Wild Cats List: All Wild Cat Species, With Photos, Facts & Conservation Status

Wild cats list with pictures and information on all wild cats species.

This page has been fully updated to reflect the latest classification of the cat family Felidae. The list below contains details on all known wild cat species. (June 2020)


Introduction: Wild Cats Species

40 wild cat species are currently recognized*. Together with the domestic cat, they make up the family Felidae, one of several families in the order Carnivora.

  • Confused by terms such as ‘species’, ‘family’ and ‘order’? Take a look at our guide to animal classification.
  • Find out more about Carnivora and other types of mammals on this page: Types of Mammal

The first cats appeared around 30 million years ago. All 41 living cat species in the list below (40 wild cats plus the domestic cat) are believed to be descended from a common ancestor that lived in Asia between 11.6 and 5.3 million years ago.

* The exact number of cat species is liable to change as research into cat classification is ongoing. For the wild cats list below we have used data from the IUCN Cat Specialist Group’s Revised taxonomy of the Felidae, a comprehensive study of wild cat species.

Cat Characteristics

wild cats list - male lion
The lion is the only species of wild cat that lives in groups.

Cats have retractable claws, sharp teeth, powerful jaws, sensitive night vision and acute hearing. They are highly agile and often hunt by stealth, creeping close to their prey before pouncing.

Most wild cat species are proficient climbers, often entering the trees either to rest, hunt, or to seek refuge from predators.

Wild cats are solitary, territorial animals. Of the 40 wild cat species, only the lion typically lives and hunts in groups.

Many wild cats species are either endangered or threatened. The conservation status (where known) of every wild cat species has been included. This information is taken from the IUCN Red List. (Source)


Wild Cats List Index

  • Click on the cat’s name in the table below to see further information on that species.
  • Alternatively, continue scrolling down to browse the entire wild cat list.

Use the table below to search for information on any wild cat species. You can click on the column headings to sort the table by name, continent found, conservation status, or by lineage (the group of cats to which each species is most closely related).

English NameScientific NameSubfamilyLineageWhere FoundConservation Status
African Golden CatCaracal aurataFelinaeCaracalAfricaVulnerable
African WildcatFelis lybicaFelinaeDomestic CatAfrica; AsiaUnassessed
Andean Mountain CatLeopardus jacobitaFelinaeOcelotSouth AmericaEndangered
Asian Golden CatCatopuma temminckiiFelinaeBay CatAsiaNear Threatened
Bay CatCatopuma badiaFelinaeBay CatAsiaEndangered
Black-Footed CatFelis nigripesFelinaeDomestic CatAfricaVulnerable
BobcatLynx rufusFelinaeLynxNorth AmericaLeast Concern
Canada Lynx
Lynx canadensisFelinaeLynxNorth AmericaLeast Concern
CaracalCaracal caracalFelinaeCaracalAfrica; AsiaLeast Concern
CheetahAcinonyx jubatusFelinaePumaAfricaVulnerable
Chinese Mountain CatFelis bietiFelinaeDomestic CatAsiaVulnerable
Clouded LeopardNeofelis nebulosaPantherinaePantheraAsiaVulnerable
Domestic CatFelis catusFelinaeDomestic CatAll continents except AntarcticaDomestic
Eurasian lynxLynx lynxFelinaeLynxEuropeLeast Concern
European WildcatFelis silvestrisFelinaeDomestic CatEuropeLeast Concern
Fishing CatPrionailurus viverrinusFelinaeLeopard CatAsiaVulnerable
Flat-Headed CatPrionailurus planicepsFelinaeLeopard CatAsiaEndangered
Geoffroy's CatLeopardus geoffroyiFelinaeOcelotSouth AmericaLeast Concern
Iberian LynxLynx pardinusFelinaeLynxEuropeEndangered
JaguarPanthera oncaPantherinaePantheraSouth AmericaNear Threatened
JaguarundiHerpailurus yagouaroundiFelinaePumaSouth AmericaLeast Concern
Jungle CatFelis chausFelinaeDomestic CatAsiaLeast Concern
KodkodLeopardus guignaFelinaeOcelotSouth AmericaVulnerable
LeopardPanthera pardusPantherinaePantheraAfrica; AsiaVulnerable
Leopard CatPrionailurus bengalensisFelinaeLeopard CatAsiaLeast Concern
LionPanthera leoPantherinaePantheraAfrica; AsiaVulnerable
Marbled CatPardofelis marmorataFelinaeBay CatAsiaNear Threatened
MargayLeopardus wiediiFelinaeOcelotSouth AmericaNear Threatened
Mountain LionPuma concolorFelinaePumaNorth America; South AmericaLeast Concern
OcelotLeopardus pardalisFelinaeOcelotSouth America; Central AmericaLeast Concern
OncillaLeopardus tigrinusFelinaeOcelotSouth AmericaVulnerable
Pallas's CatOtocolobus manulFelinaeLeopard CatAsiaNear Threatened
Pampas CatLeopardus colocoloFelinaeOcelotSouth AmericaNear Threatened
Rusty-Spotted CatPrionailurus rubiginosusFelinaeLeopard CatAsiaNear Threatened
Sand CatFelis margaritaFelinaeDomestic CatAsia; AfricaLeast Concern
ServalLeptailurus servalFelinaeCaracalAfricaLeast Concern
Snow LeopardPanthera unciaPantherinaePantheraAsiaVulnerable
Southern Tiger CatLeopardus guttulusFelinaeOcelotSouth AmericaVulnerable
Sunda Clouded LeopardNeofelis diardiPantherinaePantheraAsiaVulnerable
Sunda Leopard CatPrionailurus javanensisFelinaeLeopard CatAsiaUnassessed
TigerPanthera tigrisPantherinaePantheraAsiaEndangered

