African Golden Cat Fact Sheet

Common Name:

African Golden Cat

Scientific Name:

Caracal aurata

Wild Status:



Dense forest


West Central Africa



Life Span:


13-31 lbs; Height: 20"; Body Length: 34-37"; Tail Length: 10-14"

Cool Facts:

  • The African Golden Cat is one of the least known and studied cats in Africa.
  • This species tends to be more active when Leopards are least active because leopards are known to prey on them.
  • Their main diet consist of small rodents but it also feeds on birds, primates, hyraxes, and bats.
  • The African Golden Cat has been known for almost 200 years but was only every first photographed in 2002.
  • African Golden Cats have been observed in elevations up to 3,600 m in Uganda.


The African Golden Cat is a small-medium sized cat. There are two main color forms, chestnut and silver/slate gray. Their bellies are whitish and the dark patterns vary by location and individual. Some individuals can exhibit dark patterns on the belly, inner legs, back, neck, and sometimes all over their body. The African Golden Cat's tail has a black stripe on the upper side and ends in a dark tip. Their tail is sometimes banded. This species' head is relatively small. and small rounded ears rest near the back of the head. They are black on the backside. Eye color ranges from green to a golden brown and white patches of fur surround the outside of the eye.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Suborder: Feliformia Family: Felidae Subfamily: Felinae Genus: Caracal Species: C. aurata

Conservation & Helping:

The African Golden Cat is listed at Vulnerable in the IUCN Red list. Their range has been reduced by 44%. They are forest-dependent animals so they are particularly vulnerable to forest destruction and human impact. They are also often victims to snare traps used for the bushmeat trade. While there are laws placed to help protect their population, enforcement is lacking. With continued road construction through the Forests in Africa, it is believed the bushmeat trade will have easier access to deeper parts of the forest. While they are not specifically sought our in the bushmeat trade, the lack of enforcement will not keep them safe.  

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