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Padding through forests throughout Asia, the Asiatic golden cat is one of the world’s most beautiful and mysterious cats. Therefore, it was a real treat when one of the cats was caught on camera strolling through the forest in Cambodia. The sighting occurred inside Cambodia’s northeast Ratanakiri province, Reuters reports. It’s the first sighting ever recorded of one of these cats.

Image: zoochat.com

The Asiatic Golden Cat Is In Trouble.

Little is known about these cats but according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List they are vulnerable.

“The presence of the golden cat is rarely recorded because it is a rare species among the eight species of tigers,” Neth Pheaktra, a spokesman at the environment ministry told Reuters.

The ministry conducted a three-month project inside Virachey National Park where the sightings occurred, in the hopes of learning better conservation methods. The Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) is under threat throughout its’ range (Tibet, Nepal, India’s Sikkim State, Southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, and parts of Malaysia and Sumatra) due to human activities, including hunting and deforestation, the Felidae Conservation Fund reports.

Map Courtesy of the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

The Asiatic Golden Cat Is Gorgeous.

The cat is quite lanky, and about the size of a medium-sized dog, ranging between 26-41 inches long. Standing about 16 inches tall and weighing between 19 to 33 lbs. the cat’s plushy fur comes in a number of color morphs — ranging from fox-red, to golden brown, black, brown, or grey.

Image: Pinterest

However, without a doubt, the golden cat’s elegantly striped face is its most distinctive feature. The cat’s round cheeks feature white stripes with black borders and its eyes range from green-grey to amber. Aside from that amazing face, the cat’s body shows no marks, but some cats in more northerly regions do have spots.

Screenshot courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Babirusa

Creatures Of The Night.

Golden cats are secretive inhabitants of the nighttime forest. They prefer hunting in sub-tropical and tropical evergreen forests. Adept hunters, these cats are quite capable of killing prey larger than themselves (including small deer) with an expert bite to the neck. Additionally they take smaller prey, including birds, lizards, rodents, and other small mammals.

Screenshot courtesy of Zooborns

And Yes, These Kittens Are Adorable.

The gestation period for golden cats lasts about 75-80 days. Usually, one to three fuzzy kittens are born. In addition, their little eyes pop open at about nine days old. They will suckle from their mother until they are about six months old. These babies are born with longer, thicker coats that are darker than their parents.

Image: thecatniptimes

Like all wild cats, the Asiatic golden cat is under pressure from hunting for its meat, pelts, and bones. Local people consider the meat a delicacy and often roast the entire cat on a spit. The cats also prey upon chickens, goats, and sheep. This gets them in trouble with local villagers.

Screenshot courtesy of Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment Via Reuters

It’s wonderful that researchers were able to capture a rare glimpse of this elusive cat. Estimates say there are only 10,000 of these cats left in the wild. Let’s hope their research serves to improve the life and longevity of this beautiful species.

The short video below shows an Asiatic golden cat enjoying life in the wild.

REMEMBER: BIG CATS DON’T MAKE GOOD PETS; THEY BELONG IN THE WILD!

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