The African Golden Cat

Scientific Name: Caracal aurata
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Weight: 11-36 pounds

Image Retrieved on Jan. 7, 2019 from


The African Golden Cat is a medium sized, solidly built cat with a medium length tail that reaches just below the hind heel. The head is relatively robust with a short face, heavy muzzle and rounded ears with greyish-black backs. Kittens are sometimes born with small tufts on the ears, however are lost within a few months and are not seen in adults. Background fur colour is highly variable but clusters into two distinct colour forms, reddish-brown and grey; both are highly variable ranging from sandy-brown to mahogany-brown, and silver grey to blue-grey. Spotting is also highly variable, ranging from large, rosette-like blotches to faint freckling or an abundance of markings altogether except on the underparts.


This is the most poorly known cat species in Africa, and the African Golden Cat’s diet is known largely from analyzing scat. The most important prey species are thought to be small mammals up to about 11lbs, primarily mice, rats, squirrels, and African Brush-tailed Porcupines as well as insectivores such as shrews and sengis. Small forest antelopes are also killed. The African Golden Cat also hunt tree pangolins and primates weighing under 13lbs. 


This is very poorly known in the wild. A single record of gestation from captivity was 75 days. Three litters born in captivity all numbered 2 kittens.  

Geographic Range

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