Hybrids: Are these cats for you?
Hybrids are the result of
mating a wild cat to a domestic cat. Many breeds are available today.
The four main registered breeds are the Chausie, Savannah, Safari and
Chausies are a cross
between a Jungle Cat and a domestic cat.
Savannahs are a cross
between an African Serval and a domestic cat.
Safaris are a cross
between the Geoffroy's cat and a domestic cat.
Bengals are cross
between the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) and a domestic cat.
The Junglebob, is derived from a Chausie X Pixiebob or Chausie X
American Bobtail. The Junglebobs are an experimental breed and are not
registered. While currently unregistered, supposedly a group of breeders
are working towards registration. Some hybrid cats tend to be difficult
to breed, are rare, and therefore very expensive.
Hybrid cats breeds are developed over several generations through a
program of selectively crossbreeding domestic cats, possessing desired
features, with the parent species (serval, geoffroy, leopard cat, jungle
cat). These are then bred to another approved outcross or a lower
generation hybrid of the same breed.
The first three generation males are normally infertile, though there
have been the occasional, but rare F3 stud capable of reproduction
<mostly in the Chausie breed>. The early generation females are
typically fertile, and responsible for continuing the genetic
contributions of the parent species to the next generation.
The first three generations of these hybrid offspring are properly
referred to as the "filial" generations. A cat with a wild specie parent
is called an F1, short for first filial. An F1 then bred with domestic
or lower generation male of the same breed and produces an F2, or second
filial. Kittens from an F2 female and another domestic cat or lower
generation male of the same breed are then termed F3. Kittens from a
subsequent F3 mating with a domestic are F4s. Filial cats (F1-F3) are
also termed 'foundation cats' and are typically reserved for breeding
purposes, or the specialty pet home environment
The wonderful traits
in Hybrid Cats!
A hybrid can satisfy a person's desire to own a wild cat. They closely
resemble their wild ancestors without encountering the difficulties of
living with a pure wild cat or the permits required to own a pure wild
cat. They have a more domestic personality while retaining some of the
more favorable wild cat traits.
There are positive traits to all cats! All domestic cats are hybrids in
some form or another after all, and our homes are full of them. But not
all cats are right for your family. If you see an adorable little
designer kitten and want to know if it is the right kitten for your
family, research both parent breeds as thoroughly as you can, and then
research the breeder as thoroughly as you can. There are kitten mills,
and then there are great breeders who have a dream of producing the
perfect kitten from the two breeds they love. Being informed will help
you recognize the difference.
Some things to
Hybrids "are not" like domestics in another ways. These are not cats you
can just get rid of easily. They are more hyper, can normally jump
higher, are more intelligent, eat more, have larger litter boxes most of
the time, and they bond strongly to those they own. If you are not ready
for a cat flying through your house at lightning speed, you might want
to think twice about a wild cat cross. They will be on and in
everything. Some can also be very difficult to take to the vet if
needed, but no more difficult than the average domestic cat with the
exception of the larger size and strength of the hybrid feline. Join
some of the hybrid Yahoo groups (listed at the bottom of the article)
and ask more about the personalities. Ask the pet owners and breeders
alike questions as they can have different thoughts on owning one of
these wonderful and busy hybrid felines.
Hybrid vigor (heterosis) is described by Webster’s Dictionary as, “The
marked vigor or capacity for growth often exhibited by crossbred animals
or plants.” While it is true that crossbreeding can result in hybrid
vigor, it is no guarantee of the health of crossbred kittens! It is also
important to know that crossbreeding can also bring in any negative
genetic traits from both breeds, as well as the positive. No one can
guarantee that a hybrid cat will be a certain size. Beware of breeders
The Importance of
When looking at any cat, it is very important to consider temperament.
You want a cat that is going to fit in well with your family and live
happily with you forever. When two different breeds are mixed, there is
no guarantee that the kitten's temperaments will be a perfect blend of
the original two breeds. The "new" personality may be completely
different from either parent or lean completely toward one parent.
Personality can't be guaranteed. All breeders are different and it
depends on how they are socialized. This also goes for any domestic cat
Things to Consider
When a family wants to adopt a kitten, they research breeds and study
temperament carefully. There have been cases of unethical hybrid
breeders selling full-blooded exotics. Please do a diligent search and
investigation for both the hybrid breed and its wild ancestor. Speak
with many breeders before purchasing a kitten to bring home. Once you
learn more of what each looks like, it will be pretty easy to tell the
A good breeder will have well socialized and loving kittens. If
possible, go visit the cattery and observe the different temperaments of
the kittens yourself. Ask yourself questions similar to the ones below.
Do you like both parent
Does it matter to you
that the kitten has a specific look and/or temperament?
Why is the breeder
mixing the two breeds?
Does the breeder have
many types of hybrid mixes?
How many adult cats do
they breed? (Look for signs of a kitten mill.)
Do the kittens come with
a complete written health guarantee?
Does the breeder have
any adults of the hybrid that you can meet?
Can you visit the
Do kittens have runny
eyes or noses?
Is the breeders cattery
Can the breeder provide
you with references of people who have adopted their hybrid kittens?
Not all cats are right for all families. Due diligence on your part will
help you find the perfect forever cat for your home and family.