African Golden Cat
African Golden Cat





The African Golden Cat is a medium-sized wild cat. It is a close relative of both the caracal and the serval, but current classification places it as the only member of the genus Profelis.


The African golden cat has variable fur color, typically ranging from cinnamon or reddish-brown to grey, although melanistic forms also exist. It can be either spotted, with the spotting ranging from faded tan to heavy black in color, or not spotted at all. Its undersides and areas around the eyes, cheeks, chin, and throat are generally lighter in color and may be almost white. Its tail is darker on the top and may be heavily banded, lightly banded, or plain, although it always ends in a black tip. Those cats in the western parts of its range tend to have heavier spotting than those in the eastern areas. Two color morphs, a red and a grey phase, were once thought to indicate separate species, rather than variations of the same species.

The African golden cats is about twice the size of a domestic cat. Its rounded head is very small in relation to its body size. It is a heavily built cat, with stocky, long legs, a relatively short tail, and large paws. Body length usually varies within the range 61 to 101 cm (24 to 40 in). Tail length ranges from 16 to 46 cm (6.3 to 18.1 in), and shoulder height is about 38 to 55 cm (15 to 22 in). The cat weighs around 5.5 to 16 kg (12 to 35 lb), with males being larger than females.

Overall, the African golden cat resembles the caracal, but has shorter untufted ears, a longer tail, and a shorter, more rounded face. They have brown eyes and small, rounded ears.


The African golden cat inhabits tropical forests from sea level to 3,000 m (9,800 ft). It prefers dense, moist forest with heavy undergrowth, and is often found close to rivers, but it may also be found in cloud forest, bamboo forests, and high moorland habitats.


It mainly feeds on rodents, but also includes birds, small monkeys, duikers, giant forest hogs, and small antelope in its diet. These cats have also been known to take domestic poultry and livestock.


Due to its extremely reclusive habits, little is known about the behavior of African golden cats. They are solitary animals, and are normally crepuscular or nocturnal, although they have also been observed hunting during the day, depending on the availability of local prey.