Hybrid Facts

We Love ALL Cats

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, please read through to the end of the page.

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 most influential, 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.

  1. 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 lookalike crosses. By the 4th generation away from a wild parent, the vast majority of cats lose that wild “look.” If it looks wild, it probably is.
  2. 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.

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. The menace to native wildlife, as stated at the beginning, is probably the most pressing reason to ban the private possession of hybrid cats. If a person asks what will happen to their hybrid cat if they turn them in to Animal Control or a local Humane Society, they will learn that there is no hope of the animal being adopted. This results in people abandoning their hybrid cats to the wild.

Hybrid cats are much better hunters, due to their recently wild genes, and thus can do much more damage to the eco system than feral cats alone. Add to that the likelihood of breeding with the feral cat population and you end up with much larger cats, capable of killing bigger and a wider array of native wildlife, including amphibious species because wild cats will readily go in the water after prey.

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.

What about hybrid cats?

Allowing the private possession of wild cat/ domestic cat hybrids is like strapping a nuclear war head to the feral cat problem.

I get e-mails every day, asking what I think of hybrids as pets. The hybrids in questions are usually Bengal Cats (leopard cat and domestic cross), Chausie or Stone Cougars (jungle cat and domestic cat cross) and Savannah (Serval and domestic cat cross) and Safari Cats (Geoffroy Cat and domestic cat cross). In the case of Stone Cougars the polydactyl feet and dwarf body style which are typical of severe inbreeding are encouraged to make the cat look less cat-like. Some people ask about Pixie Bobs, but I don’t know of any compelling evidence that suggests they really have any bobcat blood. Sometimes, when people are talking about hybrids, they are talking about lion/tiger crosses or serval/caracal crosses and much of what is true about the domestic crosses is more so of the wildcat hybrids.

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.

While the rest of this article refers to Bengal Cats, the same is true of all of the hybrid cats. Some people have beautiful, fifth generation Bengal Cats that are reported to eat cat food, live quietly with domestic and use the litter box fastidiously. This may well be the case, but the breeders tend to keep breeding back to the wild Leopard Cats in order to get the exotic markings. The idea was to glean the best of both worlds: a fabulously spotted or striped cat with all the gentleness of thousands of years of domestic history. Unfortunately, what more often happens is that you get the ordinary cat coat and a wild personality.

Even after 4 or 5 generations, that wild personality is a dominant trait and while it is marketed as being just like having a tiny tiger in your home, most people don’t know what that really means. As someone who is not trying to sell you a $2000.00 kitten that you will one day take to the dog pound out of frustration, let me tell you what it is like to live with a hybrid.

We have had a bunch of them that were former pets. We have had to turn away many, many more because most of them cannot run free outside and have to have the same cages as bobcats and cougars. They all spray. Male or female, neutered or not, first generation or fifth generation; I have never met one that didn’t spray urine all over everything in their path.

They bite. Even in play, even if they love you, they bite and I have scars all over my hands to prove that their love nips will leave you bleeding. They want to eat your other pets and they don’t care if it’s a German shepherd, they are going to be constantly looking for a way to take the dog down. That is why many of them can’t run free on Easy Street. They pick fights with 500 pound tigers. I have even received reports from Florida’s Game and Fish Commission of them stalking little old ladies and I have been called in to trap and remove them. This discarded pet now lives on Easy Street, but most are not this lucky.

The creation of a non protected species, by hybridizing the endangered leopard cats with the non endangered domestic cats has also created a huge market for the fur of these hybrids. Check out any of the big fur dealers, like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and they will try to sell you the idea that their furs are from killing Lippi Cats (sometimes called Lipi Cats) in China. Of course that is absurd. There is no such thing as a Lippi Cat. The fur patterns on these coats can only be from truly endangered cats or from the Bengal Cat hybrids. In either case it is sad (and sick) but hybridizing cats has made this a lucrative market. So much, in fact, that the Bengal Cat is commonly called, the Money Cat.

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.

For the cats, Carole Baskin, Founder

Nov. 22, 2017 RI:  A Savannah cat is caught on camera breaking into a home and attacking the family’s domestic cat right outside the door of a newborn infant. The Savannah cat broke into the house on several occasions by slipping through a vent and then breaking out windows.   See the footage:  https://turnto10.com/news/local/exotic-cat-breaks-into-home-attacks-family-pet

Want to DO Something About It?

Visit CatLaws.com and take action now!

Please Don’t Ask Us To Take Your Bengal Cat or Savannah

We get hundreds of letters each year from people who bought a cute little Bengal Cat kitten and who can’t wait to get rid of them when they reach adulthood. We do not take in Bengal Cats and don’t know anyone reliable who does. The Bengal Cat Rescue Network is the only place we have found online who offers to take in unwanted Bengal Cats and we cannot speak for their integrity or policies, but have listed a link to them here to help you try to find a home for the cat you have discovered is now spraying everything in sight and who is attacking your pets, children and spouse. The Bengal Cat Rescue Network.

Before You Buy a Hybrid or Purebred Pet

Read this article: https://www.thedodo.com/why-think-twice-before-buy-bengal-cat-1988316082.html

As I read this, I thought that so much of this sentiment applies to what we witness in our rescuing of wildcats. “DON’T BREED OR BUY WHILE SANCTUARIES FILL UP” – just changing a few words…it’s what we try to educate, too. (Having put in time volunteering at a shelter’s euthanasia department, crying my way home every day, believe me, this all rings very true and deserves sharing far and wide). These are some of the very same issues our staff deal with every day, too.

“I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call.

As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a view from the inside if you will.

First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day.

Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know. That puppy or kitten you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not cute anymore.

So, how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that pet will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the pets that are “owner surrenders” or “strays,” that come into my shelter are purebred.

The most common excuses I hear are;

“We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving to that doesn’t allow pets?

Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would.” How big did you think a German Shepherd would get?

“We don’t have time for her.” Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs!

“She’s tearing up our yard.” How about making her a part of your family?

They always tell me: “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her. We know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good pet.” Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is?

Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies.

Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it.

If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk or give them a loving pat. If not, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose.

If your pet is an adult, black, part exotic, or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those pets just don’t get adopted.

It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are. If your pet doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed.
If the shelter isn’t full and your pet is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long.

Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment.

If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles, chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down:”

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk – happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room,” every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them.

Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff.” Hopefully, your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk. I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams.

They all don’t just “go to sleep,” sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves. When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage.

What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right? I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much further than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.


Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one person’s mind about breeding their pet, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a pet. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say “I saw this and it made me want to adopt.”

Diablo the Savannah Cat at Big Cat Rescue
Diablo the Savannah Cat at Big Cat Rescue




Meet the hybrids of Big Cat Rescue

Savannah cat breed banned in Australia

August 03, 2008

An exotic breed of cat has been banned, with environment minister Peter Garrett calling it an extreme risk to native wildlife.  So-called “Savannah” cats are a cross between domestic cats and an African wildcat known as the serval.

They tend to be spotted with slightly larger ears than other cats and have become popular with some cat-lovers.

But environmentalists fear they retain the strong hunting instincts of their African ancestors and could interbreed with millions of feral cats already in Australia, which have wrought havoc on the country’s indigenous wildlife.

“The risks associated with allowing this cross-bred cat into the country, when we already have up to 12 million feral cats wreaking havoc on native fauna, are simply too great,” Mr Garrett said.

“That is why I have banned the import of these cats immediately.”

He said the Savannah cat posed “an extreme threat to Australia’s native wildlife”.

Read some real letters that we receive from people who own a Bengal Cats and know what it is really like.

Bengal Cat May Be Killed for Biting Neighbors

Just a pet to owner, a threat to others:  Officials think a cat that attacked two people is part wild and want to test it for rabies.

Problem is, they’d have to put it to sleep first.


Published June 1, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG — Melissa Russell was taking her usual Saturday morning walk when a striped cat named Czar yowled and lunged at her.  Then he then bit her in the calf.“I was shocked,” said Russell, 78, of Snell Isle.

An hour later, 6-year-old Cole Fisher stopped to pet Czar. The cat bit him in the thigh, said his mother, Lana.  Now the county wants to seize Czar to test it for rabies. Officials think Czar is part wild, an exotic Bengal. No rabies vaccines are approved for hybrids or wild animals, so a rabies test requires killing the cat first.

But Czar’s owner, Jo Ellen Janas, 53, won’t give him up. She insists Czar is a domestic cat, not a Bengal.

This week, the county filed a petition for an injunction to force Janas to hand over Czar. “It’s a tough deal,” said Dr. Welch Agnew, the county’s assistant director for animal services. “We never want to take somebody’s pet, but we’ve got victims out there.”

Both families said Janas was apologetic after learning of the attacks, which occurred May 20. Janas assured them Czar had been vaccinated for rabies and mailed copies of his veterinary record. That’s where Russell saw that Czar was classified as a Bengal, an exotic hybrid created by breeding a domestic cat with an Asian leopard.

She alerted animal services.

On May 24 , a county animal services officer went to Janas’ home on Brightwaters Boulevard to take Czar and get him tested for rabies.  The test requires putting the cat to sleep and removing his brain to check the stem for antibodies.

If Czar does not have rabies, Russell and Fisher can discontinue their rounds of rabies shots, Agnew said.  The total series is one dose of immune globulin and five doses of rabies vaccine over 28 days. But Janas won’t turn over her beloved pet. Her attorney, Russell Cheatham, said Thursday that the cat was misidentified as a Bengal on its medical records. It is a domestic cat, he said. “If there was a less drastic means than killing her pet, it would be a different situation,” he said. “But it’s a problem because it may not be necessary.” Cheatham said his client is searching for a lab that will run a DNA test on Czar to prove he is not part wild. Janas is
keeping the animal confined to her home, he said.

Meanwhile, Russell received her second round of rabies shots Thursday, and Fisher received his first round. “I’ve been extremely worried,” Lana Fisher said. “It’s just devastating that we have to put him through this.” Both families said that though the incident has been difficult, they don’t want to pursue legal action against their neighbor. “We are Christians,” Russell said. “I have no bitterness.”

The county is not so forgiving.

“We have a suspected rabid animal that is allegedly running loose and attacking people,” said Michelle Wallace, an assistant county attorney. “It could be out running loose again, and who knows? We could have a rabies outbreak.” A court hearing is scheduled June 7. More than half the 2,700 reports of bites or scratches in the county every year involve dogs.  Usually, domestic dogs, cats and ferrets suspected of rabies are issued a 10-day home quarantine, Agnew said. If they have rabies, they typically die within that period.

“But that’s not true for wild animals,” he said. “The only test that’s 100 percent accurate is a postmortem test.” Raccoons are the primary source of rabies in Florida. A rabies outbreak spread by raccoons a decade ago prompted animal services to begin taking preventive action. In March, it dropped fish-meal-coated rabies vaccine from helicopters.

My Cat Has Projectile Diarrhea

I could not agree more with your philosophy re hybrid Bengals. I had a Siamese and a Tonkinese together. Both reached the age of 20+. The Tonk was fantastic, the Siamese so stupid she could not have had more than 3 brain cells … but sweet and devoted. After they passed, I swore no more pets. Then, I saw a neighbor’s Bengal and immediately fell in love with it. I still resisted. That lasted 2 weeks. I ended up purchasing 2 F4 standards, beautifully marked and full of glitter. They were gorgeous and from a famous line. One was so sweet, wouldn’t stay away from me at the kittery, I had to buy her. The 2nd was purchased to keep the 1st one company. Big mistake, the 2nd one was wild as could be and was returned within 3 days. I subsequently found out my returned one went to a breeder who ultimately returned her because she was uncontrollable … truly WILD!

Lets just say that my Bengal has been a monumental pain regardless of how cute and precocious she may be. She wakes up at 2:30 a.m. so I haven’t had a decent night’s rest in a year. If I don’t play with her she starts her ungodly whining, yodel, squeaking, whatever cat calls that could wake the dead. Without question, this is the smartest creature I’ve ever encountered. The easy problems were breaking her of the habit of jumping into the shower with me every morning, trying to swim in the commode, etc. … she’s obsessed by water; and, pulling door stops out of the wall to use them as fishing rods(?) in her water bowl. I kid you not, have photos. Around 5 a.m., if I don’t play with her, she bites my ankles until I do. Love bites but still annoying. That’s the funny side. She’s got me trained well!

The sad side is she has Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) which the “breeder” said she didn’t, then said she cured (I returned her after 2 weeks) and then took her back, then put me onto a raw chicken diet which I ultimately decided was too dangerous. Plus, it didn’t work. After much $$ was spent at Vets, she was finally placed on 5 mg prednisolone qd and a high fiber diet. The diet gives her gas which is so foul I nearly gag. Fortunately, her stools firmed up. Don’t ask about her litter box … at least it’s always within 2″ of it if she misses. But, I’m much concerned because there is strong evidence of intestinal bleeding. After passing her stool, there is a fair quantity of mucous which is obviously blood tinged. I will not submit her to experimental surgery. I also have huge issues with putting an animal down unless its in pain. I suspected the breeder would have and my taking her back was probably because I couldn’t see her put down. So, I have her, I love her, I could kill her at times if you know what I mean. But, you are so right, this should not be a breed.

I say the above so you’ll know I have some limited experience with this breed.

You raise a valid issue. Had I known what I know now I would never had done anything to promote the continuation of this breed. Having done some literature searches, IBD seems common with Bengals; and, its not really curable. I can’t even handle the issue of coats its so barbaric.

However, I see another problem that arises from the breeders. Done so purely to increase their incomes. The breeders deny IBD is a problem, they swear their lines are free of it, its just finding the “right” diet. For me that’s pure PR. They also use the words active, intelligent, etc., to cover up that they are often wild and can “flip” on the owner in a second. Mine is sweet, definitely F4, great, really great line but if I pick her up the wrong way or startle her … my blood flows and they’re not minor scratches!!!

I wish there was some better way to alert potential owners prior to their purchase. I hate the thought of such gorgeous creatures burdened by IBD their entire lives. As well, emotionally, they don’t know who they are from one minute to the next … domestic or wild.

Some thoughts.
My best,

My Savannah Cat Eats the Furniture

Hi! I’m a volunteer with pet rescue here in Orlando. Recently I was contacted by a woman who asked me to help her find a home for her two year old F1 male savannah. She says that kitty is very affectionate and loving and great with her clients, but he’s nearly destroyed her home/ office. He eats the furniture, tears large chunks out of the towels and sheets, and chews through anything made of plastic, rubber, or vinyl (he also knows how to open doors-not a good thing). She’s covered everything in cayenne pepper powder but that still doesn’t help. I’m sure you’re familiar with this problem (which is one of the reasons you don’t advocate the breeding of hybrids) and I wondered if you have any suggestions. I’m sure that if I offered this cat up for adoption many would step forward to give him a new home, but finding a qualified home could be a real challenge. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Bengal Breeders Often Don’t Tell Buyers The Truth

Reading about hybrid cats on your website inspired me to e-mail my experiences. I purchased a snow Bengal kitten nine months ago. My main concern is that the breeder/seller does not inform the buyer of what they’re getting into when owning a hybrid cat. They’re part wild, and will need extra supervision. They will be destructive in your home. I had to get rid of fragile items, plants, certain decorations on the walls. Before I buy anything for my home, I have to consider what my hybrid will do to it. Basically, I don’t buy anything for my home anymore. It is really important that people understand how destructive they can be before they buy one. I personally feel not understanding their capabilities is what leads to giving the pet up to shelter, or resale of the cat. It saddens me to hear that people give these cats up because they bond with the person that purchases them. More so than regular cats. I’m always pulling my hybrid off my other two cats. She can be a bit of a bully. I had long deep scratches covering my legs the first 6 months. Biting and scratching is hard to break, but can be done. She no longer scratches, but she loves to bite.

The most common in Bengalis (it is more common to have it than not) is irritable bowel disease, which means a life of projectile diarrhea. Our cat was having non-stop diarrhea, sometimes with mucus in it. The smell was terrible. It would reek through out the entire house daily. I guess this is the main reason I’m e-mailing. I hope this information will help others. The reason these cats have diarrhea is that their metabolisms is high, so they need different food than a normal house cat. I started feeding ours one boiled boneless skinless chicken thigh every morning, and one can of high quality cat food “Pet Promise” that I would dish out through out the afternoon and evening. It’s important to feed them the canned cat food also. They need the vitamins that the chicken will not offer. Due to their faster metabolisms, they eat more than a normal house cat. Ours eats twice the amount of regular house cats. Tina

