Experience the Charm of Pallas’ Cats: Enchanting Feline Celebrities

As two journalists from Yomiuri Shimbun, we have a strong affection for cats. Unfortunately, our busy schedules mean that we don’t get to spend as much time with them as we would like. To satisfy our cravings for feline companionship, we’ve made it a mission to seek out unique and special cats. This led us to the Pallas’s cat, an ancient species of the feline family known for its expressive eyes, flat face, and thick fur.

We decided to visit Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi Prefecture to meet two Pallas’s cats, Bol and Polly. Bol, a seven-year-old male born in Japan, and Polly, a six-year-old female from Sweden, have become internet sensations thanks to videos showcasing their unusual hunting techniques and facial expressions. We were excited to meet them in person.

Upon arrival, Bol greeted us with his powerful and round pupils, which give Pallas’s cats a human-like appearance. These cats are distinguished by their round pupils, as opposed to the vertical pupils of domestic cats. It’s unknown whether this trait gives them any advantage in the wild. Nonetheless, we were captivated by Bol’s unique gaze and couldn’t wait to meet Polly.

Our love for cats has brought us on many adventures, but meeting Bol and Polly was a true highlight. We’re grateful for the opportunity to experience their exceptional personalities and share their story with others who appreciate these magnificent creatures.

Polly, a Pallas’ cat who loves strolling on snow, was seen approaching guests with Bol. These cats are native to Central Asia and have thick winter fur, which helps them survive in harsh weather conditions. The chilly Japanese winters don’t faze them, and they remain true to their wild nature at the facility. Their movements mimic their hunting style, displaying their unique behavior and untamed character. While they may look adorable, these cats tend to hiss instead of meow, except during the breeding season when males might let out a meow from time to time.

Bol, the Pallas’s cat, flexes his muscles while keeping a watchful eye on people approaching him. Due to his sharp claws and defensive behavior, he prefers to keep his distance and cannot be held or cuddled. Hence visitors are cautioned to carry a shield if they desire to get close. Watching these cats feast on horsemeat is quite a spectacle, as they devour it with ferocity. These charming creatures certainly deserve respect.

The Pallas’s cat’s population was drastically reduced due to hunting for their fur, resulting in a difficult past. They were once classified as a near-threatened species on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Nonetheless, various conservation efforts have been successful, and they are now listed as “least concern” on the list.

In Japan, 16 Pallas’s cats are being held at zoos and animal parks. These establishments have learned from their past mistakes and are doing their best to secure and protect these cats, who naturally inhabit high elevations and can be prone to infectious diseases. Despite their reputation for being unapproachable and defensive, the cats at these parks displayed a curious and playful side, approaching the glass walls to investigate and play.

Observing these cats up close revealed their diverse expressions and movements. They are not only adorable but also fascinating creatures that require protection. When we left the park, we felt reinvigorated in our determination to help defend these cats, hoping to meet them again.

Scroll to Top