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What Is a Bay Cat?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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The Bornean bay cat is a species of wild cat native to the island country of Borneo. Scientists have very little reliable information about this cat's biology, habits, and behavior, because it is apparently very rare. Researchers have only a few pictures of the animal, and it is believed that the first chance to examine a living specimen did not come until 1992, when a very ill Borneo bay cat was brought to the nation's Sarawak Museum. These wild cats are so rare, in fact, that, from about 2003 to early 2011, they were believed extinct, until a camera trap captured photos of a Borneo bay cat in the wild. These cats are believed to reach an average size comparable to that of a domesticated pet cat, and are usually gray, reddish, or golden brown in color.

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It is believed that this species of jungle cat was first discovered in about 1874. Though it was once believed that the Borneo bay cat was simply another type of Asian golden cat, modern science now believes that the animal is a separate species. The few specimens that have been studied have ranged in color from brown-gray to blue-gray, with the heads typically darker in color and the underbellies a lighter golden hue with pale splotches. The typical Borneo bay cat probably has blackish stripes stretching from the outer corners of the eyes, down the cheeks. The chin is most likely always white, and the tip of the tail is probably also usually white with a black dot at the very end.

Biologists suspect that the Borneo bay cat prefers forested habitats, though they have also been seen in swamps and at the edges of forests. Both lowland and highland forests appear to suit this creature. These cats may prefer to live near water.

Scientists believe that the Borneo bay cat probably reaches an average length of about 3 feet (85 centimeters), including the tail. Specimens that have been observed have weighed in at about 4 to 9 pounds (2 to 4 kilos). These cats probably give birth to litters of one to three kittens at a time, after a pregnancy averaging 75 days in length. The young cats probably become sexually mature themselves in one and a half to two years.

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