Fun Flat-headed Cat Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Feb 29, 2024 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Flat-Headed Cat Fact File
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is a rare species of wild cat that is small in size. Although this wild cat looks similar to a domestic cat, they are entirely different from them. Except for the zoos, there are no records of them being kept in captivity like the domestic cat. The flat-headed cat is in the category of semi-aquatic cat species as they are found to inhabit the freshwater areas of Borneo and Malaysia, where they can swim and catch their prey easily.

Most people are curious to learn about why the flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) has a flat head. The reason behind their flat head is that this helps them with the retention and catching of their aquatic slippery prey easily with their mouth, similar to the head of the fishing cat. Other than that, this cat species show nocturnal behavior, which means they sleep during the day and hunt during the night. When observed in captivity, the exact time with which they have been observed to be is dusk and dawn. These flat-headed cats also show the 'wash objects' behavior of raccoons.

Here on our page, we have a lot of interesting flat-headed cat facts for everyone to enjoy. Let's have a look at these interesting facts, and if you do like these, you can read our African golden cat facts and Asian golden cat facts.

Flat-Headed Cat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a flat-headed cat?

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is a species of wild cat whose distribution is typically found in the countries of Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Thailand.

What class of animal does a flat-headed cat belong to?

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is a species that belongs to the class of Mammalia.

How many flat-headed cats are there in the world?

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is listed as an Endangered species by the IUCN Red List, and its population is known to be decreasing year on year. In 2008, their population fell drastically, and there were only 2500 individual cats left in the whole world. The reason behind their decrease in numbers is due to the loss of habitats, depletion of fish stocks, and the expansion of oil palm plantations, these are just a few major threats to flat-headed cats. Their number as of today is unknown.

Where does a flat-headed cat live?

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is a nocturnal being that is a part of the cat family, and its distribution in the world is limited to Thailand, Borneo, Malaysia, and Sumatra. In Malaysia, these wild cats were last seen in the Pasoh Forest Reserve, Maludam Riverbank in Maludam National Park, and Sebuyau National Park.

What is a flat-headed cat's habitat?

The flat-headed cat's habitat of choice can be pinpointed to rainforests, riverine forests, peat swamp forests, and swampy areas. As you know, flat-headed cats are semi-aquatic animals; they are also found in habitats like lakes, marshes, streams, and near the river banks. Apart from the wild, these cats are also kept in public zoos.

Who do flat-headed cats live with?

The preferred flat-headed cat environment is one where they can live in solitary. These wild cats come into the category of solitary animals. Typically they are not found in groups. Only during the breeding period do these cats come together, and after that, they separate, and the female raises the young kittens alone.

How long does a flat-headed cat live?

The average lifespan of a wild flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is not known yet. The reason behind this is that these cat species do not stay in one place, and it is quite hard to follow the cat and estimate its lifespan. Although they have been observed in captivity and known to live up to 14 years of age, this would not be a fair understanding of their behavior in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

There is only limited information about the reproduction process of a flat-headed cat. After the pair complete their mating process, they separate from each other, and the male does not contribute to the raising of the young kittens. The gestation period of the flat-headed cat is around 56-60 days, and then one or two young cubs are born. The gestation period of all the species of the cat varies as the fishing cat gives birth to the young after 70 days.

When the kittens are young, the female flat-headed cat can nurse and complete the weaning process. By the end of the weaning period, when the young are old enough to hunt on their own, the mother leaves them, and then the process continues once again. It is in the nature of cats, whether they are wild or domestic, to leave their kittens when they are old enough to survive on their own.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the flat-headed cat is listed as an Endangered species by the IUCN red list since the year 2008. The reason behind the decrease in their population is that these flat-headed cats are experiencing habitat loss and excess hunting.

Flat-Headed Cat Fun Facts

What do flat-headed cats look like?

The tail of a flat-headed cat is smaller in size than their whole body height.

The flat-headed cat is considered medium in size with a shorter tail than their body length. The ears of this cat are round in shape, and the fur is soft and thick. The fur of this cat is reddish-brown on top of the head with dark brown and white body color. The face is paler in color, but the chest is white. There are stripes on each side of the head that end below the ears. The flat-headed cat teeth are narrow and long, while the flat-headed cat claws are hard and strong, similar to the claws of a cheetah.

How cute are they?

Whether the flat-headed cat is cute or not is subjective, as some people don't like cats and find them scary, and some find them cute and lovable. It's all a matter of perspective!

How do they communicate?

Flat-headed cats, like most cat species, communicate using vocal sounds. Some of these sounds include hissing, purring, and most famously 'meowing'. Other than vocals, the cat also communicates through body language.

How big is a flat-headed cat?

The average length and height of a flat-headed cat can reach up to 18 in (47 cm).

These cats are larger than brush rabbits, which are 11.8 in (30 cm) long.

How fast can a flat-headed cat run?

The speed that a flat-headed cat can run is not estimated yet by the researchers. It is assumed that these cats can run up to speeds similar to that of the common cat, which is 24.8 mph (40 kph).

How much does a flat-headed cat weigh?

The weight of a flat-headed cat is around 7.7 lb (3.5 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names for males and females.

What would you call a baby flat-headed cat?

Baby flat-headed cats are known as kittens.

What do they eat?

The flat-headed cat's diet consists of marine animals like fish, crustaceans, and small frogs. Apart from eating fish and frogs, they have also been observed to be feeding on the land. The land diet of these cats is made up of chickens and rats species. One interesting fact about these cats is that the flat-headed cat fangs have adapted in such a way that they can easily catch slippery prey with their teeth.

Are they dangerous?

As they are wild, people often assume flat-headed cats are dangerous, but they are not. There are no studies conducted that prove they are dangerous to humans. Their claws are hard, and they can scratch humans, but this is only if they feel threatened. Otherwise, these cats are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Keeping these cats in captivity is not recommended because they belong in their natural home! There are records of these beautiful cats being held in captivity in zoos, but it is not encouraged as being kept in captive habitats is not healthy for them.

Did you know...

The young kittens of the flat-headed cat are born grey in color. They have similar coloration to the adults except for the fact that their body is grey in color, and as they grow in size and age, their grey color turns to brown.

Why are flat-headed cats endangered?

Flat-headed cats are currently deemed endangered due to the natural loss of habitats like forests and wetlands due to human settlement and agriculture practices. Excessive hunting has also pushed them towards endangerment.

What are some special features of the flat-headed cat?

One distinctive feature of the flat-headed cat is their aesthetic features including, their flat-shaped head, the different face color with streaks on either side of the head and nose, and the small round shape ears are the special features of these cats. Another special feature these cats possess is that of stereoscopic vision, which helps them with vision during the nighttime.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our American marten facts and woodchuck facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable flat headed cat coloring pages.

Flat-Headed Cat Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fish, frogs, crustaceans, chickens, rats

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

7.7 lb (3.5 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

rainforests, marshes, streams, swampy lowland areas, lakes, forests

Where Do They Live?

malaysia, sumatra, thailand, borneo

How Long Were They?

18 in (47 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Prionailurus planiceps

What Do They Look Like?

Reddish-brown, white

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat loss

What is their Conservation Status?

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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