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The Felinae is a subfamily of the family Felidae. This subfamily comprises the small cats having a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar.[2]

Temporal range: MioceneHolocene, 9–0 Ma
Wildkatze (Felis silvestris silvestris) im Tierpark Lange Erlen, 2016-12-03.jpg
European wildcat (Felis silvestris)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Fischer von Waldheim, 1817
Type genus
Felinae range.png
Native ranges of Felinae

Other authors proposed an alternative definition for this subfamily: as comprising only the living conical-toothed cat genera with two tribes, the Felini and Pantherini; thus excluding all fossil cat species.[3][4]


The members of the Felinae have retractile claws that are protected by at least one cutaneous lobe. Their larynx is kept close to the base of the skull by an ossified hyoid.[5] They can purr owing to the vocal folds being shorter than 6 mm (0.24 in).[6][7] The cheetah Acinonyx does not have cutaneous sheaths for guarding claws.[8]


The term Felini was first used in 1817 by Gotthelf Fischer von Waldheim, at the time for all the cat species that had been proposed as belonging to the genus Felis.[9] In 1917, Reginald Innes Pocock also subordinated the following genera to the Felinae that had been proposed in the course of the 19th century: Lynx, Puma, Leptailurus, Prionailurus, Pardofelis, Leopardus, Herpailurus, Neofelis and four more.[5]

The Felinae and Pantherinae probably diverged about 11.5 million years ago. The genera within the Felinae diverged between 10.67 and 4.23 million years ago.[10][11]

Today, the following genera and species are recognised as belonging to the Felinae:[2]

Subfamily Felinae
Genus Species Image
Acinonyx Brookes, 1828  
Caracal Gray, 1843  
Catopuma Severtzov, 1858  
Felis Linnaeus, 1758[12]  
Herpailurus Severtzov, 1858 Jaguarundi (H. yagouaroundi)  
Leopardus Jardine, 1834  
Leptailurus Severtzov, 1858 Serval (L. serval)  
Lynx Kerr, 1792  
Otocolobus Brandt, 1841 Pallas's cat (O. manul)  
Pardofelis Severtzov, 1858 Marbled cat (P. marmorata)  
Prionailurus Severtzov, 1858  
Puma Jardine, 1834  
Asilifelis Werdelin, 2011[15] A. coteae
Diamantofelis Morales, Pickford, Soria & Fraile, 1998[16] D. ferox
Katifelis Adrian, Werdelin & Grossman, 2018[17] K. nightingalei
Leptofelis Salesa et al., 2012 L. vallesiensis
Miracinonyx Adams, 1979[18]
  • M. inexpectatus
  • M. trumani
Namafelis Morales, Pickford, Fraile, Salesa & Soria, 2003[19] N. minor
Pratifelis Hibbard, 1934 P. martini
Pristifelis Salesa et al., 2012 P. attica
Sivapanthera Kretzoi, 1929[20]
  • S. arvernensis
  • S. brachygnathus
  • S. linxiaensis
  • S. padhriensis
  • S. pleistocaenicus
  • S. potens


The phylogenetic relationships of Felinae are shown in the following cladogram:[21]

Bay cat lineage

Catopuma badia (Bay cat)

Catopuma temminckii (Asian golden cat)


Pardofelis marmorata (Marbled cat)  

Caracal lineage

Caracal caracal (Caracal)  

Caracal aurata (African golden cat)


Leptailurus serval (Serval)  

Ocelot lineage

Leopardus geoffroyi (Geoffroy's cat)

Leopardus guttulus (Southern tiger cat)

Leopardus guigna (Kodkod)

Leopardus tigrinus (Oncilla)

Leopardus colocolo (Pampas cat)

Leopardus jacobita (Andean mountain cat)

Leopardus pardalis (Ocelot)  

Leopardus wiedii (Margay)

Leopardus vorohuensis

Lynx lineage

Lynx lynx (Eurasian lynx)  

Lynx pardinus (Iberian lynx)

Lynx canadensis (Canada lynx)

Lynx rufus (Bobcat)

Lynx issiodorensis (Issoire lynx)

Lynx rexroadensis

Lynx thomasi

Puma lineage

Acinonyx jubatus (Cheetah)  

Acinonyx pardinensis (Giant cheetah)

Acinonyx aicha

Acinonyx intermedius


Sivapanthera brachygnathus

Sivapanthera pleistocaenicus

Sivapanthera potens

Sivapanthera linxiaensis

Sivapanthera padhriensis

Sivapanthera arvernensis


Herpailurus yagouaroundi (Jaguarundi)  


Miracinonyx inexpectatus

Miracinonyx trumani


Puma pardoides (Eurasian puma)  

Puma pumoides

Puma concolor (Cougar)  

Leopard cat lineage

Prionailurus javanensis (Sunda leopard cat)

Prionailurus viverrinus (Fishing cat)

Prionailurus bengalensis (Leopard cat)  

Prionailurus planiceps (Flat-headed cat)

Prionailurus rubiginosus (Rusty-spotted cat)


Otocolobus manul (Pallas's cat)


Pristifelis attica


Felis chaus (Jungle cat)  

