura! 😃💜

  12. Cathe 1 year ago

    Like everyone said, what a cool cat. I had to look them up, you really intrigued me with your kitty rendering and intense eyes. Super interesting, the hair, wow. They just look like a dense pile of hair with round eyes. Truly cool! Love this doodlewash Charlie!

    • Author

      hehe… they do look like a pile of hair with round eyes! It was a bit frustrating to doodolewash at first, but then I just went crazy on it! lol Glad you enjoyed this one, Cathe! 😃💕

  13. All the doodles are beautiful and magnificent! They’re all wonderful and look as if they will jump right out of the paper or canvas and come to life at any moment. I luv them!

  14. Teri C 1 year ago

    Those eyes…yikes! Super job.

  15. dapplegrey 1 year ago

    Don’t know if you’ve ever seen a film of a pallas cat – but the reason they have such small low-angled ears is so they can peer over the top of a rock to eye up their prey without ear-tips showing and giving them away. Imagine for a moment what that looks like – it’s incredibly weird and un cat-like, because over the top of the rock you just see eyes in a furry head…..and when the whole cat does appear it looks more like a rounded shaggy fur covered rock, that creeps about and looks a bit shifty. One of my top ten weirdest animals! Another of which incidentally is the Aye-Aye – have you drawn one yet? I’m afraid I find it rather frightening.

    • Author

      Thanks for the added info!! That’s cool… I didn’t get a chance to watch videos until after I’d already doodlewashed one! hehe… but they’re really funny to watch. And yes! I did an Aye-Aye here:

      https://doodlewash.com/2016/03/02/the-aye-aye/

      And it scared me! lol

      • dapplegrey 1 year ago

        Love it. And yes, I’m relieved you were a bit spooked by it too!

      • Author

        Thanks! Yep… it’s kind of terrifying, and not a subject I would have chosen if it weren’t for this month’s series of weird creatures.

  16. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    Weird and wonderful world we live in. Now, a loner wild cat with round eyes, bad ears and excessive fur. Who knew? Great job Charlie.

  17. Tom Merriman 1 year ago

    I first thought what a funny-looking thing, Charlie, but when I read ugly-eared I changed my mind and thought it cute! Mind you, I love cats anyway, so they all grow on me in the end… however they look!

    • Author

      Yeah… this one was super difficult to capture… just sort of pulling round eyes out of a mess of fur! lol Glad you liked it Tom! Thanks! 😃

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