Many people are more than happy with their domestic cat being a tabby or a calico cat with no fancy breed information provided. Others like to have something a little fancier and choose a recognized breed such as the Maine coon cats or a Himalayans. For others, they want something more unique and special. Exotic cat breeds can be the answer. These are hybrid cats that are made from crossing a wild cat with a domestic one. They are very controversial to some and for others the best pets in the world.
The bengal cat is often considered one of the oldest breeds available with mention of the cross dating bat to 1889 (Harrison Weir) and confirmed cases of the breed dating back to 1934. The bengal is a cross of a Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat. Domestic cats often used in this process include the Abyssinan, American Shorthair, Burmese, and Egyptian Maus. Most consider them to be very similar in personality to domestic cats once you get to the fourth generation and beyond. They get their name from the Asian Leopard Cat who's scientific name is Prionailurus bengalensis.
The goal of bengal breeders is to create a wild looking cat with a friendly disposition. Markings often include large spots or rosettes and a light colored belly. Bengal cats often have horizontal stripes near their eyes and along their legs. They are a medium-large cats with the males getting up to 15 pounds. Many of the characteristics of the bengal cats depends on the breed of domestic cat that they are bred into. This breed has some recognitions in major cat groups including the Governing Council of Cat Fancy and the International Cat Association. Different organizations recognize different colors, patterns, and characteristics. Most also require the cat to be bred bengal to bengal for four generations before being shown.
Stella - The Bengal CatCredit: Seduisant, Wikipedia, PDCredit: Seduisant, Wikipedia, PD
The Savannah cat might be the largest of the hybrid cats. It is a cross between a serval (leptailurus serval or caracal serval) and a domestic cat. Breeds that have been used in this cross include the Siamese cat, Egyptian mau, and bengal cats (F4 generation or later which are often considered to be domestic).
The savannah cat ranges in size from around 9 pound females to 30 pound males. As with most of the hybrids there are a lot of variations. However, the goal is a to have a large cat with wild spotting. Often times this is a brown, tan, or gold base with black or dark brown spots. Other colors are also sought after including the silver which has a silver coat with black or dark gray spots and black with black spots.
Beautiful Savannah CatCredit: Jason Douglas, Wikipedia, PDCredit: Jason Douglas, Wikipedia, PD
Chausie or Stone Cougar
The Chausie or Stone Cougar is a hybrid of the Jungle Cat (felis chaus) to a domestic cat. The Jungle cat is a native of Asia and lives throughout India, the middle east, and the Nile river delta. Evidence shows that this hybrid is likely to have begun in Egypt thousands of years ago, but has only become a goal of breeders in the last 20 to 30 years.
This cat has a very wild look and looks similar to a mountain lion. It has a long and lean look with prominent cheekbones. It has a short coat that comes in solid black, black grizzled tabby which appears to have gray mixed in, and black ticked tabby which has brown in it. It also has large triangular ears that are very prominent. They also have a shorter tail (about ¾ the length of the domestic cat) that they inherit from the wild cat of their ancestry.
Male ChausieCredit: Lance Klausner, Wikipedia, PDCredit: Lance Klausner, Wikipedia, PD
Safari cats are the result of breeding the Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) with a domestic cat. The Geoffroy's cat is a small (usually under 10 pounds) wild cat from South America and is considered near threatened. In South America they are commonly kept as pets and used to keep rodents off one's property.
When the Geoffroy's cat is combined with a domestic house cat they produce a cat that is spotted, can be found in a wide range of colors, has an eye spot on the back of its ears, and that is very large. While the wild parent is under 10 pounds and the average house cat is about 12 pounds, the offspring has an odd number of chromosomes which is believed to cause a disparity in its size. Often F1 safari cats are 18 to 25 pounds. F2 safari cats are about the same size as an average house cat and that makes F1's often sought after.
Mokave Jag Cat
This cat is a much less accepted cat because it has a more complex history and hasn't been developed by very many breeders. In 2000 the Mokave Jag cat was created by Nora Scholin of the Mokave Cats cattery. It is a very wild looking cat that has genetic traits from mixing desert lynx, highland lynx, bengal cats, and savannah cats. The bengal cats and the savannah cats are definitely hybrids and many believe that the desert lynx and highland lynx are also hybrids.
The cat is a very wild looking cat that comes in a number of different shapes. They are sturdy and long with large ears that either have lynx like tuffs at the top or are moderately curled. Ocelli ear markings are also appreciated.
Some people have a lot of issues with these exotic cat breeds that are really hybrid cats that have real wild blood in them. There are issues of the processes required to make such creatures, issues with major catteries, concerns over safety, fear of their release, and fear of the growing overpopulation of companion animals on this earth. Should Hybrid Cats Continue to be Bred? I will leave that one up to you.
While I will admit that I am a bit horrified about the issue, I am also stunned by these amazing animals. Plus this list above is really just a small start to a whole lot of hybrids. If you want to learn more than you can continue checking them out at More Hybrid Cats because the list seems nearly endless. There are also some Domestic Cats That Look Like They Are Wild.
This is a great topic to talk about. I would love to hear what you have to say about it. Are you for the breeding of these animals, against it, do you want one? If you aren't a member of InfoBarrel yet then please sign up here. It's free. You will be able to leave comments and even write articles to make money.