The Asian Golden Cat, also called the Asiatic Golden Cat and Temminck's Cat, is a medium-sized wild cat of Southeastern Asia. In 2008, the IUCN classified Asian golden cats as Near Threatened, stating that the species comes close to qualifying as Vulnerable due to hunting pressure and habitat loss, since Southeast Asian forests are undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation.
The Asian golden cat was named in honor of the Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck, who first described the African golden cat in 1827.
The Asian golden cat is heavily built, with a typical cat-like appearance. It has a head-body length of 66 to 105 cm (26 to 41 in), with a tail 40 to 57 cm (16 to 22 in) long, and is 56 cm (22 in) tall at the shoulder. The weight ranges from 9 to 16 kg (20 to 35 lb), which is about two or three times that of a domestic cat.
The pelage is uniform in color, but highly variable, ranging from red to golden-brown, dark brown to pale cinnamon, and gray to black. Transitional forms among the different coloration also exist. It may be marked with spots and stripes. White and black lines run across the cheeks and up to the top of the head, while the ears are black with a central gray area. Golden cats with leopard-like spots have been found in China, resembling large leopard cats. This spotted fur is a recessive characteristic.
They prefer forest habitats interspersed with rocky areas and are found in dry deciduous, subtropical evergreen and tropical rainforests. Sometimes, they are found in more open terrain such as the grasslands of Assam's Manas National Park.
They hunt birds, large rodents and reptiles, small ungulates such as muntjacs and young sambar deer. They are capable of bringing down prey much larger than themselves, such as domestic water buffalo calves. In the mountains of Sikkim, they reportedly prey on ghoral.
Asian golden cats are territorial and solitary. Previous observations suggested that they are primarily nocturnal, but a field study on two radio-collared specimens revealed arrhythmic activity patterns dominated by crepuscular and diurnal activity peaks, with much less activity late at night.