"Exotic" Hybrid Cats: Neither Propagate Nor Breed


           By Dr Michael W. Fox 

As posted on my website I have long advised against people seeking to own wolf-dog hybrids and there is a similar issue with people cross-breeding domestic cats with various wild cats. Many of these feline hybrids are too difficult to handle when adult and finish up in sanctuaries like Minnesota’s Wildcat Sanctuary or are euthanized. The most common hybrid varieties include “Bengals” derived from crossing domestic cats with Asian leopard cats: “Savannahs” from African Serval cats and Chausies from wild Jungle cats. (For details visit www.wildcatsanctuary.org).

Veterinarian Dr Kia Benson, DVM writes “ In hybrid breeding terms, the first three generations resulting from these engineered matings are called foundation generations, or F1-F3. Breeders use these foundation generations to create additional generations of hybrids. Although they are being used to breed “domestic” hybrid cats, F1-F3 animals are essentially still wild cats with the aggressive tendencies that one would expect from a wild animal. These early generation hybrids are often prohibited and/or regulated by state or local laws.”

“The F4 and later generations are considered “domestic” hybrid cats that can be sold to the general public. Breeders advertise these cats as having the look of the wild with the personality of the domestic cat. However, they don’t fully educate potential owners regarding the common health and behavioral issues secondary to this hybridization. After all, who wouldn’t want to sell a hybrid kitten for $20,000 instead of a purebred Domestic breed of cat like a Burmese for only $2,000?” For more details, affirming my concerns re behavioral and welfare issues with these hybrids, see Dr. Benson’s article: https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/exotic-hybrid-cats-hidden-dangers/

For obvious ethical reasons, considering the throw-away early hybrid generations and their suffering, and the fact that there are thousands of domestic cats waiting for adoption in animal shelters, informed and caring people should not indulge themselves in supporting this market for “exotic” hybrid felines.

The half, quarter and other fractions of this wild spirit embodied in these hybrid cats we must all imagine: Empathize with the suffering when instincts are thwarted; hyper-reactive senses in environments inappropriate and with human relationships that invade their personal and territorial space as they mature, even when neutered; and too-often de-clawed because of potential aggression, especially toward strangers, sometimes gender and demeanor–specific.

So these “exotic” cats can be aggressive and destructive or fearful, withdrawn and depressed when further confined to “contain” them or are de-clawed: Then they develop stress-related physical diseases and behavioral problems.

Those people who rescue and help rehabilitate these hybrid cats so they may enjoy some quality of life after their original owners put them up for adoption, or consider euthanasia, are being overwhelmed by the numbers of such cats being sold by breeders. I join them in urging every State to prohibit the breeding and marketing of these cats and are all would-be buyers of assuredly placid hybrids, to think of what happened to their ancestors and how they suffered, and adopt an alley cat from their local shelters.