Alan H. Shoemaker

Riverbanks Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens, POB 1060, Columbia, SC 29202



Until recently, all species of felids, regardless of their size, were assigned to one of only a limited number of genera: Panthera, Acinonyx, Neofelis, Lynx, or Felis. The systematics of many species had been heavily impacted by "lumpers," as opposed to "splitters. " In most instances, large felids were included within the genera "Panthera" while small ones were called "Felis." Although in recent years this approach has been viewed within increasing intrepidation, recent taxonomic authorities continued to use this approach (Honacki et al., 1982; Corbet and Hill, 1991). Both sources acknowledged, however, that new or anticipated advances in taxonomy would very likely change the way specialists viewed the relationship of all members of the family Felidae; it was only a matter of time.

Legally, the protection afforded felids has grown as coverage by the expansion of both the U. S. Endangered Species Act and CITES expanded. Regulatory agencies and organizations both took a conservative taxonomic approach when preparing their lists of protected wildlife, defining most species of large cats as being members of the genus Panthera, and small cats as being members of the genus Felis.

In 1993, Wilson and Reeder published a major new taxonomic work entitled MAMMAL SPECIES OF THE WORLD: A TAXONOMIC AND GEOGRAPHIC REFERENCE. This work redefines the relationship of many species and genera of mammals, and in the process, greatly impacts felid taxonomy. Already their decisions have been accepted by officials at CITES officials and recent CITES publications of regulated wildlife place most small cats within new genera. These same taxonomic changes are expected to be adopted by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in their next publication of Endangered and Threatened wildlife. Given the potential for impact that these changes have on all owners of felids, the following list provides both old and new nomenclature for all felids, as well as their present legal status under CITES regulations and U. S. law. It should be noted that under CITES regulations, all felids are protected under Appendix II regulations and only instances of Appendix I protection are listed below.




New name (Old name) Common name   CITES FWS Status


Subfamily Acinonychinae

Acinonyx jubatus cheetah   I E

Subfamily Felinae

Caracal caracal (Felis or Lynx caracal) caracal   I I (Asian pop. only)
Catopuma badia (Felis badia) bay cat      
Catopuma temminckii (Felis temminckii) Temmincki’s or Asian golden cat   I E
Felis bieti Chinese desert cat      
Felis chaus jungle cat      
Felis margarita sand cat      
Felis margarita scheffeli Pakistan sand cat     E
Felis nigripes black-footed cat   I E
Felis sylvestris (includes Felis catus, ornata, lybica) European, African, Indian wild cat      
Herpailurus yaguarondi (Felis yagouaroundi ) jaguaroundi   I American North and Central pop. only
H. y. cacomitli (Felis y. cacomitli) gulf coast jaguarundi     E
Herpailurus yaguarondi fossata (F. y. fossata) Guatemalan jaguarundi     E
H. y. panamensis (F. y. panamensis) Panamanian jaguarundi     E
H. y. tolteca (F. y. tolteca) Sinaloan jaguarundi     E
Leopardus pardalis (Felis pardalis) ocelot (Not covered by CBW permits)   I E
Leopardus tigrinus (Felis tigrinus) tiger cat, tigrina or oncilla   I E
Leopardus wiedii (Felis wiedii) margay (Not covered by CBW permits)   I E
Leptailurus serval (Felis serval) Serval      
L. s. constantina (F. s. constantina) Barbary serval     E (Extinct?)
Lynx canadensis (Felis canadensis), (Lynx lynx canadensis) Canadian lynx     T in lower 48
Lynx lynx (Felis lynx) Eurasian lynx      
Lynx pardina (Felis or Lynx lynx pardina) Spanish lynx   I E
Lynx rufus (Felis rufus) bobcat      
L. r. escuinapae (F. r. escuinapae) Mexican bobcat     E
Oncifelis colocolo (Felis colocolo) pampas cat      
Oncifelis geoffroyi (Felis geoffroyi) Geoffroy`s cat     I
Oncifelis guigna (Felis guigna) kodkod     I
Oreailurus jacobitus Felis jacobita mountain, Andean cat   I E
Otocolobus manul (Felis manul) Pallas`s cat      
Prionailurus bengalensis (Felis bengalensis ) leopard cat     E
P. b. bengalensis (F. b. bengalensis) (Indian, Thai, Bangladesh pop. as I) leopard cat   I  
P. b. iriomotensis (Felis or Mayailurus iriomotensis) Iriomote cat     E
Prionailurus planiceps (Felis planiceps) flat-headed cat   I E
Prionailurus rubiginosus (Felis rubiginosus) rusty-spotted cat   I (Indian pop. only)  
Prionailurus viverrinus (Felis viverrinus ) fishing cat      
Profelis aurata (Felis aurata) African golden cat      
Puma concolor (Felis concolor) (Free-living pop. in FL only) puma, mountain lion     T
P. c. cory (F. c. coryi) Florida panther   I E
P. c. costaricensis (F. c. costaricensis) Costa Rican or Central American puma   I E
Puma concolor cougar (F. c. cougar) Eastern cougar or puma   I E

Subfamily Pantherinae

Neofelis nebulosa clouded leopard   I E
Panthera leo lion      
P. l. persica Asian or Indian lion   I E
Panthera onca jaguar (Not covered by CBW Permits)   I E
Panthera pardus leopard   I (Southern African pop. as T) E, T
Panthera tigris tiger   I E
Pardofelis marmorata (Felis marmorata) marbled cat   I E
Uncia uncia (Panthera uncia) snow leopard   I E




Corbet, G. B.; Hill, J.E. A WORLD LIST OF MAMMAL SPECIES, THIRD EDITION. New York, Natural History Museum Publications, Oxford University Press, pp. 113-114, 1991.

Honacki, J. H.; Kinman, K. E.; J.W. Koeppl (eds.). MAMMAL SPECIES OF THE WORLD. Lawrence, KS, Allen Press, 1982.

Wilson. D. E.; D. M. Reeder. MAMMAL SPECIES OF THE WORLD: A TAXONOMIC GUIDE AND GEOGRAPHIC REFERENCE, SECOND EDITION. Washington, DC, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.