Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola) - Leopardus Lineage
Pampas Cat by ZooPro (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The adaptable Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola - previously Leopardus colocolo) occurs in a variety of habitats at all altitudes across South America. It is often confused with other Leopardus small spotted cats as its coat can be patterned, however the variety with the plain coat is unique to this species. As with most Latin American cats, Pampas Cats were hunted extensively for the fur trade in the past and nowadays loss of habitat due to human expansion is the primary threat to their continued survival.

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 Pampas Cats

~ Wide range habitat types South America ~

~  Variable coat from plain to patterned ~

~ Pointed v rounded ears other Leopardus cats ~

Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola / colocolo) Classification

The Pampas Cat belongs to the genus Leopardus and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Pampas Cat species (Leopardus colocola) is as follows:

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 colocola (Pampas Cat)


Update 2017: As per the revised Felidae taxonomy – the correct spelling of the Latin name is Leopardus colocola (previously colocolo).

Pampas cat in grass - image

Pampas Cats Sleeping - image

Pampas cat image

Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola / colocolo) Subspecies

Lower Classification

Three species and eleven subspecies of Pampas Cats have been recognized in the past:

  • Leopardus colocolo colocolo
  • Leopardus colocolo wolffsohni
  • Leopardus pajeros pajeros
  • Leopardus pajeros budini
  • Leopardus pajeros crespoi
  • Leopardus pajeros crucinus
  • Leopardus pajeros garleppi
  • Leopardus pajeros steinbachi
  • Leopardus pajeros thomasi
  • Leopardus braccatus braccatus
  • Leopardus braccatus munoai

However the current Felidae taxonomy revision found insufficient genetic evidence for species differentiation and proposes one species with seven subspecies and reverts to the original spelling colocola:

  • Leopardus colocola colocola - central Chile west of the Andes
  • Leopardus colocola wolffsohni - north Chile west of the Andes
  • Leopardus colocola pajeros - Argentina
  • Leopardus colocola budini - north-west Argentina, Bolivia east of the Andes
  • Leopardus colocola garleppi - south Colombia, Ecuador, Peru east of the Andes
  • Leopardus colocola braccatus - south-west and central Brazil, Paraguay
  • Leopardus colocola munoai - Uruguay

Pampas Cat Conservation & Research

The global conservation status for the Pampas Cat is Near Threatened (NT) and populations are declining.

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

Please support these organizations with their important work. No matter how small or large your donation, every bit helps!

Pampas kittens in tree - image

Adult pampas cat image

Pampas Cat Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Pampas Cats:

Books on Neotropical Cats

Currently there is no publication in print dedicated to just the cats of Central and South America.

A book entitled Neotropical Cats by TG de Oliviera was published in 1994 however is no longer in print, and may be available in libraries or in used book stores.

The latest information on these cats can be found in books covering all wild cats.

Neotropical Cats by TG de Oliveira 1994
Neotropical Cats by TG de Oliveira (1994) - Out of Print
Try AbeBooks ~ Book Review 1996