Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is a small wild cat found in Central and South America, which measures about 24 inches from tip to tail, with a short 12-inch tail. This makes it about the size of a domestic cat - larger males can weigh up to 17 pounds.
Their black-spotted golden-brown coats allow them to hide easily in their wooded habitats, although melanistic individuals are fairly common both in the wild and in captivity. There are five identified subspecies of Geoffroy's Cat:
- Leopardus geoffroyi geoffroyi
- Leopardus geoffroyi euxantha
- Leopardus geoffroyi leucobapta
- Leopardus geoffroyi paraguae
- Leopardus geoffroyi salinarum
Unusually among cats, Geoffroy's Cats have been observed standing on their hind legs to scan their surroundings, like a meerkat or prairie dog. They don't typically climb trees, although they are capable of doing so. Their prey mainly consists of rodents, hares, lizards, insects, and sometimes even amphibians and fish.
From the 1960s to the 1980s, Geoffroy's Cat was hunted for its beautiful pelt, based on demand from the international fur trade. Concerted efforts by Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil and Argentina to make hunting these cats for the commercial fur trade illegal had a substantial effect on maintaining a healthy population overall, although Geoffroy's Cat is still considered to be endangered in countries like Bolivia. And because of loss of habitat and the encroachment of human development, it is still listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.