Black-footed cat distribution 2022

This page was first written in 2009. I have decided to update it. It is now upgraded to the current date at the time of writing this namely 2022 (I have projected forward several days 😉). As the years roll by the distribution of this small wildcat species will shrink almost inevitably. The page needs constant updating. This page is in two parts: the first part is the updated section and the 2009 article is below it out of historical interest and it contains useful information nonetheless. As it happens there has been little change in the distribution of this small wild cat over the past 12 years which is pleasing provided the information is correct.

Black-footed Cat Facts For Kids
Black-footed Cat Facts For Kids
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


RELATED: Which cat is the best hunter?

Distribution 2022

This is as per the IUCN Red List. This assessment is as at Feb 2016. Quite recent by their standards.

Black-footed cat distribution 2021
Black-footed cat distribution 2022. IUCN Red List.

Distribution 2009

The black-footed cat range (at 2009) is shown in an embedded map below. It can be moved around in the window by holding down left click and moving the mouse. It can also be zoomed. The map is based on the IUCN Red List map (2009). This should be the most current map as at that date. I feel that all wild cat range maps need refining or at least constant attention as often the information for the map is possibly incomplete or not that comprehensive and in any event things change. This is usually habitat loss and fragmentation.


The range is quite limited compared to most other wild cat species, confined as it is to the base of the African continent. The range crosses into these countries:

  • Namibia (the country, incidentally, that is a “hot spot”
    for the cheetah)
  • Angola (southernmost boundary)
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe (just – western boundary)
  • Lesoto (just but presence is uncertain)
  • South Africa


Black-footed cat great hunter
Black-footed cat — great hunter

The black-footed range contains dry, open habitats with some vegetative cover. These are almost waterless habitats and the cat gets the water it needs from the prey (animals have a high percentage of water content as do humans).

The black-footed cat is understandably (bearing in mind its size) a very defensive cat and hides during the day in abandoned burrows or dense brush and is active at night. And they are very much active at night, moving, it is thought, over large areas in hunting. Their hunting skills are refined to accommodate the lack of cover. They can flatten themselves to the ground very effectively and hide behind what little cover is available as best as is possible. The black-footed cat is well camouflaged.

They are not that interested in climbing but they are vigorous and energetic diggers confirming that they are very much terrestrial as opposed to arboreal.

The name comes from the soles of the feet, which are black. The African wildcat also has black paw pads.

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