The Kodkod, Leopardus guigna, also called güiña, is the smallest cat in the Americas. In 2002, the IUCN classified the kodkod as Vulnerable as the total effective population size may be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a declining trend due to habitat and prey base loss and persecution, and no sub-population having an effective population size larger than 1,000 mature breeding individuals.
The kodkod was formerly considered a member of the genus Oncifelis, which consisted of three small feline species native to South America. All of these species have been moved into the genus Leopardus. Along with the kodkod, the former members of Oncifelis were the colocolo and Geoffroy's cat.
The kodkod has a small head, large feet, and a thick tail. An adult weighs 2 to 2.5 kilograms (4.4 to 5.5 lb), with a typical length of 37 to 51 centimeters (15 to 20 in), a short 20 to 25 centimeters (7.9 to 9.8 in) tail, and a shoulder height of about 25 centimeters (9.8 in).
The coat has a base color ranging from brownish-yellow to grey-brown. The body is decorated with dark spots, with a pale underside and a ringed tail. The ears are black with a white spot, while the dark spots on the shoulders and neck almost merge to form a series of dotted streaks. Melanistic kodkods with spotted black coats are quite common.
They prefer evergreen temperate rainforest habitats to deciduous temperate moist forests, sclerophyllous scrub and coniferous forests. They are tolerant of altered habitats, being found in secondary forest and shrub as well as primary forest, and on the fringes of settled and cultivated areas.
They are terrestrial predators of birds, lizards and rodents in the ravines and forested areas, feeding on southern lapwing, austral thrush, chucao tapaculo, huet-huet, domestic geese and chicken.
Kodkods are equally active during the day as during the night, although they only venture into open terrain under the cover of darkness. During the day, they rest in dense vegetation in ravines, along streams with heavy cover, and in piles of dead gorse. They are excellent climbers, and easily able to climb trees more than a meter in diameter.