The fur pattern of the African golden cat can vary significantly within and between regions. The fur color can be reddish-brown or greyish and can be spotted or plain. There are two color phases: chestnut-red/fawn and silvery/dark slate-grey, of which the grey phase is often called the silver cat. The throat, chest, and underside are white, and there are generally large dark spots on the belly. African golden cats have white patches around the eyes and on their cheeks. Golden cats east of the river Congo tend to have few markings whereas, in West Africa, they tend to be more spotted. In areas where melanistic golden cats have been recorded, they occur at a rate of about 5% of all individuals. The tail of the African golden cat is approximately one-third of its head-body length.
The African golden cat is about twice the size of a large domestic cat and is robustly built with a short tailThe African Golden Cat Profelis aurata remains an enigma in the cat world. About twice the size of a domestic cat, they are very sturdy, powerful animals, with stout, relatively short legs, and large paws. Its head is small relative to its body and its ears are rounded and untufted.
The African golden cat is endemic to the African tropical forest and occurs throughout equatorial Africa, from Senegal throughout the Congo Basin over to Uganda. However, there are no confirmed records from The Gambia, Togo or Benin. This indicates a possible separation of African golden cat populations between Western and Central Africa. In Kenya, a dead African golden cat was found in 2019 next to a road, which is the first confirmed record since 1946 from that country.
In Gabon, density estimates ranged from 3.8 individuals per 100 km² in a site with subsistence bushmeat hunting to 10.2–12.8 per 100 km² in two logging concessions and 16.2 per 100 km² in a protected area. Based on biogeographical patterns among other rainforest species, there are possibly two subspecies of the African golden cat. According to that Caracal aurata aurata are live in East and Central Africa as far west as the River Congo and Caracal aurata celidogaster are lives in West Africa, west of the River Congo
According to past studies of African golden cats in the Congo and the Central African Republic theier main prey is rodents (such as squirrels) and small duikers . Possibly it also preys on birds, hyraxes, bats, and primates. There is a report from western Uganda of a golden cat killing a red colobus monkey and of an individual stalking a Talapoin monkey on the territory at night in Gabon. The average weight of the African golden cat’s prey was evaluated in a study of the Democratic Republic of Congo to be 1.4 kg. In a study in the Central African Republic, mean prey weight was 3.6 kg, but with 52% of prey items weighing less than 1 kg. Predation on domestic sheep such as chickens, goats, and sheep, has been reported but appears to be rather rare.
Humans are the predators ( threats ) of African Golden Cats. African Golden Cats because the forest-dependent African golden cat is habitat loss and fragmentation through deforestation which points to a patchy habitat structure, especially in Eastern and Western Africa. The African golden cat has already lost about 50% of its former known range. Infrastructure development and human population increase within the species range are of serious concern. Road construction increased quickly in the past 20 years, for example in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Congo.
Bushmeat hunting is another major problem posing a two-fold threat to African golden cats: direct death through captures in cable snares and through depleting of their prey species. In fields with suitable habitat but with heavy human hunting pressure, as in Dibouka village or Korup National Park.
The impact of the hunting and trading of the African golden cat is not clear, but it could be a notable threat. Although the African golden cat is often not the target species, if it is captured, it is consumed and its fur is used or sold maybe for ritual purposes, to wrap things up (parts of the African golden cat’s skin have totemic value) or as good luck charms for hunting success.