African Golden Cat Physical Characteristics

SIZE The African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) is one of the three medium sized African cats, on average being smaller than the Caracal and heavier (but not taller) than the Serval. African Golden Cats are robustly built and weigh between 8 and 16kgs.

BODY The African Golden Cat has a stocky build with muscular legs and large paws. The relatively short tail has a dark line along the top, may have some bands and ends in a dark tip.

Unique among the cat species, the fur has a distinctive ridge along the shoulders where it changes direction to lie forward. This pattern extends along the neck to the top of the head.  

COAT The African Golden Cat's coat is one of the most variable among the cat species, ranging from reddish to grey. Spotting can occur at various densities and shades, or there may be no spots at all. The underside of the cat is pale to white, often with large blotches.

Melanistic and partially black cats have been recorded.

African Golden Cat Physical Characteristics
African Golden Cat Physical Characteristics
Image Credit: African golden cat, camera trap image
© Laila Bahaa-el-din / Panthera
Image Source ARKive with permission
African Golden Cat Facial Characteristics
African Golden Cat Facial Characteristics
Image Credit: African golden cat portrait
© Terry Whittaker / www.flpa-images.co.uk
Image Source ARKive with permission

African Golden Cat Facial Characteristics

HEAD The rounded head of the African Golden Cat has a heavy muzzle and is relatively small compared to the stocky body. The face has few markings, just some white patches around the eyes, mouth and lower jaw which extend down the chin and neck.

The small ears are black on the back like the Caracal's however there are no ear tufts.

 

AGE In the wild - unknown. In captivity - up to 12 years.