Geoffroy’s cat is a species of wild cat. “Species” means a sort or type of wild cat that is different from the others. The name can be tricky to write and say because it looks and sounds like “Geoffrey”, a common first name for people. It is sensible to be aware of that. The cat is named after a Frenchman Geoffroy St. Hilaire. He was a naturalist, an expert on zoology or botany.
What It Looks Like
The picture shows us that Geoffroy’s cat is a spotted cat. The dark spots are quite small. The cat is about the same size as a domestic cat. Although, the head is flatter than a domestic cat’s head. It weighs between six and 14 pounds (2.6 to 6.5 kilograms).
The color of the background fur varies and it depends on where the cat lives. It can be a sort of grey. Although it can also be the same color as a lion. Sometimes there are black Geoffroy’s cats. This is because of a genetic mutation.
The fur on the belly is white. The tail has dark bands along its length. The fur is popular with people. For this reason it used to be killed a lot so that people could use its fur on clothing.
Where It Lives
In 2012, as you can see from the map in the picture, this cat lives in the southern half of South America. The reason why I mention the date is because there are less and less Geoffroy’s cats in the world every year. In the future they may not live in a certain country. The countries where it lives are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
As is usual with most wild cats, this cat likes to live in areas where it can hide. That means places where vegetation (plants, bushes and trees) provides cover. However, they live in a wide range of types of landscape depending on where they are. It could by dry areas or wetlands. This is a cat that adapts to different situations.
They are extremely skilled tree climbers. They have been seen to walk upside-down along a branch. This is the sort of thing a Margay does (the margay is the world’s best climbing cat). Geoffroy’s cat sleeps and hunts in trees sometimes but spend most of its time on the ground in scrubby areas along rivers.
The Geoffroy’s cat is active during the day as well as at night. However, the cat usually hunts at night. A lot of hunting takes place after the sun goes down and before the sun rises.
It hunts rodents (rats etc.), hares, rabbits, lizards, frogs, insects and birds. It is a good swimmer too and likes to go into the water and swim to hunt for fish. It is no surprise therefore that it also feeds on fish.
An interesting thing about this cat is that it likes to sit upright like a meerkat. One Geoffroy’s cat was seen to hold this “meerkat position” for a full 10 minutes. This position makes animals taller so that they can check further away for dangers such as an attack on them from another animal.
They make sounds similar to the domestic cat including the hiss, spit and snarl. The cat also makes a sound that only wild cats make, the gurgle, which is made to other Geoffroy’s cats that are nearby. It is a friendly call.
Dangers to This Cat
People hunting it for its fur was a major danger. Between 1976 and 1979 350,000 cats were killed for their fur in Argentina alone. Yes, it sounds horribly amazing now. These skins were exported to other countries to make money. Hunting is now banned (at 2012).
However, this cat is still killed by people who consider it a pest. Sometimes farmers kill the cat because it attacks their animals. When they are killed for these reasons their skins are sometime sold in local markets. Are these cats really killed because they hunt farm animals?
Another big problem for this cat and all wild cats is that people are destroying the places where they live. This prevents the Geoffroy’s cat living in the places where it needs to live, which results in less cats of this species.