By far the major threat to the Iriomote cat at present is agricultural and cattle-raising projects, which are heavily subsidized by the government and involve forest clearance. Competition from a growing population of feral cats, and the risk of disease transmission from these and other imported mammals pose difficulties for the Iriomote cat.
The Iriomote cat may qualify as the world's rarest and most vulnerable cat. The population is estimated to number less than 100 individuals, but is thought to have remained stable since monitoring began in 1982.
The IUCN considers Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis as "Endangered". CITES lists the species as "Appendix 2".