Description The African golden cat is a medium-sized cat with either a reddish-brown and greyish color, and more rarely black. The coat can be spotted or plain. Cats from West Africa tended to be more spotted than those from East-Central Africa. The white underbelly is consistently marked with large black spots. Despite a striking external similarity to the Asian golden cat, many authorities believe that the two species are not closely related. The African golden cat has never been studied and little is known of its behavior. It is reported to be primarily nocturnal and to rest in trees during the day. Some daylight activity has also been noted. Overall, the African Golden Cat resembles the Caracal, but has shorter ears.
Size This cat is 2-3 times bigger than a house cat. Body length usually varies 61-100 cm (24-40 inches) with a tail length of 16-46 cm (6.5-18 inches), and shoulder height is about 38-55 cm (about 1-2 feet). Adult males weigh 11-14 kg (24-31 lbs). The only recorded weight of a wild female is 6.2 kg, but this was probably an immature animal.
Habitat The primary habitat of the African golden cat is the moist forest zone of Equatorial Africa. Golden cats can penetrate savannah grasslands along belts of riverine forest, and so their distribution probably extends beyond the moist forest zone. Golden cats apparently adapt well to logged areas, as destruction of the canopy favors the dense secondary undergrowth with which they are often associated. Edge environments generally contain higher rodent densities, and may thus be preferred. However, primary forest with minimal human disturbance is the golden cat’s fundamental habitat. The golden cat has been recorded at elevations up to 3,600 m in Uganda, and in Kenya’s Aberdare mountains.
Diet It may hunt in trees to some extent, but probably catches most of its prey on the ground. Diets are known to include large and small rodents. monkeys, birds, fish and small ungulates. Although there have been reports of predation on domestic animals, including chickens, goats and sheep, such predation appears to be rare.
Breeding Following a gestation period of 75 days, one or two kittens are born. These cats live up to about 15 years in captivity, but their lifespan in the wild is unknown.