Pallas’ cats, which often go by the name manul cats, were named for Peter Pallas, who first described the felines in 1776, classifying them as Felis manul.
The cats, which are native to Asia, are downright adorable with their furry faces and big ears, but while they may appear rather large in size, in reality, the animals are about the same size as domestic cats — very fluffy domestic cats.
In fact, the average Pallas’ cat is only about 26 inches long and weighs 10 pounds. Its deceiving size comes from all that fur, which is the longest and densest of any cat. It helps keep it warm in cold climates and altitudes of 15,000 feet.
Part of the animal’s appeal to us is no doubt its stocky build and considerable fluff, but the reason we find its expressions so appealing could be that Pallas’ cats’ faces look more human — and therefore more expressive — than other cats’ faces.
The felines have shorter faces than most cats, making the face look more like ours, and the animal’s ears are lower and farther apart than you see in most cats.
But, most importantly, Pallas’ cats have unusual pupils. Unlike other felines, the Pallas’ cat’s pupils contract into smaller circles, just like ours do. Other cats’ pupils contract into vertical slits.
Also known as the manul cat, this feline’s funny faces intrigue and amuse us, but did you know there’s a good reason?