“I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat,” perhaps that’s the phrase that would come to mind if you ever came across a black-footed cat. However, the best thing you can do is run and not look back because that little kitty that you feel like cuddling is the deadliest feline in the world.
The Lethal Black-Footed Cat
Also known as the black-footed cat or Felis nigripes, this small feline is solitary and highly lethal to anyone who approaches it and tries to pet it or thinks they can keep it as a pet.
The black-footed cat is the smallest wildcat in Africa, but its size and adorable appearance hide a dark reality. This feline is a born hunter, with a prey mortality rate that surpasses any other, including lions or tigers.
If you still don’t think it’s a bad idea to approach it, even considering all this information, perhaps its roar will change your mind. That’s right, this tiny cat doesn’t meow like your pet; no, it roars, and its roars are as deep and throaty as those of any other large predatory feline.
Adult males can reach up to 5.5 pounds in weight, while females can reach up to 3.5 pounds. Its name comes from the curious black color of its lower legs, which contrast with a coat of brown or gray tones, with small leopard-like spots.
Furthermore, its diet consists of birds, reptiles, and other small animals, which it usually hunts during the night. This makes it one of the most challenging animals to spot and even more so to capture. During the day, it tends to hide in burrows, avoiding the high temperatures of the African desert.
The black-footed cat is found in countries like Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and some areas in the far south of Angola, but sadly, it is endangered. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN’s classification, its status is “vulnerable.”
This category is for species with a significant population reduction. But why has its population declined so much? Well, primarily due to the enormous challenge of quantifying the remaining individuals. Being nocturnal animals that do not live in packs, they use their tiny size to blend in.
Their main threats include poison and traps that people set for other predators, as well as habitat loss due to climate change and deforestation.
Perhaps the black-footed cat is the best example of the saying “looks can be deceiving.” Nature never ceases to amaze us, but unfortunately, it may soon cease to exist in our world.