Asian Golden Cat
The Asian golden cat, also known as Temminck's cat, ranges from the southern edge of the Himalayas south to Malaya and Sumatra. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, gold, gray, or black. One subspecies is spotted, like a leopard cat. The golden cat feeds on small to medium sized mammals, including rabbits, deer, sheep, and goats. Although scientists know little about this cat, it figures prominently in Asian folklore. One legend says that a single hair from the golden cat will protect the bearer from tigers.
Zoological name: Catopuma temminckii , or Profelis temminckii , or Felis temminckii.
Species: Catopuma, along with the Bornean bay cat which is said to be an island version of Temmincks cat (Wozencraft 1993). The African golden cat has been separated from these two species and is now the sole representative of the genus Profelis. All of these cats are otherwise classified as Felis.
Three subspecies of Temmincks golden cat are described:
- F. (C.) t. temmincki (Nepal to Malaysia and Indo-China )
- F. (C.) t. dominicanorum (Southern China )
- F. (C.) t. tristis (Fontainier's cat; Tibet and northern Burma )
Fontainiers cat is very heavily patterned in comparison to the other two subspecies and because of this it was regarded for a long time as a variety of the leopard cat.
Presence on the planet: Found in southeast Asia from Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, Assam, Sichuan, Yunnan, Thailand and Malaysia down to Sumatra, Temmincks golden cat lives in deciduous and tropical rain forests, and occasionally more open habitats. It is said to like wooded areas interspersed with rocky tracts. In parts of China it is known as Shilului, the Rock cat, and has been found as high as 2,000 metres.
Habitat: The habitat of the golden cat is generally dense tropical and sub-tropical forest although in the Himalayas the cat can be found at altitudes up to 10,000 feet.
Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of approximately 80 days, a litter of 1-3 kittens is born, with 1 being the average. Newborns weigh approximately 8.75 ounces at birth. Eyes open around 9 days and they are weaned at around 6 months. They reach sexual maturity around 18-24 months for females, and around 2 years for males.
Diet: The primary prey of this cat is small to mid-sized mammals consisting of tree hyraxes, large and small rodents, small antelope, and birds. It was also found that fallen, injured monkeys and scavenged eagle kills are an important part of this cats diet. It is mainly nocturnal and crepuscular, and hunts using the stalk and rush method.
IUCN status: The IUCN Red List has the Asiatic golden cat as Near Threatened. The Asiatic golden cat is widely reported as uncommon and threatened by deforestation. Major threats also include hunting for their pelt and bones. Their meat is considered a delicacy and the whole animal is often roasted on a spit. The bones are then sometimes ground into a powder to be given to children for fevers. Livestock predation, which usually leads to persecution, has also been reported. Although they are reported to be decreasing in India and Indonesia, no factual information is known of their status in the wild.
Life span: 18 years
The rock cat!
The Asian golden cat is a nocturnal forest dweller, preferring deciduous and tropical rainforest, and occasionally more open areas with rocky tracts. In parts of China they are known as the rock cat. They are found from Nepal and northeast India through southeast Asia, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Sumatra. Unlike the African cat however, the Asian species is considered to be more abundant throughout their range.