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Animals

Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

Purrrfect Facts About The Geoffroy’s Cat Kids Will Love

Purrrfect Geoffroy’s cat facts that kids will love to read.

Geoffroy's cat, Leopardus geoffroyi, gets its name from the famous naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire. This feline species is probably the most common wild cat in South America. The various subspecies of Geoffroy's cat, Leopardus geoffroyi, occupy ranges in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.  These South American wild cats, which resemble leopards, are called by names like Geoffroy's ocelot, and gato montes meaning ‘cat of the mountains'.  Their size, coat color, and pattern may differ depending on the habitat in which they live.

These brownish-yellow cats with black spots are relatively common in their home range habitats of pampas grasslands and the dry Chaco shrub and woodlands. These wild cats share their home range with various other feline species like Pampas cats and Andean cats. After the domestic cat, Geoffroy's cat is considered the second most common cat species that are spotted in various South American countries like Argentina, Uruguay.

Good tree climbers, swimmers, and hunters, Geoffroy's cats have been spotted at elevations as high as 10,800 ft (3290 m). This native South American feline species prefers to inhabit areas with adequate ground cover, like scrublands and grasslands.

You'll find in this article information such as Geoffroy's cat diet, Geoffroy's cat female population, whether Geoffroy's cat is a domestic cat or a common cat or wild cat, whether their status is Least Concern or not, and so on.

You may also check out t African wildcat facts and Burmilla facts from Kidadl.

Geoffroy’s Cat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is Geoffroy’s cat?

Geoffroy's cat is a species of small wild cat native to southern and central South America. This felid species is considered to be a widespread and abundantly available animal in its range with a healthy reproduction rate. The distribution of Geoffroy's cat, Oncifelis geoffroyi is absent from tropical rain forests and open areas.

What class of animal does a Geoffroy’s cat belong to?

All the subspecies of Geoffroy's cats are mammals, belonging to class Mammalia.

How many Geoffroy’s cats are there in the world?

It is difficult to tell the exact number of Geoffroy's cats living in their varied home ranges. Population distribution and densities vary depending on the type of habitat.

Where does a Geoffroy’s cat live?

Geoffroy's cats live in thickly vegetated and scrubland areas. They inhabit the Southern area of the Andes, Pampas, and dry, semi-arid lowlands of Gran Chaco.

These solitary animals live alone except during the mating season. The range of multiple females may overlap but the home range of male cats never overlaps with other males.

What is a Geoffroy’s cat's habitat?

Geoffroy’s cats inhabit areas in the Andes in southern Bolivia, southern parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. Geoffroy’s cat likes to live in areas that have thick ground vegetation cover and do not live in trees. They occur in a wide variety of habitats where food is easily available. That includes grasslands, semi-arid scrublands, dry woodlands, marshes, and arid steppe uplands. Since their diet includes a large variety of birds, rodents, and fish, these cats are never out of food choices. These opportunistic predators will include whatever food is available in their particular range.

Geoffroy’s cats mostly live on the ground. Despite their tree climbing expertise, they seldom look for prey on trees. In South America, the local name for this species is ‘gato de montes’, which means cat of the mountains.

Who do Geoffroy’s cats live with?

Geoffroy's cats are solitary hunters. Males come in contact with the females only during the breeding season. It takes 18 months for females and 24 months for males to attain sexual maturity.

The males have larger home ranges than females. Females retain home ranges of about 0.77-2.32 sq miles (2-6 sq km) while males occupy ranges covering more than 4.6 sq miles (12 km).

This species of wild cats have been seen to stand up on their hind legs and scrutinize their surrounding landscape.

How long does a Geoffroy’s cat live?

The lifespan of Geoffroy's cat is about 18 years.

How do they reproduce?

Geoffroy's cats typically breed from October to March and most of the kittens are born between December and May. During the breeding season, the male cat mates with several females as these animals are polygynous.

