The bay cat is a small species of wild cat that lives a very secret life. For this reason, we don’t know much about this cat. “Species” means a type or sort of wild cat that is different from all the others. This is a rather special wild cat because people very rarely see it. It lives in the forests of the third largest island in the world, Borneo. Sadly, the forests of this island are being chopped down by people who want to make money from the wood. This prevents the bay cat from living.
We are lucky to have the photographs of Jim Sanderson to show us what this cat looks like. Other well used names for this cat are the Bornean Bay Cat or the Borneo Bay Cat.
This wild cat is about the same size as a domestic cat except for the tail which is longer. This cat looks like a smaller Asiatic golden cat. The picture shows us that this cat’s coat is the color of red mahogany (a wood). It is a sort of deep, rusty red. This cat has another coat color that is less common, which is a dark grey. The Asiatic golden cat and the jaguarundi have the same variation in coat colors.
The undersides of the cat are lighter. This is often seen in the wild cats. In the picture you can see the darker fur making the lines on the face and the white fur at the front of the face and the chin.
The cat lives in Southeast Asia. It only lives on the island of Borneo. We believe that this cat prefers to live in different types of thick forests, including swamp forest (wetland forests).
Even experts (people who know the wild cats really well) are not sure what this cat feeds on or how it hunts. It is likely that it feeds on different sorts of animals that includes rodents such as mice and rats and also lizards and insects.
There are some things we do know about this wild cat. People living in Borneo, in the areas where this cat lives, do not recognise pictures of the cat. They do recognise pictures of other wild cats that live in Borneo: the clouded leopard, leopard cat, marbled cat and flat-headed cat. That tells us that the bay cat is a rare cat. That is, there aren’t many of them.
Also the place where it lives, the forest, is being destroyed by people to make money from the wood. Also, because they are so rare they are worth a lot of money. People like things that are rare and expensive. Because they are valuable people want to have one. This makes the cat even more rare because people trap them and they are likely to die when kept in cages (in “captivity”). Sadly, people are killing this cat.
Going back to 2002, 10 years ago from today (November 2012), the bay cat was worth $10,000 (United States dollars) to zoos and people who want to try and breed bay cats. By “breed bay cats” I mean people who want to put a male and female bay cat together so that they mate and create kittens which are worth a lot of money. This is one way the cat is being killed or being prevented from living.
The bay cat may become extinct. It is “endangered’. Each year there are less and less bay cats in the world living in wild places. This is bad news. If you are a young person or a student please fight for the bay cat. He or she needs your help.