What does the Jaguarundi sound like? Does it sound like the fox? Until now, most people didn’t know. Then, suddenly, people across the world got a rare peek. A viral video that has resurfaced shows the rare cat making surprising kitten-like sounds. Many social media platforms shared it, and thousands couldn’t believe what they heard.
It appears the first post of the video came from wildlife video creators at “BWILD” in December 2022. It shows a Jaguarundi, or Otter cat, possibly from Brazil, sitting in the leaves and looking about, mewing with a sound that has to be heard to be believed (see video below).
Is this the sound you would imagine coming from such a sleek and powerful predator? Probably not. Most people might mistake the sound for a bird or a domestic cat in the area. So it’s possible many people have heard this cat’s sounds but didn’t realize it.
Video by BWILD showing the Jaguarundi mewing:
The Jaguarundi is a Cat of Many Sounds
The same site has features many Jaguarundi videos, although most of the time, the cats don’t make a peep as they stealthily move through their habitat. Instead, the trail cam videos catch a fleeting glimpse of them. Usually they keep a low profile in every way. As they seem to prefer a solitary existence, they are rarely seen or heard. That’s why they are considered the “most mysterious cat” in the Americas.
Besides, if you saw one, you might think you had spotted a large otter or weasel. Indeed, they like to swim like otters and are often near the water. But they’re in the Felidae family and related to pumas or cougar nonetheless.
Some Jaguarundis have reddish fur sometimes called Eyra, while those with darker fur were Jaguarundis.
Here’s the most recent post to date showing a Jaguarundi from Mexico very quietly moving at night.
Video via Instagram/thebwildsite
Another video from three years ago shows another Jaguarundi briefly making calls that are not at all like the mewing sound from the more recent video. These cats are known to make 13 distinct calls so they have a wide vocabulary of sounds.
Here’s another example of the Jaguarundi sound, this time a captive cat being rehabilitated at the amaZOOnico Rescue in Ecuador. It’s pretty obvious this cat is saying “let me the heck outta’ here!” But don’t worry, he’s being well-cared for until he can be released.
Jaguarundi in the United States
Although the Jaguarundi isn’t native to the United States, there might be a feral population in Florida descended from a group kept as pets in the 1940s. The Big Cat Rescue notes that many reported sightings of Jaguarundi in Florida are much more likely to be otters. As with other wild animals, it’s not a good idea to keep these cats as pets. And now, it’s illegal in the United States except in certain circumstances such as in accredited sanctuaries and zoos.
As with so many wild creatures today, the Jaguarundi is endangered due to the activities of people, clearing their territories of the dense brush they need for a home.
You can see more about a rare albino Jaguarundi from Columbia here.