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Golden Cat Facts

African Golden Cats

(see Asian below)

Common Name: African Golden Cat

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genus: Felinae (Profelis)

Species: aurata  Photo By: Christina Loke

Listen to Asian Golden CatMisc.: This cat was originally classified as 2 distinct species due to color variations. The red phase was called the “Golden” cat, while the gray phase was called the “Silver” cat. Today, they are recognized as a single species with 2 color variations. It is referred to in some areas as “the Leopard’s brother” because they inhabit the same area.

Sub-species: P.a. aurata – Central and East Africa

P.a. celidogaster – West Africa

Size and Appearance: This medium sized cat weighs between 24-30 pounds, stands approximately 20 inches tall and reaches lengths of 30-57 inches. As mentioned above, their coat color appears in 2 phases – red and gray. All black (melanistic) cats have been known to occur as well. Their pattern can also vary greatly from spotted all over, to indistinct spots on neck and back, no pattern on neck and back but on legs and belly, or to spots on the belly only.

Habitat: Predominately found in moist forest zones including mangrove and alpine bamboo forests. There have also been unconfirmed reports of it inhabiting savannah woodlands.

Distribution: Equatorial Africa.

Reproduction and Offspring: Unknown. One instance of a tribesman finding a den found a mother with 1 kitten. Some reports of captive animals indicate a gestation approximately 78 days, with newborns weighing 6.5-8 ounces at birth. Eyes open around 6 days; they are weaned between 3-4 months, and reach sexual maturity around 23 months.

In captivity, African Golden Cats have lived up to 12 years.

Social System and Communication: Solitary – no other information known.

golden cat photoHunting and Diet: The primary prey of this cat is small to mid-sized mammals consisting of tree hyraxes, large and small rodents, small antelope, and birds. It was also found that fallen, injured monkeys and scavenged eagle kills are an important part of this cats diet. It is mainly nocturnal and crepuscular, and hunts using the stalk and rush method.

Principal Threats: Habitat destruction and the depletion of antelope (its prey base) for the bush meat industry. To some degree, they are hunted by natives for their skin for use in tribal rituals. Some tribes believe that it’s tail will serve as a talisman and protect them while hunting elephants.

Status: CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: Insufficiently known.

Felid TAG recommendation: Temminck’s golden cat (Catopuma temminckii). The Temminck’s golden cat has been exhibited sporadically by zoos. Most founders have failed to breed. Virtually all living animals are closely related, and there are disproportionately more young males than females. Given the legal protection of this species, coupled with the difficulty of securing more captive-bred specimens from Southeast Asian zoos, this species is not recommended for support in North America. African golden cat (Profelis aurata). Although formerly present in North America, this mono-colored felid lacks conservation need in nature and competes poorly against similar-sized spotted cats of Africa. No effort to import new animals into North America is supported.

How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 19 worldwide, with 6 being in the U.S.  There are 0 living on Easy Street.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book

See how you can help save African golden cats in the wild.


This photo was taken with a camera trap by Dr. Jim Sanderson, PhD.

Center for Applied Biodiversity Science
Conservation International
1919 M Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036-3521 USA
202 912-1803 FAX: 202 912-0772 gato_andino@yahoo.com

Asian Golden Cat

GoldenCat Kitten

Photo by:  Mohamed Ismail

Misc.: This cat was originally classified as 2 distinct species due to color variations. The red phase was called the “Golden” cat, while the gray phase was called the “Silver” cat. Today, they are recognized as a single species with 2 color variations. It is referred to in some areas as “the Leopard’s brother” because they inhabit the same area.

Sub-species: F.t. tristis – Sichuan and Tibet

Size and Appearance: This medium sized cat weighs between 20-32.5 pounds, stands approximately 26-33 inches tall and reaches lengths of 46-54 inches. Like their African counterpart, their coat color appears in several variations, from fox-red to golden brown, but can also be black, brown or gray. Their pattern can also vary greatly from plain to spotted, and includes, in one region, rosette and spot markings that resemble that of an Ocelot. It is this Ocelot-like from that has been given its own distinct subspecies listed above. The face of the golden cat is marked with white lines running across its cheeks, and from the corners of its eyes up to the top of its head. Its ears are dark with a grizzled center. The underside of the last third of the tail, including the tip, is white.

Habitat: Predominately found in tropical and sub-tropical moist evergreen and dry deciduous forests. Occasionally found in shrub and grassland.

Distribution: The Himalayas, China, southeastern Asia, Malaysia, Nepal and Sumatra.

Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of approximately 80 days, a litter of 1-3 kittens is born, with 1 being the average. Newborns weigh approximately 8.75 ounces at birth. Eyes open around 9 days and they are weaned at around 6 months. They reach sexual maturity around 18-24 months for females, and around 2 years for males.

In captivity, Asian Golden Cats have lived up to 20 years, although the average is 12.

Social System and Communication: Unknown.

Hunting and Diet: The primary prey of this cat is large rodents, amphibians and insects, birds, small reptiles and small ungulates. They have also been found to prey on larger animals like wild pig, sambar deer, and young calves of domestic water buffalo.

afrgoldencat.bmp (333954 bytes)Principal Threats: Deforestation and hunting for its pelt and bones. Livestock depredation has also been an issue.

Status: CITES: Appendix I. IUCN: Indeterminate.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book

Voice talent by Bonnie-Jean Creais 2006

 

 

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