Have You Ever Seen A Wild Cat? Let Us Know!

What’s your favorite species of cat? Which would you most like to see in the wild? Have you ever seen any of the wild cats on this list? Do you think cats should be protected, and why?

We’d love to hear your views and experiences; let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page!


Wild Cats List

African Golden Cat

African Golden Cat
African golden cat. (This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.)
  • Scientific name: Caracal aurata
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Africa
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The African golden cat lives deep in the rainforests of central Africa. The species, a close relation of the caracal and serval, is around twice the size of a domestic cat. Its fur ranges in color from gold-brown to silver-grey, and is covered in faint spots.

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African Wildcat

African Wildcat
African Wildcat in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. Photo: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Felis lybica
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Africa, Asia
  • Conservation status: Unassessed

Once considered a subspecies of the wildcat Felis silvestris, the African wildcat is now considered to be a separate species, th­­­ought to have diverged from its European cousin around 173,000 years ago.

The species is typically pale gray with faint stripes and a white underside. It is smaller, and has shorter fur, than the wildcat. Its ears often have small tufts.

The African wildcat is found throughout much of Africa and also in Western Asia. It is typically found in hill and mountainous regions, but this adaptable cat can survive in a wide range of habitats.

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Andean Mountain Cat

Andean Mountain Cat
Photo: Jim Sanderson (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Leopardus jacobita
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America
  • Conservation status: Endangered

Found in mountainous regions of Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, the Andean mountain cat is a small, sandy-grey cat with faint stripes on its body and darker stripes on its tail.

The species is endangered due to hunting, habitat loss and the loss of prey animals. Its population, which is estimated to include fewer than 1,500 mature individuals, continues to decline.

This secretive South American wild cat is very rarely seen. Its main prey is the mountain viscacha (Lagidium viscacia), a chinchilla-like rodent.

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Asian Golden Cat

Asian Golden Cat
Photo: Karen Stout (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Other names: Temminck’s cat; Asiatic golden cat
  • Scientific name: Catopuma temminckii
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Southeast Asia
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

The Asian golden cat is a mid-sized wild cat found in Southeast Asia. (Countries in which the species is present include India, Cambodia, China, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.)

The Asian golden cat is over twice the size of a domestic cat. Its coat is typically golden-red, but a wide range of other color varieties are known. Some individuals have ocelot-like rosettes. The face is distinctively-marked with white patches and black lines on the cheeks and forehead.

