The cute little purring fur-ball curled up in your lap is only one kind of cat found on planet Earth. Your pet cat has relatives - from small and adorable to huge and scary - all over the world. Some of them, like the 26 shown here, are facing extinction in the wild. Should that happen, it will be a sad day for us all.
Once free to roam the Middle East, from Central Asia, north into southern Kazakhstan and southeast into India, the Asiatic Cheetah's numbers are shockingly low.
With only about 70 - 110 Asiatic Cheetahs remaining in the wild, the need to maintain their habitat, stop poaching, and reverse the over-hunting of its prey become paramount. The remaining Asiatic Cheetahs occupy the central plateau of Iran.
The Snow Leopard's habitat makes it necessary for this cat to be perfectly adapted to survive in a cold, barren landscape at high altitude.
Snow Leopards are found in the rugged terrain of Central Asia's mountains. Hunted for their fur, it is estimated that only 4000 to 6500 Snow Leopards remain in the wild.
In 2008, the Fishing Cat was officially classified as an Endangered Species because of the development and degrading of their wetland habitats.
Unlike most cats, the Fishing Cat is a skilled swimmer that makes its home along rivers, streams, and in mangrove swamps.
Ever elusive, this is one of the only high quality pictures of a Borneo Bay cat. Found only on the island of Borneo, this little wildcat is listed on the Endangered Species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Logging has threatened the Bay cat's tropic forest habitats.
Named for its uniquely shaped head, this cute cat is a loner that loves eating fish. Maybe that's how it keeps its slender body. Habitat destruction landed it on the endangered list in 2008, with a current estimated population coming in at less than 2500.
This Andean Mountain Cat is just one of a few dozen species of wildcat found around the world. Unfortunately, local conservation efforts are often hampered by low budgets.
You are looking at one of the rarest mammals on the planet today. The Iberian, or Spanish, Lynx is easily the most endangered of the wildcat species.
After their main food source, the Spanish rabbit population, was decimated by a disease in the 1950s, the Iberian Lynx has never successfully rebounded. Today, it is estimated there are only about 100 left in the wild.
Holed up in rock crevices, marmot burrows, or caves during the day, these amazing looking cats come out in the late afternoon to hunt. Endangered since 2002, the Pallas's Cat is mainly threatened by loss of habitat, decline in its prey base, and hunting.
The Margay pelt is highly prized, resulting in over 14,000 being killed each year. This practice has taken a toll on the Margay population because of their slow birth rate. Margays only produce kittens every 2 years, and the mortality rate is 50%. The Margay is the only cat that can run head down like a squirrel down a tree because of its hind legs that can rotate 180°.
Found on the African savannas, the Serval has the longest legs, compared to body size, of any cat in the world. They are hunted for their coats, which are hoisted on to tourists as pelts of leopards or cheetahs.
This cat, commonly called a desert lynx, makes a barking sound when giving a warning. It is rarely seen in the wild in its native habitat in Northern Africa, and in the central Asian republics and India.
One of the most endangered cat species out there. Nocturnal and reclusive, it was only recently that conservationists were able to capture a live photo of this cat.
Only about twice the size of a domesticated cat, the lifespan of the African Golden in captivity is about 12 years. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown.
Tropical and sub-tropical forests, whether moist evergreen or dry deciduous, is where you'll find this cat. It is considered endangered from deforestation and hunting, mostly for its pelt and bones.
To keep hot surfaces from harming its feet, this cat has fur growing between its toes. Its wide head makes it unique, as well. Hunting of this cat is prohibited in many countries but it is still listed as threatened.
There are believed to be only about 30 of these Amur leopards remaining in the wild in Russia and China. This has resulted from habitat loss and human activities. This leopard is also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard and the Korean leopard.
It is estimated that fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers still exist in the wild. A global market for tiger parts and products contributes to their march toward extinction.
Sumatran tigers continue to decrease in numbers despite increased efforts by law enforcement and the implementation of anti-poaching policies.
The total number of mature Clouded Leopards remaining is suspected to be less than 10,000. Deforestation and organized poaching have decreased their habitat, leading to their decreased populations. This unique leopard has the distinction of being considered an evolutionary link between the small cats and the big one.
This Marbled Cat is often mistaken for the Clouded Leopard but it smaller and has a bushy tail that sets it apart. Threatened by the loss of its forest habitat throughout Southeast Asia, this cat is endangered by loss of its prey base as well as its living grounds.
This wild cat was the first to be used in a hybrid breeding program between wide and domestic cats. This breeding resulted in the Bengal breed, a friendly and beautiful cat. The Leopard Cat's color can vary from red to grey with white or light colored underparts.
This stunningly beautiful tiger is also known as the Blue Tiger. It is so rare, many doubt that any more still exist. Many believe that reported sightings of the Maltese tiger in the wild is actually a South Chinese subspecies.
These tigers are most often the result of breeding in captivity, although there are records in India of wild golden tigers dating back to the early 1900s.
These tigers are not a specific species of tiger, but rather a variation in coloration.
These white lions are not albinos. Their coloring is a result of a rare gene that occurs naturally in the Kruger to Canyon Biosphere in South Africa. White lions were removed from their native habitat for their unique appearance and were technically considered extinct. Through the efforts of the Global White Lion Protection Trust, the White Lions were re-established in their native range.
Thought to be extinct for over 30 years, a shepherd in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir killed a big cat that preyed on his flock in 2013. Biologists confirmed it was the Anatolian Leopard, giving renewed hope that this species still exists.