There are nearly 40 species of cats in the modern feline family. The Asian golden cat (Catopuma temmnickii) may be one of the rarest and least known.
According to Fantastic Wildlife website there have been a number of sightings of the cat in north eastern Thailand recently.
The website said:
“In northeastern Thailand, the Asian golden cat is found primarily in mountainous regions, such as the Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary and the more southernly Khao Yai National Park. These areas are characterized by dense, tropical forests that provide the cat with a suitable habitat for hunting and hiding. The Asian golden cat is an arboreal and terrestrial animal, it is known to live in a wide range of elevations, from sea level to over 4,000 meters.”
According to Brittanica the cat is usually golden bodied with marks on the face. It can weigh up to 40 pounds and eats birds and mammals. The females bear small litters.
Golden cat can refer to two different animals. Either the Asian golden cat mentioned above or Temminck’s cat (Profelis aurata) also known as the African golden cat. The two cats are quite similar in appearance and were thought to be close relatives.
Recent research puts the Asian cat with the bay cat (Catopuma badia) in the catopuma lineage. The African cat is actually in the Profelis lineage. The lines diverged several million years ago. The African cat is more closely related to the caracal.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Asian golden cat as vulnerable. Much the cats range is undergoing rapid deforestation. The cats are rare in zoos because males kill the females all too often. There does not appear to be a firm estimate as to golden cat numbers. The African golden cat is thought to number about 10,000