Copyright 1993-2007, Sarah Hartwell

According to Charles Darwin in "The Variation Of Animals And Plants Under Domestication" (1860s), "Several naturalists, as Pallas, Temminck, Blyth, believe that domestic cats are the descendants of several species commingled: it is certain that cats cross readily with various wild species, and it would appear that the character of the domestic breeds has, at least in some cases, been thus affected.

Roger Tabor suggested the Asian Golden Cat (F. temmincki) may have had some input into Oriental breeds e.g. the Siamese hence the distinct "Oriental" type ("The Wildlife of the Domestic Cat", Roger Tabor). However, the link between the Siamese and Temmick's cat may be due to naming confusion in the early 1900s. In Ceylon, the Siamese cat was known as "Gould's Cat", having been introduced there by a Mr Gould. The Burmese Sacred Cat (the Burmese, not the Birman) was known to early British cat fanciers as the "Gold Cat". A wild cat of the region was known as the "Golden Cat" (Temminck's Golden Cat) or "Bay Cat". HC Brooke, writing in 1927, believed these similarities of name to be the reason that Temminck's Golden Cat (or Bay Cat) was claimed to be an ancestor of the Siamese.

Lilian J Veley, in 1926/7, claimed to have seen Civet/cat hybrids and at the same time, some authorities were claiming the Siamese to be the product of a mating between a viverrine Civet and the Bay Cat. Cat-fancier, breeder and writer HC Brooke doubted that the two could interbreed, being from different families. He added that even if they could interbreed, they were unlikely to "fix" a new type. Dr P Chalmers Mitchell, Secretary of the Zoological Society disabused fanciers of the conceit that the Siamese cat was a hybrid between domestic cat and the wild Bay Cat. Capt J G Dollman, Assistant Curator of the Natural History Museum, South Kensington (London) added that the Siamese cat and the Bay Cat were unlikely to interbreed and produce fertile offspring and that the Siamese was most unlikely to have been the product of a cross between a viverrine (identified as the Indian (or Yellow-throated) Marten) and a Bay Cat.

There have been no attempts to hybridize domestic cats with the Asian Golden Cat (F. temmincki), despite claims for their interfertility with domestic cats.



You are visitor number