Typically found in forests, the Asian golden cat is also inhabits savanna, shrubland and grassland habitats.

The Asian golden cat’s conservation rating is Near Threatened. The species’ population is believed to be in decline.

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Bay Cat

Bay Cat
Photo: Jim Sanderson (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Other names: Borneo bay cat; Bornean bay cat
  • Scientific name: Catopuma badia
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Borneo
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Bay cat is a small, endangered wild cat endemic to (only found in) the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. It is closely related to the Asiatic golden cat.

The Bay cat is smaller than its near-relative, growing to a maximum of around 4kg (9 lb.) (around the size of a domestic cat). Its coat is a deep red-brown color, with faint spots on the body and patches of white on the face.

The Bay cat’s population consists of around 2,200 mature adults, and is thought to be decreasing. The forest-living species is just one of the victims of the widespread deforestation that has occurred in Borneo in recent times.

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Black-Footed Cat

Black Footed Cat
Photo: Patrick Ch. Apfeld, derivative editing by Poke2001 (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY
  • Alternative name: Small-spotted cat
  • Scientific name: Felis nigripes
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Southern Africa
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The black footed cat is one of the world’s smallest wild cat species, and the smallest found in Africa. With a maximum weight of around 2.5 kg (5.4 lb.), the species is smaller than a domestic cat, and substantially smaller than the African wildcat – both of which are close relatives.

The black footed cat has a pale-yellow coat marked with thick black stripes; the tail is ringed with a black tip. Surprisingly, only the soles of its feet are black.

The black footed cat inhabits savanna, grassland and desert habitats in southern Africa. The species is present in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, and is thought to also be present in Zimbabwe and southern Angola.

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Bobcat

Bobcat
Click on the photo to find out more about this species.
  • Scientific name: Lynx rufus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: North America
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The bobcat is a mid-sized wild cat found in North America. Its range covers southern Canada to northern Mexico, and the species is found throughout the USA.

The bobcat’s closest relations in the cat family are the lynxes. It is the only member of the genus Lynx not to have the word ‘lynx’ in its name.

With an average weight of around 8.2 kg (18.2 lb.), the bobcat is around twice the size of a typical domestic cat. The bobcat’s characteristic short tail is between 9 and 20 cm (3.5 and 8 in) in length.

The color of a bobcat’s coat ranges from reddish-brown to gray-brown. The coat is marked with dark spots and streaks, and the animal’s undersides are pale.

Bobcats from the north are generally darker in color than those living in desert regions in the south.

The bobcat is most active at dawn and dusk. It preys mainly on rabbits and hares, but this opportunistic hunter will take most small to medium-sized animals that it is able to overcome.

  • You can find out more about the bobcat on this page: Bobcat Facts

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Canada Lynx

Canada Lynx

  • Alternative name: Canadian lynx
  • Scientific name: Lynx canadensis
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: North America
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Canada lynx is similar in size and appearance to the Bobcat, to which it is closely related. The Canada lynx can be recognized by its large furry feet, black ear tufts, and the patch of black at the end of its short tail. It is slightly larger than the Bobcat; at least twice the size of a domestic cat.

The habitat of the Canada lynx is often covered with deep snow. The species’ big paws and long hind legs allow it to hunt its favored prey – the snowshoe hare – in these conditions.

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Caracal

Caracal
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  • Alternate name: Desert lynx
  • Scientific name: Caracal caracal
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Africa, West Asia
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The caracal is a mid-sized wild cat with a short, pale gold coat and distinctive long, black ear-tufts. The species’ name comes from the Turkish for ‘black ear’. Its ear tufts, which resemble those of a lynx, are also responsible for its alternate name of ‘desert lynx’.

Ancient Egyptians used to hunt with domesticated caracals.

The caracal is found in Africa, the Middle East and India. It is fairly common, particularly in southern and eastern Africa.

  • You can find more information on the caracal on this page: Caracal Facts

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Cheetah

Cheetah
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  • Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Africa
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The Cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal, capable of reaching speeds of up to 75 mph (120 km/h). Its awesome speed, acceleration and maneuverability allow it to hunt the antelopes which form the bulk of its diet.

