The 3 Cats of the Bay Cat Lineage

The Bay Cat Lineage consists of three varied cats in the Pardofelis genus and the Catopuma genus. The three cats are the Marbled Cat (P. marmorata), the Borneo Bay Cat (C. badia) and the Asiatic Golden Cat (C. temminckii).

These cats inhabit the forests of Southeast Asia and have been little studied.

The Bay Cat lineage is the second oldest Felidae lineage to diverge from the ancestral cat species in Asia at 9.4 million years ago and three species evolved in South East Asia. This lineage is the first branch in the small cat subfamily Felinae and shares a common ancestor with the Caracal lineage.

Characteristics of these cats include small size, long tails and short heads. Compared to closely related cats, the skull is higher and more rounded (Pocock 1917). Historically all three cats were once classified under the Pardofelis genus.

Bay Cat Family Classification

In scientific classification (taxonomy) the forest cats of the Bay Cat lineage belong to the cat family Felidae and the small cat subfamily Felinae. The higher and lower classifications of this group are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

 Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

  Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Pardofelis

Species: Pardofelis marmorata (Marbled Cat)

Genus: Catopuma

Species: Catopuma badia (Borneo Bay Cat)

Species: Catopuma temminckii (Asiatic Golden Cat)


Other small Asian wild cats are grouped under the Felis lineage and the Leopard Cat lineage and the big Asian cats under the Panthera lineage.

Note: 'Lineage' is not a taxonomic unit, it is a means to group closely related species in evolutionary order.

Asiatic Golden Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Asiatic Golden Cat
Borneo Bay Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Borneo Bay Cat
Marbled Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Marbled Cat

Classification Chart

This classification chart shows the cats of the Bay Cat lineage which includes the Pardofelis genus and Catopuma genus:

Bay Cat Family Cats - Classification Diagram
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

Pardofelis Genus

The Pardofelis genus consists of only one cat - the Marbled Cat, which has a blotched coat and an extremely long tail.

The Marbled Cat split from the common ancestor around 5.5 million years ago.

1. Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata)

Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata) - Bay Cat Lineage
Copyright: Global Canopy Programme. Photo by: Jo Ross and Andrew Hearn. (with permission) Image Source

Marbled Cat Classification, Conservation and Facts

Catopuma Genus

The two cats of the Catopuma genus are the Borneo Bay Cat and the Asiatic Golden Cat.

Characteristics of this genus include a solid reddish-brown fur and striped markings on the head. However, especially in the Golden Cat, the fur color can range from browns to gray to black, known as color morphs.

The two Catopuma species diverged from each other approximately 3.2 million years ago, and the present-day Borneo Bay cat occurs only on Borneo whereas the Asiatic Golden Cat is widespread across Southeast Asia.

3. Asiatic Golden Cat (Catopuma temminckii)

Asiatic Golden Cat (Catopuma temminckii) - Bay Cat Lineage

Asiatic Golden Cat Classification, Conservation and Facts

Bay Cat Family Quiz

Click through on the information links above to find the answers to this quiz. Good luck!

1. What type of habitat do these three cats occupy?

2. Which cat was thought to be extinct until recently?

3. Which cat only occurs in Borneo?

4. Which other cat is the Marbled Cat similar to in coat pattern?

5. Which cat has a counterpart in Africa although they are not related?

6. Which cat lives primarily in trees?

=^ . ^=

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