Please turn your volume down before playing the video! This is a video of still photos of jaguarundi cubs with an audio track of the extraordinary sounds that they make. They are fighting over food. I have edited out some of the pauses to make the video more interesting and continous but the sounds are completely authentic. It reminds us how thoroughly wild small wild cats are and how slightly foolish it is to consider trying to domesticate a jaguarundi to keep as a pet. It just does not work and the sounds these little devils make reinforces that belief.
The audio files come from Balazs Buzas and Eszter Gulyas. They gave me permission for their use. They work (or did work, I am not sure) at the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Sandwich, Kent, England. They have raised jaguarundi cubs and in doing so have observed at first hand their vocalisations. They confirm the sounds made by this interesting wild cat as recorded by Cutter (1957) and Hulley in 1976.
There are 13 different Jaguarundi sounds apparently:
- Long whistle: a greeting.
- Short whistle: used for attention seeking. The response is a single “peep”.
- Short purr: female calling kittens. Calling each other.
- Loud hiss: from the age of 2 days kittens and cats use this as a warning to stay away.
- Chatter: made by smacking their lips together and a close greeting sound.
- Chirp: calling when the other cannot be seen.
- Long purr: expression of contentment as for the domestic cat.
- Single quiet hiss: greeting from aged four weeks.
- Scream/growl: sound made during fighting and when feeding and a challenge (scream) when mating. Listen to video but turn the sound down!
- Snuffle: vocalization made when patrolling territory.
- Muted “yap”: communication between individual cats under slight stress.
- Faint cry: made by female when sexually receptive.
- Spit: warning to keep away. Insistent. A spit is on the video above.
When I hear the sounds I think of a lady in America who wanted to look after a first filial Bengal cat. She struggled. She did not admit it but she wrote an article for this website and reading between the lines it was clear that she struggled which is of no surprise to me. Her first filial Bengal cat was very near in character to the Asian leopard cat, another small, independent and quite fierce wild cat. And another lady tells us her story of an F1 Bengal cat.
The best thing that we can do for the small wild cats is to make sure that they have enough habitat to live in and prey to feed on and then to leave them alone. To stop thinking of them as cute and interesting creatures that might make “pets”.