pixel taxonomy

This illustration project comes from my love of nature and desire to know more about evolution and taxonomy.

Firstly, I needed a phylogenetic tree for the Felidae family. There was a lot of conflicting, unreliable and outdated information online, so I decided to build my own. My main source was the 2017 report from the IUCN Cat Specialis Group, but I consulted other papers as well. Researching the cat taxonomy, as well as the morphologies of the individual species, took a lot longer than the actual drawing.

Each illustration is 100x100px, and I did my best to draw the cats as realistically and as accurately as possible, within the constraints of the medium and format. I made one profile-view full-body illustration and one en face headshot for each species. How many species there are depends on whether one views some of them as separate species, or as subspecies. My version of the cat family consists of 45 species.


I’d like to thank the Pampas Cat Working Group for helping me with the “colocola complex” cats, and also mr Dean Wyman, for his advice about Leopardus garleppi and Leopardus colocola.

If you have expert knowledge in this area and you notice a mistake, feel free to contact me.

All 45 cat species.

The Bay Cat Evolutionary Lineage: Catopuma badia, Catopuma temminckii & Pardofelis marmorata:

The Caracal Evolutionary Lineage: Caracal aurata, Caracal caracal & Leptailurus serval:

The Domestic Cat Evolutionary Lineage: Felis bieti, Felis catus, Felis chaus, Felis lybica, Felis margarita, Felis nigripes & Felis silvestris:

The Leopard Cat Evolutionary Lineage: Otocolobus manul, Prionailurus bengalensis, Prionailurus javanensis, Prionailurus planiceps, Prionailurus rubiginosus & Prionailurus viverrinus:

The Lynx Evolutionary Lineage: Lynx canadensis, Lynx lynx, Lynx pardinus & Lynx rufus:

The Ocelot Evolutionary Lineage: Leopardus braccatus, Leopardus colocola, Leopardus garleppi, Leopardus munoai, Leopardus pajeros, Leopardus geoffroyi, Leopardus guigna, Leopardus guttulus, Leopardus tigrinus, Leopardus pardalis & Leopardus wiedii:

The Panthera Evolutionary Lineage: Panthera leo, Panthera onca, Panthera pardus, Panthera tigris, Panthera uncia, Neofelis diardi & Neofelis nebulosa:

The Puma Evolutionary Lineage: Acinonyx jubatus, Herpailurus yagouaroundi & Puma concolor:

I would love to continue this project and I am currently searching for funding, as it is very time consuming and when I was working on it parallel to a full-time job, the progress was at a snail’s pace. I would like to build a separate, much more comprehensive website for this project, that would include the phylogenetic tree I made while researching, complete with links to sources I used. I want to make some merchandise as well, and explore the options of donating part of the profits to a nature conservation organisation, preferably one that specializes in cats. I would love to partner with educational/conservation/scientific institutions and organizations. I would love to organize exhibitions… I have many ideas, but sadly, at the moment, no money to properly devote myself to this. My future plans for expanding the collection begin with adding extinct cats, but it would also be interesting to add subspecies and/or colour morphs and other phenotypic variants. So many ideas, and so little time!