Black-Footed Cat: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Black-Footed Cat Fact File

The black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) is a wild cat species that is found living in savannas and deserts in southern Africa.

Originating from Thailand in the 1800s, these cats are small cats, and the males are known to be heavier than females. They are carnivorous and their diet consists of rodents, birds, and small mammals. This species is known to be very aggressive and even preys on bigger mammals, and the jackals generally hunt them. According to the IUCN Red List, these animals are currently Vulnerable and can become an Endangered species with less than 10,000 mature individuals left. They are mostly found in Southern Africa. These nocturnal animals are known to mate during the winters and give birth to kittens in summers or spring after a gestation period of 68 days. The population decrease over the years has been caused due to various reasons like habitat loss and poisoning by humans.

If you liked reading about these facts about the black-footed cat, you could also check out oncilla facts and Andean mountain cat facts.

Black-Footed Cat

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small birds, rodents, invertebrates

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-4 cubs

How much do they weigh?

2.8-4.1 lb (1.3-1.9 kg)

How long are they?

Body length: 14-20 inches (35–52 cm)

How tall are they?

9.8 in (25 cm)

What do they look like?

Black, brown, golden, gray, white

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans, habitat loss

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Savanna, deserts, scrublands


Namibia, Botswana, South Africa





Scientific Name

Felis nigripes





Black-Footed Cat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black-footed cat?

Black-footed cats are a wild cat species that is found in Southern Africa.

What class of animal does a black-footed cat belong to?

The black-footed cats belong to the class of Mammalia.

How many black-footed cats are there in the world?

The black-footed cats are Vulnerable and on the verge of becoming Endangered. According to IUCN, the total population is estimated to be around 13,867, and only 9,707 of them are mature individuals.

Where does a black-footed cat live?

Black-footed cats are generally found living in savannas and deserts in countries from South Africa like Botswana. These are generally seen living in termite mounds and prey on rodents and birds.

What is a black-footed cat's habitat?

The black-footed cat's habitat ranges from regions like savannas to deserts, and they depend on rodents and birds for food. This species is found in Southern Africa and lives in burrows or termite mounds.

Who do black-footed cats live with?

The black-footed cats are generally solitary animals, but the females are known to live with the kittens in burrows during the breeding season.

How long does a black-footed cat live?

The black-footed cats are animals that live in burrows and are known to have a big lifespan of about ten years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The mating season of the black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) is during the winter, and females give birth during summers and spring. After having a gestation period of about two months (68 days), the kittens are born. The mating or reproduction is generally quite weird as the male is known to overlap the range of one to four females. Nevertheless, the females take care of the kittens, and the kittens become sexually mature at the age of nine months.

What is their conservation status?

The current conservation status of the black-footed cat as per the IUCN is Vulnerable and on the verge of becoming Endangered. According to the IUCN, there are less than 10,000 mature individuals left across the world. IUCN claims that poisoning due to overgrazing by livestock and habitat loss has been the major reasons for the population loss of these wild cats.

Black-Footed Cat Fun Facts

What does the black-footed cat look like?

The black-footed cat is a very aggressive cat and has big greyish-brown eyes, which help them hunt in the dark.

This vulnerable cat is one of the smallest cat species and has a short tail and ears. The body is generally covered with patterns of brown or black spots. They are generally golden-brown in color and have big grayish-brown eyes.

How cute are they?

The black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) has small ears and a cute little tail which makes this cat one of the cutest cats. Their kittens are the most adorable.

How do they communicate?

They communicate via loud calls, purrs, gurgles, growls, and hisses like all other cats.

How big is a black-footed cat?

Their weight is 2.8-4.1 lb (1.3-1.9 kg), and their length is 14-20 inches (35–52 cm).

These are some of the smallest wild cats that are almost half the size of jackals. However, they are about five times larger than common mice in length.

How fast can a black-footed cat run?

The black-footed cat's running speed is expected to be around 21 mph (35 kph) during the night when they search for food. As they have less weight, they are very fast and active cat species.

How much does a black-footed cat weigh?

The black-footed cat weighs around 2.8-4.1 lb (1.3-1.9 kg). The weight of males is generally more than that of females.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names for the black-footed cat.

What would you call a baby black-footed cat?

A baby black-footed cat is generally referred to as a kitten, just like other cat babies.

What do they eat?

These are one of the smallest wild cat species that are found in the wild. They are known to hunt or prey on various small mammals like rodent species, birds, and even many invertebrates. The black-footed cat population has been decreasing over the years, and one of the reasons for that is the jackals. The jackals prey on black-footed cats in the wild. These animals are carnivores, so their diet generally includes other creatures.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, these are the smallest wild cat species that are found hunting in the night or dark in their territories. They are known to attack mammals and birds that are bigger in size too. These animals are extremely dangerous and make multiple kills a day. They have jackals as their main predators who hunt in their territories if found off guard. They can even be capable of killing a human being.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these wild cats that are found in African countries do not make good pets as they are called wildcats for a reason. They are very aggressive and stay in their territories most of the time. They are generally seen hunting during the night and depend on birds and small mammals for food. Keeping them as pets is not at all a good idea as they are wild cats and are very aggressive in behavior. The kittens of this Vulnerable cat species are cute, but one can only imagine how much harm they can cause once they're adults.

Did you know...

The African wildcat species, known as one of the most aggressive cats in the world, are also the world's smallest cat species, along with the rusty-spotted cat. These wildcats love hunting and are known to kill almost 14 small animals in the dark or during the night.

How high can a black-footed cat jump?

These nocturnal wild cats from Africa are aggressive and are often seen hunting for their diet at night. Their population is small in size and length, but they even dare to attack mammals bigger than them. They can jump for about 1.4 m (4.7 ft) at their best.

What is the meanest cat in the world?

Siamese cats are the meanest cats in the world. Though this cat species is the most famous and cutest, they are also popularly known as the meanest cat species living on the planet. This cat species was exported from Thailand in the late 1800s and is known to be one of the most energetic cat species in the world.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our Saki monkey facts and Tonkinese cat facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable black footed cat coloring pages.



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