The Cheetah is a tall, slim cat with long legs and a small head. It has a pale gold coat marked with small dark spots, and pale undersides.

A cheetah’s tail reaches a maximum length of around 80 cm (31 in), and provides balance during the animal’s high-speed chases.

Cheetahs live in small, localized populations in sub-Saharan Africa (the area south of the Sahara desert). There are fewer than 7,000 adult cheetahs in the wild, and the species’ population is decreasing.

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Chinese Mountain Cat

Chinese Mountain Cat
Photo: 西宁野生动物园 (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Alternative names: Chinese desert cat; Chinese steppe cat
  • Scientific name: Felis bieti
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Western China
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The Chinese Mountain cat is a mid-sized wild cat found only in western China. Its coat is pale yellow-grey with faint stripes, and its tail has black rings.

This secretive cat is active at night, preying on small vertebrates such as rodents and birds. It lives in forests and grasslands in mountainous regions.

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Clouded Leopard

Clouded Leopard
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  • Alternative name: Mainland clouded leopard
  • Scientific name: Neofelis nebulosa
  • Subfamily: Pantherinae
  • Where found: Asia
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

This medium-large Asian wild cat is named for its cloud-like markings. It is found on mainland Southeast Asia, and is sometimes called the mainland clouded leopard to distinguish it from the closely-related Sunda clouded leopard.

The clouded leopard has among the longest canine teeth in relation to body size of any cat. This forest cat has a long tail, which is used for balance and support when the cat is in the trees.

A skillful climber, the clouded leopard rests in the trees during the day, coming down to the forest floor at night to hunt.

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Cougar


Domestic Cat

Domestic Cat

  • Scientific name: Felis catus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: All continents except Antarctica
  • Conservation status: Domestic

The domestic cat is thought to have originated from wildcats that were tamed around 9,000 to 10,000 years ago. The domestic cat is the second most popular household pet in the USA (fish are the country’s most common pets). Around 95 million domestic cats are kept in the USA.

Part of the domestic cat’s appeal is that it retains a hint of ‘wildness’ that betrays its origins as an effective predator of small mammals and birds. Sadly, a downside of widespread cat ownership is the negative effect these predators have on local wildlife.

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Eurasian Lynx

Eurasian Lynx
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  • Scientific name: Lynx lynx
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Europe; Asia
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Eurasian lynx has a large range that includes south-eastern and central Europe, together with parts of Asia, including China, India, Iran and Pakistan. It has a number of subspecies, including the northern lynx, Balkan lynx and Siberian lynx.

The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized wild cat. It is the largest lynx species, weighing between 18 and 30 kg (40 and 66 lb.). It has a red-brown spotted coat, with paler undersides.

Like all lynxes, the Eurasian lynx has tufted ears, long powerful legs, and a short ‘bobbed’ tail.

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European Wildcat

European Wildcat
Photo: Lviatour (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Felis silvestris
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Europe
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The European wildcat is a small cat that is widely distributed across Europe. It is usually found in forests, and avoids human settlements.

There is much debate of the classification of the wildcat. It is genetically very similar to the domestic cat and other species in the genus Felis, which includes species such as the jungle cat, sand cat and black footed cat.

Some biologists consider the domestic cat to be a subspecies of wildcat.

Most wildcats are slightly larger and stockier than domestic cats. The species has gray or pale gold fur, with faint spots or stripes. Its tail is bushy with black rings.

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Fishing Cat

Fishing Cat
Photo: Sander van der Wel from Netherlands (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Prionailurus viverrinus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Asia
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The fishing cat is a mid-sized species of wild cat found in South and Southeast Asia. It has a grey, spotted coat, and a striped face and head.

Closely associated with water, the fishing cat lives near lakes, swamps and mangroves. It is capable of swimming large distances. The species’ diet consists of fish, together with small mammals, birds and other small animals.

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Flat-Headed Cat

flat headed cat
Photo: Jim Sanderson (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Prionailurus planiceps
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Southeast Asia
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Flat-Headed Cat is a small cat found in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

The species is easily distinguished from other small wild cat species by its long, ‘flattened’ head and small, rounded ears. Its body is grey and unmarked. The flat-headed cat uses its long teeth to capture fish, its preferred food.