Felis nigripes (Black-footed cat)

Felis margarita (Sand cat)

Felis lunensis (Martelli's cat)

Felis silvestris (European wildcat)  

Felis bieti (Chinese mountain cat)

Felis lybica (African wildcat)  

Felis catus (Cat)  

Domestic cat lineage    

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Felinae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–545. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News. Special Issue 11: 11−63.
  3. ^ Werdelin, L.; Yamaguchi, N.; Johnson, W. E.; O'Brien, S. J. (2010). "Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felidae)". In Macdonald, D. W.; Loveridge, A. J. (eds.). Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 59–82. ISBN 978-0-19-923445-5.
  4. ^ Werdelin, L. (2013). "Subfamily Felinae − Cats". In Kingdon, J.; Happold, D.; Butynski, T.; Hoffmann, M.; Happold, M.; Kalina, J. (eds.). Mammals of Africa. 5. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 144–210. ISBN 978-1-4081-2251-8.
  5. ^ a b Pocock, R. I. (1917). "The classification of the existing Felidae". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Series 8. XX (119): 329–350. doi:10.1080/00222931709487018.
  6. ^ Hast, M. H. (1989). "The larynx of roaring and non-roaring cats". Journal of Anatomy. 163: 117–121. PMC 1256521. PMID 2606766.
  7. ^ Peters, G. (2002). "Purring and similar vocalizations in mammals". Mammal Review. 32 (4): 245−271. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2907.2002.00113.x.
  8. ^ Pocock, R. I. (1917). "VII.—On the external characters of the Felidæ". The Annals and Magazine of Natural History; Zoology, Botany, and Geology. 8. 19 (109): 113−136. doi:10.1080/00222931709486916.
  9. ^ Fischer, G. (1817). "Adversaria Zoologica. Fasciculus primus. Quaedam ad Mammalium systema et genera illustranda". Mémoires de la Société Impériale des Naturalistes de Moscou. 5: 357−446.
  10. ^ Johnson, W. E.; Eizirik, E.; Pecon-Slattery, J.; Murphy, W. J.; Antunes, A.; Teeling, E. & O'Brien, S. J. (2006). "The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: A genetic assessment" (PDF). Science. 311 (5757): 73–77. Bibcode:2006Sci...311...73J. doi:10.1126/science.1122277. PMID 16400146.
  11. ^ Li, G.; Davis, B. W.; Eizirik, E.; Murphy, W. J. (2016). "Phylogenomic evidence for ancient hybridization in the genomes of living cats (Felidae)". Genome Research. 26 (1): 1−11. doi:10.1101/gr.186668.114. PMC 4691742. PMID 26518481.
  12. ^ a b Linnaeus, C. (1758). "Felis". Systema naturae per regna tria naturae: secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). 1 (Tenth reformed ed.). Holmiae: Laurentii Salvii. pp. 42–44.
  13. ^ Stephens, J. J. (1959). "A new Pliocene cat from Kansas". Academy of Science, Arts and Letters (44): 41–46.
  14. ^ Werdelin, L. (1981). "The evolution of lynxes" (PDF). Annales Zoologici Fennici (18): 37–71.
  15. ^ Werdelin, L. (2011). "A new genus and species of Felidae (Mammalia) from Rusinga Island, Kenya, with notes on early Felidae of Africa". Estudios Geológicos. 67 (2): 217–222. doi:10.3989/egeol.40463.184.
  16. ^ Morales, J.; Pickford, M.; Soria, D.; Fraile, S. (1998). "New carnivores from the basal Middle Miocene of Arrisdrift, Namibia". Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae. 91: 27–40.
  17. ^ Adrian, B.; Werdelin, L.; Grossman, A. (2018). "New Miocene Carnivora (Mammalia) from Moruorot and Kalodirr, Kenya". Palaeontologia Electronica. 21 (1): 21.1.10A. doi:10.26879/778.
  18. ^ Adams, D. B. (1979). "The Cheetah: Native American". Science. 205 (4411): 1155–1158. Bibcode:1979Sci...205.1155A. doi:10.1126/science.205.4411.1155. PMID 17735054.
  19. ^ Morales, J.; Pickford, M.; Fraile, S.; Salesa, M. J.; Soria, D. (2003). "Creodonta and Carnivora from Arrisdrift, early Middle Miocene of southern Namibia". Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Namibia. 19: 177–194.
  20. ^ Kretzoi, M. (1929). "Materialien zur phylogenetischen Klassifikation der Ailuroïden". In Csiki, E. (ed.). Xe Congrès international de zoologie, tenu à Budapest du 4 au 10 septembre 1927. Volume 2. Budapest: Imprimerie Stephaneus. pp. 1293−1355.
  21. ^ Werdelin, L.; Yamaguchi, N.; Johnson, W. E.; O'Brien, S. J. (2010). "Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felidae)". In Macdonald, D. W.; Loveridge, A. J. (eds.). Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 59–82. ISBN 978-0-19-923445-5.

External linksEdit

  •   Media related to Felinae at Wikimedia Commons
  •   Data related to Felinae at Wikispecies