As top predators, wild cats play a key ecological role in tropical forests, but little is known about the factors that regulate their abundance. This study looked for correlates of ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) abundance at two spatial scales. First, camera-trap surveys conducted in the Atlantic Forest of Misiones, Argentina, were used to test the hypothesis that selective logging and poaching affect the local abundance of this cat. Second, published density estimates (N = 21) were used to test the hypothesis that rainfall and latitude are correlated with the abundance of ocelots across their continental range. In Misiones, ocelot densities ranged from 4.96 ± 1.33 individuals per 100 km2 in the intensely logged and hunted areas to 17.6 ± 2.25 individuals per 100 km2 in areas with low human impact. The frequency of records, number of individuals recorded per station, and density estimates were 2–3 times higher in areas with relatively low levels of logging and poaching. At a continental scale, ocelot densities decrease with latitude and increase with rainfall. Primary productivity seems to determine the abundance of wild cats across their range, but at a local scale their abundance may be affected by logging and poaching or by competition with other species.