Borneo Bay Cat

BORNEO BAY CAT (Catopuma badia)

The bay cat is only found in Borneo and is an endangered species with less than 2500 mature animals left in the world. Even in pristine habitat, these cats seem to occur at low densities, making them one of the most elusive cats in the world. It is so little studied that virtually nothing is known about its ecology.

Difficulty: Extremely Difficult

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Borneo Bay Cat Description

The bay cat is about the size of a large domestic cat, with a slightly longer tail. There are two different color forms for the bay cat, a red form that is reddish brown and a grey form that has grey upper parts and reddish-brown under parts. It has a small head with small, round ears that are set lower, more on the side of its head. Our local wild cat guide has seen the red color form, our photography guide has taken images of the gray form. Bay cats have no markings on their body, except their heads which have stripping on their cheeks and forehead. The underside of the tail is white in coloration.

A gray color form of the bay cat. This is the only high-resolution photograph of this cat in the wild, in the world, taken by your cats of Borneo guide, Sebastian Kennerknecht.

Bay Cat Distribution and Habitat

Bay cats are endemic to the island of Borneo, which means that they are found nowhere else. They have been recorded as occurring in dense lowland tropical rainforest, riverine forests, and upland forests. They do not however occur at extreme lowlands or swamps, and do not occur in oil palm plantations.

Primary, secondary, and selectively logged forests are all home to bay cats, just always at extremely low densities

Bay Cat Feeding Biology

The bay cat may count as the least studied wild cat in the world so much about its ecology is unknown. It is assumed that small vertebrates comprise most of their diet. They probably forage mostly on the ground and are active more during the day, though night activity has also been observed.

Reptiles, like this young monitor lizard, are probably prey for the bay cat

Borneo Bay Cat Reproduction and Social Organization

The social organization of bay cats is not known. They are believed to be solitary and occur at low densities. There is no information on home range size.

There is nothing known about the reproduction of bay cats. There are no bay cats in captivity and the cat has never bred in captivity in the past. How long they live is also unknown.