Other Hybrid Cats - Page 1&2:
Other Rare & Common Hybrids | 3:
Natural Hybridisation |
4: Breeding For New Domestic Species
Natural hybridisation between wild and domestic cats:
There are several species of small wildcat which interbreed freely with feral or domestic house cats. Many experts view this as posing a severe danger to the various wildcat species. Hybridisation of some in their natural state is now so common many face extinction in the wild.
Rusty-spotted cats (felis rubiginosa), Asian jungle cats (felis chaus), African wildcats (felis silvestris libyca), Scottish wildcats (felis silvestris grampia), and European wildcats (felis silvestris), will all hybridise quite readily. Making things worse is the fact that feral cats are highly adaptable and will often move to live in wildcat society.
The offspring of hybrid cats are fertile and continue to interbreed with each other and feral or domestic cats. Initial (F1) hybrids between domestic cats and wildcats may be quite large, but over a few generations they become smaller through continued interbreeding with the domestic cat. Eventually, the offspring is indistinguishable from the most common of house cats.
There are now an estimated 7,500,000 British domestic cats, with numbers out of control and increasing daily despite attempts to encourage de-sexing. Compare this to the Scottish wildcat of which only 5,000 remain.
Since experts are unsure as to what denotes a true wildcat, or even if it really exists, conservation is extremely difficult, but it is thought hybridisation is most advanced in Europe and this is sometimes cited as a prime example of a species threatened through interbreeding.
Because of their wild upbringing and lack of early contact with man these wildcat/domestic cat hybrids do not like being handled and are not suitable as pets.
A fairly recent trend in domestic cat breeding is that of taking wild species and hybridising them with domestic cats to produce a new breed.
Captive-breeding wild species in this way is often described as being a means by which people can gain access to a pet with a wild look, but without the aggressive tendencies of their wild cousins. Supporters further point out that captive breeding prevents capture and depletion of wild populations in that it reduces the black market demand for saleable wildcat kittens. The illegal means for obtaining these is to kill the mothers and smuggle the kits to potential buyers.
The pictures shown here are of a Jungle cat male and kitten, and a Scottish Wildcat. Photographs of hybrids are on the following page.
With Thanks To Cossette's