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We love big cats, small cats, wild cats, tame cats, friendly cats, fierce cats – and yes, hybrid cats.  It is because we love all cats, for who they are, that we fight so hard to protect them.  Hybrid breeders will tell you that we seek legislation that will take your hybrids from you and that is a lie.  We do not support laws that displace existing cats from where they are, except in extreme cases of abuse and neglect.  We support bans on breeding and private ownership of wild cats and hybrid cats, but always make sure there are “grand-father” clauses that allow people to keep the wild cats or hybrid cats they have; they just won’t be allowed to buy, breed or sell more.

The hate and fear mongers will tell you anything to try and have you protect their “right” to breed, sell and exploit wild cats.  If you really want the whole truth, keep reading.

Allowing the private possession of exotic cat hybrids is like strapping a nuclear warhead to the feral cat problem.

I’ve had more than 30 years experience with wild cats and am the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest accredited sanctuary that is dedicated entirely to exotic cats. We rescue and provide a permanent home to non-domestic cats, and almost never even consider rescuing hybrid cats because that problem is too vast.

We are seeing an alarming escalation in the number of hybrid cats who are being abandoned by their owners. While we track the number of wildcat species who are abandoned each year, we have never accurately tracked the number of hybrids in peril because those numbers have been too huge.

This is a serious and growing problem in America for a number of reasons:

9297024076_b6d57894ba_zShawn Dunphy/Flickr

1. Laws are Difficult to Enforce

Current laws, where they exist, are impossible to enforce because they often include language that states what percentage of wild blood is allowed, or what generation of breeding from the wild is allowed, or some other vagary that depends on the honesty of the person selling a cat that is derived from great misery to the animals. It is actually much easier to breed Servals, Leopard Cats, Jungle Cats and other truly wild species of cat than hybrids, so these animals have been sold and misrepresented as hybrids to evade prohibitions on wildcat ownership. Over the years, I have been asked by law enforcement on several occasions to identify cats that were thusly mislabeled. The only way to enforce a ban on exotic cats and hybrids is to include language that includes all look-a-like crosses. By the fourth generation away from a wild parent, the vast majority of cats lose that wild “look.” If it looks wild, it probably is.

2. Hybrids Can Escape and Pose a Threat to the  Local Community

Despite the fact that we do not have space for all of the hybrid cat requests that we get for placement, we have had to rescue a number of them because we are registered with the state as wildlife rehabbers, in addition to being licensed as a sanctuary. If someone thinks they have a Florida Panther trapped in their garage, I am the one who gets the call to go do something about it.

When someone reports that a bobcat has killed their domestic cat, dog or livestock, I am the one who goes to check it out.

When someone traps a “panther” because it’s been lurking around their house and stalking their children, I get the call. One such call was that of a “Florida Panther” stalking a little old lady. This call and most of these calls turn out to be hybrid cats.

3. Hybrid Cats Do Not Make Good Pets

Animal Control and local Humane Societies know that hybrid cats almost never work out as pets. The liability is just too great so in most cases they are euthanized with no attempt to adopt them out. When I end up in the field, rescuing some terrorized family from a hybrid cat, I know that I either have to build it a cage or it will be killed. Because of that, I’ve had a number of hybrid cats and can attest to the fact that they:

  1. Hybrids suffer from genetic defects that usually require surgery and special diets because they cannot properly digest their food. The most common ailment that I have seen is inflammatory bowel disease and projectile diarrhea.
  2. Hybrids bite. Even in play, even if they love you, they bite and I have scars all over my hands from them. Hybrids are far too rough to live with domestic cats and dogs and are certainly not safe to have around children or the elderly.
  3. Hybrids spray. Their wildcat parents would have been hard wired to mark many square miles of territory, and this is actually the number one reason I hear from people trying to get rid of their hybrids. Male or female, neutered or not, hybrids spray copious amounts of acidic, foul smelling urine all over everything, and everyone, that they want to mark as theirs.
  4. Hybrids are notorious for loud howling throughout the night. Neither their wild parent, nor their domestic parent is known for this, but it seems to be ubiquitous among hybrids. This sound is chilling and very loud and I’ve never found anything that will curb it or even limit it to normal human waking hours. It seems to accompany carrying toys around in their mouths and is yet one more sad reminder of how confused these cats are.
  5. There are no rabies vaccines that are approved for use in wild cats, nor their hybrid offspring. Exotic cats will often die from being vaccinated with traditional modified live virus vaccines like those used on domestic cats. We use a killed virus vaccine on our wildcat species and on our hybrids, but there is no way to know if it is effective on either.
  6. Introducing wild cat traits into the feral cat population also imbues them with the wild cats’ enhanced ability to evade humans, avoid traps, cross rivers and travel much farther distances, which can spread the devastation into pristine areas that do not currently have feral cat populations. Because hybrid cats are susceptible to all of the same domestic cat diseases (and now we are learning that they are contracting domestic dog diseases, including canine distemper and parvo and parasites and diseases that were previously carried primarily by raccoons) hybrid cats can spread these diseases into the wild populations as well.

