Black-Footed Cat

Black-Footed Cat Felis nigripes

Type of Animal:

Scrub desert, desert, semi-desert, sandy plains, grassy plains, dry open scrubland, arid/semiarid scrub, savanna, steppe, open sandy grassy areas w/ sparse scrub & tree cover, shrubland w/ short grasses/low bush cover/scattered clumps of low bush & higher grasses, grassland, scrub forest, open terrain near rocky outcrops, dense thickets, found from sea level all the way to 6,561.68 ft

Southern Africa

Smallest cat in Africa, tawny coloration w/ black spots/stripes, head darker than rest of body but paler above eyes, pale off-white lining ears/eyes/mouth, black to dark brown foot soles, banded black tip tail, black streaking running from eyes along cheeks

Small mammals, birds up to size of bustards, arachnids, insects, reptiles, eggs, amphibians, carrion

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife centers. Field research in natural habitat.


Additional Info:

Male: Tom
Female: Queen
Young: Kitten
Group: Solitary
Male: 3.5-5.4 lbs
Female: 2.4-3.6 lbs
Young: 1.2 lbs

8-9 weeks 

Life Span:
8 years in wild, 10-15 years in captivity

Male: 10 in
Female: 8 in

Body Length:
Male: 1.391-1.641 ft
Female: 1.108-1.208 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 5.9-7.9 in
Female: 6.2-6.7 in

Main predators are caracals, jackals, domestic/feral dogs, domestic/feral cats, hyenas, raptors, & snakes.
Threatened due to indirect poisoning, habitat loss/degradation, overgrazing, loss of prey, & diseases from domestic cats & dogs.
Active at night (nocturnal).
Kittens leave mom at 4-5 months old w/ females maturing at 7 months & males at 8 months.
These cats are very shy & elusive.
Utilize 3 hunting styles-fast hunts involving moving in swift bounds while flushing prey, slow hunts involving snake-like winding between grass tufts, & sit-and-wait where they station themselves in certain area waiting for prey.
Females only come into heat 1-2 days per breeding season (they usually have 2 breeding seasons) & are only sexually receptive for a few hours during heat cycle.
They have excellent eyesight & hearing.
1 male territory has 1-4 female territories within.

Fun Fact(s):
While very small, these cats can be highly aggressive & temperamental.
African legends have claimed these tiny cats can bring down giraffes by leaping onto their necks. While this specific legend is untrue, these cats are highly tenacious & fierce.
These cats have a 60% hunting success rate-highest of any feline species.
Sometimes called Anthill Tigers due to habit of denning in/near termite mounds/ant hills.
Excellent jumpers able to catch birds in air (up to 4.7 ft high).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *