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Black-footed Cat

Black-footed Cat
Felis nigripes


Felidae – Cat family

Conservation Status:

Vulnerable – IUCN

Endangered – U.S. Endangered Species List


Black-footed cats are found only in three countries of southern Africa: Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.


The black-footed cat inhabits steppe and savannah habitats, such as the Kalahari and Karoo deserts. It requires sparse shrub and tree cover in which to hunt, and burrows or hollowed-out termite mounds in which to spend their day.


These tiny predators use their camouflage, small body size, and the cover of darkness to conceal themselves from their prey and predators, and therefore are rarely seen by humans.

The black-footed cat is the smallest wild cat in Africa. They weigh from 2 ½ -4 ½ lbs. The body length is approximately 19-24” and the shoulder height is around 9”. The coat varies from cinnamon buff to tawny, and is patterned with black or brown oblong spots, offering effective camouflage. These spots merge into bars extending over the shoulders, legs and short tail. The broad skull has prominent rounded ears and very large eyes. The name of this cat comes from the black soles of the cat’s feet.

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