Cats That Live in Trees

This is a list of cats that live in trees. I am referring to a group of wild cat species, of course. The first sentence should be qualified by saying that no cat species lives in trees all the time. There are wild cats that live in forests and spend time in trees and hunt in trees. These cats also live on the ground (terrestrial cats). All cats are good climbers. Some are better than others. Tree dwelling cats are the best climbers for obvious reasons. They are usually slender and have long tails for balance. The picture of the margay below illustrates this admirably.

These two wild cat species are the best climbers and most associated with tree dwelling:
  1. Margay
  2. Clouded leopard
Margay resting in a tree, typical behavior - Photo copyright Adriane Taylor
See more of Adriane's work

Other wild cat species that spend time in trees are:
  • Ocelet - hunt on the ground, rest in trees and escape to trees
  • Leopard cat - likes forest cover and can be "quite arboreal in their habits"¹
  • African golden cat  - thought to be arboreal but short tail and stocky body indicates otherwise. More needs to be known about this cat.
  • Marbled cat - more arboreal than the average wild cat species.
  • Leopard - we have all seen leopards taking prey into trees and resting in trees.
All but one lives in Asia, where logging is destroying their habitat. See cats that like water.

Note: "Arboreal" means: living in trees. (1) Wild Cats of the World.

Margay

This is probably the best feline tree dweller. They tend to prey on other animals living in trees and terrestrial animals. They often feed on birds, rodents, insects and fruit. Yes, fruit. Most of the prey of the margay are nocturnal and arboreal. However, they also hunt on the ground feeding on mice, rabbits and young pacas and agoutis for example.

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