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Caracat

The Caracat is a wildcat/domestic cat hybrid created in 2007. They are a cross between the relatively small wildcat, the Caracal (or Caracal Lynx), and the popular Abyssinian. The Abyssinian cat, a nicely balanced cat with a famously special tabby coat (ticked) is the parent of another wildcat hybrid, the Chausie. The Chausie is a cross between the Jungle cat (another medium/small wildcat) and the Abyssinian (or other well matched domestic cat).

Is this a caracat in Florida? Photo: Diane

Regarding the above picture see: unknown Florida wildcat, please. 

Caracal cat - a wildcat
Caracal wildcat - photo by ckindel


Abyssinian cat
Abyssinian cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

I don't have a photo of the Caracat so we'll have to imagine the cat on the basis of seeing pictures of the Caracal and Abyssinian cats pictured above.

The Caracat would be a bit like a miniature wild Cougar, I think it would be fair to say but, I am sure, not quite so stocky. The Cougar is a very strong jumper and has very muscular limbs. In terms of coat type, this means the Caracat has no coat patterns such as spots or blotches although there will few patterns in the way of bars on the legs and markings on the belly. The coat is, as expected, "ticked" (see cat coats tabby). We can see that the Abyssinian and Caracal cats are well matched and quite similar. The Caracal is considerably larger, however, weighing about 30 lbs (for a large male) while the average domestic cat weighs about 10 lbs (see largest domestic cat breed). This probably presents problems with breeding. Breeding wild cat to domestic cat is problematic (src: A1 Savannahs who breed Savannahs).

A feature of the Caracal are the tufted ears and these are present on the F1 first generation Caracats. The first generation Caracats are large, weighing something in the order of 25-30 lbs and the F2s might weight in the order of 20+ lbs. This is about the size of a largish Maine Coon cat.

So this is another wildcat hybrid but this time with an evenly colored coat, the same as the Chausie in that respect. First generation Caracats screech rather than meow and are like bulls in a china shop it seems (src: http://caracal-hybrids.spaces.live.com). They do look fantastic with their tufted ears (black tufts).

There seems to be one breeder: http://caracal-hybrids.spaces.live.com based in the USA I presume (although I couldn't see this on the website). The owner of the business is Joy and she says she is going to register the Caracats with TICA. I presume therefore that TICA recognize this breed (please tell me in a comment if this is wrong/correct). I am afraid I am compelled to criticize Joy for one thing and this must be said; she declawed (or will declaw) her F1 cat and plans on declawing her F2s of either sex. She is doing this because she feels that these large domestic cats are too dangerous with claws. I am sorry to say that if that is the case the cats should not be bred in the first place. Declawing is certainly inhumane and for me it is barbaric. There is no justification for it. If we need to declaw a cat we are not the right person to keep a cat. We either have a cat that is a cat (fully a cat as nature intended) or not at all. It is not our place to modify, manipulate and amputate at the expense of the animal.

In this instance too we have a semi-wild cat in the F1, who is it seems semi domesticated and then without claws to add further confusion to the cat. Declawing is a substantial operation that can cause phsycological problems. How would we like it if the tips of all our fingers were removed surgically? This is wrong I am afraid - sorry to criticize.

Breeder: http://www.junglecats.com/caracat.htm

If I have all of this wrong tell me please. I have some pages on declawing and claw clipping:
Caracat to Savannah cat

Sources:
  • Messybeast
  • http://caracal-hybrids.spaces.live.com

Comments

Anonymous said…
As a rescuer of former wildcat pets, I find your comments re: declawing a bit extreme. I at first did not agree with declawing, being a cat owner for over 40 years, but I have changed my mind. At least the issue is not so black and white as you put it.

