The Sand Cat occurs only in the desert regions of the Sahara in Africa, the Arabian Peninsular and southwest Asia. It is the only wild cat species that occupies true desert habitat.
Sand Cat Subspecies
Four subspecies of the Sand Cat (Felis margarita) have been recognized in the past. However the latest taxonomic revision by the IUCN Cat Specialist Group proposes two subspecies, pending further research:
1. Felis margarita margarita - North Africa (smaller with yellowish fur and bold markings)
2. Felis margarita thinobia - Southwest Asia and Arabian Peninsula (larger with greyer fur and less markings)
Reference: Kitchener et al. 2017. A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN / SSC Cat Specialist Group.
Sand Cat Distribution in Africa
Sand Cats occur in the desert habitats in the northern and western regions of Africa:
North Africa: Algeria; Chad; Egypt, Sudan, Western Sahara
West Africa: Mali, Mauritania, Niger
The Sand Cat also occurs in apparently disjointed populations in the arid regions of the Arabian peninsular and southwest Asia:
Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Syrian Arab Republic, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Reference: IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 2016. <www.iucnredlist.org> Felis margarita. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. 21 Jun 2017.
Sand Cat Distribution Map
Click to view an interactive current map of the Sand Cat's range by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: