OWNING AND KEEPING WILD CAT HYBRIDS IN THE USA
This article looks at the regulations and restrictions on owning or possessing small wildcat hybrids in the USA and compares them to the regulations in the UK.
Note 1: I do not own or trade wildcats or in wildcat hybrids and I cannot put readers in contact with anyone who sells wildcats or hybrids.
Note 2: The "Ashera" cat is not mentioned here; All known Ashera cats were found to be a fraudulently re-badged early generation Savannahs purchased in the USA.
Summary of UK Regulations
The importation and ownership of small wildcat hybrids in the UK is detailed in Owning and Keeping Wildcat Hybrids in the UK . A case study into the red tape surrounding the importation of new hybrid breeds into the UK is given at Ownership and Importation of Domestic x Wildcat Hybrids (UK)
In the UK, the keeping of wildcat hybrids in Britain is governed by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (the DWAA). DWAA legislation requires a person or organisation to have a licence in order to keep any animal listed on the Schedule. Private individuals must obtain a licence to keep wildcats unless that wildcat species is listed as an exception on the Schedule. This restriction affects foundation stock and first generation (F1) hybrids in breeding programmes for Bengals, Savannahs, Chausies and Caracats. For historical reasons, it does not affect Safari Cats, Oncilla hybrids or F silvestris hybrids. Unsurprisingly, the excepted wildcat species are those that are similar in size to domestic cats in size. The list doesn't include every small wildcat, and some are additionally covered by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and are not available to members of the general public.
Local authorities enforce the DWAA and have some discretion in whether to grant or withhold a DWAA licence to an individual. In the 1990s, some local authorities tried to enforce the DWAA on Bengals due to scare stories in tabloid newspaper, but clarification has now been issued so that F2 and later generations do not require a licence. Not all small wildcat species are restricted by the act. In the context of the DWAA, "hybrid" means hybrids between two wild species and also hybrids between a wild species and a domestic cat. The following small wildcats, and their hybrids, are not restricted by this legislation: Domestic Cat (Felis silvestris catus), Scottish/European/African wild cat (Felis silvestris: F s grampia, F s silvestris, F s lybica), Pallas cat (Manul) (Otocolobus manul), Little Spotted Cat (Oncilla) (Leopardus tigrinus), Geoffroy’s cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi), Kodkod (Oncifelis guigna), Bay Cat (Catopuma badia), Sand Cat (Felis margarita), Black-footed cat (Felis nigripes), Rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus).
Any hybrid that is descended exclusively from species on the above list is also excepted. Any hybrid between the domestic cat (F s catus) and a first generation (F1) hybrid of domestic cat x any wildcat not listed above is also excepted (e.g. F2 Savannah). Roughly speaking, if the wildcat/domestic hybrid is 2 generations removed from a wildcat it doesn't to need a DWAA licence. So an F2 Savannah does not require a licence. Any hybrid that involves a non-excepted cat species is covered by a number of restrictions on ownership and accommodation. In the context of the DWAA, second-generation (F2), third-generation (F3) and so-forth hybrids mean hybrid-to-domestic or hybrid-to-hybrid matings (the latter can only occur in cases where fertile male hybrids are produced).
In 2007, DEFRA (Dept for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Britain's equivalent of a Dept for Natural Resources) clarified the position of the Bengal cat and the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 as follows:
The ‘Bengal cat’ is not a true species but a hybrid of the domestic cat crossed with the Asian leopard cat. They are several generations removed from the wild ancestor, and currently kept in their thousands in the UK without serious problems arising. It was not specifically named on earlier versions of the Schedule but it technically fell within the catch-all listing of all species of Felidae (ie the cat family) except Felis catus, the domestic cat. Its effective inclusion in the list partly arose because the Schedule pre-dated the breeding of these animals in this country. Other cat hybrids also fell within the catch-all listing for Felidae.