First, I have not see any trauma, arthritis or any issues to the cats in my care-they are medium size cat. Large cats should never be declawed-ever. Declawing allows us to interact with them, give them social enrichment and check all body parts without risk of getting shredded. Not one of the cats exhibits any signs of mental or physical distress-not one. As a matter of fact, they are all very, very, very friendly, and several of them I can walk on a leash around the Center for enrichment. I ran into a woman from California 2 x's (I live on the other side of the country and I take this meeting as an immportant message). The collar slipped off of her bobcat during an educational program, she grabbed the cat by the scruff, the cat did not know it was her or it instinctively turned and shredded her arm in less than 10 sec - the doctors wanted to amputate it. As director of my Center, I have to insure the safety of my staff, a human life is more important. I work with predators for over 21 years and have never been hurt, my only scar is from a feral domestic cat. So when I rescued the next wild kitten (seizure from the state), I knew I had to declaw it for the safety of my staff. I sat home sick to death for six hours while I waited to pick up the kitten from the vet. When I brought the cat home, he purred and ran around, while I was mortified. I chased him around the house because he was suppose to be quiet. It didn't even slow him down. Now he can interact with the staff to get his hugs and kisses, he gets groomed, played with, trained, he is well adjusted, and I can give him medical checks & treatment-well worth 1 day max of discomfort. Our declawing decisions have been made to improve the quality of the cats life not because we value a couch. You might not agree and that is your right but you have no right either stating we are all selfish. Just because the cats have sharp claws does not mean that they are nasty, they can accidently hurt someone wild or domestic. Some cats are just worse than others, I have a rescued barn cat, that is so bad at clawing my barn, you would swear I have a dozen cats not one. I currently own two house cats and one we clip his nails and provide scratch pads. The second house cat we got as a kitten, was out of control scratching everything and with great vigor-nothing worked. We immediately had her front claws removed by a qualified vet while she was young. Being young makes all the difference. This cat would have destroyed our house and we would have constantly been yelling at her. I am sure that she would have hated us instead of watching tv in out laps and going for walks with us around our pond and in the woods. She spends everyday, all day playing outside with our other cat and she does fine. She even is able to catch mice and chipmunks. So not all declawings have an unhappy ending. Cats with claws get killed by dogs and coyotes. I would rather see someone declaw their cat then put it in the pound! I also think mosts cats would agree since they do not move from home to home easily. I would be more than happy to give you a tour and a personal inspection of all of our cats feet and let you decide for yourself.
Michael Broad said…
Hi, Thanks for the comment. I agree I do have strong views on declawing. I just don't see it as the right thing to do. And I am looking at the wider picture. What I am thinking of is the whole consumer mentality. It seems that we are almost customizing a "product" when we declaw. I know it can practical etc.

We cannot justify declawing a wildcat hybrid that we have created, it is clearly wrong.

If we saved a feral cat from a ghastly life and this cat was highly aggressive and almost untameable then there may be a justification because overall there would be benefit to the cat.

But we if we declaw for our benefit then it must be wrong. But the bottom line is that these are my views alone and I do have strong views. We need to leave nature alone. Humans are too arrogant.

Michael
Anonymous said…
The breeder died this year and no-one knows what will happen to the hybrids. Her vet refused to declaw kittens. The caracal male was sold to a breeder who will mate him to Chausies which are already hybrid cats, but are much bigger.

Mating a 30+ lb caracal male to an 8 lb Abyssinian female is not advisable. That mating neck bite can kill the female which is why some hybrid breeders have the wild stud cats defanged - that's what had to be done when Maria Falkena's oncilla stud killed one of her female cats even though the female was bigger than the oncilla (all the male oncilla hybrids were stillborn and all the female oncilla hybrids were sterile so that breeding program never went anywhere anyway).

The relative sizes means the kittens are huge and a strain on the female's body. Since the serval kittens need 73 days to be ready for birth, but the domestic cat only carries kittens for 63-65 days, the kittens are effectively born premature.

There were some natural hybrids of these 2 types when a domestic tomcat got into a caracal enclosure at Moscow Zoo and impregnated a caracal female.

The desired look of the Caracat was the F2 look, but you can't have a breed based only on F2 cats. A Dutch breeder was buying 2 of the females to breed and was going to breed them to caracals as well as Abys. That would give some high percentage F1 females and help establish the desired look so a stable breed could be created (F4, F5 generations and so on). It looks like the Dutch breeder will have to start from scratch if he can't get hold of the cats he was going to buy.
Michael Broad said…
Hi Thanks for the really useful comment. It is appreciated.
Anonymous said…
HI Michael,

The Caracat is one of the most beautiful hybrids, IMHO :) There is a breeders site where there are quite a few photos of this new breed if anyone is interested in seeing the photos...

http://www.junglecats.com/caracat.htm

Hope this helps!
JĂșlio Joel said…
Hi! I found this image of a caracat:
http://www.junglecats.com/caracat.htm
Michael said…
I am not convinced that this breeder breeds Caracats for sale as at the date of this comment. But the page shown above is the one.

The Caracat looks like a large, stocky Abyssinian cat. The coat is ticked.

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