These hybrid cats not only compete with other natural predators but may even cross breed with bobcats and eventually cougars over time, thus causing even more damage to existing native species.

There are so many reasons why private ownership of exotic cats and their hybrids should be banned, and yet only one reason to allow it – ie: ill-gotten gain.

The Best Choice for Cats and People Alike


In a nutshell, it is an irresponsible thing to do and there is no redeeming reason to cross breed these cats nor to support those who do by buying one. It almost never works out for the individual cat and in the rare case that it does, the number of animals that had to suffer in order for this one rare cat to exist is staggering.

I get hate mail from hybrid breeders every time I say anything about the fact that many times domestic cats are killed by the wild cats in the mating process, or that the conditions the breeding cats are often kept in is deplorable, or the physical ailments that many of these neurotic offspring suffer from, or the fact that millions of animals are being killed in shelters every year while people are still supporting the breeders. So many breeders claim that they only breed 4th and 5th generations, but don’t seem to get the fact that you can’t get a 4th generation without a lot of suffering in the first three.

By the time a person breeds enough cats to get to the fourth generation, they have created approximately 50 cats who will end up being slaughtered for coats or killed because of their behavior problems. I stand amazed at the number of people who just don’t get this and how they manage to pretend that they are not the cause of the suffering if they purchase a fourth generation cat. The cats can’t speak for themselves, though, so the daily hate mail is just the price of speaking the truth for them.

Please consider all of the suffering that you can eliminate by not succumbing to the urge to own something wild. Your sacrifice can make the world a better place. Visit CatLaws.com and take action now!

Lead image source: Flickr

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15 comments on “Hybrid Cats Might be Beautiful, But Here’s Why They Make Terrible Pets”

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12 Days ago

I think hybrid cats are an interesting pet - perhaps not for everyone though, though f4 and above are more or less a domestic cat.

Just a few comments:

"Animal Control and local Humane Societies know that hybrid cats almost never work out as pets."

This is a typical logical fallacy argument called "appeal to authority". I agree they sometimes don\'t work out just like many purely domestic cats sometimes don\'t work out. But to say they almost never work out is a complete falsehood. Do you have supporting evidence for this claim - such as a study comparing domestic vs hybrids of various kinds showing how they worked out with statistics, etc or is this your personal opinion?

"These hybrid cats not only compete with other natural predators but may even cross breed with bobcats and eventually cougars over time, thus causing even more damage to existing native species."

Come on, do you really think this is a problem? What cat species (hybrid or not) will cross breed with cougars and bobcats in the wild? I can\'t think of a single one - at least not one that is a domestic cat hybrid.

20 Days ago

"While we track the number of wildcat species " -- Others who know more than me commented on hybrid breeds, I\'ll address the simple fact that you don\'t seem to understand the difference between a wild cat as in any wild feline and "wildcat" which refers only to a specific species (Felis Silvestris) or if you prefer species complex (Felis Silvestris and Felis Lybica) based on which classification one uses? I seriously doubt you\'ve seen any European/Asian/Scottish/African wildcats in your shelters and if you have, I doubt you\'d be able to tell the difference between then and our tabbies. Incidentally, are you aware that these wildcats breed with our cats in nature and produce fertile offspring? So actually, if someone brought a little tabby kitten from Africa or Scotland that one found outside, there is some chance it has some wild blood in it... At any rate, you don\'t seem to know much about cats if you don\'t know what "wildcat" is.

Cat Wallis
6 Months Ago

THIS ARTICLE IT TOTAL CRAP! Every negative thing these idiots say about hybrids IS TRUE OF ANY FELINE! I had NEUTERED regular old cats that sprayed, meowled, etc. To the idiot below - saying hybrid cat\'s can\'t be adopted out - BS! you are just like the ones that call terrified stray cats that end up in shelters un-adoptable! YOU are the reason so many scared cats get killed! They aren\'t given a chance! an owner dies and the family takes a cat to a noisy shelter full of dogs barking and strangers total un-familiar and the cat is scared and lashes out so they kill it! rather than give it a chance in a quiet environment so it can relax and adjust to another person - shame on you! Big Cat Rescue is a money operation! They don\'t give a shit about the cats.

6 Months Ago

Wow. There is soooo much dis-information and plain hyperbole, one doesn\'t even know where to start.
Practically nothing stated here, is even slightly true.

