The Small Spotted Cat was previously called the Black Footed Cat. The Afrikaans name for this cat translates to "Anthill Tiger". This beautiful cat is very shy and small but a ferocious killer of its prey.

This is the smallest cat in Africa!  This cat is the second smallest in the world...and only by a few ounces. It is strictly nocturnal and faces many obstacles in it's daily survival.  This cat has been on the CITIES Appendix I list since 1976!  It is estimated that there are no more than 10 000 individuals left in the wild.


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The small spotted cat (Felis nigripes) is the second smallest cat in the world.  It is nocturnal and extremely shy and weighs between 1,1kg to 2,4 kg and a shoulder height of 10-15cm. Put in perspective this cat, when fully grown, is the size of a newborn lion cub or half the size of a house cat.  It may be the smallest cat in size but it is the cat with the biggest ‘attitude’ being extremely ferocious for its size. It looks like a mini leopard of sorts with its spots and stripes.

Unfortunately this CITIES appendix I animal, previously called the black-footed cat, is the victim of habitat destruction, blanket vermin control against the black backed jackal and caracal as well as indiscriminate poisoning and poisoning of locusts, which are part of their diet.  Their diet consists of rodents, birds, insects and sometimes small mammals (up to the size of a Cape hare). The success rate for kills is one of the highest of any cat at around 60% - it kills on average one prey animal every 50 minutes! The average consumption of a single cat is around 3000 rodents per year.

This solitary cat lives in areas that some would call inhospitable – semi desert areas such as the Karoo.  They have to contend with extremes in temperature ranging from 40C in the summer to -10C in winter.  Their small bodies have a high metabolism and therefore have to consume around 20% of body weight per night.  In this harsh environment where water is scarce they obtain all the water they need from their prey. Research is currently underway which will establish a more accurate distribution.

Most people would consider the roar of a lion to be spectacular.  To me, however, nothing is more memorable than listening to the deep throated call of this cat.  It is a rather loud call for such a small animal and is a sound not easily forgotten.


small spotted cat (black footed cat) at predatours wild cats

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