Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) - Leopardus Lineage
Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) by Jim Sanderson (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The beautiful silvery grey Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) is very rare and occurs at low densities in its mountainous habitat of the Andes, South America.  Very little is known about this cat and research is difficult in the extreme conditions at high altitudes. In addition to the usual threats of habitat loss and degradation due to human activities and expansion, the fragile mountain region with its specialist wildlife will also be affected by global climate change.

Leopardus Lineage

1. Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)

2. Geoffroy’s Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi)

3. Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita)

4. Margay (Leopardus wiedii)

5. Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola)

6. Northern Tiger Cat (Leopardus tigrinus)

7. Southern Tiger Cat (Leopardus guttulus)

8. Guiña or Kodkod (Leopardus guigna)

Key Facts about Andean Cats

~ Endangered rare cat of South America ~

~  Mountainous habitat of the Andes ~

~ Very few studies so little is known ~

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) Classification

The Andean Cat belongs to the genus Leopardus and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Andean Cat species is:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Leopardus

Species: Leopardus jacobita (Andean Cat)

Subspecies: none


The scientific name for the Andean Cat is Leopardus jacobita which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

Classification Chart

This Andean Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Leopardus genus.

Andean Cat Classification Chart (Leopardus jacobita)
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) Subspecies

No subspecies of Andean Cats have been described in the past and the last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 continues to recognize the Andean Cat as a monotypic species.

  • Leopardus jacobita - Andes mountains of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru and Patagonia Argentina - South America (patchy distribution).

Andean Cat Conservation

The global conservation status for the Andean Cat is Endangered (EN) with an estimated population of less than 3000.

The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of the Andean Cat:

Andean Cat Alliance - South America

Wildlife Conservation Network - Andean Cat

Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!

Andean Cat release Andean-Cat-Alliance

Andean Cat Facts and Information

These organizations have well researched and authoritative information on Andean Cats:

Andean Cat Research

For a list of papers on Andean Cats view articles on Leopardus jacobita in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database. (Scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list.)

Consider joining the Friends of the Cat Specialist Group to access the full articles and receive their journal Cat News covering the latest wild cat research.


Molecular population genetics, evolutionary biology and biological conservation of neotropical carnivores.

Field Guide to the Wild Cats of South America (Spanish)

Neotropical Cats by TG de Oliveira (1994)
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