We sought to clarify the position for domestic cat x wild cat hybrids generally within the revised Schedule (which came into force on 1 October 2007). Cat hybrids no longer require a licence if they are:
- descended exclusively from excepted species (as shown on the Schedule)
- cat hybrids having a domestic cat as one parent and a first generation hybrid of a domestic cat and a non-excepted cat as the other parent - cats which are descended exclusively from excepted hybrids or from excepted hybrids and a domestic cat
Overview of USA Regulations
In the USA, restrictions on the ownership of hybrid cats varies greatly, not just from state to state, but also between counties within a single state. Some towns and cities have ordinances that restrict ownership of hybrid breeds within city limits. For British readers, this is equivalent to local by-laws banning Bengals and Savannahs in Chelmsford, but allowing them in Colchester 25 miles away. The restrictions may also vary according to which generation the hybrid is. Restrictions also depend on how close the hybrid is (genetically) to the wild parent: F1 hybrids are generally highly restricted while F5 generations are often considered domestic. To own any wild cat or wild x domestic hybrid in the USA, it is necessary to check the laws at town/city, county AND state level! This can become a minefield should the owner move house and find that their currently legal F4 or F5 "domestic" house-pet will be prohibited as a "wild animal hybrid" in their new locale or must be kept in a cage. Readers must bear in mind that these restrictions may be contested, reviewed and revised.
A number of states prohibit the import and ownership of hybrid cats excepting domestic breeds recognized by The International Cat Association. Others widen this to include recognition by other North American cat registries or by any "nationally or internationally recognised" registry. This could prohibit hybrids developed under the auspices of non-mainstream or paper registries such as the Rare & Exotic Felines Registry (REFR). Restrictions may apply to specified generations (most often F1) or to all generations including F5 and later.
At the time of writing, the following states appear to permit hybrid cats (all generations) under state law, or they have no policies regarding ownership of hybrid cats. However county and city/municipal ordinances may restrict or prohibit ownership: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota (unverified), Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
In addition to regulations on owning wild cat species and hybrids, the international trade in some species is covered by CITES. This will also affects some hybrids (generally F1-F4 generations) being exported out of the USA or into the USA. Since all of the recognised hybrid breeds originate within the USA, it will only affect breeders wanting to export their cats out of the country and who will need an CITES export permit for affected hybrids (e.g. Serval hybrids). Although the hybrid breeds within the USA were founded by wild cats bred and kept as pets, this does not exempt them from CITES regulations (if the parent species is listed by CITES).
The definition of animal hybrids used by the CITES Conference of the Parties resolution 10.17 (as revised at the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, The Hague (Netherlands), 3–15 June 2007) states that a hybrid animal that has in its previous four generations of lineage one or more specimens included in Appendix I or II of the Convention shall be subject to the provisions of the Convention just as if they were the full species. Under this interpretation, F1 to F4 hybrids between the serval and domestic cat should be treated the same way as servals.
As a cautionary note, several Ashera cats ended up in legal limbo after they were exported to the Netherlands. It was genetically proven that they were early generation Savannahs from the USA and exported by another party. As Serval hybrids, regardless of what breed name was used, they required both a CITES export permit (from the USA) and a CITES import documentation (in the Netherlands). The cats were seized and the original Savannah breeder was unable to get the cats back despite being able to prove their parentage.
Summary of State-Specific Regulations
A number of states prohibit or regulate ownership of hybrid cats. For this reason, the breeder advertising section in US cat magazines carry disclaimers to the effect that breed adverts are not valid in all states. Owners in some states are finding themselves in a transitional state due to restrictive legislation being introduced after they acquired hybrid pets. They can continue to keep their pets provided they get permits and conform to special provisions within the legislation, but they cannot trade or breed the hybrids, or keep them as house pets (and they cannot replace them with another hybrid of the same type).
In Alaska, possession of cat hybrids without a permit is prohibited. "Hybrid" appears to apply to the F1-F4 generations so F5 generations (eligible for TICA championship exhibition) appear to fall outside of the hybrid classification. However, describing or advertising a later generation cat as a hybrid, rather than a domestic, can land a person in hot water and they must prove through TICA registration that it is a recognised wholly domestic breed. The legislation (at the time of writing) states:
(a) It is unlawful, without a permit issued by the department, for a person to possess, transport, sell, advertise or otherwise offer for sale, purchase, or offer to purchase a cat hybrid, including but not limited to Savannah, Bengal, and Chausie breeds.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for illegal possession of a cat hybrid under this section that:
(b)(1) the breed is recognized by The International Cat Association as a breed eligible for championship class;
(b)(2) the animal is licensed as required in the jurisdiction of residence, has a registered pedigree showing the previous four generations, and these records are available for inspection by animal control officers and other government or regulatory officials; and
(b)(3) the animal is at least four generations removed from a wild ancestor.
