African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata)
Full body photo of an African golden cat in Gabon
Trail camera photo taken by Laila Bahaa-el-din / Panthera
Image source (modified) CC BY_NC-SA 2.0

The African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) is one of the three medium sized African wild cats. It occupies the central African forests whereas the Caracal ranges over the more arid regions and Servals occur in the moister habitats.

African Golden Cats have been little studied but with ongoing deforestation and the bush meat trade in central Africa, this cat is likely increasingly threatened as it's habitat and prey species disappear.

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Classification

African Golden Cats belong to the genus Caracal and the taxonomy or scientific classification of the African Golden Cat species is:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Caracal

Species: Caracal aurata (African Golden Cat)


C.a. aurata

C.a. celidogaster


The scientific name for the African Golden Cat is Caracal aurata which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

African Serval Cat stickers, magnets and pins
African Golden Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Golden Cat
African Caracal Cat stickers, magnets and pins

Classification Chart

This African Golden Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Caracal genus.

African Golden Cat Classification Diagram
Click the chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Subspecies

There are two subspecies of African Golden Cats as per the last Felidae taxonomic revision in 2017:

1. East African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata aurata) - East and Central Africa (minimal spotting on coat)

2. West African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata celidogaster)- West Africa (distinct spotting on coat)

These are the same two subspecies that have been recognized in the past, although further research is required.

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Research

Here is a list of papers published on African Golden Cats. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.

View more articles on Caracal aurata in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database (scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list).

Consider joining the Friends of the Cat Specialist Group to access the full articles and receive their journal Cat News covering the latest wild cat research.

African Golden Cat trail camera image by Laila Bahaa-el-din

Map of Africa with Countries and Capitals

African Golden Cat Conservation

The conservation status for African Golden Cats is Vulnerable (VU), and these forest dependent cats are highly threatened by forest clearing and bushmeat hunting in central Africa.

The following organizations are involved in wildlife research and conservation in Africa. Their efforts to secure tropical forest habitats for primates and other endangered forest species will also help conserve forest habitat for the vulnerable African Golden Cat:

Embaka / African Golden Cat Alliance - Uganda

News from the African Golden Cat Alliance - 2023

News from the Embaka Uganda Project - 2024

African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) - Tropical Forests

African Parks - Saving Wildlife

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - Africa projects

Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!

Past Projects:

African Golden Cat Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on African Golden Cats:

If you find this website useful, please consider a small contribution of $5 so I can continue to keep it updated. Thank you, Mandy 🙂