BIG CAT/DOMESTIC CAT HYBRIDS
This section is here to answer the questions I'm asked most frequently and because some visitors to this site are under the misapprehension that people have crossed leopards with domestic cats. A few rogue cat breeders have perpetuated this story (possibly to hype their breed). The domestic cat has been crossed with the Asian Leopard Cat (a small cat species of similar size to a domestic cat) to produce the Bengal breed of cat. The Bengal is not a cross with a Bengal tiger or a leopard. The Pantherette is a related breed which resembles black panthers, it is not a hybrid with black panthers.
I have received queries about crossing a cat with a cougar (puma). The Cougarin and Stone Cougar breeds resemble a cougar but are not hybrids with a cougar. Similarly, the Toyger breed is a small tiger-like tabby cat, not a tiger hybrid. The proposed Madalan Jaguar breed will be a cross between a domestic cat and a jaguarundi, not a cross between a domestic cat and a jaguar. The "Jungle Cat" which is mated to domestic cats is the actual name of a small cat species (Jungle Cat is F chaus) and does not refer to any of the jungle-living big cats.
There are (erroneous) reports that the Maine Coon breed is a Lynx hybrid. There are a handful of supposed hybrids. One claimed hybrid is a female whose father is claimed to be a Canadian lynx, however this is disputed and there is no DNA evidence to back up the claim. There are bobcat/domestic hybrids e.g. American Lynx breed. Several breeds have lynx-like features, but are not hybrids. Domestic cats have not been crossed with Ocelots, but have been crossed with the smaller Margay. There is no truth whatsoever in the tale that a moggy is a cross between domestic cats and Margays created as super-ratters. The word "moggy" (or "moggie") comes from the English word "maggie" meaning a woman of loose morals. Moggy simply means a mutt-cat or mongrel-cat.
Ocicats, sometimes misspelled as "Ocecats", are not hybrids between ocelots and domestic cats. They are a cross between Abyssinians, Siamese and domestic shorthair cats and do not contain wildcat blood. Its name comes from its resemblance to the ocelot and does not indicate ocelot ancestry. To my knowledge, no-one has yet bred ocelot x domestic cat hybrids; although I understand that a Bengal breeder hoped to breed his male ocelot to one of his female Bengals, but had not accomplished this mating due to the ocelot's temperament.
If a big cat encountered a much smaller domestic cat it would regard it as prey. Big cats and domestic cats are too different in size to mate naturally. Artificial insemination is unlikely to result in a successful pregnancy because of size and gestation period differences between them. The womb of the domestic cat simply could not accommodate a large foetus sired by a big cat and the foetus would be miscarried when it reached full-term kitten size. If hybrid offspring were actually carried to full term by a big cat female, the cubs would be smaller than pure-bred cougar (or leopard etc) cubs. Undersized offspring are far more delicate than normal sized offspring and rarely survive.
(Note: although I've referred to pumas as "big cats" they are scientifically classed as small cats)
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