Guina - Kodkod (Leopardus guigna) - Leopardus Lineage
Leopardus guigna in Anticura (Parque Nacional Puyehue, X Region, Chile) by Mauro Tammone (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The diminutive Guiña (Leopardus guigna) of South America is a forest dependant cat species occurring primarily in the country of Chile and also known as the Kodkod or Chilean Wild Cat.

The cat weighs under 3 kilograms and is the smallest cat species in the Americas and among the smallest cat species in the world.

Threats include logging of natural forests and fragmentation of the landscape for agriculture.

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 Guiñas / Kodkods

~ Smallest wild cat of the Americas ~

~  Smallest range of all cats of the Americas ~

~ Found primarily in one country - Chile ~

Guiña / Kodkod (Leopardus guigna) Classification

The Guiña or Kodkod cat belongs to the genus Leopardus and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Guiña or Kodkod 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 guigna (Guiña / Kodkod)


L.g. guigna

L.g. tigrillo


The scientific name for the Guiña or Kodkod cat is Leopardus guigna 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 Guina classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Leopardus genus.

Guina Classification Chart
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

Guiña / Kodkod(Leopardus guigna) Subspecies

Two subspecies of Guiñas have been described in the past:

  • Southern Guiña (Leopardus guigna guigna) - south Chile and south west Argentina (darker and smaller)
  • Northern Guiña (Leopardus guigna tigrillo) - north and central Chile (paler and larger)

These two subspecies were confirmed in the 2017 Felidae taxonomy revision.

Guiña / Kodkod walking along track (Leopardus guigna)

Guiña / Kodkod Conservation

The global conservation status for the Guiña / Kodkod is Vulnerable (VU) and populations are declining.

The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of the smaller cats of Latin America:

Guiña Working Group - Chile

 Wild Cats Americas (WCA) - Small Wild Cats of the Americas

 Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation (SWCCF)  - Global

Small wild cat working groups of the Neotropics: results of the first group leaders meeting.

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

Guiña / Kodkod Facts and Information

These organizations have well researched and authoritative information on Guiñas / Kodkods:

If you find this website useful, please consider a small contribution of $5 so I can continue to keep it updated. Thank you, Mandy 🙂

Guiña Research

Here are some papers published on Guiña cats. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.

View more articles on Leopardus guigna 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.


Guiña / Kodkod in habitat (Leopardus guigna)

Map of South America with Countries and Capitals
Map of South America by Nations Online Project

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)
Out of Print Try AbeBooks ~ Book Review