Texas Wild Cats

Mountain lions, bobcats, and ocelots are among the numerous wild cats found in Texas. They belong to the Felidae family of felines. Each wanders around Texas, though, in a separate location. It doesn’t appear that their ranges overlap much.

Although these big cats have many similarities, there are significant differences that you should consider when deciding on a family for each of them.

Jaguar – Panthera onca

Like tigers, lions, and leopards, the jaguar belongs to the Panthera genus. Although the markings on both jaguars and leopards are visible in day, jaguars may be seen or melanistic (black). The two species are frequently confused, but there are significant distinctions.

Jaguars are stocky, have wide heads with forceful jaws, and have rosettes, which are areas inside areas. They are the world’s third biggest cat. They’re exceptional divers, climbers, and water-capturers who frequently capture their prey.

The rosettes of leopards don’t have spots within the outer spot, and they are generally smaller, sleeker. They have a strong climbing ability. Leopards are also only found in Africa and Asia. Unlike many other cat species, there is no belief that jaguar subspecies exist.

While an occasional male has been observed in southern Arizona and New Mexico that migrated from northern Mexico, the jaguar’s range extends from northern Mexico to northern Argentina. In the 1940s, the last known jaguar in Texas was killed. There are 18 countries where they may be found.

They range in size from 5 to 6 feet and weigh from 80 to 300 pounds apiece. The Pantanal in South America is home to the world’s largest jaguars. They eat capybaras, peccaries, caiman, turtles, cattle, and deer among other prey in addition to a wide range of foods depending on the habitat.

Loss or degradation of habitat, retaliatory killing by ranchers, and the loss of prey species are all hazards faced by jaguars, as they are by other wild felines.

Although human encroachment is less severe in the Western Hemisphere than it is in the Eastern Hemisphere, and measures are being made to create natural corridors for these magnificent animals so that they may travel to other jaguars, prey, and habitat, the opportunity for their long-term survival is much greater.

Mountain Lions (Puma, Cougar)

Mountain lions are often referred to as panthers, pumas, or cougars, among other names. Several various people have called them by a variety of names, and you’ve probably heard them. Yet, these cats are all the same.

These felines are tiny and enormous, with a slender build. They are, in fact, the biggest cat in Texas (and the biggest in the United States). In fact, these cats may weigh up to 150 pounds.

They may even grow to be as long as 8.5 feet in certain circumstances. They usually have a lighter body, although it may be grey or black in color depending on the lighting.

These cats, on the other hand, can never be black. There is no known gene that can make them black. As a result, it’s not a mountain lion if you spot a black cat.

Mountain lions may live in a range of environments, including hot and arid. Forest regions, canyons, and lowlands are all good places to look for them. They prefer condensed brush to hide in because it is their favorite location.

The distribution of these cats is quite broad. Canada and much of the United States are covered by them. They are mostly found in the central, west, and southern parts of Texas, though. These cats, on the other hand, have been spotted in all Texas counties because they tend to wander quite far.


The bobcat, about the size of a chow dog, is a medium-sized reddish brown cat. Adults grow to be around 3 feet, 6 inches in length. In mature, obese men, weight can range from 12 to 20 pounds. The inroads of human settlement have been shown to be adaptable in the wildness of bobcats, who are highly adaptable felines.

Small mammals and birds make up the majority of the bobcat’s diet. The majority of the food in bobcat stomachs is wood rats, ground squirrels, mice, and rabbits.

Deers are occasionally slain and devoured, but the majority of the deer flesh recovered from bobcat guts is carrion. Domesticated sheep, goats, and fowl are also prey for bobcats. Except in rare cases, the predatory damage is not significant.

The bobcat, a significant fur animal in Texas, is the sole native Texas cat.

Jaguarundi – Herpailurus yaguarondi

Both the jaguarundi and the ocelot reside in extreme south Texas and prey on similar prey animals such as rabbits, tiny birds, and rodents.

The jaguarundi weighs between 8 and 16 pounds, is about the size of a house cat, and is smaller than the ocelot. Females give birth to two to four kittens after a 60-to 75-day gestation period.

They are a solid color and might be rusty-brown or grey, and they share the same ancestors as the mountain lion. They have long bodies, a long tail, and a tiny flat head that are allPhysically characteristics. They’re more like weasels or otters than cats. They’re actually referred to as otter cats in certain parts of South America.

The jaguarundi would be removed from the endangered species list if the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plan is successful. It requires at least three distinct populations with a combined population of 500 people. Jaguarundis, like ocelots, face similar habitat destruction issues.

Because of their official absence, we have the least information about these cats, although there are anecdotal sightings.

Feral Domestic Cats

The feral domestic cat is simply a house pet gone wild, and it is by far the most common of wild cats in Texas and throughout the United States. They’re fantastic for keeping mice and rats at bay, whether in cities, suburbs, or rural areas.

Nevertheless, they may be a pest at times, digging through trash, digging up gardens, and nesting (and contaminants) under homes.

Feral cats are more likely to contract rabies and other illnesses, and their numbers increase at an exponential rate. In order to help control the population, some shelters and spay and neuter organizations provide free spay and neuter surgeries for feral cats.

