Wild Cat Species in Louisiana

Pretty bobcat. Photo by Linda Tanner on Flickr. Taken Montana de Oro State Park
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

When deciding what wild cat species live in the US state of Louisiana, the best source of information will be the geographic range maps on the IUCN Red website, which are reproduced on PoC. The only possible wild cat species in this state are the puma, bobcat, jaguarundi and ocelot.

The bobcat is ubiquitous throughout the USA so the bobcat can be found in Louisiana. Officially, the Puma’s range extends east as far as Texas but not as far as Louisiana. Therefore, the puma (cougar or mountain lion) should not be seen in Louisiana. However, some wandering young males might enter the state looking for a home range.

Pumas not in Louisiana
Pumas not in Louisiana

As for the jaguarundi and ocelot, you can bracket these together as their geographic range extends as far north as Mexico (jaguarundi rangeocelot range). They do not exist, according to the experts, in Louisiana.

That said there may be some in the state and some might have escaped from a private zoo. That’s it really. There is nothing much more to say. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries don’t appear to tell us what wild cat species are in their state but the answer is straightforward. If a visitor to this page has seen any of these cats it would be nice if you could leave a message. All four species are discussed in detail on this website. Please use the search box or go to this page to start.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

49 thoughts on “Wild Cat Species in Louisiana”

  1. Just found a jaguarundi or bobcat & a coyote on my gamecam that I have in the backyard! I live between Bush proper & Covington. It’s not the first time I’ve seen the coyote but it is the first time to see the cat!

  2. Being from the Redwoods, seeing mountain lions were not uncommon. It’s a bit uncommon for cougars to be in Louisiana though. While coon hunting in Lincoln Parish, north of Ruston, back in 1986, my hard-headed Bluetick treed a large male cougar. He wanted it more than me, so I left his butt in the woods! 🙂 I dropped my hunting vest by a tree on the edge of the woods. I went back the next morning and luckily he wasn’t dead but happily sleeping on my vest. The area that I was hunting in is now known as Lincoln Parish Park. Then in the summer of 2006, as an LEO, I was following a lead on a possible marijuana grow south of Lafayette. I found cougar tracks and cougar scat. A few nights later, a co-worker’s brother spotted a cougar at approximately 3am crossing La Neuville Road in front his car. I’ve since retired and have seen a young cougar cross the highway in front of me south of Columbia, about three years ago, and back in December (2022) I saw what resembled a jaguarundi on I-49 south of the Turkey Creek exit at approximately 4am.

  3. I have three large piles of hair like something puked it up after eating probably a rabbit and one pile is orangey colored like a squirrel. Is this evidence of a bobcat prowling around at night. The piles are strangely very close together.

    1. Sounds like it might be a bobcat. What about a domestic cat? Domestic cats are great vomiters. And they can occasionally catch and try and eat rabbits and squirrels. The latter is particularly rare but it depends on the cat. A domestic cat used to living outside a lot will get very adept at catching rabbits and even squirrels. But, yes, it sounds more like a wild cat and the bobcat is the most ubiquitous wild cat in the USA. Thanks for sharing.

  4. K9 AR unit, 24yrs training K9’s over 15 hurricanes, not including tornado’s, human searches and other activities. Trained them in mountainous terrain and swamps…

    This article in the least is false and misleading. We have “tree’d” several big cats in Louisiana. One recently on the northshore out by Pelican Park. About 2 miles from Mandeville, La.

    The author has no clue of the real swamps or woods and what is in them. There ARE (smaller in stature) Mountain lions here. Statistical and self proclaimed/appointed experts are nothing more than that.

    My Partner, is a 160lb 2yr old Newfoundland. My first two, were 200lb and 185 respectively. Some of the best noses in the business. We are known by the PSP all the way to the St Tammany SHeriffs Dpt. Credentials aand experience.

    You see what you see, debunking someone without a pic is ludicrous.

  5. Hwy, 190 East Hammond La My husband’s game camera just went off. We have a huge cougar on our property. It has along body cat walk stride with long tail.Not sure if it’s a cougar, I do know bob cats have short tails, right ?

