Species Info

This page contains a list of the common and latin names of all wild cats. Where possible we include links to other sites for further information. The most comprehensive source of information currently available on wild cats is to be found in the IUCN publication: ‘Wild Cats, Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan‘ compiled by Kristin Nowell and Peter Jackson (ISBN 2-8317-0045-0). To order, email the IUCN Publication Services Unit at iucn-psu@wcmc.org.uk. You can research other sources of information at your local library or by performing a search at amazon.com. An excellent source of readily available information is to be found at the webpage: IUCN/Cat Specialist Group

Introduction: The latest news

Things have changed again and there are 38 species of wild cats. Until recently the 36 species of wild cats were divided into five groups (called ‘genera’). The five groups were: lynx (cats with bob tails and tufted ears), felis (small cats which can purr but not roar), panthera (big cats which can roar), acinonyx (cheetahs only and neofelis (the clouded leopard). This system has recently been refined into eighteen groups instead of five. The change reflects greater recognition of the variations which exist between species. They have decided to split the African wildcat into three different species. Many thing will continue to change as DNA becomes more of a factor in classification.

The following list of latin and common names is grouped into three subfamilies of wild cats. The divisions are based on evolutionary theory and morphology. The taxonomic status of some wild cats remains controversial and is likely to be debated for years to come.

Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa

Status: Endangered

Lion Panthera leo Status: One subspecies endangered

Asiatic Lion Information Center

Lion Research Cente

Jaguar Panthera onca

Status: Endangered

Jaguar Conservation Team/Arizona Dept.of Game & Fish

Jaguars/US Fish & Wildlife Service

Protect the Jaguar

Leopard Panthera pardus

Status: Several subspecies endangered

Tiger Panthera tigris

Status: Endangered

Bagheera (good info.on tigers/medicinal trade

Wildlife Conservation Society

Tiger Information Center

Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata

Status: Endangered

Snow Leopard Panthera uncia

Status: Endangered

International Snow Leopard Trust

Snow Leopard Conservancy

caracal Caracal caracal

bay cat Catopuma badia

Temmincki’s or Asian golden cat Felis temminckii Endangered

Chinese desert cat Felis bieti

jungle cat Felis chaus

sand cat Felis margarita scheffeli One subspecies endangered

black-footed cat Felis nigripes Endangered

European/African/Indian wild cats Felis sylvestris

jaguarundi Herpailurus yaguarondi Several subspecies endangered

ocelot Leopardu pardalis Endangered

tiger cat/tigrina/oncilla Felis tigrinis Endangered

margay Leopardus wiedii Endangered

serval Leptailurus serval One subspecies extinct?

bobcat Felis rufus One subspecies endangered

pampas cat Oncifelis colocolo

Geoffroy’s cat Oncifelis geoffroyi

kodkod Oncifelis guigna

Andean mountain cat Oreailurus jacobitus Endangered

Pallas’ cat Felis manul

leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis Some subspecies endangered (Note: some individuals in the pet trade are hybridizing this 5 – 14 lb wild cat with domestic cats for the luxury pet market. The hybrid offspring (called Bengal or Safari cats) are sometimes misrepresented by breeders as being the result of a cross between domestic cats and leopards (Panthera pardus), a big cat weighing 70 – 120lbs. This is deliberate misinformation to enhance the mystique of the hybrid. The hybridization of wild cats occurs for commercial gain and novelty.)

Canadian lynx Lynx canadensis Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx

Spanish lynx Lynx pardalis Endangered

bobcat Lynx rufus One subspecies endangered

flatheaded cat Prionailurus planiceps Endangered

rusty-spotted cat Prionailurus rubiginosus (the smallest species of wild cat with an average weight of 2.2 lbs!)

fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus

African golden cat Profelis aurata

puma, mountain lion Puma concolor Threatened/some subsp.endangered

(Source: Mammal Species of the World: a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Wilson and Reeder, 1993) The status of the cats given above is in accordance with listings of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. For status listings by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species please perform a search at the following link: CITES