African Golden Cat

african golden cat

Conservation Status: Near-Threatened

Medium-sized African golden cats (Profelis aurata) are wild cats that live in the rainforests of West and Central Africa. The cat is listed as NEAR THREATENED on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

There has been very little research on this small cat, and not much is known about it.


African Golden Cat Resource Links:
Read about African golden cat conservation
Get African golden cat research

African Golden Cat Pictures


About the African Golden Cat

There are two African golden cat subspecies, the Profelis aurata aurata and the Profelis aurata celidogaster. The Profelis aurata aurata can be found from the Congo to Uganda, and the Profelis aurata celidogaster inhabits Western Africa. According to one study, this is the only cat on the continent of Africa to depend on forest habitat. Initially the cat was thought to be related to the Asiatic golden cat, but molecular research has determined the cat is related to the caracal.

African Golden Cat Range

African Golden Cat Physical Characteristics

African golden cats are approximately 31 inches long, with a 12 inch tail. Male cats are typically larger than female cats. The cat has a stocky build, with a head that is considerably smaller than its body. They generally weigh between 12 and 35 lbs.

African golden cats have fur that varies in color from golden-brown and red-brown to grey. The fur around their eyes, cheeks, chin, throat and underside is often lighter than the rest of their coat. Many of these cats are also spotted. It has also been reported the cat’s fur can change color due to factors such as age and environment. However, all of the cat’s various fur colors have been seen throughout its range.

Hunting & Prey

African golden cats hunt on the ground, but are also able to climb. They can live up to twelve years in captivity, but not much is known about their lifespan in the wild. The cats hunt and feed on rodents, blue duikers, birds, monkeys, hogs and antelope. They are also the prey of leopards.

Interesting Facts

  • African golden cats live in Africa in regions near the equator.
  • The cats are reclusive, small wild cats that can be found in tropical rainforests.Some cats also live in bamboo forests and moors.
  • Hunting and deforestation have caused an estimated 44% loss of the cat’s habitat.
  • The African golden cat is twice as large as domestic cats.
  • They have round, tufted ears.
  • Their fur can be golden, gray, red, sometimes black and also spotted.
  • African golden cats are nocturnal animals, with peak periods of activity in the early morning and evening.
  • Very little is known about the golden cat compared to other wild cats in Africa. Two studies of the cat are currently taking place in Uganda and Gabon.
  • Female African golden cats reach sexual maturity at approximately 11 months, and generally give birth to one or two kittens.

African Golden Cats in the News

101811 – Illuminating Africa’s Most Obscure Cat; An Interview with Laila Bahaa-el-din
090811 – Panthera Releases First Known Footage of Elusive African Golden Cat in Gabon

African Golden Cat Videos

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