The population of this endangered cat species currently numbers around 2,500 mature individuals, and is thought to be decreasing.

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Geoffroy’s Cat

Geoffrey's cat
Photo: Greg Hume (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Leopardus geoffroyi
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Southern South America
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

Geoffroy’s Cat was named after the French naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire. This small wild cat is about the size of a domestic cat. It is a pale gold color, with dark spots and a ringed tail. Its coat becomes less golden, and greyer, the further south it is found.

Geoffroy’s Cat is found in several South American countries, including Chile and Argentina. Its range stretches from southern Bolivia in the north, to the Straits of Magellan in the south.

Typical habitat includes woodlands, savannas, and the Pampas, a vast lowland grassland system.

The species is not currently threatened and its population is stable.

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Iberian Lynx

Iberian Lynx
Photo: http://www.lynxexsitu.es (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY 3.0 ES
  • Scientific name: Lynx pardinus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Iberian Peninsula
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Iberian Lynx is species of cat found in southwestern Spain. It is one of the world’s most endangered cats. In 2002 only 52 mature individuals remained in the wild.

Like other lynxes, the Iberian Lynx has tufted ears, long legs, a short tail, and long fur around the front of its neck. The Iberian Lynx is two to three times the weight of a domestic cat and smaller than the Eurasian lynx.

Measures taken to protect the Iberian lynx include captive breeding programs and habitat preservation. As a result of this conservation work, the species’ population is now increasing, with 156 mature individuals being counted in a 2012 study.

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Jaguar

Jaguar
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  • Scientific name: Panthera onca
  • Subfamily: Pantherinae
  • Where found: South America
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

The Jaguar is the largest cat found in the Americas, and the third largest species of cat in the world (only the tiger and lion are bigger). It is a large, powerful apex predator, capable of preying on large animals such as caiman, green anacondas and tapirs.

The jaguar has a golden-yellow coat, marked with black rosettes. Large males can weigh up to 96 kg (211 lb.).

The Jaguar is threatened by habitat fragmentation.

  • You can find out more about Jaguars on this page: Jaguar Facts

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Jaguarundi

Jaguarundi
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  • Scientific name: Herpailurus yagouaroundi
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America; Central America
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Jaguarundi is a small wild cat found in Central and South America. It is slightly larger than a domestic cat. Its coat ranges from brown to chestnut-red in color, and is unmarked. The species has short, rounded ears and a long body and tail.

Jaguarundis are occasionally seen as far north as Texas.

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Jungle Cat

Jungle Cat
Photo: Dr. Raju Kasambe (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Other names: swamp cat; reed cat
  • Scientific name: Felis chaus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Asia
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The jungle cat is a mid-sized wild cat found throughout much of Asia. It has a pale, grey-brown unmarked coat and a faintly ringed tail. It stands around 40 cm (16 in) tall and weighs between 4–16 kg (9–35 lb.).

The jungle cat is associated with water, and is more likely to be found in swamps and wetlands with dense vegetation rather than rainforests.

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Kodkod

Kodkod
Photo: Jim Sanderson (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Alternative name: Guiña
  • Scientific name: Leopardus guigna
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The kodkod is the smallest wild cat species of the Americas. With a maximum weight of just 2.5 kg (5.5 lb.), it is significantly smaller than a domestic cat.

The kodkod’s coat is gold with black spots. Its thick tail is marked with black rings.

The species is found in temperate rainforests in Chile and parts of Argentina. Although a capable climber, it usually hunts on the forest floor. Rodents form the bulk of its diet, but it will also take a wide range of small vertebrates.

The Kodkod’s natural habitat has become severely fragmented and the species is further threatened by hunting.

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Leopard

Leopard
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  • Scientific name: Panthera pardus
  • Subfamily: Pantherinae
  • Where found: Africa; Asia
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The Leopard is a species of big cat found in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and parts of Russia. It is similar in appearance to the Jaguar but slightly smaller with a slenderer body. Its pale golden coat is covered in distinctive rosettes which, unlike those of the Jaguar, are not filled with spots.

