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Black-Footed Cat Compared To House Cat

Black-Footed Cat Compared To House Cat

The black-footed cat is something truly special. This feline is the smallest wild cat in Africa, best known for its black paws, and tawny fur that’s covered with black spots.

The house cat is a domestic cat of any breed – it can be purebred or mixed – and it might live in a house with her human family, or it could live in a neighborhood as a stray cat.

How exactly similar, or different, are black-footed cats and house cats? To answer this, we need to take a good look at both of these cats’ physical appearance, temperament traits, health, and care requirements.

So, let’s get started!

Black-Footed Cat Vs House Cat

Below is a brief overview of the main traits of both cats.

black-footed vs house cat comparison chart


The average house cat usually weighs around 10 pounds. The black-footed cat is smaller, with her average weight between 2.2 to 5.5 pounds.

These two felines are similar in height – their average height is up to 10 inches.


Some of the main colors of house cats’ coats are black, brown, red, cream, blue, etc. Some of their coat patterns are solid, bi-color, tortoiseshell, tabby, and color point.

One of the most distinctive features of the black-footed cat, and also the one you’ll not normally see in house cats, is their soft and dense coat.

This cat has tawny fur, which is entirely covered with black or brown spots.

You can see this wild cat breed’s coat up close in the video below.

Facial Features

Most house cats have straight ears pointing upward. 

There are three common shapes of house cats’ faces – triangle, round, and square. House cats usually have brown, green, yellow, or blue eyes.

The black-footed cat has very large eyes that are typically light green to dark yellow in color.

This cat’s ears are rounded.

Body Features

House cats mostly have long and lean bodies, together with long tails. Their skulls are small, and their teeth are tiny. 

The black-footed cat’s tail is short, and you’ll easily recognize this cat by her stocky build.

When you look at this cat, the first thing you’ll notice is that she’s a very small cat. Does this mean she isn’t so dangerous? Actually – quite the opposite!

As the Smithsonian Magazine explains, the black-footed cat is the deadliest of all the cats worldwide, able to capture more prey in one night than a leopard does in roughly six months.

This wild cat has a predation success rate of 60%.

Temperament And Behavior

black-footed cat in defensive posture

House cats are typically very social, adaptable, playful, and affectionate. No wonder so many people choose these amazing animals as their life companions! 

These pets can live both indoors and outdoors depending on factors such as the breed’s needs, the owner’s attitude, living conditions, etc. 

House cats aren’t usually aggressive, especially when they’re socialized and cared for from a young age. Of course, they still might show some aggressive outbursts, and this especially goes for intact male cats.

Most house cats show aggressive behavior due to their territorial instincts. Although they have been domesticated for many years, they still have some of their natural urges, such as prey-hunting tendencies.

This is why some of them will, for example, hunt and eat lizards, even if they have plenty of food and aren’t hungry at all. These prey instincts can be seen as a common trait of the house cat and the black-footed cat. 

However, the black-footed cat is, of course, a far bigger and more dangerous predator that lives a solitary life, mostly hunting birds and rodents.

They are nocturnal animals, and usually sleep up to 14 hours a day.

These cats are almost always alone, except when females have kittens they need to take care of.  They are so small that some people might think they could be domesticated and make good pets. But, this isn’t true.

These are wild cats that are hard to tame and need their natural habitat to be healthy and happy. Don’t get fooled by their small size and awesome appearance – black-footed cats are far different than house cats, and aren’t meant to be humans’ companions.

Health And Lifespan

house cat lying in cat bed

Some of the typical health problems for most house cats are eye infections, vomiting, diarrhea, fleas, and Lower Urinary Tract Disease.

The most important thing with every domestic cat, no matter the breed, is to take her for regular veterinary checkups, and provide her with nutritious food, exercise, and a lot of attention!

The average lifespan for house cats is estimated to be from 12 to 18 years.

On the other hand, black-footed cats in the wild usually live around 8 years. If they are kept in captivity, they might live up to even 16 years.

Some of the health problems they often struggle with are respiratory infections, dental issues, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), as well as Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).

Alvaro Arjona and his associates [1] explain how FIV is found mainly in the cat’s saliva, and is transmitted mostly through bite wounds. FeLV is secreted by a cat’s urine, tears, feces, and milk.

See Also: How To Know When To Put Down A Cat With FIV?


What’s the final verdict on the issue: Black-footed cat compared to house cat?

The black-footed cat might seem harmless, considering it’s a rather small wild cat, but, as we have seen, this is far from the truth. This little cat is a serious predator that needs to live in the wild to satisfy her strong prey instinct.

This cat is also unsocial and tenacious, made to live alone.

This is the complete opposite of our house cats, who are known to be friendly and social, and this is one of the main reasons why we love them so much!

I hope you liked the comparison of these two felines. You might also want to read our article on how house cats are different from bobcats. See you there!


[1] Arjona A, Escolar E, Soto I, Barquero N, Martin D, Gomez-Lucia E. Seroepidemiological survey of infection by feline leukemia virus and immunodeficiency virus in Madrid and correlation with some clinical aspects. J Clin Microbiol. 2000 Sep;38(9):3448-9. DOI, Retrieved July 05, 2023.