Urinating outside litter box

I have a 3 1/2 year old male Bengal who started urinating outside of the liter box in the house when he was just past 2 years old. We started him on daily doses of prozac for this behavor problem. Over the course of a year we increased the dosage 2 times and he was almost at the maximum dose and we got an email from the breeder who suggested we try the Depo-Provera injections. We got King to the vet for the first injection and started slowly decreasing the other medication until it was gone. We were not supposed to take King back for another injection until 1 month later but before that time was up he was back to unrinating in the house. We took King back to the vet for the second shot and it seems like the urinating is worse. We are faced with the choice of finding him a new home with someone who can deal with this behavor or putting him to sleep. I am so disappointed that the breeders of these cats don’t tell people that this is very common. Please email me with any suggestions or thoughs…Thanks, Wanda

Bengal Cat Biting Child

Just wondering if you know of a rescue organization for Bengal Cats. I know yours is for big cats, but just thought I would try. Friends of mine have e Bengal Cat that is about 3 or 4 years old, their daughter is mentally handicapped. I think she bothers the cat and the cat has been biting her. They are beside themselves and don’t know what to do. We have looked everywhere for a home, but so far to no avail. Just thought I would check to see if you have any ideas. They live in the Orlando area. Thanks, Sally

Bengal Cat Doesn’t Get Along

Do you know anywhere I can take my Bengal cat to find a good home? I need to find her one, she is the cutest thing but doesn’t get long with my other cat- I figure she’ll be easier to find a home for since she is exotic. Sandy

Tritrichomonas Foetus May Cause Bloody Diarrhea

I got Tess (a Bengal Cat) last November and since then she has had 5 bouts of bloody diarrhea. I knew when I got her that the breed has “digestive problems” and didn’t mind taking care of her at all in spite of this. My breeder suggested Panacur and it seemed to help during the first 4 bouts but this 5th time it didn’t help much. I had heard about Tritrichomonas Foetus and did some research on the internet and found two persons who found out their cat(s) had this TF … obviously this is just recently recognized in cats and detection of the micro-organism is very difficult and a culture needs to be done. I contacted one of Tess’s vets with the information and she ran a test and called me 10 days later and said, “Yes, Tess is positive!” There is a treatment which has only been available since January of this year and she is now on this. I had to order it special from a company on the internet. She has to take 2 capsules every day for 14 days! Needless to say, I am really happy that I found this out and am glad that I didn’t settle for the diagnosis and wasn’t willing to just “watch her” Janice in PA

Bloody diarrhea of Bengal Cats

Carole’s note: I posted this because it may help some cats, but I have had many reports that it did not help.

“I recently was made the most beautiful gift of a female bengal kitten, she is extremely sweet and playful – and yes a little wild.

When I discovered that she had diarrhea which was on occasion blood tinged, it reminded me of my patients wheat or gluten allergies (I am an Acupuncturist).
Gluten is a protein found in cereal that is highly allergenic. It can cause irritation of the intestine in varying degrees and can lead over time to malabsorption problems, and because it is a protein, Kidney problems. It is most of the time misdiagnosed by MDs, and the patients go trough a lot of suffering until they learn how to adjust their diets.

I then decided to feed my cat gluten free cat food. This was a major project, I studied the ingredient labels of most cat foods and discovered that in most cat food there is gluten: wheat gluten, corn gluten, barley gluten etc.

Finally I found a brand “Wellness” that is grain free, and I started feeding this product along with the dryfood of this brand. The diarrhea stopped.  My cat dosn’t like it quite as well as the junk cat food, but she is only just like us: we like potato chips, which are not good for us.  Please post this on your website. Maybe that helps.
Greetings, Beatrice Moncrief”

It isn’t the cat’s fault

Savannah Cat Kills Fox in Belle Meade Island, Miami, FL

Hi, After checking out your website regarding Asian leopard/Bengal cat hybrids (which was very enlightening and informative), my mom had a long phone conversation with Honey at Big Cat Rescue today. She was very helpful. Thanks! She encouraged us to email your organization explaining our current situation.

I purchased a 4 month old F1 ALC/SBT hybrid from a breeder in April of this year. I am a vet tech and met the breeder through my work. I thought that her kittens were beautiful and she informed me that she had 1 kitten left from a littler and that he was the most beautiful kitten that she’s ever had. The breeder also said that he was very sweet and loving. I met the kitten and thought that he was the most amazing looking kitten and took him home on the spot. The first week away from his mother was HELL (lots of yelling and screaming) but we got through it. I neutered him and had a 4 paw de-claw done right away. I did not want him spraying in my apartment.

