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Small Cats (Felinae): A - E
Small Cats (A - E) | Small Cats (F - M) | Small Cats (O - S) | Big Cats | How Cats Purr
Image Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
Small Cats (A - E) | Small Cats (F - M) | Small Cats (O - S) | Big Cats | How Cats Purr
African Golden (Tiger) Cat (Profelis aurata) African Golden (Tiger) Cat Profelis aurata Africa
This highly secretive cat is about twice the size of a domestic cat with two distinct color variations: chestnut-red/fawn and silvery/dark slate-grey, of which the grey phase is often called the silver cat. Not much is known about this cat, but many reports suggest that golden cat is a solitary and crepuscular (active during dawn and dusk) hunter. However, sightings of a golden cat stalking the mainly diurnal black-fronted duika in South West Uganda suggest that the cat may also be active during daylight hours in parts of its range.
Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus jacobitus) Andean Mountain Cat Leopardus jacobitus South America
The Andean mountain cat is also known as Andean Highland Cat or Mountain Cat. It is slightly larger than a big domestic cat, growing up to 24 inches in length, weighing in at about 12 pounds (5.5 kg). Its long tail measures 17 inches (42 cm), around 70% of its body length. It is one of the least known and rarest of all felines; almost all that is known about it comes from a few observations in the wild and from skins.
Asian Golden Cat (Catopuma temmincki) Asiatic Golden Cat Catopuma temminckii Southeast Asia
The Asiatic golden cat, often referred to as the Asian Golden cat and Temminck's golden cat, shares its name and certain aspects of its coloration and markings with the African golden cat, but it's a separate species altogether. It is a medium-sized cat measuring about 36 inches (90 cm) in length with a 20-inch (50 cm) tail and weighing in between 26 - 35 pounds (12 - 16 kg). This well-proportioned cat is about twice the size of a domestic cat. It has a strikingly beautiful appearance, with short, rounded ears and foxy red or golden brown coat that fades to white on its underside. The coat is usually plain and unmarked. But, some subspecies may have spots and/or stripes, and black (melanistic) or grey color variants may also be found.

The Asiatic golden cat lives throughout Southeast Asia, ranging from Tibet and Nepal to Southern China, India, and Sumatra in deciduous, subtropical evergreen, and tropical rainforests. It is said that the Asiatic golden cat prefers wooded areas interspersed with rocky tracts, but you'll occasionally see them in more open habitats. Although this cat can climb well, it mainly hunts on the ground during the day where it seeks game of all types up to the size of small deer.
Bay (Bornean Red) Cat (Catopuma badia) Bay (Bornean Red) Cat Catopuma badia Asia
The nocturnal Bay Cat, also known as the Bornean Cat, Bornean Red Cat or Bornean Bay Cat, is a small, slender cat with an exceptionally long tail. It measures around 22 inches (55 cm) in length with a tail length of 14 inches (35 cm), and it only weighs about 5-10 pounds (2.3-4.5 kg). It comes in two different color variations: chestnut red with faint spots on the paler underside and limbs and white markings on the head and chin (more common) and grey. The paler underparts have dark spots and the forehead and cheeks are marked with pale lines. They have unusual teeth in the respect that the first upper premolar is reduced in size.

The bay cat is found only on the small Indonesian island of Borneo where it inhabits limestone rock that borders forests and in the jungles. It is one of the rarest cats in the world, and very little is known about it. Scientists aren't even sure of its diet. Scientists believe that the bay cat probably eats small mammals, monkeys, birds and carrion (dead animals).
Black-Footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Black-footed Cat Felis nigripes Africa
The nocturnal black-footed cat, also known as the ant-hill tiger, or little spotted cat, is the smallest of the African felids. It only weighs 2.9-3.5 pounds (1.3-1.6 kg), with males being one third larger than females. It's about 14-21 inches (36-52 cm) long and about 10 inches (25 cm) high at the shoulder. Despite its diminutive size, the black-footed cat is extremely fierce. This little cat eats a lot, too. It eats about 1/6 its average body weight. Because the black-footed cat is so small, it is vulnerable to predation, so it takes cover in Springhare (Pedetes capensis) burrows, under rock slabs and shrubs, and within hollow termite mounds at the slightest disturbance.

As their name suggests, the black-footed cats have black markings on their paws and the soles of their feet. Their fur is yellowish brown with black bars extending across their shoulders, legs, and on their short tail.
Bobcat (Felis rufus)
Bobcat Felisrufus North America
The name bobcat probably originated from its short tail, which is only 6-7 inches (11-19 cm) long. On average, bobcats measure 17-23 inches (45-58 cm) in height, 25-41 inches (65-105 cm) in length and weigh 10-28 pounds (4-15 kg). The bobcat's fur color ranges from light grey to reddish brown, But, albino (blue-eyed white) and leucistic (dark-eyed white) bobcats have also been found. It has black spots on the legs and black markings on the face. Its black ear tufts and ruff are less prominent than those of the Lynx, and its short tail lacks a black tip.

