Hybrid cat breeds can come in two different forms: a domestic cat breeding with another domestic cat or a domestic cat breeding with a Wildcat. Due to the genetic diversity involved with hybrid breeds, they can vary widely in markings, colors, and temperament, and while they are usually medium to large in size, they can be fairly small too. Most hybrid breeds are a relatively recent phenomenon, and most are not yet registered with cat registries.
We put together this list of common hybrid Wildcat breeds, as well as popular domestic crosses.
Domestic x Wildcat Hybrids
Domestic and Wildcat hybrids can be extremely difficult to look after, as they are fairly unpredictable and still have a somewhat “wild” nature. They typically do not get along well with other cats and have a fussy appetite, making them a challenge to feed. Some Wildcat hybrids are also largely nocturnal, so be prepared to be kept up into the night with their antics, especially if they are kept mostly indoors.
Hybrids that are left to roam around outdoors can wreak havoc on the local ecosystem, as they are superior hunters and far larger than their domestic cousins. Most domestic cats weigh an average of 8-10 pounds, while hybrids can reach 25 pounds or more. They typically have shorter digestive systems that are incapable of processing foods derived from plants and need a diet consisting of predominantly meat. Again, owning a Wildcat hybrid is a real challenge even for experienced owners, so we recommend not taking a decision of bringing home one of these cats lightly.
That being said, if you are prepared for the responsibility, they are truly unique pets. Without further ado, here are the most common Wildcat hybrid breeds.
1. Bengal cat
The regal Bengal is one of the most common and most popular hybrid breeds. They were created by crossing a domestic cat with a small Asian Leopard and must be separated from their parent breeds by at least three to four generations in order to be considered a domestic cat. First developed in the early 1960s, these cats are fairly calm and even-tempered, considering their wild heritage. They retain their wild look with “Leopard-like” spots on their back and belly and tend to be larger than most domestic breeds, weighing in at 15 pounds and reaching 16 inches in height.
Caracats are stunningly beautiful, wild-looking Wildcat hybrids that are domestic Abyssinian cats crossed with Caracals. They can reach up to 20 inches high and weigh up to 30 pounds! They are both extremely rare and extremely controversial cats, and there are only around 30 of these cats in the world today. Because of the difference in size and gestation periods of the parent breeds, kittens rarely survive. They are exceedingly popular in Russia, and all 30 Caracat owners are reportedly Russian.
3. Chausie cat
These cats have a startlingly similar appearance to Mountain Lions, with their large muscular frame, broad chest, and long legs. They were created from crossing domestic Abyssinians with the wild Asian cat, Felis Chaus. These cats are accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) so long as they are at least four generations removed from their jungle cat ancestors. Due to their Wildcat heritage and common domestic parents of Abyssinians, these cats are highly energetic, active, and athletic animals that can weigh up to 16 pounds.
The Cheetoh is a strikingly beautiful hybrid with a coat that is typically spotted like a Cheetah but can also be marbled in various colors and patterns. They were created by crossing a Bengal and Ocicat and are usually roughly eight generations removed from their Wildcat parents. Even though these cats look wild, they have the personality of housecats and are one of the most loving, gentle, and docile of the Wildcat hybrids, although they are by no means small, weighing in at around 15 pounds. They commonly bond strongly with their owners, and in fact, they are better off living with large families and love to have other cats around to play with.
The Highlander is an experimental breed and as such, can have a varying degree of sizes, markings, and temperaments. They were created by crossing a Desert Lynx and a Jungle Curl breed, the latter being a fairly new breed made up of the Jungle Curl and the American Curl. They are commonly bobtailed like Desert Lynxes and have spotted or marbled markings resembling a Bobcat. They are large, muscular cats that can weigh up to 20 pounds. Despite their wild appearance, they are typically affectionate, friendly, and highly people-oriented cats.
6. Jungle Curl
A cross between an African Jungle Cat and a domestic cat, typically an American Curl, the Jungle Curl is a rare breed. They are active cats with the high intelligence of their wild ancestors and the affection and friendliness of domestic cats. They are known to have a dog-like personality and will play fetch, guard the home, and follow their owners around as dogs do. These cats are typically large animals, reaching weights above 25 pounds.
7. Pixie Bobs
The Pixie-Bob is largely agreed upon to be a naturally occurring hybrid, a cross between a female Domestic Shorthair and a male Bobcat. They typically have a wooly, spotted coat and short tale reminiscent of Bobcats but are more easy-going and docile in temperament. While these cats appear to have wild ancestry, DNA testing has failed to detect Bobtail marker genes, so their true heritage is still under investigation. They are a relatively large breed but still only reach a weight of around 12 pounds, similar to a large domestic cat.
Safaris are a recent breed, and there are only an estimated 70 individuals in existence. They are a cross of a domestic cat and the Geoffroy’s Cat, a wild cat species from Bolivia. They are large cats that can reach up to 30 pounds in weight! Little is known about this new breed, but they are usually short-haired with tabby coats and large, muscular bodies typical of Wildcat hybrids, and they have highly active and adventurous natures.