(c) For the purposes of this section "cat hybrid" includes
(c)(1) the offspring from a mating of a domestic cat (Felis catus) or cat hybrid with any species of wild cat or hybrid of a wild and domestic cat in the previous four generations; and
(c)(2) an animal represented to be a cat hybrid by any name or description.
While Colorado doesn't seem to have state-wide restrictions, Denver currently prohibits all generations of hybrid cat, but has a specific exclusion for later generation Bengals: "this exception [that the cat is not a wild or dangerous animal] shall not apply to any animal that is the offspring (hybrid cross) of a domestic cat and any other species of cat unless the non-domestic cat ancestor was of the Bengal cat (Felis bengalensis) species and that all ancestors of the cat have lived in captivity for at least the preceding five (5) generations (F4)". It is possible that this will eventually be revised to specifically name other breeds of hybrid origin once they have proven to be non-dangerous and wholly domestic.
Connecticut does not permit hybrid cats other than F4 or later generation Bengals that are registered with an international multi-breed cat registry and who were registered with the Commissioner of Agriculture on or before October 1, 1996 are allowed. No such cats could be imported into Connecticut after June 6, 1996. This currently means all other hybrid breeds are currently illegal at all generations.
Delaware restricts personal ownership or trade of non-native wild animals, including hybrids, and requires owners to have a permit, but the Dept of Agriculture may adopt exemptions if the animal is not considered a significant threat. This appears to apply to all generations of hybrid cat, but requires clarification.
The District of Columbia Official Code (2001) does not allow hybrids with Ocelots or Margays to be traded or imported as household pets, but appears to allow other hybrid breeds. Some, but not all, lines of Bengal carry Margay genes from the defunct "Bristol" breed but this occurred so many generations ago that it is not an issue.
Florida has an approach based on the appearance of the hybrids. "Hybrids resulting from the cross between wildlife and domestic animal, which are substantially similar in size, characteristics and behavior so as to be indistinguishable from the wild animal shall be regulated as wildlife at the higher and more restricted class of the wild parent." F1, and some F2, hybrids would probably be regulated as wild animals, but the wording suggests that later generations are classed as domestic cats. While this sounds common-sense, it is comparable to the Dangerous Dogs Act in the UK where "experts" must determine from appearance alone whether a seized dog is a "pit bull type" and hence banned.
The Official Code of Georgia (Annotated) (OCGA) prohibits hybrids, but has an exclusion for the "domestic Bengal cat" providing the cat is registered as a Bengal with a national cat registry and is not less than four generations removed from an Asian Leopard Cat. The OCGA defines wild animals as any non-domestic species not native to the state and states that any wild x domestic hybrid is treated just the same as the wild species parent. This prevents a loophole that would allow F1 hybrids to be imported and owned by people wanting to circumvent wild animal ownership laws. Further clarification was issued on licence requirements for Bengal cats. The exemption for the Bengal states:
"The Department will no longer regulate certain Bengal cats as wild animals and will make the determination that those animals adhering to the standards herein will not be subject to enforcement under the Code. Bengal Cats shall be considered a domestic breed if all the following conditions are met:
(1) Animals are at least F4 crosses (four generations removed from Leopard Cats).
(2) Animals are registered with a nationally recognized cat-fancier organizations as "Bengal cats".
(3) Animal owners have proof of origin of animals.
(4) Animals are permanently tattooed or microchipped with identifying information indicating the animal in question is the same as described in all required paperwork.
(5) Animal's appearance must generally adhere to those recognized and described traits for the breed.
A wild animal license or permit is required for all Bengal cats that do not meet the five conditions above."
Being an island with unique and vulnerable native animals, Hawai'i's Board of Agriculture has 3 lists for non-domestic animals: List of Prohibited Animals; List of Restricted Animals (Part A and Part B); List of Conditionally Approved Animals. Hawai'i's rules on hybrid breeds are that "any cat hybrid where one or both parents are prohibited or restricted and crossed with a domestic cat are prohibited [from being imported into Hawai'i]." Bengal, Savannah and other hybrid breeds are prohibited and this appears to apply to all generations.
Idaho does not permit F1 generation hybrids, but allows ownership of later generations.
In Indiana, A wild animal possession permit is required to possess certain F1 hybrids, which it treats in the same way as the wild species parent. A permit is not required for F2 and later generation hybrids, but it appears that a license is required to breed and sell hybrid cats.
