The pampas cat is a species of wild cat. “Species” means a type or sort of wild cat that is different from the other 35 wild cats. This cat prefers to live in grasslands. Its name is based on this fact. In Argentina and Chile, two places where it lives, it is called the “grass cat”. In the language of the local people this is gato pajero. Gato means cat and “pajero” refers to the grass in the area that is called pampas grass.
What it Looks Like
The cat weighs from about four to eight pounds (1.8 – 3.6 kilograms). This is about the same weight as a smallish domestic cat. However, they look larger than their real size because of the long hair. The color of the fur and the pattern on the fur is different depending on where the cat lives. The color can be yellowish white through brown to a silvery gray.
Sometimes there are spots and stripes on shorter fur and sometimes the fur is almost plain and longer. The backs of the ears are black with a grayish white center spot or they are plain gray. Even on the coats that have no patterns there are dark bands of fur on the legs and rings and dark fur on the short tail too. The rings are sometimes unclear.
Where It Lives
The map in the picture shows that it lives in some of the countries of South America. The countries where it can be seen are: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
As mentioned, the sort of places where it prefers to live in these countries are grassy areas (“grassland”). However, this cat can also be found in forests in Chile and thorny forests and scrubby areas in parts of Paraguay. It also lives in places that are almost 5,000 meters (about 16,500 feet) above the level of the sea. This is a high altitude. It is the same place where the Andean mountain cat lives. These are dry, cold desert areas.
People think that this cat hunts during the nighttime. It also hunts on the ground. This is different to a few small wild cats that hunt more often in trees such as the margay.
As well as the guinea pig, the cat hunts animals such as mountain viscachas (a rodent that looks like a rabbit). This is the same animal that is hunted by the Andean mountain cat. They also attack penguins in Argentina and almost any animal that it can catch. It is a good tree climber and sometimes rests in trees.
The sounds it makes are typical of many small wild cats. They include the hiss, spit, growl, meow, gurgle and the purr. A lot of these sounds are similar to those made by the domestic cat. The gurgle is made when it is close to another cat.
Litter size is from 1 to 3 kittens. The average is 1.3 kittens.
Dangers To This Cat
In the past it was hunted for its fur but today the major danger to this cat, which prevents it living is that people farm and grow crops on the land where the cat lives. People allow cattle to graze on the grasslands where the cat lives which also takes away some of this cat’s preferred places to live. People kill this cat sometimes because it attacks farmers’ livestock. Today this cat is protected in most places where it lives. Although in some places people kill the cat for sport. This is called “sport hunting”. The total number of pampas cats in the world going down all the time.