AnimalsWild Animals

24 Different Types of Wild Cats

Do you adore cats a lot? There are about 40 species of wild cats around the globe, and we can find them in many different geographical locations. Here we will explore different types of wild cats. Some live in dense forests, while others live in snowy regions. Each has its own unique characteristics.


Types of Wild Cats

Wild cats, also known as felids, can be found all over the world. Their sizes, shapes, and changes allow them to live in their specific habitats.


There are different types of wild cats, including black-footed cats, rusty-spotted cats, fishing cats, caracals, cougars, oncillas, leopards, ocelots, colocolo cats, margay, Eurasian lynxes, Canada lynxes, African golden cats, jaguar, tigers, lion, sand cat, cheetah, and many more. Let’s take a closer look at them:

Black-Footed Cat

Scientific name: Felis nigripes


This lovable cat is among the world’s smallest wild cats and the smallest in Africa. It resembles a domestic cat in both size and shape. The black-footed cat has adapted to its surroundings by developing fuzzy feet that protect it from the sand’s heat. They eat birds, reptiles, rodents, spiders, and amphibians as well.

Rusty-Spotted Cat

Scientific name: Prionailurus rubiginosus


Rusty-spotted cats are small, wild cats from South Asia. The Rusty-spotted cat is mostly found in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. As the world’s smallest wild cat, it’s right up there with the black-footed cat. The IUCN has classified it as vulnerable because of habitat loss and fragmentation. This is the smallest wild cat species, measuring between 38 cm and 48 cm (14-19 inches) in length. It primarily consumes smaller mammals, such as frogs, rodents, lizards, and even birds.

Clouded Leopard

Scientific name: Neofelis nebulosa


Clouded leopards lived in dense forests from the lower Himalayas to central Southeast Asia, then into South China. It has large, ominous dark blotches, irregular patches, and stripes that imitate mists. China calls the clouded leopard the mint leopard based on its spots. Malaysians call it the tree tiger. They eat small deer, birds, wild pigs, rodents, and monkeys. Their prey includes domestic animals like calves, goats, etc.

Fishing Cat

Scientific name: Prionailurus viverrinus


Fishing cats live in South and Southeast Asia. The fishing cat’s swimming ability is how it got its name. They are simple to identify due to their thick, waterproof coats with partially webbed feet. Due to such changes, the fishing cat can swim well, even underwater. Small rodents and fish constitute a significant portion of its diet. On the IUCN Red List, it’s listed as vulnerable.

Pallas Cat

Scientific name: Otocolobus manul


Asia’s mountain ranges are home to the Pallas cat. Iran, Pakistan, northern India, and even China have all claimed to have seen it. It can also be called the steppe or even the rock wild cat. The weight ranges from 4-11 pounds. This stunning wild cat is stocky and also has fluffy, thick fur. They eat small rodents like hamsters, voles, small marmots, gerbils, and sometimes birds and lizards.


Scientific name: Caracal caracal


It is one of the most popular types of wild cats. They are medium-sized wild cats that can be seen in Africa and many other continents like Central Asia and India. They have short faces, long tufted ears, and long legs. And the teeth have a canine appearance. A caracal consumes only meat, mostly antelopes, birds, and rodents.


Scientific name: Puma concolor


These creatures are also referred to as pumas, and they are mostly found in America. They may also be known as mountain lions in certain regions. In general, male cougars weigh 53 to 100 kilograms, while females weigh 29 to 64 kilograms. Fur covers the upper portion of the body, usually grey, but occasionally it may be reddish. There are some light-colored areas underneath the body. Cougars prefer to hunt deer, mountain goats, moose, wild sheep, and elk as their prey.


Scientific name: Leopardus tigrinus


Several wild, spotted cats live in Central and South America, with the Jaguar among the most well-known. One of its tiniest is the oncilla, sometimes known as the tiger cat. It can be seen from northern Argentina to Costa Rica, frequently at higher elevations than other spotted cat species. Furthermore, it is quite elusive and uncommon. There are times when the cat eats grass. Oncilla cats consume tree frogs, lizards, eggs, invertebrates, birds, and other small mammals. Sadly, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to agricultural conversion and deforestation.

Geoffroy’s Cat

Scientific name: Leopardus geoffroyi


Aren’t you curious about this unique name? Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, a French zoologist from the 19th century, is the name given to Geoffroy’s cat. This is another spotted cat found in South America. Geoffroy’s cat is also found in Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay. There are several different habitats where Geoffroy’s cats can be seen, including marshland, dry steppe, as well as the desert. Geoffroy’s cat eats mostly small vertebrates, such as reptiles, mammals, fish, amphibians, and birds.

Also Read: Classification of Animals.


Scientific name: Panthera pardus


Leopards live in Central Asia, India, China, and across Africa. There are many leopard habitats, such as forests, tropical zones, subtropical regions, grasslands, deserts, mountains, and savannas. Leopards can stalk their prey, including antelopes and gazelles, haul it up, and consume it all in trees. By doing this, they protect their food from scavengers, including hyenas.


Scientific name: Leptailurus serval


One of the most well-known types of medium wild cats is the serval. They have quite a peculiar appearance with a dark nose and abnormally large ears. The plains and areas with long grass are where these cats are most often found. They are found all over South Africa. In Tanzania, namely in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you can observe them. The serval eats insects, reptiles, frogs, lizards, rodents, squirrels, and birds.