Iowa prohibits cat hybrids of all generations (but rather perversely permits far more dangerous wolf-dog hybrids). Iowa legislation classifies all wild cats, specifically excepting the domestic cat, as a "Dangerous Wild Animal" and prohibits their ownership, trade or importation into the state. Hybrids with wild cats are also classed as dangerous wild animals: "an animal which is the offspring of an animal provided in paragraph "a", and another animal provided in that paragraph or any other animal ["any other" referring to domestic animals]. It also includes animals which are the offspring of each subsequent generation." The legislation specifically exempts wolf-dog hybrids. The legislation came into force during 2007 and if the Dangerous Wild Animal - including hybrid cats - was owned prior to July 1st, 2007, the owner can get a permit to continue keeping it. The provisions of the permit are similar to The UK's Dangerous Wild Animals Act, but prohibit to sale or transfer to the animal to a private individual (and presumably prohibit breeding it) - the only way an owner can dispose of a wild cat or hybrid is to a wildlife sanctuary or by euthanasia.
Owning or Possessing Dangerous Wild Animals (effective July 1st, 2007) (Iowa)
A person who owns or possesses a dangerous wild animal on July 1, 2007, may continue to own or possess the dangerous wild animal subject to all of the following:
(1) The person must be eighteen years old or older.
(2)(a) The person must not have been convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect of an animal pursuant to a law of this state or another state, including but not limited to chapter 717, 717B, 717C, or 717D or an ordinance adopted by a city or county.
(2)(b) The department, another state, or the federal government must not have suspended an application for a permit or license or revoked a permit or license required to operate a commercial establishment for the care, breeding, or sale of animals, including as provided in chapter 162.
(2)(c) The person must not have been convicted of a felony for an offense committed within the last ten years, as provided by this Code, under the laws of another state, or under federal law.
(2)(d) The person must not have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony for an offense committed within the last ten years involving a controlled substance as defined in section 124.101 in this state, under the laws of another state, or under federal law.
(3) Within sixty days after July 1, 2007, the person must have an electronic identification device implanted beneath the skin or hide of the dangerous wild animal, unless a licensed veterinarian states in writing that the implantation would endanger the comfort or health of the dangerous wild animal. In such case, an electronic identification device may be otherwise attached to the dangerous wild animal as required by the department.
(4) Not later than December 31, 2007, the person must notify the department using a registration form prepared by the department. The registration form shall include all of the following information:
(4)(a) The person's name, address, and telephone number.
(4)(b) A sworn affidavit that the person meets the requirements necessary to own or possess a dangerous wild animal as provided in this section.
(4)(c) A complete inventory of each dangerous wild animal which the person owns or possesses. The inventory shall include all of the following information:
(4)(c)(i) The number of the dangerous wild animals according to species.
(4)(c)(ii) The manufacturer and manufacturer's number of the electronic device implanted in or attached to each dangerous wild animal.
(4)(c)(iii) The location where each dangerous wild animal is kept. The person must notify the department in writing within ten days of a change of address or location where the dangerous wild animal is kept.
(4)(c)(iv) The approximate age, sex, color, weight, scars, and any distinguishing marks of each dangerous wild animal.
(4)(c)(v) The name, business mailing address, and business telephone number of the licensed veterinarian who is responsible for providing care to the dangerous wild animal. The information shall include a statement signed by the licensed veterinarian certifying that the dangerous wild animal is in good health.
(4)(c)(vi) A color photograph of the dangerous wild animal.
(4)(c)(vii) A copy of a current liability insurance policy as required in this section. The person shall send a copy of the current liability policy to the department each year.
(5) The person must pay the department a registration fee as provided in section 717F.8.
(6) The person must maintain health and ownership records for the dangerous wild animal for the life of the dangerous wild animal.
(7) The person must confine the dangerous wild animal in a primary enclosure as required by the department on the person's premises. The person must not allow the dangerous wild animal outside of the primary enclosure unless the dangerous wild animal is moved pursuant to any of the following:
(7)(a) To receive veterinary care from a licensed veterinarian.
(7)(b) To comply with the directions of the department or an animal warden.
(7)(c) To transfer ownership and possession of the dangerous wild animal to a wildlife sanctuary or provide for its destruction by euthanasia as required by the department.
(8) The person must display at least one sign on the person's premises where the dangerous wild animal is kept warning the public that the dangerous wild animal is confined there. The sign must include a symbol warning children of the presence of the dangerous wild animal.
(9) The person must immediately notify an animal warden or other local law enforcement official of any escape of a dangerous wild animal.
(10) The person must maintain liability insurance coverage in an amount of not less than one hundred thousand dollars with a deductible of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, for each occurrence of property damage, bodily injury, or death caused by each dangerous wild animal kept by the person.
(11) The person who owns or possesses the dangerous wild animal is strictly liable for any damages, injury, or death caused by the dangerous wild animal. The person must reimburse the department or other public agency for actual expenses incurred by capturing and maintaining custody of the dangerous wild animal.
(12) If the person is no longer able to care for the dangerous wild animal, all of the following apply:
a. The person must so notify the department, stating the planned disposition of the dangerous wild animal.
b. The person must dispose of the dangerous wild animal by transferring ownership and possession to a wildlife sanctuary or providing for its destruction by euthanasia as required by the department.
To protect Idaho's economy, agriculture, environment and wildlife, there is strict regulation of the importation or possession of "Deleterious Exotic Animals" up to and including prohibition of the importation or possession of such animals. In Boise, Idaho it is unlawful for a person to own, trade or transport a wild animal or hybrid. "Wild animal hybrid" or "hybrid" means an animal which is a first generation product of the breeding of either a wild animal with an animal that is not wild, including but not limited to wolf/dog hybrids; or a wild animal with an animal of a different species, variety or breed. it would appear that later generation Bengals, Savannahs etc are considered domestic.
In Illinois it is illegal for private individuals to possess any of the big cats, ocelots, margays, lynxes, bobcats, and jaguarundis (and hybrids thereof) unless that person gains authorisation from the Department of Natural Resources to bring them into the State and also has a Federal Exhibitor's permit. It is not clear if this prohibition extends beyond the F1 generation. Once again there is the fact that some Bengal lines contain Margay genes inherited from the defunct "Bristol" breed of cat.
Indiana's legislation prohibits ownership of mountain lions, lynxes and tigers "and other exotic cats" and this extends to their hybrids and to genetically altered individuals. It doesn't specify which generations are affected. In practice, the law appears to be interpreted that only F1 hybrids of domestic cats with wild cats would require a permit, but F2 and later generations are considered domestic cats. A licence is required in order to breed hybrid cats (i.e. from a wild parent or F1 parent). Owners should keep any registry papers in case they need to prove what generation their cat is.
Kansas does not consider small domestic hybrid cats as "Dangerous Regulated Animals" and does not require permits at any generation. Presumably this means hybrids with species that are classified as "small cats" - which may seem a silly question, but some states or municipalities impose a weight limit.
In Massachusetts, F4 generations and lower are allowed. Ownership and trade in "wild felid hybrids" is prohibited. The legislation specifies that hybrids are the "offspring of the reproduction between any species of wild felid or hybrid wild felid and a domestic cat or hybrid wild felid or is represented by its owner to be a wild felid hybrid." This does not apply to persons holding a permit prior to 1st January 1994, but there are rules and regulations governing the housing and care of such animals. The prohibition does not apply to domesticated show or pet cats registered with a nationally or internationally recognized breeding association or registry which certifies the pedigree and registration of such cat to be without any wild felid parentage for a minimum of three generations. However, it appears that all generations of hybrids are illegal in the city of Boston.
In Maryland, a person may not own or trade a live member of the cat family other than the domestic cat. They may not trade a hybrid of a member of the cat family and a domestic cat if that hybrid weighs over 30 pounds. In practice this is only likely to affect some F1 hybrid Savannahs and Caracats.
Under Michigan State law, the private possession of live big cats is generally prohibited, but possession of small wild cats and their hybrids appears to be permitted.
In Minnesota, the ownership of all members of the Felidae (cat) family is regulated except for the domestic cat. This includes any hybrid between a regulated animal and a domestic animal and the offspring from all subsequent generations "but not including domestic cats or cats recognized as a domestic breed, registered as a domestic breed, and shown as a domestic breed by a national or international multibreed cat registry association" However, city ordinances may restrict hybrids, for example in Minneapolis.
New Hampshire allows F4 and later generation hybrids. The F1 to F3 generations may not be owned as pets and may only be held by federally and state licensed zoos. The stipulation on federal and state licensing of zoos is probably to prevent owners setting themselves up as private zoos in order to keep the earlier generation hybrids.
