The golden cat, which has common coat color of golden or red-brown, can be found in tropical and subtropical regions in Southwest Asia from China, India, to Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
When compared to domestic cats, golden cats have different sizes and sounds. Often, people who spot the golden cats would mistake them for tiger cubs. Although it is known as a golden cat, the color of the species’ coat is quite varied from brownish-gold, black, fox red to grey.
The golden cats have white and black stripes extending from the eyes to the neck, while its lower abdomen, inner legs, and lower tail are usually white.
In a previous interview, wildlife ecologist of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Sunarto said a golden cat is considered as a forest cat. Sunarto added that the nine types of forest cats include tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, and golden cat.
The size of golden cats is slightly smaller than a clouded leopard but larger than a domestic cat. "It is about 60-80 centimeters in size," said Sunarto.
He said golden cats are adept climbers and hunters. If their presence is disturbed, the cat will likely attack. Globally its status is near threatened, except in Indonesia. In some cases, some animals are globally safe but in Indonesia, their status is otherwise.
“Honestly, we don’t have detailed data on golden cats in Indonesia,” Sunarto said.
The golden cat, whose habitat is in the forests and plateaus, remains threatened, he said. Their population is threatened by deforestation and hunting.
He said that the golden cat is different from the cat that can live on palm oil plantation. Golden cats live on grassland, forests, and farms. If forests are cleared and turned into palm oil plantations, the golden cat’s original habitat is also threatened.