The small spotted Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is widespread and common throughout South America. It is a generalist species and although mostly active on the ground it has been observed climbing trees and hunting in water.
This cat was once the second most traded pelt after bobcats, and it is still at risk from illegal poaching for the fur trade. There is also demand from the pet trade to interbreed Geoffroy's Cats with domestic cats to produce 'safari cats'.
As with all the South American cats, clearing of natural forest habitat for farming is a major threat to their survival.
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)
Facts about Geoffroy's Cats
~ Widespread & common in South America ~
~ Active on the ground, trees and in water ~
~ Historically second most traded cat pelt ~
Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) Classification
The Geoffroy's Cat belongs to the genus Leopardus and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Geoffroy's 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)
Species: Leopardus geoffroyi (Geoffroy's Cat)
The scientific name for the Geoffroy's Cat is Leopardus geoffroyi 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).
This Geoffroy's Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Leopardus genus.
Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) Subspecies
Four subspecies of Geoffroy's Cats have been recognized in the past:
- Leopardus geoffroyi geoffroyi - Central and south Argentina, Chile
- Leopardus geoffroyi salinarum - North-west Argentina
- Leopardus geoffroyi paraguae - Paraguay, Uruguay, north-east Argentina and south-east Brazil
- Leopardus geoffroyi euxanthus - Bolivia and north Argentina
However the last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 found insufficient genetic evidence for subspecies differentiation and proposed a monotypic species (no subspecies).
Geoffroy's Cat Conservation
The global conservation status for Geoffroy's Cats is Least Concern (LC) across all regions.
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of the smaller cats of Latin America:
Geoffroys Cat Working Group (GCWG) - South America
Wild Cats Americas (WCA) - Small Wild Cats of the Americas
Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!
Geoffroy's Cat Facts and Information
These organizations have well researched and authoritative information on Geoffroy's Cats:
- Geoffroy's Cat Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Geoffroy's Cat Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Geoffroy's Cat Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Geoffroy's Cat Fact Sheet - Int. Soc. for Endangered Cats (ISEC)
Geoffroy's Cat Research
Here are some papers published on Geoffroy's Cats. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.
Leopardus geoffroyi is a small feline with a widespread distribution in a broad array of habitats. Here we investigate its evolutionary history to characterize the phylogeographical patterns that led to its present distribution using mitochondrial DNA from 72 individuals collected throughout its entire range.
All haplotypes conformed to a monophyletic group, including two clades with a central/marginal disposition that is incongruent to the proposed subspecies. Spatial diffusion analysis showed the origin of the species within the oldest and more diverse central clade. A Bayesian Skyline Plot combined with a dispersal through time plot revealed two population increases at 190 000-170 000 and 45 000-35 000 years ago, the latter period accompanied by an increase in the dispersal rate. Species distribution models showed similar patterns between the present and Last Interglacial Period, and a reduction of high-probability areas during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).
Molecular evidence confirms L. geoffroyi as a monotypic species whose origin is located in Central Argentina. The last glaciation had little effect on the pattern of distribution of the species: the population and range expansion that started before the LGM, although probably being halted, continued after the glaciation and resulted in the presence of this felid in the far south of Patagonia.
Gomez Fernandez, M.J.; Fameli, A.; Gomez, J.R.; Pereira, J.A.; Mirol, P.
Phylogeographical spatial diffusion analysis reveals the journey of Geoffroy's cat through the Quaternary glaciations of South America
2020 Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (129): 603-617
Geoffroy's cat is a small Neotropical felid, seemingly abundant throughout most of its range and exhibiting considerable ecological plasticity. In Brazil, the species is restricted to the Pampas, one of the most threatened biomes in the country, where information on its ecology is scarce. Here we report the first assessments of its density, habitat selection, and activity patterns in Brazil.
The study was conducted in human-dominated landscape at the extreme south of the country. Using Spatially Explicit Capture Recapture (SECR) analyses, the estimated population density ranged from 34.54 (±13.51 SE), based on camera trap and radio-telemetry data, to 41.78 (±16.12 SE) individuals/100 km2, based only on camera trap data.
A Resource Selection Function (RSF) analysis showed that our study population selected sites with native forest and rivers, and avoided areas close to roads, which probably implies avoidance of human contact.
Although we observed a slight increase in its nocturnal activity during spring-summer with respect to fall-winter, this population was predominantly nocturnal throughout the year.
The use of grasslands and croplands (non-protected areas) was non-uniformly distributed through the hours of the day, whereas native forest was used more uniformly.
Tirelli, F.P.; Mazim, F.D.; Crawshaw Jr., P.G.; Albano, A.P.; Espinosa, C.; Queirolo, D.; Lopes Rocha, F.; Soares, J.B.; Trigo, T.C.; MacDonald, D.W.; Lucherini, M.; Eizirik, E.
Density and spatio-temporal behaviour of Geoffroy's cats in a human-dominated landscape of southern Brazil
2019 Mammalian Biology (99): 128-135
We report data on the spatial ecology and habitat selection of eight adult Geoffroy's cat Leopardus geoffroyi (five males and three females) that were radiotracked in an area of the central Argentine Espinal.
Mean home range size varied from 2.2 ± 1.9 km2 (Kernel95%) to 2.8 ± 2.4 km2 (MCP100%), with male home ranges 4.1 larger than those of females. Core areas (Kernel50%) averaged 0.7 ± 0.7 km2 and were 3 times smaller for females. Daily movement patterns were consistent with the variations in home range sizes being greater in males (590.2 m ± 476.6) than females (413.5 m ± 288.1). Home range overlap averaged 38%, and was highly variable between males and females and reached its highest value for intersexual pairs.
At second-order resolution, most of individuals had a strong selection for open woodland, while the other habitats were generally avoided. At the home range level, although the electivity index values for the open woodland were positive for all animals, habitat selection showed a high inter-individual variation.
Our data support previous studies that suggest that Geoffroy's cats show a certain degree of flexibility in their spatial behavior. Finally, we argue that natural woodland patches or habitats with dense vegetation are important for L. geoffroyi in the Argentinean Espinal and their alteration can affect the conservation status of this cat.
Castillo, D.F.; Vidal, E.M.L.; Caruso, N.C.; Manfredi, C.; Lucherini, M.; Casanave, E.B.
Spatial organization and habitat selection of Geoffroy's cat in the Espinal of central Argentina
2019 Mammalian Biology (94): 30-37
View more articles on Leopardus geoffroyi in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database. (Scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list.)