Saturday, May 24, 2014


The AFRICAN GOLDEN CAT (Profelis aurata) is a shy, solidly built cat inhabiting the forests of equatorial Africa.  They are so shy that no dens with kittens have been studied in the wild and very few have been raised in captivity making them difficult to research.  This cat frequently occupies the same territories as the Leopard, hence their common name "The Leopard's Brothers".  They are arboreal and have been seen in field studies resting on lower branches of trees during the day.  This striking animal is usually found in the rainforests, but they also inhabit drier woodlands as long as they are near water.  They are known to inhabit high mountainous areas up to 3,600 metres living in alpine moorlands, sub-alpine and bamboo forests.

These cats are typically found in two different colours - red or gray which were once thought to be two different species.  Their cheeks, chin, and under parts are whitish in colour with their belly and inner sides of limbs marked with a variable amount of dark spotting.  Body colouring ranges from chestnut through fawn to silver, with varying marking: spotted all over, spots on the back and neck, no patterns except on flanks. and no pattern except for their belly.  The African Golden Cat's head is realtively small sporting a large muzzle, with beautiful eye colouration with irises from green to golden brown; their ears are rounded with black backsides.  Melanistic individuals have been known to occur.  They grow to approximately 31 inches in length with a 12 inch tail.  They generally weigh between 12 and 35 lbs.  The males are typically larger than the females.

Their prey consists of rodents, monkey, duiker, hyrax, other small ungulates and a variety of birds usually taken by stalking and rushing at ground level.    They are known to scavenge other predator's kills.  They are also the prey of leopards.  Fortunately, these cats adapt well to logged areas which provide a dense secondary undergrowth which they favour.  This type of man-made 'edge environments' contain a high density of rodents.  However, primary forests without human disturbance is their optimal habitat.  They rank high in the local religious beliefs of the Cameroon pygmy tribesmen who carry their tail as a talisman to protect them when hunting elephants.  It is said that their fur is so valued for tribal robes, it is not usually traded by the indigenous people.  In fact, these cats are so prized by the locals, these same tribesmen will not reveal their location to researchers.

In Uganda's Bwindi National Park eradiction of the Leopard has left the African Golden Cat the dominant carnivorous predator in that area.  Hunting is prohibited in only 12 of this cat's 26 range countries at present.

Conservation Status:  Present Status and Population unknown.  African golden cats are currently protected under Apppendix II of CITES, Endangered Species Act.  Their main predators are man and larger carnivores occupying the same territory.

The majority of this information was obtained from while photos came from various sources.


  1. Fascinating post Mimsie, such a beautiful animal. When I looked at that first photo he reminded me very much of our mountain lion, the couger. Wishing you a great weekend :)

    1. I guess Denise all the wild cats, both large and small, have similar appearances. I too thought bobcat although of course I've never seen one in the flesh, only photographs or movies.
      Hope your weekend too is going well. : )

  2. Beautiful things. And I hope there are rather more of them than I suspect.

    1. They are indeed very beautiful. I too fear there may be less than thought although if the tribesmen won't give away their location, even to researchers, maybe they do their own protection of this ct which is so special to them. Hopefully they don't kill too many for their tails or their fur but make use of what they can obtain from cats that have died. I just wish there had been more information available but obviously there is not as I checked several websites.

  3. Hari OM
    Oh this brought back memories of a very exciting moment; when we lived in Nigeria (late '70s) we made a trip up to the Enugu in the far eastern hills bordering with Cameroon (part of 'Biafra') we were bush-walking and our lead boys got very excited. ... yup - a golden cat!!! They were experts at shouting in whispers..."NWAMBA EDO SAAB!!!"

    Such a fleeting glance we had, but it makes my heart beat to say I at least saw the tail of the vanishing critter... as EC says, let us pray their elusiveness is their saving. Thanks again Mimsie! YAM xx

  4. Oh Yam that must have been so terribly exciting for you. What a wonderful experience. You've had such a full life and have so many stories to tell.
    I too hope their elusiveness will help protect them for years to come it not forever.
    Glad you enjoyed this one. xxx

  5. I love the Big Cats, my favourite is the tiger, but these golden cats are gorgeous too. I hope they manage to breed enough so they don't become extinct.