Hybrid cats are produced by breeding a wild animal (some sort of cat) to a domestic cat. They are often bred to each other and to other domestic cats to reduce the percentage of wild cat in them. They are beautiful creatures, often larger than many domestic breeds, and they have personalities that are often described as being dog like rather than cat like. These things appeal to a lot of people and some will spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for some of the different hybrid cat breeds. Prices start at about $500 for pet quality kittens in some breeds that are several generations removed from the wild ancestor all the way up to $20,000 for high quality cats of the rarest and most desirable breeds. While it is not surprising that these cats continue to be bred and desired by many people, the real question is should hybrid cats continue to be bred?
Why Some Feel That Hybrid Cats Shouldn't Be Bred
Those that feel passionately about ending the breeding of hybrid cats have a lot of good points to consider. These points can take up pages and pages as information is poured out (and in some places do take up pages), but it should be noted that they aren't necessarily the whole story.
Chausie or Stone Cougar
Hybrid Cat Breeding Issues
There are a number of issues that often occur when breeding the hybrid cats that many people don't consider. First of all, domestic cats are often killed when people try to breed them to the domestic cat. Many pregnancies are aborted or absorbed by the mother's body because it knows there is something wrong. Kittens are often born early because of different gestation periods between the wild cats and the domestic cats. Many of the first generation are sterile, especially the males. There are also some cases where breeders kill kittens that have come out to look undesirable or they drop them off at a shelter. These are just some of the issues with breeding these beautiful animals, but one has to wonder if they should be considered when looking at the hybrids.
Hybrid Cat Breeding Conditions
While some breeders do a great job keeping things clean, keeping their animals socialized, and breeding in a way that is not horrific, not all of them do. Some breeders have dirty conditions, sick animals, and animals in cages all day long. These conditions are similar to those that are often highlighted against puppy mills.
Breeding Hybrid Cats for Money
There are breeders out there who work hard to develop these new breeds because they love the cats that are produced. They world slowly, carefully, and with thought on what types of animals that they are producing. However, there are also breeders out there that are breeding hybrid cats for money. After all, breeding cats that cost $200 each might be more work than it's worth, breeding cats that cost thousands of dollars each sounds like a better deal. These breeders are more likely to have too many cats, poor conditions, poor genetics, or other issues.
Hybrid Permits or Bans
While this isn't as much a reason to stop breeding hybrid cats as something to consider before making the purchase, you should know that in some areas hybrids require a permit or are banned altogether. This is because some areas see them as a threat or concern for the community and want to know where they live and who owns them.
Hybrid Cats Have Wild Characteristics
Many breeders swear up and down that these wild cat hybrids aren't different from domestic cats in ways that are negative. They are said to be just like, “dogs trapped in cat bodies” or “cats that are smarter”. These sound like good things and they are true. However, there is a lot one should know before purchasing a hybrid animal, even on that is an F4 or later.
These behaviors include being destructive, developing bad habits that are impossible to break, and being very rambunctious. They commonly ruin furniture, clothing, and other items in the house. They don't always like other pets and they can be mean to strangers. Some have even hunted down other pets including neighborhood cats. One was reported to stalk and bite elderly and small children. These smart animals can get into things other animals can't and they can be frustrating to live with.
Because of these wild characteristics many people choose to give up their hybrid cat. Some have had them euthanized, others have found rescues, and still others have sent them to shelters. There is also a fear of people simply letting them go.
They Have Health Concerns
Many hybrid cats have health concerns that aren't normal to regular cats. These often include respiratory issues, irritable bowel disorder, other digestive issues, and the fact that they need an exotic vet. Vaccinations have not been approved for hybrid animals because it isn't really known if regular vaccinations will protect them and many medications don't work as they normally would because of the wild cat in them.
Closeup of Savannah Cat
Concerns Related to Escaped and Released Hybrid Cats
Because the hybrid cats are often difficult to care for there is a great concern for cats that are either released or dumped or have escaped. They can be difficult to catch. They revert back to their wild self. They can attack and kill neighborhood cats and even small dogs. They have even attacked people before.
They Contribute to the Pet Population Issues
Four to nine million pets are killed each year in shelters because they don't have a home. Many people don't realize that a number of these animals are cats and dogs that have been bred and were expensive. Many hybrid cats end up in shelters and rescues as well.
The Flip Side of the Coin
While hybrid cats aren't for everyone and there are issues that exist, there are a lot of very caring and loving breeders out there who really are striving to provide beautiful animals with great personalities. They have some very good points on why they should be allowed to continue breeding these lovely animals.
All Cats Come With Risk
While it is often argued that hybrid cats are dangerous and shouldn't be bred, domestic cats can also be dangerous. Pet cats have attacked people before without any wild blood in them. When they are released they can get wild and cause feral cat populations and issues. They can hurt those that try to collect them and can even hurt other cats and dogs. Hybrid cats aren't a bigger risk than any other cats.
Additionally, there is a chance that your cat isn't going to like you, is going to be destructive, and is going to cause issues in your home. The same is true if you buy a dog, especially dogs of certain breeds. Future owners should be aware that hybrid cats aren't just any cats and that they have needs.
Most people are interested by wild cats, but most people can't own a wild cat in their home. It just doesn't work out well. On the flip side, one can own a hybrid and get all of the beauty and grace of the wild, with a pet that really is a pet. Even with special needs many owners are thrilled with their pets and love them very much.
Most cats are pretty smart, but they are often said to be less smart than many dogs. For cat lovers who are interested in an animal that is really smart, the hybrid cat can be a perfect choice. It has all of the characteristics of a good cat combined with a very smart dog. This can make it possible to enjoy your cat on a whole new level.
Great Pets When Well Taken Care Of
Taking a walk on the wild side with a beautiful hybrid can be a very big challenge. However, when you are well prepared and ready it can also be a very big adventure. Well taken care of hybrids can make great pets and can really be a lot of fun as you play games, walk them, and spend time with them.
Pet Population Issues
The pet population issues is a huge reason to avoid breeding all sorts of animals. While this is a huge concern in general, most hybrid animals are sold as pets and are either spayed or neutered. Those that are not spayed or neutered are bought by other breeders at a significantly higher cost. This does have the effect of reducing backyard breeding since many can't afford multiple cats at such high prices. While this doesn't solve the problem, it is something to consider.
Many people really love their hybrid cats. Yes, they can be a handful, but they are their handful. They aren't always easy to live with, but living with them is a special experience. As with all pets, potential owners should really take the time to research what they are buying and not just from breeders, but from owners as well to get a feel for what their special pet will be like. However, if breeding of hybrid cats was not continued then we wouldn't have many of these beautiful animals.
What do you think? Should they continue to be bred or should we avoid breeding these beautiful animals? I would love to hear what you think.
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