Black-footed Cat Physical Characteristics

SIZE The Black-footed Cat is one of the smallest cat species in the world, less than half the size of an average domestic cat. Males are larger than females.

BODY The Black-footed Cat is very similar looking to a long-haired domestic cat, and has a short thin tapering tail. It has a large broad head relative to its small body and often flattens its ears. The short tail has black rings and a black tip. The pads of the feet are black (which is where the species name comes from) and have long black hairs. The hairs help silence the approach of the cat, as well as protecting its feet from the heat of the ground.

COAT The coat is pale and has numerous small dark spots all over it. The spots sometimes join to form stripes or bars, especially on the legs. The coat pattern is unique for each cat and can be used to identify individuals. The base colour ranges from reddish-fawn in the southern parts of its range to much paler in the northern drier regions.

Black-footed Cat Physical Characteristics
Black-footed Cat Physical Characteristics
Image Credit: Black-footed cat, showing black feet
© Chris Harvey / www.ardea.com
Image Source ARKive with permission
Black-footed Cat Facial Characteristics
Black-footed Cat Facial Characteristics
Image Credit: Black-footed cat
© Anthony Bannister / www.photoshot.com
Image Source ARKive with permission

 

Black-footed Cat Facial Characterstics

HEAD The face has a typical domestic cat appearance with diagonal black lines running the outer corner of each eye across the cheeks. The chin and throat are white and there are two or three distinct dark bands on the chest.

The plain ears are slightly rounded and the same base colour as the rest of the body. When stalking or threatened, the ears are flattened to keep a low profile.

 

AGE In the wild - less than 8 years. In captivity - up to 16 years.