Conservation Status– Near threatened
The name golden cat is not entirely true as they can have different coloured coats including red, golden-brown, dark brown, pale cinnamon, grey and black. These cats exhibits stripes and spots in some regions while in others they just have a plain coloured coat. The face has white lines running across the cheeks and from the insides of the eyes over the top of the head. On the underside and the insides of the legs they have white fur.
The Asian golden cat measures 75-105cm (29.5-43.1in) from the head to the base of the tail. The tail measures 40 to 55cm (15.7-21.7in). Golden cats weigh in at between 6 and 15kgs (13.2-33lbs).
The Asian golden cat is known to live for up to 20 years.
Asian golden cats are purely carnivorous. They are opportunistic feeders taking whatever food they can find. Favoured foods include ground squirrels, muntjacs, small snakes, rodents, birds, hares, reptiles. Reports have also been made of golden cats eating large animals such as wild pig, sambar deer and the calves of buffalo.
These cats are found in Asia. They can be found throughout China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Sumatra, Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Thailand, Vietnam and on the Malay Peninsula.
Forested spaces which feature regular rocky spaces are the favoured habitat of the Asian Golden Cat. Golden cats have also been spotted in bamboo forests, scrub and grasslands.
The Asian golden cat is able to breed every 39 days. While they have no set breeding season there is a trend that they don’t breed from April-June. Females begin to increase their scent marking around this time and interact more with males. When they find a male to mate with they adopt a receptive posture and the male knows she is ready. The males will bite her on the back and then mating will begin.
81 days after a successful mating 1 to 3 cubs are born. The cubs are born furless but do have the markings of an adult. The eyes are opened after 6 to 12 days. There is evidence to suggest that these young are raised in the hollows of trees. After six months they babies stop drinking milk. By 12 months they are independent and moving about on their own. Females mature sometime after they are 18 months old. Males mature after 2 years.
These cats are solitary in the wild only coming together for mating.
Once thought to be nocturnal it is now believed that Asian golden cats are crepuscular and diurnal. Their activity appears to peak in the early morning and late afternoon.
The only known predator of the Asian golden cat is humans.
Asiatic golden cats are adept climbers but they seem to spend the majority of their time on the ground.
When eating larger birds in captivity the Asian golden cat has been seen plucking them.
Asian golden cats communicate using scent marking, raking trees and logs using their claws, urine spraying along with rubbing their head on objects.
The Asian golden cat is also known as the “fire tiger” or “Temminck’s golden cat.”
In some regions of Asia it is believed that the fur of the Asian golden cat can drive away a tiger.
Some people believe that when crushed up the bones of an Asian golden cat can drive away fever.
Top – By Sakurai Midori (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Map – Public Domain
Bottom – By Karen Stout (originally posted to Flickr as Asian Golden cat) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons