Interesting Facts About Black-Footed Cat: World’s Deadliest Cat

The black-footed cat, also known as small-spotted cat, is the smallest African cat. It’s a species of wildcat, endemic to the southwestern arid zone of Southern Africa.
There are two subspecies of black-footed cats. They’re endemic for the South Africa (they are found only there and nowhere else).
Black-footed cats inhabit steppes, open, arid-savannas, and semi-deserts covered with shrubs and trees in Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia. In the wild, the number of black-footed cats is decreasing due to accidental poisoning, habitat destruction and the reduction of prey. The black-footed cat is listed as vulnerable (it may become endangered in the near future).
The black-footed cat might weigh as much as the paw of a lion, but it’s as vicious as the rest of the wildcat family. Here are some interesting facts about the black-footed cat that you probably didn’t know:
1. The black-footed cat is believed to be the world’s deadliest cat although it looks more like an adorable moggie. It successfully takes their target in 60% of hunts. It achieves the highest kill rate. Other wildcats, such as leopards and lions, hardly succeed more than 20% of the time.
2. Black-footed cats stalk when hunting, rather than ambush. They capitalize on the cover of darkness and any traces of cover to approach the prey before they pounce down on it. They move swiftly to flush the prey from cover. However, they also stalk slowly through vegetation tufts.
They occasionally wait outside rodent burrows, often with the eyes closed. They remain alert for the slightest movement or sound. Like the big cats, but unlike small cat species, black-footed cats hide some of the captured prey for later feeding. They don’t consume everything immediately.
3. The vision of black-footed cats is six times better than that of humans. These cats have very big eyes. In addition, they are equipped with impeccable hearing that can pick up the tiniest sound. They’ve excellent night vision as well.
4. Black-footed cats are highly unsociable. They seek refuge at the slightest disturbance. They defend themselves fiercely when cornered. In parts of the South African Karoo, they’re called miershooptier (anthill tiger in Afrikaans) due to such habit and their courage.
They hardly use termite mounds for bearing a young one or for cover. According to a San legend, a black-footed cat can pierce giraffe’s jugular killing it. The exaggeration emphasizes the tenacity and bravery of the animal. This behavior differs when they’re a female with dependent kittens or it’s time to breed.
5. Kittens can walk at the age of two weeks; eat solid food after a month, and start independent life when they’re four to five months old. They reach sexual maturity in one to two years after birth.
6. Sometimes, the black-footed cats walk more than 35 kilometers a night to find a prey. They are opportunistic hunters. These cats take anything they can overpower. Males can take down small bustards or hares.
7. Perhaps, the black-footed cat is the smallest of all African wildcat species. The total body length is 50-72 cm (including the tail). The male weighs 1.7-2.4 kg while the female is 1-1.6 kg. At birth, kittens weigh 60-90 g.
8. Despite the name, only the underparts and pads of the black-footed cat’s feet are black. Coat color ranges from reddish-fawn (in the southern Africa) to a much paler color further north. The throat and chin are white, with a black-tipped tail, and dark bands on the throat. This helps when differentiating the black-footed cat from an African wildcat.

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