The life cycle of Sand Cats (Felis margarita) can be summarised as follows:

Sand Cat Gestation: 59 - 67 days

Sand Cat Litter Size: 2 - 4 kittens (max 8)

Sand Cat Sub-Adult: 4 months

Sand Cat Sexual Maturity:

Females and Males 9 - 14 months

Sand Cat Lifespan:

Unknown in the wild - 14 years in captivity

Sand Cat facts reference: Wild Cats of the World by Luke Hunter (2015) based on the latest scientific research.

Juvenile Sand Cat

Sand Cat Pair

Sand Cat Reproduction

There have been few studies of Sand Cats in the wild and so most information is from captive cats.

Sand cats are believed to reproduce seasonally with mating during winter and births during spring (Northern Hemisphere).

Gestation (pregnancy) is around two months and on average two to four kittens are born per litter.

Sand Cat kittens become independent from four months.


Sand Cat Adults

Male and female Sand Cat sub-adults become sexually mature between nine and fourteen months.

Mortality in the wild is suspected to be mostly by raptors as there are few other mammal predators in their desert habitat. Starvation can occur during extended winters in the central Asian desert when prey numbers remain low.

The lifespan of Sand Cats in the wild is not known, but cats in captivity have survived up to fourteen years.

Sand Cat feeding on Viper

Sand Cat Facts

Sand cat (Felis margarita)

SCIENTIFIC NAME Felis margarita

NAME ORIGIN The Sand Cat was discovered in 1858 and was named after the French expedition leader General Margueritte. The other common name is the 'sand dune cat'.

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Sand Cat Characteristics

Sand Cat Characteristics

SIZE The Sand Cat weighs up to 3.4 kgs, about the size of a very small domestic cat. Males are larger than females.

BODY The small body is stocky with short legs and a relatively long tail.

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Sand Cat Range

IUCN Sand Cat Distribution MapThe 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.

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