The leopard is known for its strength, and will carry a kill up a tree to prevent it being stolen by hyenas.

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Leopard Cat

Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis
Photo: Ridho Illyasa (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY
  • Scientific name: Prionailurus bengalensis
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Asia
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The leopard cat is a small wild cat that is widely distributed throughout Asia. Countries in which it is found include China, Russia, India and the Philippines.

The species is found in a range of forest habitats, including rainforests and temperate broadleaf forests. It is also found in grasslands, but usually prefers those with some tree cover. It feeds mainly on mice, rats, and other small vertebrates.

The leopard cat is similar in size to a domestic cat. The patchy spots that cover its body give it the appearance of a miniature leopard, hence the species’ name. The color of its coat ranges from gold to grey depending on where it is found.

The Iriomote cat is a subspecies of leopard cat that is endemic to the Japanese island of Iriomote. It is found in forests and mangroves.

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Lion

lion
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  • Scientific name: Panthera leo
  • Subfamily: Pantherinae
  • Where found: Africa; Asia
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

No wild cats list would be complete without the lion. The lion is the world’s second-largest cat species; only the tiger is bigger.

The lion is the only truly social cat. Whereas most cats are solitary for most of their lives, the lion lives in groups known as ‘prides’.

The lion has a short, sandy-colored coat. Male lions have a thick growth of hair around the neck known as a mane.

Lions are found in eastern and southern Africa, and in two very small, isolated groups in India. They are threatened by indiscriminate killing by local people (often because of the lion’s perceived threat to livestock), who leave poisoned carcasses for the lions to eat.

Lions are also hunted for their body parts, which are used in traditional medicine.

  • You can find out more about lions on this page: Lion Facts

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Marbled Cat

Marbled Cat
Photo: Johan Embréus (Embreus (talk)) (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY
  • Scientific name: Pardofelis marmorata
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Asia
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

Similar in size to a domestic cat, the marbled cat is closely related to the Asian golden cat and the bay cat. The species is found in southern and southeastern Asia.

The marbled cat is brown-red in color with darker, cloud-like blotches. Its tail is as long again as its head and body. The long tail helps the cat to maintain its balance while climbing.

The species prefers pristine forest, and is threatened both by habitat loss and hunting. Its population is severely fragmented.

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Margay

Margay
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  • Scientific name: Leopardus wiedii
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America; Central America
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

The margay is a small south American wild cat. It is found in several countries in south and central America, including Brazil, Peru and Mexico.

With a pale-yellow coat and numerous black spots, the margay is similar in appearance to its close relative the ocelot, but is smaller, being similar in size to a domestic cat.

An excellent climber, the margay often rests in trees. However, it does most of its hunting on the ground.

Threats to the margay include: habitat loss; illegal hunting for its skin; and capture for the pet trade.

  • You can find out more about the margay on this page: Margay Facts

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Mountain Lion

puma in snow
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  • Alternative names: puma, cougar, catamount
  • Scientific name: Puma concolor
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: North America; South America
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The mountain lion is a large wild cat found in both North and South America. The species is also commonly known as both the puma and the cougar.

The species’ large range stretches from northern Canada to the Andes in South America. It is found in a wide range of habitats, including forests, grasslands and deserts.

The mountain lion is the second-largest cat of the Americas (the Jaguar is the largest), and the fourth-largest of all cat species. Despite being (on average) larger than a leopard, the mountain lion is not considered to be a big cat, as it cannot roar.

The species is a stealthy ambush predator whose favored prey is deer. It will also prey on livestock.

  • You can find out more about this American wild cat on this page: Puma Facts

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Ocelot

Ocelot
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  • Scientific name: Leopardus pardalis
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America; Central America
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

This mid-sized South American wild cat is around twice as large as a domestic cat. The ocelot’s orange-gold coat is covered with various markings, including black spots, lines and patches. The ocelot is also known as the ‘dwarf leopard’ on behalf of these markings. Even today the species is hunted for its skin.

The ocelot is found in south and central America. The species is occasionally sighted in southern Texas.

