Who have seen most cat species?

Is there someone who has seen all the earth’s species of cats??
If not, is it doable you think?

Who have seen the most? Is it anyone who´s visiting this page?

How many species is it? 36? 37? 38?
I have read so many different numbers, which current species list is most accepted?


  • tomeslice

    Is it doable? I think so. Lots of time and dedication of course, but if that’s your goal then I think it’s possible.

    As far as people who have seen the most species, I’m not sure, but two names that come to mind are Richard Webb and Vladimir Dinets.

  • Hamman Prinsloo

    I’ve been wondering about the same for a while now. Would love to see all of them one day.

    Looking forward to the response!

  • Jon Hall

    Richard Webb and Phil Telfer are both on a quest to do this – they are neck and neck though I think Richard’s Margay at Christmas may put him one up on Phil. I don’t remember how many they have seen though – more than me though (and I have seen 25)

  • Vladimir Dinets

    I saw an African golden cat a couple weeks ago, that leaves Sunda clouded leopard and marbled cat. I’m pretty sure I’ll get them within 2-3 years, considering that I’m moving to Asia and will be able to travel to Borneo more or less regularly. In case anybody’s interested, my list looks like this at the moment:

    Cheetah: seen in Tanzania, Kenya & S Africa;
    Puma: seen in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Belize & USA (CA, TX, CO, NM, FL);
    Yaguarundi: seen in Peru, Costa Rica & Mexico (Chiapas);
    Andean cat: seen in Chile (Lauca NP);
    Margay: seen in Brazil (Tocantis), Mexico (Campeche) & Honduras;
    Ocelot: seen in Peru, Belize, Honduras, Mexico (SL Potosi) & USA (TX);
    Geoffroy’s cat: seen in Argentina (Chaco NP);
    Colocolo (inc. Pantanal and pampas cats): seen in Chile, Argentina, Brasil & Ecuador;
    Kodkod: seen in Chile (near Chaiten);
    Oncilla (incl. southern oncilla): seen in Mexico (Quintana Roo), Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru & Brazil (Sao Paulo);
    Pallas’ cat: seen in Afghanistan & Mongolia;
    Jungle cat: seen in Azerbaijan, India (Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh) and Sri Lanka;
    Black-footed cat: seen in South Africa (near Giant’s Castle NP);
    Sand cat: seen in Turkmenistan & Egypt;
    Wildcat (incl. Chinese mountain cat): seen in Kazakhstan, Abkhazia, China (Hebei), Israel, Kenya, S Africa, Namibia, Ethiopia, Scotland, Italy, France, Bosnia & Slovenia;
    Bengal cat (incl. Amur and Iriomote cats): seen in Russia (Ussuriland), China (Yunnan), Philippines (Palawan), Indonesia (Sarawak) & India (Kerala);
    Rusty-spotted cat: seen in Sri Lanka;
    Flat-headed cat: seen in Indonesia (Sarawak);
    Fishing cat: seen in Nepal & Sri Lanka;
    Bay cat: seen in Indonesia (Sarawak);
    Asian golden cat: seen in China (Sichuan);
    African golden cat: seen in Cameroon;
    Caracal: seen in Israel, Kenya, Botswana & S Africa;
    Bobcat: seen in USA (CA, AZ, CO, ME, SC, TN, FL, LA) & Mexico (Michoacan, Coahuila);
    Canadian lynx: seen in Canada (NT, QC) & USA (AK);
    Eurasian lynx: seen in Russia (Buryatia, Moscow province, N Caucasus, Khabarovsk province, Yakutia), Bulgaria & China (Tibet);
    Iberian lynx: seen in Spain;
    Serval: seen in Kenya;
    Snow leopard: seen in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan & China (Xinjiang);
    Leopard: seen in Russia (Ussuriland), Turkmenistan, Israel, Laos, Malaysia, India (Orissa, Gujarat), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia & S Africa;
    Jaguar: seen in Peru, Bolivia & Mexico (Sinaloa, Chiapas);
    Tiger: seen in Russia, Malaysia & India (Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal);
    Lion: seen in India (Gujarat), Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, DRC, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia & S Africa;
    Mainland clouded leopard: seen in China (Yunnan).

