Most cats have certain characteristics and behaviours that are similar to those of their wild cat cousins. For example, when your cat is stalking insects in the wild jungle of your garden, or about to pounce – even if the prey in question is just their favourite catnip mouse toy.
Similarities are not only limited to cat behaviour, there are a number of cat breeds who’ve inherited the spots, stripes or more elaborate coat patterns of their wild cousins. Today, we look at six domestic cat breeds in wild coats.
The Bengal breed began in the 1960s when Asian Leopard cats were bred with domestic cats to try to avoid the extinction of the wild breed and to further study on feline leukaemia. As well as being one of the few breeds of cat that actually like water (a throwback to their wild cat heritage perhaps), Bengals are also very athletic and can jump much higher than your average cat!
Savannah cats are still a very rare breed and are the third generation of a hybrid of domestic cats and African Serval cats. There is still some debate about whether it’s appropriate to keep a cat that’s so close to its wild ancestors as a pet, and with their large size, spotted coats and almond-shaped eyes, there’s certainly no mistaking a Savannah for an average domestic cat.
Toyger cats are (not surprisingly) a breed that are bred to be similar to tigers. The result of cross breeding Bengals and domestic short haired tabbies, they have gorgeous stripy coats and muscular, long tails. Although an athletic breed, they’re easy-going and friendly cats, and love being around people.
Chausie cats were originally hybrids of domestic cats and African Jungle Cats, and are characterised by ear tufts very much like their wild ancestors, and tails that are considerably shorter than the average domestic cat due to a recessive gene. They’re often described as ‘dog like’ because of their sweet and loyal personalities.
Ocicats are beautiful cats with distinctive spotted coats, blue eyes and muscular bodies, and originally came about from a chance mating between a female Abyssinian Seal Point Siamese and a Chocolate Point Siamese. Despite looking very much like wild cats, they have no wild cat DNA, and they are sweet and playful in nature, making them ideal for a family with children.
Like most domestic cats in wild coats, the Serengeti breed is still a relatively new one. A cross between Bengals and Oriental Shorthairs, Serengeti cats have the striking looks of a wild cat but with little ‘wild’ blood. This makes them an ideal family pet, active, vocal and friendly. They have distinctive large ears, spotted coats and long, strong legs – if you have a Serengeti cat, be prepared for a lot of play time!
Do you have a domestic cat in a wild coat in your life? Please share…