Hybrid Cats are a unique combination of a wild breed and a domestic breed. The cats are controversial both from a conservation standpoint and a safety perspective. While they seem like a sweet housecat some of the time, they are much closer to their wild instincts than your typical tabby housecat!
Popular Hybrid Cat Breed Combinations
This may be the most popular breed of hybrid cat. Breeders cross a domestic cat with the wild Asian Leopard Cat, resulting in a Bengal: a housecat with spots. These cats are very active and smart, so be prepared! They are happiest with access to an enclosed outdoor space.
This breed is a cross between a house cat and a Serval, an African wildcat. They are large, standing up to 17 inches tall and weighing up to 25 pounds. They are snuggly, but retain some of their wild qualities and need a stimulating environment to stay out of trouble.
The Chausie is the official breed resulting from a domestic cat and a Jungle Cat, an Asian & Middle Eastern wildcat. The Jungle Cat is rumored to be the breed that was so revered by Ancient Egyptians. There have been other crosses with the Jungle Cat before, but the Chausie is the first one recognized by breeding associations.
Why Are Hybrid Cats so Controversial?
Some cat lovers believe that people should not own hybrid cats. Many get a prized hybrid cat only to realize that they were not prepared for some of its more wild qualities. It's definitely not a good idea for first-time cat owners.
Wildcat advocates warn pet owners domestication takes thousands of years, not a few generations of breeding. First generation hybrid cats may still eat only raw meat and never care to use a litter box. Third generation cats are generally considered an official hybrid breed member, but may still have a lot of their wild qualities. It's impossible for breeders to know which ones remain.
Other factors against breeding hybrids include the fact that they are sometimes allergic to live-virus vaccines, often cannot digest standard cat food, like to bite playfully and spray their territory regularly.
Hybrid Cat Personalities
Your hybrid cat personality will depend on the specific breed, but you should be prepared for some fun cat antics. Most of these breeds are stunningly intelligent. Some are more aloof than others, but for the most part, they enjoy being around their owners and like pets just like any other cat. However, they may not be the "lap leopards" some breeders advertise them as.
Hybrid Cat Health Problems to Watch For
Some hybrid cat breeds do have some genetic health issues, but they are generally hearty since they are not too far from their wild roots. Bengals, in particular, suffer from polycystic kidney disease, but now breeders use DNA tests so they do not use cats with this genetic weakness for breeding. Most Chausie Cats cannot digest gluten, so it's best to feed them high-quality cat food or real meat.
Creating a Hybrid Cat Habitat At Home
Experts recommend creating an enclosed outdoor wonderland for your hybrid pet so they can bird watch and feel at home. You may want to have an indoor space for your hybrids, separate from the family home. Something with temperature control, plenty of toys and space to climb is best!
If you decide to get a hybrid cat, make sure you are ready for the real responsibility of these unique animals. Too many hybrids end up in wildcat sanctuaries or rescues, which hampers their ability to rescue big cats like lions and tigers. When you are ready, these cats will certainly take you on a wild ride!