Valerie Myra
1 Years Ago

To those of you defending having hybrids that have no issues , you are in the 1%. The rest off the the hybrid cats are in the 99% that end up in shelters only to be euthanized because they cannot be adopted out, or they are fortunate enough to be rescued by accredited verified sanctuaries like Wildcat Sanctuary or Big Cat Rescue. This article speaks the truth, but it is a truth that many people do not want to hear because of the fact that they have to have one of these cats. Regardless that hybrids are bred with domestic cats, they are still wild, hard wired wild . They have natural instincts that need fulfilling. They have biological mothers they need for up to two years of their lives. Human beings cannot replace this. No one stops to think of the repercussions put on these hybrids that are caught between two worlds, just like no one thinks of the repercussions of tigers, lions, and other exotic wild animals that do not belong in our homes or bred and/or exploited for money. It is our ego that we are feeding to have something beautiful that we may not otherwise have, but it doesn\'t make it right, nor are we thinking about the welfare of these cats and what is best for them instead of what is best for us. It doesn\'t mean that we should. These are living beings, not some ornament. There are so many beautiful domestic cats and dogs waiting for someone to take them home and be part of their family, instead of dying because someone doesn\'t see them as good enough. If you really have to have that hybrid then go rescue one from that shelter and don\'t support these breeders. Truly loving and respecting the wild means letting the wild live it\'s life as nature intended. I wouldn\'t want to be taken from my natural given life, would you?

01 Oct 2018

Valerie Myra -- I don\'t own hybrids, but after my little rescue tabby died, I looked at petfinder trying to find a single Bengal cat (Savannah wasn\'t even listed). Virtually all cats listed under Bengals were just regular tabbies. I challenge you to actually verify what you say. Go on petfinder, enter Bengal or Savannah in a search, then compare the cats you see to the pictures of the breed. You\'ll realize that 99% are mislabeled tabbies/spotted tabbies. You know that there are spotted tabbies too, right? Shelters mislabel cats as belonging to a breed all the time, for example, most long haired cats listed as Persians are not, every gray cat is listed as "Russian blue" isn\'t a Russian blue. There are actually very few pedigreed cats in the shelter hybrid or not. Oh, and where did you get nonsense about these cats having to be with their mothers for 2 years? I looked it up - it\'s 7 to 10 months for an Asian Leopard Cat and a year for a Serval, but the reason for that time is to teach kittens to survive in the wild not because they need their mothers. The hybrids are born to a domestic mother, and as they don\'t need to learn how to survive alone in the wild, they don\'t need to stay with their mother for that long. Incidentally, European and African wildcats also rear their kittens for longer than domestic cats even though very similar to our cat genetically - many consider them members of the same species, Felis Silvestris (Felis Silvestris Silvestris, Felis Silvestris Lybica vs Felis Silvestris Catus) as they can interbreed in nature and produce fertile offspring. The reason is that wild kittens need a lot to learn.

Incidentally, I have no bone in the matter, I ended up adopting 2 regular tabbies from a rescue. But, learn about the subject before making claims.

01 Oct 2018

Not sure where the strange sequence of numbers and letters came from, I simply wanted to say that many cats labeled by shelters as Bengals are mislabeled.

Christina Lomonaco
2 Years Ago

Our Bengal has none of the issues mentioned in the article except the howling which we find enduring. Leo is an f5 who we have had 12/13 years now. He's amazing with our kids. He has been the best cat ever and lives with another kitty & a golden doodle. That said, we were not aware of suffering to breed to the point of getting an f5. Some of the problems mentioned in the article are from bad breeders and not responsible owners.

Carol Jenny
2 Years Ago

I agree totally. I adopted two Bengals after their mom and dad gave them up to Petsmart. I guess they lost patience with them. It took me alot of patience of them being aloof, an arm's length away facing away from me, with ears pricked, and with any loud sound bolting off of my lap leaving bloody kick off scratches, and much love and patience to let trust take over their wild survival instincts. It took one cat about 13 years to finally become a PET and ask to be pet. Seriously. Don't breed with wild animals. It isn't fair to the animal.

Christina Lomonaco
23 Oct 2015

We have a Bengal since he was a kitten and he is the most affectionate cat ever. I wonder if yours have more wild in them then mine does.

El Simpson
2 Years Ago

How anyone can claim they love animals and breed their pets while knowing millions die alone in shelters every year are full of sh*t! Adopt/Spay /neuter and save precious lives

Cindy Maya
2 Years Ago

Mine don't have the problems that pro. mentioned after I read. Mine 2 adopted cats at different stage from shelter are so loyal and sweet, that some feel they are like dogs. Personally I think it's about stop producing and luck

Eric Anches
2 Years Ago

I didn't read the article. I already know from personal experience it's wrong. This girl is an angel

El Simpson
23 Oct 2015

Keep yourself in the dark.. Great (sarcastically)

Suzanne Simpson
23 Oct 2015

I don't doubt your girl is wonderful but the boy in my picture was trapped, neutered and released in our apt. complex he was a baby and came to us for food. Well guess what he has been sharing our apt. with three other adopted cats. He is a real sweetheart and beautiful. No more cats until they all are loved.

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