This week's Caturday is slightly belated because I was helping my cousin celebrate her wedding yesterday at a party so rocking that even the caterers said it was the best one they'd ever seen. Great food, great music, great people make for a super-fun combination!
The Asian Golden Cat (Pardofelis temminckii or Catopuma temminckii), also called Temminck's Cat or the Asiatic Golden Cat, is a medium-sized wildcat that can be found in Southeastern Asia. Asian Golden Cats have a stocky build, measuring up to 41 inches with a 22-inch tail, and weighing as much as 35 pounds. They are primarily found in forested habitats that are broken up by rocky areas, like the deciduous forests, subtropical evergreen forests, and tropical rainforests of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and southern China.
With such a wide range, three subspecies of the Asian Golden Cat have been identified, based on the region in which their territory is found:
- Pardofelis temenckii temenckii (Himilayas, southeast Asian mainland and Sumatra)
- Pardofelis temenckii dominicanorum (southeast China)
- Pardofelis temenckii tristis (southwest China)
Because Asian Golden Cats are so elusive, little is known about their mating activities in the wild, but in captivity female cats have been observed to birth litters of one to three kittens after a gestation period of approximately 80 days. The kittens will triple in size in their first eight weeks, starting out at 250 grams and gaining more than 500 grams in such a short time frame. Kittens are born with the same coloring as the adults and open their eyes within 6 to 12 days.
They were originally thought to be nocturnal, but radio-collar studies suggested that their activity levels are more accurately described as crepuscular or diurnal. Asian Golden Cats can climb trees when they need to, but they don't typically spend a lot of time above the ground. Their prey consists of birds, rodents, reptiles and small ungulates like muntjacs and sambar deer, though they have been known to take prey as large as water buffalo by themselves! The species is very close to being listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, due to loss of habitat from human development.