A recording has been made of one of the world’s smallest (and cutest) cat sounds like for what’s thought to be the first time ever.

The tiny cat, known as a Chilean güiña, is half the size of your usual house cat and weighs just under six pounds. The animals are extremely shy and been dubbed a ‘mystery cat’ that ‘lives in the shadows’.

However, as part of National Geographic’s Photo Ark, more information about the güiña has been discovered, including a recording of the unique sounds it makes. The Photo Ark has been created by the National Geographic Society alongside photographer Joel Sartore with the aim of helping endangered species through ‘the power of photography’. One of those endangered species in the adorable güiña.

The güiña is the 10,000th animal to be part of the Photo Ark portfolio. The cat (named Pikumche) was recorded and photographed while in captivity at Fauna Andina, a licensed wildlife reserve and rehabilitation centre in south-central Chile. It’s thought that this is the only place in the world to have güiña’s in captivity – Pikumche is one of eight at Fauna Andina.

As well as Joel taking pictures of the sweet feline, he filmed what Pikumche sounded like – something thought to be the first ever recording of the cat.

Pikumche is two-and-a-half year old male and was orphaned when he was a kitten so was hand-reared at the centre. Because of this, he’s got used to being around humans and is unable to go back into the wild.

While Pikumche can’t be returned to the wild, from the sounds of the video he’s pretty content where he is. Fernando Vidal Mugica, founder of the centre Pikumche lives at, explained the noises the cat made are ‘likely expressions of pleasure or excitement’ and his meow was because the other güiña’s appeared.

Güiña’s, also known as Leopardus guigna, are classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN red list and were last assessed in 2014. The largest reason for their decline in numbers is due to loss of habitat.

Fernando added that the small cats rely on native forest to exist and that protecting it is the ‘main goal’. Joel started the Photo Ark back in 2006 in his hometown on Lincoln, Nebraska. He’s since gone on to visit 50 countries in his quest to create this photo archive of global biodiversity.

Apparently he wants to document a whopping 15,000 different species – with the güiña marking his 10,000th.

Responses to "Smallest wild cat in western hemisphere gets cuter as recording unveils what it sounds like"

Write a comment