  6. I live in Abita Springs and caught a picture of a Jaguarundi I believe in my back yard. Ive attached a pic of the cat from Dec 2019

  7. I live just north of Covington la on Hwy 25 for the past year I have saw some kind of animal crossing my road too different times it looked like some kind of big cat I told my wife she said she seen something like that to well that’s something that’s hard to believe so I haven’t told nobody else but this evening about 3 hours ago my step son his friend and me was standing on my porch and low and behold there it was crossing my yard it got half way and it sat down looking in the other direction of us like it was looking at something and it heard us it looked at us and turned around and halled but in the direction it came from it was about 60 to 80 feet from us so there’s no doubt what we seen it’s a jaguarundis, pumas or some kind of cougar it was not a bobcat for sure I’m not sure what I can do about this situation

  8. My sister saw a very skinny, sickly looking mountain lion here in LaSalle Parish near Catahoula lake a few years ago. I`ve never seen the regular mountain lions but have seen three of the big “black panthers” as they`re called…two in the early 1970s and one in 1990. Lots of people have seen them in the state.

  9. We have a rather large fountain which can be seen from our kitchen window. Today (7:30 PM) I saw a large cat, tan- orange, with long legs & I couldn’t see a tail. It was drinking from the fountain, & had a rather small head for it’s size, & seemed to have short hair. After drinking, it stretched, making it’s legs appear even longer. Then it crept into the bushes behind the fountain. After searching the internet, a picture of a jaguarundi seems the most similar to the cat. Could it be? It was way too big for a house cat! We live in a woodsy area West of Alexandria, in Gardner. This is my 2nd sighting of a wild cat here.

    1. Hi Charlotte. You say the cat was ‘way to big for a hous cat’. The jaguarundi is generally larger than a domestic cat but not susbstantially larger. Therefore you might have seen a young puma. It is possible. They are lanky and have small heads compared to body and long tails. Great sighting and thanks Charlotte.

      1. Another sighting today (8/17/19)…my husband saw the big cat that I had seen, headed for our large water fountain…orangy-tan, but no tail & large. This evening, we saw a different one, that looks like a domestic cat, but so much bigger,maybe 3 feet long. It was a female. looking like it had milk. It also had no tail, & was orangish, but had light areas on chest & head. Took pics, but sooo far away, not so good. I know the pics look like a house cat, but it was too big for that. My husband thinks they may be lynx’s. What do you think?

      2. This one had no tail, & did not look like a puma. Is it possible that it was a jaguarundi? Saw it again today (8/17/19) that looked more like a house cat, lighter orange with almost white on chest & head. About 3 feet long & no tail. Pics taken from long distance1

  10. I live south of Houma, LA in Terrebonne Parish. There is a strip of land along the bayou where all the homes are and the highway runs north-south about 20 miles. There is swamp and open water immediately behind this strip of land. Today, I saw either a bobcat or lynx walking across my neighbor’s property which was cut very low (so he was out in the open) as I sat quietly on the back porch of my elevated home. He then came onto my property and crossed another clear area as he turned toward the back of my property and trotted off into the brush. We have left a “wildlife trail” where there is thick brush and we don’t cut the grass there. We also see deer tracks and have spotted deer along this same trail. We used to have many, many rabbits but I guess the big cat(s) have eaten them. We don’t see anymore evidence of rabbits. He was brown, with slight black markings around the edge of his furry wide hanging tail(that was approx 6-8 inches long and on each lower leg and foot, like the individual hairs had black tips. His rear looked at least 2 feet tall. I got a pretty good look at that because he turned away from me. He was only about 75 -100 feet away and didn’t even look my way as he crossed the open field or my yard. Didn’t have a camera! Will try to get a pic!

    1. Thanks a lot Alexis for sharing your sighting. He or she is a bobcat as the Canada lynx does not go this far south. Great sighting and your property sounds excellent for wildlife. I’d like that. I live in a built up area but I do have access to nature.

      1. Just heard local stories of Bobcat adult with at least 2 babies on properties in the same area on both the north and south side of our property as well as single adult sightings. We have decided to not allow our children to walk to the back of the property without an adult.

