The Black-footed Cat (Felis nigries) is the smallest cat in Africa and the second smallest of all wild cats. It is endemic to the arid regions of southern Africa where it is naturally rare and occurs at low densities. These cats, despite their small size, can travel vast distances in search of sparse prey, and have special adaptations to cope with their semi-arid to arid environment.
Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Unique Facts
~ Second smallest of all wild cats ~
~ Requires no drinking water ~
~ Endemic to southern Africa ~
Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Classification
The taxonomy or scientific classification of the Black-footed Cat species (Felis nigripes) is 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)
Species: Felis nigripes (Black-footed Cat)
Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Subspecies (lower classifications)
The global conservation status for the Black-footed Cat is Vulnerable (VU) due to its restricted range in arid regions of southern Africa, where it is naturally rare and occurs at low densities.
Two subspecies have been recognized in the past:
1. Felis nigripes nigripes - northern range (lighter base color and markings)
2. Felis nigripes thomasi - southern range (darker base color and markings)
However the latest taxonomic revision suggests that only the species Felis nigripes is valid. There is insufficient variation to substantiate a subspecies split and just a northern and southern race is more appropriate.
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. <www.iucnredlist.org> Felis nigripes. 23 May 2017.
- Kitchener et al. 2017. A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN / SSC Cat Specialist Group.
Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Conservation and Research
Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Black-footed Cats: