The Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) is the second smallest cat species in the world and the smallest African cat, weighing a maximum of only 2.5 kgs. The coat is covered with small dark spots and the cat has a short face similar to domestic cats.

The Black-footed Cat is named after the black undersides of its feet and it is also called the Small Spotted Cat after its tiny size and spotted coat.

In Afrikaans (South Africa) the cat is called a miershooptier, which means "Anthill Tiger", as it often makes its den in abandoned termite mounds (ant hills) and has a ferocious demeanour.

The Black-footed Cat lives in the semi-arid regions of southern Africa and obtains all its moisture from its food, requiring minimal to no drinking water.

Image: Black-footed Cat by Gerald Hinde from the book Cats of Africa with permission.

 

UNIQUE FACTS

*  Smallest African cat  *

*  Endemic to Southern Africa  *

*  No drinking water  *

 

 


IUCN Status Vulnerable

 


Black-Footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Fact Sheet

NAME & STATUS

Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Fact SheetCommon Names

Black-footed Cat

Small Spotted Cat

Scientific Name

Felis nigripes

Subspecies

None (2018)

IUCN Red List Status

VU Vulnerable (2018)

IUN Status Vulnerable

IDENTIFICATION
Black-footed Cat Characteristics

Appearance

Half size domestic cat

Similar looking domestic cat

Coat

Body - small black spots

Legs - stripes, Soles - black

Tail - rings, black tip

Head

Broad skull, diagonal facial lines

Ears - plain, slightly rounded

Black-footed Cat Characteristics

SIZE
Male Black-footed Cat

Weight

Males: 1.5 to 2.45 kg

Females: 1.0 to 1.6 kg

Head + Body Length

Males: 36.7 to 52.0 cm

Females: 35.3 to 41.5 cm

Tail Length

12 to 20 cm

Black-footed Cat Description

DISTRIBUTION
Black-Footed Cat Distribution Map

Range

Southern Africa:

South Africa

Botswana

Namibia

Habitat

Savanna - Dry

Grassland - Subtropical

Desert - Hot

Black-footed Cat Distribution

LIFE CYCLE

Black-footed Cat Life CycleGestation

63 - 68 days

Litter Size

1 - 2 kittens (max 4)

Sub-Adult

3 - 4 months

Maturity

Females 7 mths - Males 9 mths

Lifespan

8 yrs wild - 16 yrs captivity

Black-footed Cat Life Cycle

DIET / PREY

Black-footed Cat Hunting

Major to Minor by Weight

Mammals - small rodents

Small birds

Reptiles

Amphibians

Invertebrates

Scavenge - Yes

 

Hunting Success Rate

60%

 

BEHAVIOUR

Black-footed Cats at Den in Anthill

Activity

Solitary

Nocturnal

Territorial

Inhabits burrows or anthills

 

Avg Range Size

Females 8.6 km²

Males 16.1 km²

Density 16.7 cats / 100 km²

TAXONOMY

Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Fact Sheet

 Kingdom: Animalia

  Phylum: Chordata

   Class: Mammalia

    Order: Carnivora

    Suborder: Feliformia

     Family: Felidae

     Subfamily: Felinae

      GenusFelis

      SpeciesFelis nigripes

 

Black-footed Cat Classification
 

Video: Wildlife Wonder - Black-footed Cats by 5050 Community (10 mins)

Further Information about Black-footed Cats:


Black-footed Cat Videos