We are talking about the number of mature individual cats of a wild cat species or subspecies living in the wild. That’s the true test as to whether a cat species is endangered. All three of the wild cats listed here are subspecies (but see Florida panther).
At 2019 (the date is important as the situation is constantly changing albeit quite slowly) the most endangered wild cat species is the Amur leopard. It is believed that there are less than 60 in the wild.
Competing for the title are the Iberian lynx and the Florida panther. However, the Iberian lynx population has been stabilised and is increasing due to a genuine effort to protect this rare wild cat. The number currently stands at 156 mature individuals.
The Florida panther’s numbers have been boosted by the introduction of pumas from Texas. Their number stands at 100-180. I am not sure whether this is a total or mature individuals. And this introduction seems to have dispensed with the idea that the Florida panther was a unique subspecies as it can’t be now. It is described as a ‘subpopulation’.
These, then are the top three contenders for the most endangered wild cat and the winner is the Amur leopard. I remember checking on the population size of this cat several years ago and was told that there were 400. That figure was static for a while. There appears to have been a big decline. Why? Are sport and trophy hunters quietly killing it off? We don’t hear about it.
The Amur leopard lives in the far east of Russia with the Siberian tiger.
You can read more about the Amur leopard by clicking on this link. Or click on this link to see a list of leopard subspecies.
The premier book on the wild cat species does not set out the subspecies of leopard. There is probably a certain amount of controversy about the leopard subspecies. The taxonomy of the leopard is still an area which is under discussion I suspect.
The numbers and other information comes from the IUCN Red List, the organisation which is charged with deciding how endangered species are on the planet.