A cross between typical domestic cats and the large African Serval, the Savannah cat resembles a small Cheetah, with long legs and a characteristically spotted coat. They were accepted by TICA in the early 1990s and are regarded as great family pets. They are tall and slim, giving them the appearance of being larger than they actually are. Still, they are usually around 25 pounds in weight, sometimes more. These cats are known for their loyalty and often follow their owners around like dogs, and they can be easily trained to fetch and walk on a leash. They are also known for their jumping ability and can jump as high as 8 feet from a standing position.
Developed by crossing a Bengal and Oriental Shorthair, the Serengeti Cat has a characteristically spotted coat and powerful, athletic build. They typically have long legs and large, round-tipped ears with a long neck and large head. They are recognized by TICA in tabby, ebony silver and smoke, and solid black colorations, and they can weigh up to 15 pounds. While these cats are friendly and affectionate with their owners, they are highly energetic animals that need space to play.
Toygers get their name from their “tiger-like” appearance, the name coming from the combination of the word “toy” and “tiger.” They were developed from a cross of a domestic cat and Bengal hybrid, and their creator has stated that they were developed in order to inspire the conservation of tigers around the world. They have distinctive tiger-stripe patterning that should be almost black in color, with a pumpkin background that fades to white along the belly. They are intelligent, active, and playful cats that usually adapt well to domestic living.
Popular Domestic Cat Hybrids
Domestic hybrids can and often do occur naturally, but some hybrids are specifically created to take advantage of their most desirable traits. Here are common domestic hybrid cat breeds.
12. Australian Mist
The Australian Mist was first developed in Australia by crossing an Abyssinian and Burmese cat. They are medium-sized cats with short coats and large eyes. These cats are known for their easy-going temperament and don’t mind being handled, and they seldom scratch. They are rare outside of Australia, but they are growing in population in the U.K., U.S., and Germany.
A cross between the Chinchilla Persian and Burmese, the Burmilla originated in the U.K. in the early 1980s. They come in a wide variety of patterns and colorations and typically have medium to short length coats. They are independent cats in nature yet love to be close to their owners, and they retain kitten-like traits well into adulthood.
14. California Spangled
The California Spangled has several different breeds in its makeup, including Angora, Siamese, Abyssinian, and Manx, and they were bred to resemble a Wildcat. While they have Leopard-like spots that add to their wild appearance, they are anything but in personality. These cats are highly affectionate, loving, and social animals that love to be close to their owners — so much so that they will often act out if left alone for extended periods.
15. Exotic Shorthair
These adorable cats were bred as short-haired versions of Persians and retain almost all the same characteristics other than their shorter coats. They were developed by crossing a Persian with American Shorthair breeds and later, Russian Blues and Burmese breeds. They are loving and affectionate cats that are happiest when with their human owners and are said to be slightly more playful than their Persian parents.
16. Havana Brown
The Havana Brown was developed by breeding domestic black cats and Siamese in the early 1950s. They are muscular, short-haired cats with a distinctive reddish-brown coat that has no obvious tabby markings. These cats are highly social and are known to greet visitors at the door as opposed to hiding as many other cat breeds do. They become attached to their owners and do not enjoy being left alone for extended periods.
First developed in the 1960s, the Ocicat is actually a cross of three different domestic breeds: the Abyssinian, Chocolate Point Siamese, and a Seal-Point Siamese. Although the breed certainly looks wild, with a spotted coat and large ears and being named after their resemblance to the Ocelot, they have no Wildcat genetics. They are friendly and social cats that can be easily trained to fetch, walk on a leash, and even sit and lie down on command.
18. Oriental Shorthair
The Oriental Shorthair is closely related to the Siamese Cat and was in fact developed from the breed in an attempt to bring out different colorings. They consequently share many traits with Siamese cats, including their almond-shaped eyes, large ears, and elongated body, and they only differ in their coat length. They are active cats that are highly curious about their surroundings and make great playful companions for families with children.
Named for the way that they go limp when picked up, Ragdolls were developed in the United States by crossing several Burmese-like cats and Persians, which were then selectively bred for their color-point coats. They are one of the largest domestic cat breeds and can reach up to 20 pounds. They are calm, docile, and even-tempered cats that are often referred to as “puppy-like” due to their easy-going nature.
Snowshoe cats were developed in the U.S. when a breeder’s Siamese cat gave birth to three kittens with white feet. The breeder then crossed these peculiar kittens with bi-color American Shorthair cats to further develop the trait. They are a rare breed despite their fairly long history, due to the difficulty of reproducing the characteristic “snowshoe” markings. They are highly intelligent and have an affectionate and docile nature that makes them ideal family companions.
A cross between a Siamese and Burmese, the Tonkinese shares many traits with their parent breeds, including their playful, lively personalities and pointed coats. They are medium-sized cats with long, slender bodies that are deceptively muscular — they are surprisingly heavy when picked up, considering their size. They are known for being fairly vocal cats and engaging in dog-like activities, like fetch and following their owners around, and make great family pets.
Featured image credit: totinaster, Pixabay
- Domestic x Wildcat Hybrids
- Popular Domestic Cat Hybrids