Although the bobcat and Canadian lynx share some of the same territory, the bobcat is perhaps more closely related to the Eurasian and Spanish lynx. The bobcat is somewhat smaller than the Canadian lynx, but more aggressive, having displaced the Canadian lynx in some areas where their territories meet. The bobcat is found in almost all types of habitat. It ranges through all four American Southwest deserts, but favors rocky, brushy hillsides.
Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
Canadian Lynx Lynx canadensis Canada, Alaska and some parts of contiguous of U.S.
The name Lynx comes from the Greek word "to shine," and may be in reference to the reflective ability of the cat's eyes. The diurnal Canadian Lynx is closely related to the Eurasian lynx, but is considerably smaller - about half the size. But, it's larger than the bobcat, averaging 24 pounds (11 kg) in weight, 36 inches (90 cm) in length and an approximate height of 24 inches (60 cm) at the shoulder. The Canadian lynx can be found in forested regions of Canada and the more northern states of the USA. Its fur is usually white tipped, giving it a frosted appearance, and is only indistinctly spotted.
Caracal (Caracal caracal) Caracal Caracal caracal Africa, Asia
The Caracal resembles the Eurasian Lynx, and for a long time it was considered a close relative of the lynxes. However, recent DNA research has shown that the Caracal is actually related to the Serval. The Caracal gets it name - karakulak, Turkish for "black ear" from its characteristic long, tufted black ears--the tufts are about 2 inches long. Twenty muscles in each ear help locate prey, and the tufts help pinpoint it. The caracal ranges throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian peninsula in arid country like woodland, savannah, steppes and acacia scrub, but not in rainforest or desert. They are agile climbers and have been known to take their prey up a tree to keep it from being stolen.
Chinese Desert Cat (Felis bieti) Chinese Mountain Cat Felis bieti Asia
The nocturnal Chinese mountain cat, also known as the pale cat and the grass cat, is very closely related to the wildcat (Felis silvestris) and the jungle cat (Felis chaus). The Chinese mountain cat is larger than a domestic cat, is thickset and is robust with a heavy coat. It is 27-33 inches (68.5-84 cm) long and has an 11.5-16 inch (29-40 cm) long tail. It weighs 10-20 pounds (4.5-9 kg). The Chinese mountain cat has sand-colored fur with a whitish underside and black rings on the legs and tail. In addition there are pallid vertical stripes, which may be hard to see. It has short ear tufts, and the soles of its feet are covered with thick mats of fur.

Because of its sand-colored fur, the Chinese mountain cat used to also be known as the Chinese desert cat or pale desert cat, but because is rarely found in the true deserts, those names were determined to be misidentifications. The Chinese mountain cat actually inhabits sparsely-wooded forests and shrub lands in the steppe and mountain regions of south-western China and north-eastern Mongolia.
Colocolo (Leopardus colocolo) Colocolo Leopardus colocolo South America
Little is known about the colocolo, a small striped cat native to western central South America. The cat is only 22-28 inches (550-770 mm) long, and weighs only 6.6-15.5 pounds (3-7 kg). The fur color ranges from grey to yellow to dark brown and is covered with dark brown stripes.
Domestic Cat (Felis catus)
Domestic Cat Felis silvestris catus Worldwide
Domestic cats are members of the Felidae family that have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years. The ancient Egyptian domestic cat, which spread to Europe in historic times, was used as a retriever in hunting as well as for catching rats and mice. The domestic cat is a subspecies of the European wild cat. It was probably derived from African wildcats (F. silvestris.lybica), which is one of the three groups of European wild cat. Domestic cats are skilled predators known to hunt over 1,000 species for food and for fun. Domestic cats use vocalizations, including mewing, purring, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking, and grunting. The natural life span of a domestic cat is about 15 years.
Eurasian (Northern) Lynx (Lynx lynx) Eurasian (Northern) Lynx Lynx lynx Europe, Asia, North America
The Eurasian Lynx (also known as the Northern or Siberian lynx) is the biggest of the lynxes, ranging in length from 32 to 51 inches (80 to 130 cm) and standing about 28 inches (70 cm) at the shoulder. Males usually weigh from 39.7 to 66 pounds (18-30 kg) and females weigh about 40 pounds (18.1 kg). The Eurasian lynx has relatively long legs, and large feet for more efficient travel through deep snow. There are three main coat patterns: predominantly spotted, predominantly striped, and unpatterned. But, all have short, black-tipped tails, a large ruff around their faces and long, black ear tufts. The Eurasian lynx can be found in forest and scrubland regions of western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Mongolia, Manchuria, Iran, Iraq, and Asia minor. It is a nocturnal hunter that eats a variety of mammals, but prefers deer up to the size of small ungulates. Eurasian lynxes almost never run but are tireless walkers. They pursue their prey by following scent trails. Their other strategies are lying in wait on a branch to drop on passing prey, or ambushing their victims.
Wildcat (Felis sylvestris) European Wild Cat Felis sylvestris Europe, Africa, Asia
There are three main groups of European wild cat:
  1. The African wild cat (F. silvestris.lybica - Lybica group), found throughout Africa (excluding Western African rainforest) and the Middle East. These are generally lightered colored than the European wild cat and have two main colors: steely grey (found in forested regions) and greyish tan (found in more arid regions). African wild cats eat rodents, insects, birds and small mammals.
  2. The European wild cat (F. silvestris.silvestris - Silvestris group) found in coniferous and deciduous woodlands throughout Europe (excluding Scandinavia). These haver thicker, darker fur than the African wild cats. The fur is slate grey to mid brown, with dark tabby markings. European wild cats have broader heads than modern domestic cats and blunt-ended tails. European wild cats eat small rodents such as the wood mouse, pine vole, water vole and shrew, while the Scottish subspecies tends to feed more on rabbits and hares. They will also eat birds, small reptiles and insects.
  3. The Indian wild cat (F.silvestris.ornata - Ornata group) inhabits semi-desert and steppe regions of the Middle East, India, Russia and China. The ones living in the eastern parts of their range tend to be smaller. The fur on Indian wild cats is a light sandy ground color with brown broken stripe markings (rather than true spots), which sometimes converge into stripes along their backs.
European wild cat species include the African wild cat, Indian wild cat, Scottish wild cat (pictured to the left) and domestic cat, a subspecies of the European wild cat. Like other small cats, European wild cats are solitary except during mating season. All European wild cats cats have five toes on the front feet and four on the back with retractable claws. They all also have 30 teeth. Females have four pairs of mammae.