Leopardus geoffroyi

Geoffroy’s cat

Leopardus geoffroyi

Geoffroy’s cat

Description

The Geoffroy’s cat is a small, pale cat with black dots. The colour of the fur can be grey or fawn, and the dots cover the whole body. On the chest they join in horizontal stripes, and on the tail in rings. The fur is short and harsh to the touch.

Melanistic individuals were observed, which are almost completely black. This genetic aberration seems to be quite common among Geoffroy’s cats.
The rounded ears are black at the back and have a white dot in the middle.

On the forehead Geoffroy’s cats have at least 4 stripes running vertically from the eyes.

Around the eyes Geoffroy’s cats have white fur, irises are brown or green, and pupils are narrow. Black stripes run down from them, looking like streams of tears.

It seems that cats from eastern Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are the largest of all Geoffroy’s cats.

Behaviour

The Geoffroy’s cat is densely distributed in the subtropical forests of southern America. However, it can also settle in savannas, semi-deserts, and even areas heavily changed by man.

This cat from southern America is no different from the others by its solitary way of life. Female territories sometimes overlap, but males prefer to have more privacy and larger areas to roam about. In captivity, they are able to reside peacefully on the same catwalk, taking care of each other.

Geoffroy’s cats mark their home with fragrance, for example by scratching trees. They also communicate using sounds such as gurgling, hissing and growling.

Geoffroy’s cats rest in dense vegetation and in empty trees.

They are active mainly at night and usually stay on the ground despite their great climbing abilities. However, they like using their swimming skills, defeating even very fast river currents.

All small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are afraid of it. The Geoffroy’s cat hunts everything that is within its reach, using an ambush.

This cat occurs in areas that also other wild cats inhabit. The result is mixing the Geoffroy’s cat genes with other felids’ of similar sizes.

Females reach maturity when they finish one and a half year and males at the age of two. Some individuals are sexually active already around the age of twelve months.

Kitties are born blind and mottled. After about two weeks, you can expect that babies to open their eyes and increase their activity.
Females leaving the nest, cover kittens with leaves to increase their safety.

Small Geoffroy’s cats begin to leave a safe haven when they are 35-45 days old. Then they start playing with their mother and siblings.

Threats

As one of the few cat species, the Geoffroy’s cat has a stable population. It does not grow or decrease. In spite of this, the Geoffroy’s cat suffers from the clearing of forests in which it lives, to use as fields.

Geoffroy’s cats are killed by the farmers in retaliation for eating poultry from the owners’ noses. They used to be second most often killed wild cat for fur trade.

Today, they often die under the wheels of cars and are killed by domestic dogs.

People sometimes catch Geoffroy’s cats for the pet trade and for creating a hybrid breed of safari cats.

Geoffroy’s cats die from diseases transmitted by domestic animals and are sometimes killed by pumas, foxes and large birds of prey.
Today, Geoffroy’s cats are protected throughout the entire occurrence area.

Author: Małgorzata Banaszkiewicz

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