  • You can find out more about the Ocelot on this page: Ocelot Facts

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Oncilla

Oncilla
Photo: Groumfy69 (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Alternative names: northern tiger cat; little spotted cat; tigrillo
  • Scientific name: Leopardus tigrinus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The oncilla is a small South American wild cat closely related to the ocelot and margay. It has an orange coat with black rosettes. It is smaller than the margay, and weighs less than a domestic cat.

The oncilla is mainly found in forest habitats, including cloud forests and lowland rainforests.

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Pallas’s Cat

Pallas's Cat
Photo: Gitanes232 (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Alternative name: Manul
  • Scientific name: Otocolobus manul
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Central Asia
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

Pallas’s Cat is a small wild cat species found in the steppes of Central Asia, from the Caspian Sea eastwards to Mongolia and southern Siberia.

Pallas’s Cat is similar in size to a domestic cat, weighing between 2.2 and 4.1 kg (5 and 9 lb.). It has long, shaggy fur which is sandy-grey in color with faint markings. Its ears are positioned low on the sides of its head, allowing it to keep a low profile when stalking its prey.

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Pampas Cat

Pampas Cat
Photo: ZooPro (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Alternative names: Pantanal cat; Colocolo
  • Scientific name: Leopardus colocolo
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

The pampas cat is a small cat found in the grasslands and dry forests of Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.

The color of its coat ranges from pale orange to silver-grey. The coat is marked with pale spots, rosettes or stripes. Most pampas cats weigh under 4 kg (8.8 lb.); less than a domestic cat.

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Puma


Rusty-Spotted Cat

Rusty Spotted Cat
Photo: Davidvraju (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Prionailurus rubiginosus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Indian Subcontinent; Sri Lanka
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

The rusty spotted cat is the world’s smallest species of cat. It weighs between 0.9 and 1.6 kg (2.0 and 3.5 lb.) and reaches a maximum head-body length of 48 cm (19 in). A large tiger (the biggest wild cat species) is 200 times bigger than a rusty-spotted cat!

The species is found in India and Sri Lanka. It inhabits forests and grasslands, and preys mainly on small rodents.

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Sand Cat

Sand Cat
Photo: Ranjith-chemmad (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Felis margarita
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Asia; North Africa
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The sand cat is a desert specialist that lives in arid regions of north Africa and southwest and central Asia.

Smaller than a domestic cat, the sand cat is a pale sandy color, with two distinctive black bands around its front legs and dark bands spreading outwards from its eyes.

The paws of the sand cat are covered in thick, stiff fur, allowing the cat to walk over hot sand. The species can obtain all of the water it needs from its prey, which consists mainly of small rodents. (It will also drink from a water source if one is available.) The sand cat is a fast digger, and will burrow into the sand in order to reach its prey.

The sand cat is mainly active at night. It shelters from the sun in burrows or among rocks.

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Serval

Serval
Click on the photo to find out more about this species.
  • Scientific name: Leptailurus serval
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Africa
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The serval is a mid-sized African wild cat. It is found mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where it inhabits a variety of habitats, only absent from rainforests and deserts.

The serval’s coat is a pale sandy color and covered in large black spots, some of which merge into lines. For its size, the serval has the longest legs of all cats. Other distinguishing features include a small head and extremely large ears.

The serval preys mainly on small vertebrates such as rodents, but will also take animals as large as small antelopes.

The Serval has a wide range and is relatively common.

  • You can find out more about the serval on this page: Serval Facts

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Snow Leopard

snow leopard
Click on the photo to find out more about this species.
  • Alternative name: Ounce
  • Scientific name: Panthera uncia
  • Subfamily: Pantherinae
  • Where found: Asia
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

Despite its name, the snow leopard is more closely related to the tiger than the leopard.

The snow leopard is found in the mountains of central and south Asia. The regions in which it lives are covered in snow for at least part of the year.

The snow leopard has a pale yellow-white coat with dark rosettes. Its eyes are pale green or grey. The snow leopard’s long, thick fur retains heat, and its large feet enable it to walk over snow without sinking.

It is estimated that there are fewer than 3,500 adult snow leopards in the wild. Threats to the species include habitat loss and hunting.