  11. I have lived in franklinton, lousiana all my life. I have several packs of coyotes around my house along with fox. The past couple of months I’ve been hearing different animal noises which has made my hair stand up. I am used to coyotes, bobcats, and fox but never in my life have I ever heard this sound. Couple months back it sounded like a woman screaming in agony. I live in the sticks so definitely wasn’t anybody you could tell it came from an animal. Last night I was outside heard this high pitch feline sound it was loud and close. After the initial call you could hear another animal responding back to the same calls. It’s deinfately not a coyote, fox, bobcat, or screeching owl but I’m clueless as to what else it could be please help me to identify what it could be. I have small kids and my two protecting dogs recently got poisoned and passed away so I’m concerned.

  12. The encyclopedia stated that panthers are not indiginous to louisiana and what most people see is actually a black leopard whic is indiginous to louisiana. The picture it showed was exactly like what I saw. I have also seen some large bobcats this was not a bobcat. The tail was long and as the body of the cat was so long the whole tail wasn’t in the headlights however I did see it out side window as it went into the woods on a full moon night. In headlights it looked like a black panther in moonlight it looked like a leopard. The 1970 version of encyclopedia britanica.

  13. I live in allen parish in between oberlin and Elton. I saw a large cat, as long as my toyota tundra grill without the whole tail…..big cat. In the headlights it looked black but when I looked at it in full moonlight out my door window it was leap ord spotted . My dog had been missing for a few days. I looked up in encyclopedia cats indiginous to here and it said black leopard and it’s favorite meal is dog which will be taken up a tree sometimes 12 ft and will be eaten there. No sign of kill nor blood. This cat most probably ate my dog.

    1. Thanks for commenting. The thing is, Jan, there are no leopards in North America. If there are leopards then they’ve escaped from a zoo either private or public. It is more likely to have been a bobcat but of course they are much smaller than leopards. The bobcats can have spots on their coat. However, you probably would have noticed the tail. I have just seen by the way that you have written “without the whole tail”. This would seem to confirm that you have spotted a bobcat. Well done. And thanks once again for sharing.

  14. We live in Washington parish just outside franklinton. My dad and grandpa tell stories even recently that they’ve seen large black cats smaller than a mountain lion about afoot or two tall solid black with long tails that curl at the end. Tail longer than the body of the cat and the cats make a scream like a woman in extreme pain. We call them pumas but I have no idea what it actually is. Nobody outside Washington parish seems to know.

  15. I live in Sun, LA (just south of Bogalusa) My husband went to see if our chickens were up in their house so he could lock it for the night. He saw a cougar based on his description I looked at photos I think he is right. This cougar was slowly creeping towards one of my hens. My poor little rooster didn’t even notice! (that’s his job to notice Haha) My husband grabbed the shot gun just shot it into the ground cause he didn’t want to kill it just scare it off, it worked. I just pray it doesn’t come back.

    1. Thank you Mary for reporting this sighting. I’m pleased that your husband just scared him away. That was a good idea. Pumas are quite retiring. They don’t voluntarily wish to attack people. They only attack when it is a necessity. There are very very few attacks on people by cougars in the USA. They are extremely rare and normally on children. Domestic dogs are far far more dangerous!

  16. Chrissy Scroggs

    Okay so Ive lived in Tioga LA (just north of Pineville, North of Alexandria and just South of Grant Parish) almost my entire 36 years of life. I recently moved back to the same street I grew up on as a child. Lots and lots of woods surrounding us! My daddy was a hunter in his younger days. He has actually seen and is vehement there are cougars (panthers as he calls them) in these parts as he has caught many sightings over the years. We live so close to KISTACHIE NATIONAL FOREST as it’s to the north and south of us. These cats do exist-right here in central LA. I’ve seen the glow of the bright yellow eyes at night as I was looking into the woods. And have heard this cat’s “roar” on several occasions! It’s an unmistakable, albeit terrifying identifier! And once you’ve heard it, you never forget because (not to be mistaken for a “screech owl” which is quite disturbing in and of itself) it sounds like a woman screaming. And son, those hairs on the back of your neck will come to full attention and salute! Chills just thinking about this cat’s meow! These animals are out there! They exist amongst us right here in CenLa. Very allusive. Night stalker. Quite shy. Hide your chickens at night and watch your small children after dark if you live in these woods. Because just FYI panthers aren’t the only things in these swampy woods that’ll take a convenient meal!