After the surgery is completed, set a live trap and capture them, then return them to their home for release.

Ocelot – Leopardus pardalis

In far south Texas, close to the cities of Brownsville and Harlingen, the lovely ocelot is a spotted and striped cat that now occupies a reduced habitat. Every cat has a distinct pattern, and no two cats are alike. It is 30 to 41 inches long and weighs 15 to 30 pounds, depending on the age. Males have a greater size than females.

They may be found in an area of 1 to 4 square miles. Females have one to four kittens, which reach adulthood at around 20 months for females and 30 months for males. Little animals, such as rats, rabbits, birds, snakes, and juvenile deer make up the majority of their food.

Much of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona were formerly home to ocelots. Land conversion to agriculture has historically resulted in a dwindling of ocelot habitat. Nonetheless, the principal cause of degradation now is habitat deterioration owing to urbanization (subdivisions, wind development, road expansion, human population increase, and possible liquefied natural gas plants).

The ocelot is typically the most common predator and is considered plentiful throughout its range in South America, which extends across Latin America.

The few ocelots left in Texas dwell in thick thorn scrub environment near Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and a couple nearby private land. People and a few other animals find this environment hostile, but it is one that these remaining cats can call home.

In order for the 275 ocelots to be removed from the endangered species list, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has called for a recovery plan. Ocelots, on the other hand, continue to suffer from reduced habitat and declining populations until they have enough good habitat and a reasonably secure environment.


The margay is similar to the ocelot in color and pattern, but it’s smaller and slimmer. It’s around 3 feet long in total. Opossums are part of its diet, and little is known about its breeding habits or food.

Only one specimen collected at Eagle Pass by Col. has been reported from Texas. It is a major energy source for many species. Cooper was born in the year 100.

The Margay roamed over a large area of South Texas thousands of years ago, as evidenced by the remains of this small cat discovered in Pleistocene deposits along the Sabine River in Orange County.

Are Jaguars in Texas?

In Texas, one Jaguar has been spotted. These cats, which can grow up to 200 pounds, are the biggest domestic cat that may be found in the state. They prefer to live near water, therefore they may frequently be seen on the beaches. They also like to dig in the sand, and they often uncover delicious items.

In the 1950s, the final Jaguar was killed. As a result, the state is currently home to no one. While there have never been any verified sightings in the last fifty or so years, there are occasionally reports.

As a result, no jaguars exist in the US. Mountain Lions, which are mistaken for Jaguars, are the most common cats seen.

Are There Ocelots in Texas?

As a result, answering queries like the one in this piece may be challenging. In three lines, you can’t simply provide a black-and-white response.

Whether ocelots exist in Texas and, if they do, whether they are virtually undetectable is a source of uncertainty! We can say with certainty that bobcats are present in Texas because they are shot for their fur across the country.

They’re “harvested,” not “harvesting.” That phrase strikes me as exceedingly unfortunate since it describes sentient beings as inanimate things like corn and wheat.

I’m getting sidetracked here. The jaguarundi, a second Domestic cat species that formerly lived in Texas, is also extinct. In Texas, it is no longer existent (although it may still be found).

The jaguar is another problematic wild cat species in terms of its presence in Texas. It was formerly located in Texas, but I think it is no longer alive there now. This magnificent creature was intended to be re-wilded in Texas, according to proposals.

I’m not sure if that programming is being received at all. While his article is undated, WB Davis, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University, claims that it is exceedingly unlikely that the jaguar is in Texas. His essay appears to be quite old, and he was writing on behalf of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. There was only one jaguar in the United States in 2016, as I previously reported.

Lastly, we must state emphatically that the bobcat and mountain lion are present in Texas, but it is exceedingly probable that the jaguarundi and jaguar are extinct, while the beautiful ocelot’s coat almost obscured the species.

Do you know where your cat is?

An outdoor cat has a four-year life expectancy, whereas an indoor cat might live to be sixteen or older, according to the National Animal Toxicology Lab.

Cars frequently kill thousands of outdoor cats each year, and illness kills many more. Outdoor cats have a significant influence on the environment, in addition to being far more susceptible to illness and injuries than indoor cats. Unlike most wild creatures, well-fed cats kill and hunt millions of songbirds, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals every year.

There are a few feral cats that roam free. They are therefore wild, having no owner and being abandoned or born wild. Since they aren’t cared for, feral cats pose a significant concern since they can transmit illness to your cat and birth more wild cats that are nearly impossible to tame.

We love cats, but they should be kept indoors, where they will be secure and well cared for and live long happy lives. Additionally, it will benefit the local wildlife by allowing them to live in a more safe and healthy environment.

Bring your cat inside and discover how simple it is to make a difference in your world by demonstrating you care about your pet and the environment.


The Ocelot, Mountain Lion, and Bobcat are the three biggest cat species in Texas. The chances of seeing any of these cats are quite low since they are all extremely private. Jaguars used to be found in Texas, but they are no longer. In Texas, only about 100 ocelots remain, which is a tiny number.

Mountain lions are Texas’ biggest and most dangerous felines. They, on the other hand, stay away from humans and are not known to have caused human deaths or accidents.