For centuries, the elegance and strength of the wild cat has proven to be a huge draw for man. Leopards on leashes, Servals lounging around in exotic courtyards and tigers parading in the grounds of a stately home, are just some of the “bigger cats” that people have been known to keep, although not really as true pets.
With this said, there are quite a few very exotic breeds of domestic cats around today, and most of them boast much wilder roots than your average moggy or even the most well bred pedigree. Below are are a few of the cats that boast a pretty wild connection which you may never have even heard of.
The object of breeding the Serengeti was to develop a cat that looked like a wild Serval but which did not have any of the wild cat's bloodline. Karen Sausman was the first to breed a Serengeti back in 1994. She used a Oriental shorthair with a Bengal to get a “foundation cat”. Subsequently, many of the cat's progeny were used to develop the breed without a Serval in sight.
This gorgeous looking breed boasts lovely long ears and elegant long legs much like a Serval. The breed does boast having the Asian Leopard Cat in its lineage – the same genes found in the ancestors of the Bengal. Serengetis are very agile and extremely active, loving the sound of their own voices – which means they tend to be rather vocal.
Named because the breed looks like an ocelot, although there is nothing of an ocelot in the breed's family tree or indeed any other wild cat or so it is thought, the Ocicat was first bred back in 1964. The reason the breed is on the list of exotic breeds is because of its remarkable resemblance to an ocelot.
The Ocicat came about a little by accident when a respected breeder called Virginia Daly was attempting to breed a Siamese that would boast Abyssinian points. The breeder used American shorthair, Abyssinian and Siamese lineages in the hope of doing this. However, the result was quite different when a kitten called Tonga was born.
Tonga had gorgeous ivory coloured fur with amazing golden spots on it, and although he was never used for breeding purposes, his parents produced more kittens with the same markings as he had. These gorgeous looking cats come in a variety of colours but it's their spots that gets them noticed!
Ocicats are muscular creatures and are incredibly friendly, they have characters similar to a dog's and love to play games, namely fetch. The Ocicat is considered a championship breed in the US.
Judy Sugen, a native to Los Angeles and experienced cat breeder, decided to breed a cat with tiger markings. The results of her breeding is a cat called a Toyger, and today is an accepted registered breed. In order to achieve a coat that is remarkably similar to a tiger's, the breeder crossed domestic shorthairs with the gorgeously marked Bengals.
You can find these lovely creatures all over the world, with breeders still developing the markings and stripes. The Toyger is however, classified as being amongst the championship breeds in the US. There are occasionally Toygers available for sale on Pets4Homes.
The breed is a relative newcomer to the cat scene and is seen to be the one breed that looks as close to a wild cat as you would ever get. The Cheetoh is, however, a gentle character making the perfect combination of wild looking cat and a moggy's friendly nature.
The first Cheetoh was bred back in 2001 and its lineage came about by crossing a gorgeous Bengal with a Ocicat. The lady responsible for the breed is Carol Drymon, who bred the first of these large leopard looking pussy cats – the male of the breed can weigh in at a colossal 23 lbs. Although, the size of the breed may be a little intimidating, they boast very gentle natures and they are safe to be around children, although the breed is still considered to be in its “experimental” stage.
This incredible looking cat has a distinct lineage having been developed using hybrids, namely the Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) which is the largest Asian species of the genus. The breed can be big – up to 3 feet in length and they can weigh in at a heavy 35 lbs. However, it is more usual for the breed to weigh around 18lbs, which is still quite a hefty cat to have around.
Just like other hybrids that turned into breeds like the Savannah and the Bengal, first generation males tend to be infertile. Today, these lovely looking creatures are considered as truly domestic cats and make great pets. The Chausie is also considered as a championship breed in the US.
A result of natural breeding, the Pixiebob is one of the cutest looking cats. They were first spotted in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State by a lady called Carol Ann Brewer who adopted one back in 1985 and allowed the cat to mate with one of her neighbours cats. The result were more bob-tailed pussy cats whose front legs are slightly shorter than their front ones.
Pixiebobs can have either long or short thick double coats and they often have seven toes. The breed is known to make wonderful pets, they are very loyal creatures even though they have the same “stone face” look of many of the wild cats. There are many Pixiebob cats for salefrom cat breeders via the Pets4Homes website.
There are some amazing cat breeds around. Some are too cute for words, whereas other breeds can look a little intimidating. But if the truth be known, they are real “pussy cats”, they only look like they have “attitude”. If you are smitten with one of the breeds, then you might like to think about checking with a rescue centre first. You might get lucky and find one of these gorgeous cats with a wild connection in a shelter looking for a new and loving home.