1. Education

Classification of Cats

Facts and Photos of Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs and Other Cats


Lions - Panthera leo.

Lions - Panthera leo.

Photo © Joseph Becker / Shutterstock.

Higher-Order Classification

Cats belong to the group of vertebrates known as mammals. Within the mammals cats are classified with other meat eaters in the Order Carnivora (known commonly as 'carnivores'). The classification of cats is as follows:


The family Felidae is broken down into two subfamilies:

  • Subfamily Felinae
  • Subfamily Pantherinae

The Subfamily Felinae are the small cats (cheetahs, pumas, lynx, ocelot, domestic cat, and others) and the Subfamily Pantherinae are the large cats (leopards, lions, jaguars, and tigers).


For a list of sources used in the creation of this visual guide, please see the Recommended Reading page.

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Animals / Wildlife

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.