    • Laurent Morin

      I can’t believe how many species you’ve seen! I am especially floored to see the Mainland Clouded Leopard on your list. Could it be possible for you to tell me a bit more on how you managed that feat in Yunnan? I am considering a trip in Mizoram, but it feels like an impossible task to actually see one.

  • Lars Petersson

    If you follow this link you may find some answers:
    But since there are only a few people on the list, I’m sure it does not tell the whole thruth…? There are more cat hunters out there…

  • Antee

    Thanx. Great answers.

    What about Chinese mountain cat, Pantanal cat, Pampas cat, Iriomote cat, African wild cat, Southern Tigrina etc. etc. , do you count them as a seperate sighting?

    • Vladimir Dinets

      No, I don’t consider them full species. Molecular evidence conclusively shows that Chinese mountain, Pampas, Iriomote and African wild cats are not full species. Pantanal cat and southern tiger cat might be full species, but it hasn’t been proven well enough.

  • Antee

    Thanx for clarification.

    Let´s go and find som cats…

  • kelly fleming

    Thank you, Vladimir, for your seen cat spp list. As a fellow cat-hunter I appreciate the dedication, time and skill it takes to compile a spp list such as yours.
    I feel more confident in my own quest after seeing your amazing list.

    Currently looking for the southeastern Arizona USA jaguar and ocelots.

  • Andreas Jonsson

    The race for being the first seing all the cat species is over…

    I´ll go for being the first with a picture with handheld camera of everyone 🙂
    I´ll come back when I´m done 🙂

    Let´s have a good start in Deramakot, Borneo next week.

  • Charles Foley

    Yeah, you’re clearly slacking on the Asian cats there Vlad. Definitely put that into the ‘could do better’ category. Of course, given enough time, I’m sure our geneticist friends will pull a ‘Groves and Grubb’ on us and concoct an extra 20 species for you chase down….

  • Vladimir Dinets

    Charles Foley: I don’t think it’s likely to happen. Feline genetics have been studied relatively well.

  • Charles Foley

    Yes but then again, they did manage to come up with 11 species of Klipspringer.

  • jo dale

    Our group added marbled cat to our own lists after being in Sabah for the past 3 weeks. Despite 9 nights in Deramakot, where we were out every night searching until around 3 am, we failed in our quest to see the clouded leopard. GUTTED!!! So I will need to plan another trip there at some point. We also dipped flat-headed cat on the kinabatangan as the water level was high and didn’t connect with Bay Cat – although that is not surprising.

  • Lennartv

    Awesome record, Vladimir. I thought Andean mountain cat would be the hardest, but you already have that one too! My goal is also to see every cat species this world has to offer. Still haven’t seen a single one yet, but I’m planning to start off with a good one: snow leopard next year.


    Apologies for joining this thread so late but I have been looking for Snow Leopards from the car in Qinghai with some success. Report to follow. As Jon mentioned Phil Telfer and I have our own competition trailing behind Vladimir and I have currently seen 32 species. Rather than list what I’ve seen the gaps are currently Bay Cat, Mainland Clouded Leopard, the two Golden Cats, Northern Oncilla although I have seen an unidentified Oncilla in the overlap zone, Andean Mountain Cat which I have almost certainly seen but not conclusively, and Colocolo. I hope to see at least the latter two this year. I also hope to see Amur Leopard Cat this year even though it is currently only a very distinctive sub-species. I do count Chinese Mountain Cat as it is still considered a full species by IUCN as to quote from the red list,

    ‘The taxonomy of the species remains unclear. Felis bieti was recently attributed species status by Kitchener and Rees (2009), based on morphology and potential sympatry with Asian Wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata). Genetic evidence has indicated F. bieti to be a subspecies of Felis silvestris (Driscoll et al. 2007), however, greater sampling and assessment of genetic materials from individuals living in the wild is urgently required to be able to draw firm conclusions. Taxonomy is currently under review by the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group’. Others have also questioned the validity of the genetic data presented.

    IUCN also treat the two Oncillas as separate species although acknowledge that further research I required. They have suggested on the red list pages that Oncilla may actually represent as many as four species! IUCN Cat Specialist Group are currently carrying out a taxonomic review and other splits, e.g. Sunda and Indochinese Leopard Cats are possible although widespread splitting like the ungulates seems unlikely.


