Saturday 19 April 2008

Domestic Wild Cat

Mixed breed cat
Domestic Wild Cat - His name is Jack and he is wild, wild, wild...! He is a great and fine and yes in some people's eyes humble Moggie mixed breed cat but he is wild at heart. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

So you're thinking of living with a Domestic Cat that is also a wild cat. This breed of cat has gained in popularity over the preceding 20 years or so. The whole thing probably started with the Bengal cat the first domestic cat/wild cat hybrid that set the ball rolling. Jean Mill was responsible for that. I think she has recently retired.

The main points to note about the Domestic Wild Cat are these:
  1. The SBT Bengals or 4th generation onwards are only just domestic wild cats with about 12% wild blood. They are really true domestic cats although very athletic and alert.
  2. It is the first and second generation fillials that are the domestic cats that have a high percentage of wild cat in them and which will as a consequence behave more like a wild cat. They are big and demand good management. You'll need space, time and money. I wouldn't go down that route unless you're really ready for it and have the means in terms of time and finance. This is for the sake of both you and more importantly the cat. Examples of these cats are the Savannah, Safari and Chausie.
  3. You can go a step further and live with a true wild cat in the States. These are small to medium sized wild cats such as the Serval. They might be small to medium in the wild but in the home they are big. It is a big step to consider living with such a cat and in addition to the points made a 3 above you've got the legal issues and restrictions surrounding the ownership of a wild cat. That means checking the law of the State concerned and building enclosures on a big plot of land etc. In the UK you just don't even think about these things. It is simply illegal as far as I am aware unless you run some kind of zoo. The Bengal is not uncommon though in the UK (my neighbour lives with a Bengal and I made a video of him, he is called Daniel).
  4. One last very important point. The humble mixed breed Moggie so commonly encountered in the world is a Domestic Wild Cat at heart. She is a direct descendant from the wild cat. She decided to live with humans. She is not far from the wild cat still. And you can see that all the time in her instinctive and natural behavior. The way she catches wildlife and eats it despite being fed by you. Her hunting skills are still there. Her eyesight, hearing and sense of smell is very special. She is a killing machine....
Domestic Wild Cat to Mixed Breed Cat the "Household Pet" to use cat association language.

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