Cat Pictures: The Small Cats

01
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Cheetah

Female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara.
Female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara. Photo © Jonathan and Angela Scott / Getty Images.

The small cats include cheetahs, pumas, lynx, ocelot, domestic cat, and others.

The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is the only living member of its genus and as such has a number of characteristics that set it apart from all other cat species. Cheetahs have a unique profile, with a short neck, a compact face, and lean body. Their legs are long and slender and they have a long tail. The cheetah is the fastest land animal and can sprint at speeds of over 62 miles per hour. Though fast, the cheetah lacks endurance at top speed. It can only maintain a sprint pace for 10 to 20 seconds.

02
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Eurasian Lynx Kitten

A lynx kitten photographed in Wildpark alte Fasanerie Hanau, Germany.
A lynx kitten photographed in Wildpark alte Fasanerie Hanau, Germany. Photo © David and Micha Sheldon / Getty Images.

The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is a small cat that lives in the temperate and boreal forests of Europe. Despite its classification as a "small cat", the Eurasian lynxes are the third largest predator in Europe, smaller than the wolfe and the brown bear. Eurasian lynxes hunt a variety of small hoofed mammals including rabbits, hares, and roe deer.

03
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Caracal

Caracal - Caracal caracal
Caracal - Caracal caracal. Photo © Nigel Dennis / Getty Images.

Caracals (Caracal caracal), like lions and pumas, have a uniformly colored coat. The most distinguishing characteristic of caracals is their long, tufted ears which stand straight up and are fringed with long black fur. The fur that covers the back and body of the caracal consists of short red-brown fur. The fur on the caracal's belly, throat, and chin is light yellow to white.

04
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Jaguarundi

A jaguarundi pictured in the Sonoran Desert.
A jaguarundi pictured in the Sonoran Desert. Photo © Jeff Foott / Getty Images.

The jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi) is a small cat that is ntaive to Central and South America. The jaguarundi has a long body, short legs and stubby, rounded ears. Jaguarandis prefer lowland forest and wetland habitats that are close to rivers and streams. They feed on a variety of prey including small rodents, reptiles, and birds.

05
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Puma

A puma (Felis concolor) leaping on snow.
A puma (Felis concolor) leaping on snow. Photo © Ronald Wittek / Getty Images.

Pumas (Puma concolor), also known as mountain lions, are large, lean cats with a coat that ranges in color from yellow-brown to gray-brown. Like lions and caracals, mountain lions do not have patterned coats. The fur on their back is darker than the fur on their belly, which is a pale buff color. The underside of their neck and throat is nearly white.

06
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Serval

A serval (Felis serval) pictured in Ndutu Conservation Area, Tanzania.
A serval (Felis serval) pictured in Ndutu Conservation Area, Tanzania. Phto © Doug Cheeseman / Getty Images.

The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small wild cat native to sub-Saharan parts of Africa. There are numerous subspecies of servals known throughout their range. Servals are solitary nocturnal hunters that feed on rodents, rabbits, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish. Servals inhabit savanna habitats as well as mountain regions and deserts.

07
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Ocelot

An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis).
An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). Photo © Frank Lukasseck / Getty Images.

The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a small wild cat that inhabits the tropical forests, mangrove swamps, and savannas of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Ocelots are nocturnal predators that hunt rabbits, rodents, and other small animals.  There are about ten subspecies of ocelots recognized today.

08
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Pallas's Cat

The Palla's cat (Otocolobus manul).
The Palla's cat (Otocolobus manul). Photo © Micael Carlsson / Getty Images.

The Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul) is a small wild cat that inhabits the steppe and grassland regions of Central Asia. Pallas's cats are stocky in build and have dense, long fur and short, stubby ears. There are three recognized subspecies of Pallas's cats.

09
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Black-Footed Cat

A black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) pictured in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
A black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) pictured in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Photo © Frans Lanting / Getty Images.

The black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) is a small wild cat that is native to south Africa.

10
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Jungle cat

Jungle cat - Felis chaus
A jungle cat (Felis chaus). Photo © Rupal Vaidya / Getty Images.

The jungle cat (Felis chaus) is a small wild cat native to Southeast and Central Asia. Jungle cats are the largest of the small cats. They have long legs, a short tail, and a slender face. Their coat color is variable and can be light buff, yellow, or reddish brown in color. Jungle cats inhabit tropical dry forests, savannas and tropical rainforests.

11
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Margay

Photo © Tom Brakefield / Getty Images.

The margay (Leopardus wiedii) is a small wild cat that inhabits tropical evergreen forests, tropical dry forests, and cloud forests in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Margays are nocturnal cats that feed on small animals including rodents, primates, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.

12
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Sand Cat

Sand cat - Felis margarita
Sand cat (Felis margarita). Photo © Christophe Lehenaff / Getty Images.

The sand cat (Felis margarita) is one tough little cat. It's about the same size as a domestic cat and is the smallest of all wild cats. Sand cats are desert-dwelling cats (in zoological terms, they are often described as "psammophillic" which is a fancy way of saying they are "sand dwelling" cats). Sand cats are native to the Sahara Desert in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central Asia.

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Klappenbach, Laura. "Cat Pictures: The Small Cats." ThoughtCo, Feb. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/visual-guide-to-cats-4122727. Klappenbach, Laura. (2017, February 9). Cat Pictures: The Small Cats. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/visual-guide-to-cats-4122727 Klappenbach, Laura. "Cat Pictures: The Small Cats." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/visual-guide-to-cats-4122727 (accessed May 21, 2018).