The 36 species of the wild cat family are spread across most of the globe excluding the continents of Antarctica and Australia and some island groups.

Many species are to be found in similar habitats straddling several continents such as the Leopard which ranges from the southern tip of Africa, across Asia to China and various the species of Wildcat, which can be found in Europe, Africa, the Middle east and Asia.

The majority of species however, are indigenous to only one continent. The great natural barrier of the Atlantic Ocean also serves to divide the 'New World' species from the 'Old World' - with the exception of the Lynx, which can be found as distinct sub-species in both North America and Eurasia.

In attempting to classify the worlds species of wild cat, modern day research is uncovering interesting facts regarding the relationship between individual species separated today by continents and oceans. In distant history the world map of wild cat distribution looked vastly different. A similarity in appearance between the New World Jaguar and the Leopard can be explained by a common ancestry - it is now thought that jaguars evolved in Asia and spread across to the Americas via the northern land bridge between the two continents. In a similar way, ancient species of lion and cheetah once roamed the New World continents.

World Map - use a world map to view the species distribution

Find the species by their continental distribution

Africa
North America
South America
Asia
Europe & Middle East


African Golden Cat
Asian Golden Cat
Andean Mtn Cat
Bay Cat
Black-footed Cat
Bobcat
Caracal
Cheetah
Chinese Desert Cat
Clouded Leopard
Cougar
Fishing Cat
Flat-headed Cat
Geoffrey's Cat
Iriomote Cat
Jaguar
Jaguarundi
Jungle Cat
Kodkod
Leopard
Leopard Cat
Lion
Little Spotted Cat
Lynx, Canadian
Lynx, Eurasian
Lynx, Spanish
Margay
Marbled Cat
Ocelot
Pallas Cat
Pampas Cat
Rusty-Spotted Cat
Sand Cat
Serval
Snow Leopard
Tiger
Wildcat-African
Wildcat-Asiatic
Wildcat-European