The gestation period for females of this species lasts for 72-78 days. After 78 days the babies are born. A litter usually consists of one to three kittens. Even a single young cat born after 78 days is a common occurrence. The kittens are blind at birth and develop much slowly compares to domestic cats. It takes 18 months for females to reach sexual maturity and 24 months for males.

It takes 8-10 weeks for the kittens to wean but they remain with their mother for about eight months.

What is their conservation status?

From the 1960s to 1980s, Geoffroy's cats were extensively killed for their coats which were in high demand in the international fur trade. However, after 1988 the practice reduced after this cat species was upgraded to CITES Appendix I status in the year 1992. In the late 1980s, it was made illegal to hunt and trade these cats in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Geoffroy’s Cat Fun Facts

What do Geoffroy’s cats look like?

Geoffroy's cats have black marks all over their body.

Geoffroy's cats differ in coat color depending on whether they are in their southern home ranges or northern home ranges. In the northern areas of their range, these cats have a brown and yellowish base coat. In the southern parts of their range, their fur is somewhat grayish. All the cats of this species have varied patterns of black spots. These spots merge into stripes near the chest, neck, and face. These wild South American cats have striped tails. Some Geoffroy's cats even have solid black coats.

Geoffroy's cats are similar to domestic cats in size. They have numerous dark cheek bands and round black dots on various parts of the body. That includes the neck, limbs, tail, and makes them recognizable easily. The base coat color varies from one species to the other. Some have brownish-yellow or brilliant ochre fur and some have a grayish coat. The fur on their underbelly is off-white. The back of their large rounded ears is black. These cats are about 24 in (60 cm) in length including head and body. They have a relatively shorter tail that is 12 in (31 cm) in length.

The young animals look similar to the adults. The young cats develop darker black spots on their body as they mature in age. The tail has a black tip. It is about half the length of the body and is covered with several black ring patterns.

How cute are they?

Geoffroy's cats are wild animals and are not cuddly like domestic cats, however, they are extremely cute to look at.

How do they communicate?

Mostly solitary, male and female Geoffroy's cats come together during the mating season. They communicate through purrs, growls, hisses, and snarls to express different emotions.

They also communicate through visual signals and tactile senses mostly to communicate with the kittens.

How big is a Geoffroy’s cat?

Jaguar is the largest wild cat inhabiting the Americas. These animals are 43-70 in (1.1-1.8 m) in length from nose to tail base. Compared to the jaguar, Geoffroy's cats which are about 11-26 in (27.9-66 cm) long are around three to four times shorter than jaguars.

How fast can a Geoffroy’s cat run?

The running speed of Geoffroy's cat has not been recorded.

How much does a Geoffroy’s cat weigh?

Geoffroy's cats are small wild cats almost the size of domestic cats. They weigh 4.5-13 lb (2-6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male Geoffroy's cat is called a tom and a female is called a queen.

What would you call a baby Geoffroy’s cat?

A young Geoffroy's cat is called a kitten.

What do they eat?

The food of Geoffroy’s cats includes a variety of small animals. Their diet mostly includes rodents like rats, small agoutis, wild guinea pigs, hares, birds, small mammals, reptiles, fish, crabs, and amphibians.

Are they dangerous?

Geoffroy’s cats are about the size of domestic cats and do not cause any harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Having Geoffroy's cat as a pet is not a good idea as they are wild animals that need to roam free and require privacy, a quiet environment, and have a very strong prey drive.

Did you know...

Geoffroy's cats in the southern and the northern regions vary in size. The southern cats are larger compared to the northern subspecies.

Why is it called Geoffroy’s cat?

The cat was named after Etienne Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, a French zoologist from the 19th century.

Why is Geoffroy’s cat endangered?

The Geoffroy's cat is Near Threatened due to habitat loss and hunting.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our southern rocky mountain wolf facts or jaguar facts pages

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable geoffroy's cat coloring pages.

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