  • natalia

    In my opinion, the last studies show that there are 38 species of wildcats. They have reduced the number of gender

  • Vladimir Dinets

    Leopardus tigrinus has been split into three species. The paper is excellent and the evidence compelling: http://www.revistas.usp.br/paz/article/view/133608/129588

    • Manuel Baumgartner

      Hi Vladimir.
      Do youn know why the species was now only split into 2 species and not 3?


        Manuel, the IUCN Cat Specialist Group taxonomic review was completed before this paper was published and at that time the third species had not been proposed hence the reason the IUCN review only recognised two species.

  • Antee

    Almost 2 years after this thread and it seems that no one finished so far.

    Is it something I have learned over the years, it is that the “real list” should include photo.

    A bushy tail vanished in the bush along the road can easily become some rare cat species in peoples imagination instead of another Mongoose.
    A pair of distant shining eyes is of course an Asiatic golden cat instead of Leopard cat…

    It´s not very hard to come up with a big list. It´s alot harder to have some proof behind it.
    And to be honest. It´s alot funnier to have them all in your camera, right? 🙂

    No, I don´t misjudge anyone here. I talk in general terms after being out there many years now.

    • Vladimir Dinets

      It’s easy to photograph everything when you are in a group with a guide and a driver, but when you are driving alone, getting photos is all but impossible unless the animal freezes in place for half a minute. Not to mention that not everybody has good cameras, telephoto lens, external flashes etc. I, for example, didn’t have decent photo equipment until a few years ago.

  • Richard Webb

    You really don’t need photos as it’s not always practical as Vladimir points out. Holding a spotlight, binoculars and a camera simultaneously takes some doing. In fact the obsession to rush to take a photo means you often don’t actually see the animal properly. If you count something without seeing it well enough to be 100% sure you’re just fooling yourself and the back end of any cat Is not countable in my book regardless of how rare it is. Is retrospectively listing something you didn’t identify at the time really worth it? in addition the satisfaction is finding & identifying something correctly yourself rather than relying on guides to find them for you. Believe me three self-found distant Snow Leopards beat a close individual found by a tracker any day of the week.

  • Manul

    I’ll also get in touch here once, because my wife and I also have the nice goal to see all wildcats (40 species at the moment).
    Is the surfbirds ranking now the official one?

    I fully agree with Richard Webb, as we have also made the experience that it is not always enough time to take a good picture of the wildcat or to take one at all (as we always look first, identify and enjoy the moment). We also made the experience that it’s a shame to take a photo directly (as it can disturb the special moment) or we just didn’t want to at all (see also the snow leopard scene in the movie Walter Mitty).

    But one thing is the same for all of us, we pursue an extremely exciting, fascinating but also difficult goal – and that with endangered creatures. In our opinion such determined and purposeful people as we all are could contribute a lot to the protection of our beloved wildcats. Let us exchange our opinions about this. 🙂

    For example on the first Mammal watching meeting in 20/21 or here before.

    Manuel and Sophie

    • Antee

      I guess Surbirds is not the official one. I am not registered for example 🙂
      And neither are others.

      Nice to see that I am the only one aiming for all the felines in my camera. So far I got 24 out of 25, only missing Snowleopard which is an easy one.

      For me I think this is the ultimate mission. In fact, if I don´t have a proper photo it doesn´t feel that I had a sighting at all. But I am almost alone about this strategy 🙂

      Year 2020 I go for Sunda Clouded Leopard, Mainland Clouded Leopard, Marbled cat, Asiatic golden cat, Andean Mountain cat, Kodkod and Puma. Maybe also Margay, it depends.

      Hoping to add at least 3 of these to my list.

      Good luck everybody! See you out there 🙂

      • Lennartv

        Well, you’re not the only one with a photo goal :). So far 11 out of 12, Kodkod was too fast. Still some good ones, so 30 cat’s when I’m 30 should be possible. Then the rest of my life for the other 10 :).

  • Vladimir Dinets

    I just noticed that I never answered Laurent Morin’s question from a while ago. The mainland clouded leopard I saw in Yunnan in 1993 was pure luck: I was hitchhiking in a logging truck at night and the cat was walking across the road. The driver accelerated trying to hit it, but I quietly put the gear into neutral and then pretended to be sleeping 😉

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