From Purr to Roar: The 7 Big Cats | Explained

Species belonging to the ‘cat’ genus have existed with humans since the dawn of civilisation. Here is a list of the seven big cats to help you learn more about these majestic creatures.
The 7 Big Cats explained
The 7 Big Cats explained

From Purr to Roar: The 7 Big Cats | Explained

There has been a lot of talk about India getting eight cheetahs from Namibia. Many individuals have shared the story on various social media sites and praised the nation for its fantastic endeavor. A lot of them, however, have substituted images of leopards for those of cheetahs in their posts. It's a really typical issue, in fact. Many people mistake cheetahs for leopards or perhaps even Jaguars.

Here is a list of the seven big cats, including the Panthera (tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, and snow leopards) and non-Panthera (cougars and cheetahs), to help you tell one from the other and learn more about them.

  1. Tiger

Genus: Panthera

Scientific name: Panthera Tigris


The biggest existing cat species is the tiger. It may be identified by its orange fur with a white underbelly and black vertical lines. Tigers hunt predominantly using their senses of sight and sound. Usually, they stalk their prey alone when hunting. A tiger has the capacity to eat more than 80 pounds of flesh at once.

The IUCN Red List classifies the tiger as Endangered. Right now, India is home to the most tigers.

  1. Lion

Genus: Panthera

Scientific name: Panthera Leo


The lion is native to Africa and India. Its physique is broad-chested and strong, and it has round ears, a small, rounded head, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. The lion, renowned as the legendary "king of beasts," has long been one of the most well-known wild creatures. Although they may live in a range of settings, lions favor grassland, savanna, deep undergrowth, and open forest. They are most active at night. In the past, they were spread out throughout a large portion of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Today, they are mostly found in regions of Africa south of the Sahara. They have been classified as endangered. In India's Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, a smaller breed of roughly 650 Asiatic lions exists in isolation and is subject to stringent protection.

  1. Jaguar

Genus: Panthera

Scientific name: Panthera Onca


The only Panthera species endemic to the Americas that are still alive is the jaguar. It is the biggest cat species in the Americas and the third largest in the world, with a body length of up to 6 ft 1 in and a weight of up to 158 kg. The typical color is orange to brown, with bracts of black dots with a central black spot.

The leopard of Africa and Asia and the jaguar look almost similar, although the leopard can be distinguished by the lack of the jaguar's black central spot. The greatest known population of jaguars is found in the Amazon rainforest. It is practically extinct in the northern portion of its original range and only persists in sparsely populated parts of Central and South America.

  1. Leopard

Genus: Panthera

Scientific name: Panthera Pardus


The leopard is one of the five existing species of the Panthera genus and a member of the cat family, Felidae. Sub-Saharan Africa, some regions of Western and Central Asia, Southern Russia, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast and East Asia are just a few of the regions where it may be found. Its usual size is between 50 and 90 kg, 210 cm, not including the 90-cm tail.

Leopard populations are under threat from habitat loss, and they are diminishing in a significant portion of their worldwide range, which is why they are classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. 

  1. Snow Leopard

Genus: Panthera

Scientific name: Panthera Uncia


The alpine highlands of Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent are home to the snow leopard, also known as the ounce. Its soft coat is light gray with black rosettes and a dark line along the spine. It is made up of a dense, insulating undercoat and a thick outer coat of hairs that is around 5 cm long. The underparts, where the fur may be 10 cm long, are all the same shade of white.

The IUCN Red List classifies it as vulnerable because it is estimated that there are less than 10,000 adult individuals worldwide, and the projected population will reduce by 10% by 2040.

  1. Cougar

Genus: Puma

Scientific name: Puma Concolor


This huge cat known as the cougar is indigenous to the Americas. After the jaguar, it is the second-largest cat in the New World. It inhabits a range of habitats, such as desert scrub, chaparral, swamps, and woods, although it stays away from flatlands, agricultural regions, and other habitats that lack shelter. Cougars have evenly brown fur on the back, flanks, limbs, and tail. There have been reports of black cougars, and the color of their brown fur varies geographically, seasonally, and even in terms of their face color patterns. 

In Florida, they have been classified as an endangered species.

  1. Cheetah

Genus: Acinonyx

Scientific name: Acinonyx Jubatus


Africa and central Iran are the cheetah's natural habitats. It can run at speeds between 80 and 128 km/h, making it the fastest terrestrial mammal. Cheetahs have a white underbelly and are nearly totally covered in tiny black patches on a pale-yellow backdrop. Strong black lines that arc from the inner corners of each eye to the outer corners of the mouth, resembling a well-used path of inky tears, characterize their features.

They are almost extinct in Asia, with north-eastern Iran hosting the largest known population. There are between 9,000 and 12,000 cheetahs in Africa, with the biggest numbers found in Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa.

These seven big cats have existed with humans since the dawn of civilisation. They are among the world's most magnificent creatures. The huge cats are incredibly alluring due to their deadly propensity and feline elegance. However, a number of the genus' species have gone extinct or are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and poaching. If the right steps are not taken now, our future generations will read about these magnificent beasts only in history books.


Do big cats purr or roar?

Lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars can produce terrifying roars. However, Cheetahs and cougars are known to purr.

Which big cat is the strongest?

Tiger, a member of the Panthera genus is the deadliest and the strongest big cat in terms of strength, speed, aggression, fighting skills, and coordination.

Who are the 7 big cats?

Tiger, Leopard, Lion, Cheetah, Cougar, Jaguar, and Snow Leopard are the seven big cats.
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