Geoffroy's cat

(Leopardus geoffroyi)


Geoffroy's cat IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Geoffroy's is a small spotted cat, about the size of a domestic cat. Head-body length ranges from 44 to 75 cm, tail length 25-35 cm, hind foot 9.7-12.5 cm, and height at shoulder reaches up to 23 cm. The body-weight varies between 2 and 6 kg.


The Geoffroy's cat is robustly built with stout legs. It has rather large rounded ears. The nose pad is pink with black margins, the iris amber to greenish grey, and the pupils contract into vertical slits.


The coat is short and soft. The ground colour above varies from clear grey to pale fulvous and deep cinnamon, covered with numerous small black spots. There are narrow black stripes on the neck, and two black stripes enclosing a whitish area on each side of the head. The back side of the ears is black with a large white central spot. The underparts are whitish, cream or greyish and also marked with black spots. Melanistic specimens are common.


After a gestation period of 72-78 days, the female gives birth to a litter of usually 2-3 kittens.


Geoffroy's cats hunt primarily rodents and lagomorphs, including introduced European brown hare. In addition they take amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

Did you know?
That the species has been exploited commercially since the international cat skin trade boomed in the late 1960s, with nearly 350,000 skins exported from Argentina alone between 1976 and 1979? Trade volumes remained high into the 1980s. International trade has since declined. No significant trade has been reported since 1988, i.e. already some years before the species was listed in CITES Appendix I.


Name (Scientific) Leopardus geoffroyi
Name (English) Geoffroy's cat
Name (French) Chat de Geoffroy
Name (German) Kleinfleckkatze
Name (Spanish) Gato montés
Local names Brazil: Gato do mato pelo curto, Gato do mato de Geoffroy
Guaraní: Mbarakayá
Peru: Osjo
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
Habitat Grasslands, arid shrub and woodlands, and alpine saline desert
Wild population Estimated at below 50,000 mature breeding individuals, with a declining trend.
Zoo population 73 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Geoffroy's cat


How this animal should be transported

Transport crates should be sufficiently large to meet legal requirements and sufficiently strong to prevent escape or damage to the crate and animal. Basic design should allow free flow of air through multiple sides of the container. Preferably, a double door design at least on one end of the crate should be used. The "inner" door should have bars or wire mesh to contain the animal, and the "outer" door should consist of a thin panel of expanded metal or plywood that provides safety for the handlers and isolation for the animal. The doors should travel vertically to facilitate animal transfer and contain a secure locking system. The crate should drain well, and absorbent bedding should be used to prevent the animal from being exposed to or lying in urine or excreta.


The shipment should be organised in a way to minimise stress. The animal should have access to its transport crate for 2 weeks before shipment, preferably being fed within it. If an extended trip is anticipated, water and food as may be required should be provided while the animal is in transit.


For air transport, Container Note 82 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Alex Sliwa

Why do zoos keep this animal

Geoffroy's cats are not (yet) a threatened species in the wild and are not so commonly kept by zoos outside their range states. Keeping of this species is primarily for educational purposes.


Because of their small size they can be reasonably well presented even if only limited space is available.