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Southern Tiger Cat

Southern Tiger Cat
Photo: Anderson Nasc (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Alternative name: Southern tigrina
  • Scientific name: Leopardus guttulus
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: South America
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The southern tiger cat is a small wild cat found in brazil, eastern Paraguay and northern Argentina. Until recently (2013), it was considered to be a subspecies of oncilla.

The southern tiger cat has a yellow-brown coat marked with rosettes. It inhabits a range of habitats, including rainforests and savannas.

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Sunda Clouded Leopard

Sunda Clouded Leopard
Photo: www.photosbypaulo.com (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY-SA
  • Scientific name: Neofelis diardi
  • Subfamily: Pantherinae
  • Where found: Borneo; Sumatra; Other Southeast Asian islands
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The Sunda clouded leopard was identified as being a separate species to the clouded leopard in 2006. It is only found on Sumatra, Borneo, and other nearby islands.

There are around 4,500 Sunda clouded leopards of breeding age in the wild, a figure that is thought to be decreasing. The decline is due mainly to habitat loss caused by logging and conversion of forest into oil palm plantations.

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Sunda Leopard Cat

Leopard Cat
Photo: Mike Prince from Bangalore, India (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) / CC BY
  • Scientific name: Prionailurus javanensis
  • Subfamily: Felinae
  • Where found: Southeast Asia
  • Conservation status: Unassessed

The Sunda leopard cat is a small wild cat found on several Southeast Asian islands, including Borneo, Sumatra and Java. Until recently it was considered a subspecies of the leopard cat found in mainland Asia.

The Sunda leopard cat has long legs and a slender body. Its fur is orange-brown with black spots, patches and lines. It inhabits a variety of forests, and may also be found in grasslands. It preys mainly on rodents.

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Tiger

Siberian tiger
Tiger in Siberia. Click on the photo to find out more about this species.
  • Scientific name: Panthera tigris
  • Subfamily: Pantherinae
  • Where found: Asia
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The tiger is the largest species of cat in the world. Large males can reach weights of over 350 kg / 770 lb. and have total body-tail lengths of 3.9m / 12.8 ft.

The tiger has a fragmented population across Asia, and is found in habitats as diverse as snow-covered Siberian forests and tropical mangrove swamps.

Despite the tiger being one of the world’s most recognizable animals, it is an endangered species. Only around 3,000 individuals of breeding age are left in the wild; there are currently more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild.

Biologists disagree over the number of tiger subspecies; recent research has identified just two subspecies: a mainland subspecies, and one found on the Greater Sunda Islands.

Other biologists believe that up to nine tiger subspecies exist, including well-known subspecies such as the Siberian Tiger and the Bengal Tiger.

  • You can find out more about tigers on this page: Tiger Facts

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Wild Cats List: Conclusion

Wild cats species are found in temperate and tropical regions all around the world, in habitats ranging from deserts to rainforests.

Sadly, over half of all wild cat species are currently threatened. Several wild cats are endangered, including perhaps the best-known wild cat of all: the tiger.

Cats, being obligate carnivores, require not only suitable habitat for themselves, but also for their prey. Many cats on the list above are adversely affected by habitat loss, and cats around the world are still being persecuted by humans.

This needs to stop; the consequence of not doing so is a world without tigers, lions, leopards and many other cat species.

2 thoughts on “Wild Cats List: All Wild Cat Species, With Photos, Facts & Conservation Status”

  1. Where is the Scottish Wildcat, (Felis silvestris silvestris syn. Felis silvestris grampia)?
    Why are there so few European wild cats? Were they all hunted to death?

    Reply
    • Hi Sandra,

      Great questions! The Scottish wildcat is a subspecies of European wildcat (which, incidentally, is why its scientific name has three parts; the third part denotes the subspecies).

      Many cat species have subspecies; there wouldn’t be enough space for us to list them all!

      The lack of wild cat species in Europe is probably explained in part by physical factors such as climate and geography, but I suspect most of all by habitat loss and persecution. Lions, leopards and probably tigers and several other wild cat species were once present in Europe, unfortunately no longer.

      Thanks again for your questions,

      The Active Wild Team

      Reply

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