Scientific name: Leopardus pardalis


Ocelots can be found all across Central and South America. Even the southern regions of Texas have them. Finding these cats is not that tough. They are visible throughout Brazil. Rainforests and semi-arid thorn scrubs are habitats for this species. Ocelots hunt lizards, opossums, raccoons, mice, deer, rats, doves, and even reptiles like rattlesnakes.

Colocolo Cat

Scientific name: Leopardus colocola


This little cat is very quirky. It is also known as the Pampas cat. They are quite furry and brown, unlike wild cats, as one might think. South America is home to most of them. They can be seen throughout a large portion of their range. It consumes small mammals such as guinea pigs, mice, and vizcachas.


Scientific name: Leopardus wiedii


A spotted cat with a native range of Central and South America has been known as a margay. It prowls the jungles between Mexico and Argentina. Although the margay is smaller and grows to a height of 35-50 centimeters, it resembles the ocelot in look and has longer legs and a longer tail. Margays mostly hunt in trees and eat a variety of food such as small mammals, birds, and their eggs, reptiles, and even eat fruits.

Eurasian Lynx

Scientific name: Lynx lynx


The Eurasian lynx is difficult to see in the wild. There isn’t a single location where they are frequently spotted because they are elusive and often have broad-based behavior. But mainly forests of Europe, Central Asia, and Siberia are home to this species. It’s hard for most people to notice them all the time. Their diet includes deer, rabbits, hares, reindeer, and occasionally foxes.

Canada Lynx

Scientific name: Lynx canadensis


The northernmost species of lynx is the Canada Lynx. These can be found all over Canada and in a few topmost states, especially Alaska (US state). They have enormous paws that work similarly to snowshoes. Their diet includes squirrels, voles, birds like grouse, and rarely caribou and moose.

African Golden Cat

Scientific name: Caracal aurata


The medium-sized African Golden Cat is a wild cat found in the West and Central African rainforests. Not much is known about this cat’s behavior because of its extremely reclusive lifestyle. Their main diet consists of tree hyraxes, birds, monkeys, rodents, small antelopes as well as forest hogs.


Scientific name: Panthera onca


The Jaguar is the largest and strongest wild cat in the Western Hemisphere, coming in third place behind the tiger and the lion in size. The current range of the Jaguar stretches from Mexico through much of Central America, down to Paraguay, then up into northern Argentina. Some of the prey that Jaguars consume include deer, iguanas, tortoises, capybaras, fish, monkeys, and birds.


Scientific name: Panthera tigris


The most recognized of all cats is the tiger. The basic characteristics of these animals are reddish-brown or orange coats, white bellies, and a white “fringe” that extends around the face, with stripes that range in color from dark brown to pure black. The tiger is a native of eastern and southern Asia. It is an obligate carnivore and an apex predator. Diets of tigers include meat, eggs, fish, wild fruits, and occasionally grass. Moreover, they require enough fresh water.


Scientific name: Panthera leo


A lion is a member of the big wild cat family and is the second largest cat after a tiger. In the wild, the lion can be found in Africa and India. Lions have long hair around their heads, which makes them easy to distinguish from females. A lion is a carnivore; hence it eats meat only. The average lifespan of a lion in captivity is 25 years, while in the wild it’s 12-16. Among their prey are wild dogs, buffaloes, birds, baby elephants, turtles, giraffes, antelopes, and many more.

Also Read: How Do Lions Adapt to Their Environment?

Sand Cat

Scientific name: Felis margarita


Sand cats are small, night-loving wild cats endemic to the deserts of North Africa and Asia. Particularly, it belongs to the family of desert animals. It has a wide, sandy-brown coat and a fierce, serious-looking face. The species is well adapted to life in deserts; therefore, it is also known as the desert cat.


Scientific name: Puma yagouaroundi


Jaguarundi is a wild cat that is indigenous to Central and South America and is found in a variety of habitats from tropical rainforest to scrubland. It is an agile and powerful predator and is also an excellent climber and swimmer. It usually hunts early in the morning and evening. This solitary creature eats mostly small mammals like rodents, rabbits, and frogs but it also eats reptiles and birds.


Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus

Cheetahs are wild cats that live in Africa and Asia. These cats can run between 80 and 130 km/h, making them the fastest land animals in the world! Cheetahs have long, powerful legs and sleek, streamlined bodies for speed. The black spots on their tan coats help them blend in with their natural environment.

They eat small impalas, springboks, gazelles, steenboks, and warthogs. They also consume the young of larger animals, such as hartebeests, zebras, oryxes, etc. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the cheetah as Vulnerable.

Jungle Cat

Scientific name: Felis chaus


Swamp cats or jungle cats are indigenous to South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, the Caucasus, and Southern China. They are medium-sized cats. They like thick brush around wetlands, tall grasses, and reed beds. The jungle cat eats small mammals, including hares, rodents, small snakes, frogs, gerbils, and even birds.


We have explored different types of wild cats, each with unique characteristics and adaptations to their environments. The most well-known wild cats include lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, and cougars. These cats can be found in various habitats worldwide, from grasslands and savannas to forests and mountains. Despite their beauty and power, habitat loss, poaching, deforestation, and other human activities threaten many wild cat populations. This highlights the importance of conservation efforts to protect these magnificent animal species for future generations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button