Bartonellae are blood- and vector-borne Gram-negative bacteria, recognized as emerging pathogens. Whole-blood samples were collected from 58 free-ranging lions (Panthera leo) in South Africa and 17 cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) from Namibia. Blood samples were also collected from 11 cheetahs (more than once for some of them) at the San Diego Wildlife Safari Park. Bacteria were isolated from the blood of three (5%) lions, one (6%) Namibian cheetah and eight (73%) cheetahs from California. The lion Bartonella isolates were identified as B. henselae (two isolates) and B. koehlerae subsp. koehlerae. The Namibian cheetah strain was close but distinct from isolates from North American wild felids and clustered between B. henselae and B. koehlerae. It should be considered as a new subspecies of B. koehlerae. All the Californian semi-captive cheetah isolates were different from B. henselae or B. koehlerae subsp. koehlerae and from the Namibian cheetah isolate. They were also distinct from the strains isolated from Californian mountain lions (Felis concolor) and clustered with strains of B. koehlerae subsp. bothieri isolated from free-ranging bobcats (Lynx rufus) in California. Therefore, it is likely that these captive cheetahs became infected by an indigenous strain for which bobcats are the natural reservoir.