    1. “OMG”!wow! Chrissy I live in Tioga Louisiana! I have seen something like your describing. last night it was the biggest cat I’ve ever seen! IDK the color it didn’t run away walked away slowly across the street into another wooded area . I seen the eyes at night like you described. I have no actual woods behind my house just a little small part of trees and bushes were I seen the eyes. It was really beautiful though glowing

    2. I never would have thought we had panthers till I saw one jump across Palmer chapel Rd in pineville couple wks ago

  17. I live in Washington parish and I’ve seen a black feline several times near our home that appeared to be to big to be a domestic house cat. It had pointy ears, very large eyes, long fur on its face and no tail. I thought maybe a bobcat but was told bobcats are not solid black so it was likely a large house cat.

    1. Hi April, rarely bobcats are black. So it could have been a bobcat but more likely to be a large black house cat.

  18. My name is Mike, I am a truck driver, I was driving on hwy 171 north out of port Charles LA aand there was a dead cat on the shoulder it was bigger than a house cat so at first I thought it was a Bobcat, it was about that size but had strip like a tiger , I live in WV.so I am used to seeing Bobcats , I was wondering if LA had a unusual spies of bobcat

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for sharing your experience. No, there are no known unusual species of bobcat. The coat does vary and the background can be reddish and the dark spots can be streaks. That may have given the tiger-like appearance.

      The only usual types of bobcat are melanistic (very dark or black) and albino (white). These don’t apply in this case.

  19. In June of 2013 my husband and I saw a big tan cat with a long tail in our yard. I live on a rice and crawfish farm south of Estherwood, LA. I am 70 years old and have lived on this property all of my life. We were returning home at 10 PM. We saw him in our front yard. He then ran to the pasture beside our house, crouched low as a cat does, and then quickly sped away. Looked like a mountain lion that I saw on the internet. I can tell you that since Hurricane Rita wiped out the marsh below us, we have been seeing many more types of wild animals including many deer.!

    1. Hi Janis. As you say, the cat you saw pretty well has to be a mountain lion judging by the description. Your comment about the marsh being ripped out is interesting. I would like to live in a place like yours where I could see more wildlife. I like it too that you have lived there all your life. I haven’t been so fortunate. Thanks for commenting.

  20. Charlotte Bellino

    Last year (2015) & the prior year (2014) I saw large cat tracks behind our barn & at the back of our property where the ground is rather sandy. I live in Gardner, between Alexandria & Leesville, Louisiana. I showed the tracks to several friends who could not identify them. In Oct.of 2015, I was walking my dog (Shih Tzu)in the back of our property, & suddenly saw a long cat tail disappear into the woods. My dog was too short to see the animal, but he growled at the spot where the cat had been. The tail of the cat was at least 3 feet long, & was a brownish gray. Initially I thought it was a jaguarundi, but now am thinking it may have been a cougar, since it was so big. I didn’t notify wildlife officials, as did not want the animal killed. Shortly after this sighting, my area had several homes built close to ours, & I’ve seen no tracks since the new buildings were built.

    1. It very much sounds like you saw a cougar because as you know one defining feature of this fantastic wild cat species is the long tail used for balance. Sometimes this cat is not as big as people think it is. There are young cougars and female cougars who can be quite small relatively speaking. Thank you for sharing your experience in passing on your sighting to people who visit this website. Many thanks Charlotte.

      1. My sister saw a very skinny and sickly looking mountain lion here in LaSalle Parish near Catahoula lake a few years ago. The “black panthers” are also seen in this area. My other sister and I saw two playing in the road back in the early 1970s. I`ve seen pictures of the jaguarlundis or whatever and that isn`t what we saw. They were much, much larger and different looking.

  21. I live in desoto parish. Yesterday I saw a big cat in the woods near my house. I wasn’t able to get a picture but it was light brown and to big to be a bobcat. Not sure what it was is there any other types of big cats in this area? I’ve got small children and animals. And this cat didn’t look to friendly

    1. I saw a black panther about 4 miles below Logansport on the Sabine river. It wasn`t a jaguarlundi or whatever they`re called. What I saw was huge and less than 20 feet away.

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