New Jersey appears to permit hybrid cats at all generations, but the owner requires evidence that the cat is a hybrid and not a wild species.
Under Environmental Conservation Law, New York State owns all wildlife that is not "legally acquired and held in private ownership". This includes wild cats an wild cat hybrids. It specifically excludes Felis catus (in both domestic and feral forms) and also excludes any F5 and later generation hybrids of Felis catus that are registered by the American Cat Fanciers Association or the International Cat Association. New York City's Dept of Health prohibits all wild animals including All cats other than domesticated cats (Felis catus), including any hybrid offspring of a wild cat and domesticated cat; this appears to refer to F1 hybrids that have a wild parent (it depends on whether the later generations are classified as F catus).
Nevada currently appears to have no restrictions on later generation hybrid cats.
In North Carolina, in the absence of state legislation, restrictions vary from county to county. To further complicate matters, some towns and cities have their own ordinances. Some counties ban import (into the county) hybrids of a dangerous wild animal. Any such hybrids already in the county have to be spayed/castrated. Others impose a 15 pound weight restriction, allowing smaller hybrids such as Bengals and later generation Savannahs.
Ohio bans the ownership of big cats and their hybrids, but the legislations does not list the African Wildcat, Asian Leopard Cat, Black-Footed Cat, Caracal, Fishing Cat, Geoffroy's Cat, Jungle Cat, Margay, Oncilla, Rusty-Spotted Cat or Serval or their hybrids (nor other small wildcats that have not yet been hybridised for the pet market).
In Oklahoma, cats (except the big cats, bobcats, lynx, jaguarandi, ocelots, margays, servals, any cat which will reach a weight of 50 pounds or more, and other such species normally found in the wild) are exempt from permits and licences. This appears to allow hybrid cat breeds as they are not "species normally found in the wild" and do not weight 50 pounds or more.
In Rhode Island, hybrids, which are defined as any animal which is the result of a domestic and wild animal cross-breeding, can only be owned with a permit. This appears to apply to all generations of Bengal, Savannah, Chausie etc
Tennessee prohibits the keeping of Bobcat/domestic hybrids - which is rather amusing (or perhaps pre-emptive) since there are no verified hybrids between these species. Purported Bobcat hybrids such as the PixieBob, American/Desert Lynx (and other REFR "Lynx" variants) and American Bobtail have all proven negative for Bobcat ancestry.
In Texas, the law on hybrids varies from county to county. In general, Texas Legislature's House Bill 1362 (2001) says: "person may not own, harbor, or have custody or control of a dangerous wild animal for any purpose unless the person holds a certificate of registration for that animal issued by an animal registration agency." A dangerous wild animal is defined to include all of the big cats, plus the bobcat, lynx, serval, caracal and ocelot and includes any hybrid of those species. An "Animal registration agency" is defined as "the municipal or county animal control office with authority over the area where a dangerous wild animal is kept, or a county sheriff in an area that does not have an animal control office." As the situation currently stands, Bengals, Chausies, Safari and other small cat hybrids don't need licences, but Savannah or Caracats cats of any generation cannot live as house pets. In some counties, Savannahs and Caracats are entirely banned, but in others they can be owned with a permit and must be housed in cages, not in a normal household environment. It is conceivable that this will eventually be amended to exclude later generations of these cats. This legislation also proved an obstacle to the acceptance of the purported Bobcat hybrids such as the PixieBob, American Bobtail and American/Desert Lynx (and variants of those REFR breeds), until genetic analysis ruled out Bobcat ancestry.
Utah prohibits the import and ownership of hybrid cats excepting "any domestic breed recognized by The International Cat Association".
In Virginia, in general, hybrid cats appear to require permits and are covered by legislation aimed at "wild, exotic or vicious animals", but restrictions vary from county to county. In Vermont, F4 and later generation hybrids are considered domestic and are permitted. Permits are not available to private individuals for earlier generations but the state's "Unrestricted Wild Animals List" is periodically revised, taking into account any potential threat to humans and wildlife.
Washington appears to impose no restrictions at state level, but the Seattle Municipal Code prohibits all generations of hybrid cats.
Wisconsin does not appear to restrict ownership of hybrids, but some counties may restrict or even ban ownership of wild x domestic hybrids.
In West Virginia, hybrid cats at all generations are currently defined as domestic animals though this may vary from county to county.
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