He was fine for the first few months. He and my 2 year old Siamese got along fairly well. The Bengal mostly annoyed the other cat with his kitten behavior. His only problem was that he would steal my socks and chew them up.

As time went on he started doing more annoying things, stealing silverware from the sink, taking my pens and pencils and chewing plants. He then started knocking things off of shelves on purpose. I’m not sure if he likes to watch them fall or if he likes the sound that they make when they crash. He also started chewing and shredding the rest of my clothing and towels. I have had to hide everything in closets.

In mid August we moved to a new apartment and got a puppy. He HATES the dog. She doesn’t bother him at all, but he goes out of his way to growl, hiss and spit at her. He even tries to hunt and attack her while she is sleeping in her crate.

He also started attacking my other cat after we moved into our new place. He starts out playing nicely with the Siamese and then goes way too far. My other cat lets him know that he’s done playing, but he won’t stop. I have to split up cat fights at least 3 times during the night. I have been loosing a lot of sleep over this. My other cat is now afraid of the Bengal and begs to be locked in a closet where the Bengal can not get at him.

In the past couple weeks the Bengal has become very food aggressive. The cats share the same kind of food but have separate dishes. The Bengal will not let the Siamese come within a 2 foot radius of the dishes if there is food in them. I now have to feed them separately.

I have lived in my new place for 2 months now and have not unpacked a single box because I am afraid that the cat will ruin the rest of my things. I have tried to hide my clothes in closets, but every time I come home from work I find out that he has learned how to open the closets and has chewed up more clothing. I now have to barricade the closets with heavy objects.

About 2 weeks after I moved into my new place I noticed a funny smell in the corner of my living room. It turned out that my Bengal had been using one of my boxes full of my stuff as his new littler box. There is nothing wrong with his litter box and there is no medical reason for him to not be using his box, but he won’t use it anyway. He has been peeing in about 5 different spots throughout my place and has decided to poop 1 foot from the entrance to his box, not in the box. I’ve tried to use behavioral modification meds on him but they were not successful. I can’t catch him to rub it on his ears, he won’t eat the flavored treat meds and I can’t hide it in raw meat.

I have talked to the breeder about his litter box issues, attacking the other cat and the destroying of my things and clothing. She told me that they aren’t ‘knick-knack’ cats. She didn’t tell me that on day 1 when I got him. She then told me that I have a few options. I can try meds (I did.), I could ‘re-train’ him or I could find him a new home.

I don’t know of anyone that would want a destructive cat that can not be handled and I do not think that ‘re-training’ him will help him stop destroying my things or attacking my dog.

I am at the end of my rope and feel that my last option is euthanasia. I realize that he is not a domesticated cat and cannot live as a pet in someone’s home. It is hard for me to have this as my last option. I had made tentative plans to put him down this weekend until I found out about your web site. It’s not his fault that he is this way. Do you know any other options for him?

Thank you for your time and consideration. Name witheld by request

Carole’s Note: The owner found a Bengal Cat Rescue group willing to try and place the cat so he will not be euthanized. If you do the math above you will see that he had become this problematic by the time he was only 10 months old. Usually it is a year and half before they become intolerable in the house. 99.9% of the mail we get indicates this is typical of the hybrids regardless of what the mix is. We get hate mail from the breeders, who don’t want this information available to you, and occasionally a letter from a pet owner who has a cat that is four or more generations removed from the wild who just isn’t bright enough to figure out that the only way to get a watered down Bengal is by creating many unfortunate cats like this one along the way. We love cats and don’t want any of them to suffer just so a few people can make a buck or stroke their own ego.

Breeder Hides Irritable Bowel Disease

I thought that my story might give others reason to pause and reconsider the purchase of a hybrid cat breed. While we were very fortunate in personality and behavior, we have a cat with very questionable health that, I believe, was unloaded on us with full knowledge and complete non-disclosure of his health problems.

Bengal-Cat-Kojak-4We adopted a four year old retired breeding stud bengal three years ago. He’s at least an F5. He’s exceedingly well mannered – uses the scratching post and the litter box, is good with other pets and children, sleeps on the bed with me, no biting, attacking, or scratching people. As a retired stud, I was very concerned about spraying, but we’ve never had a single issue. He is not a healthy guy, though. After two close brushes with death in the first year we had him, we figured out that he has a food allergy. To chicken. Yes, chicken. Thousands of dollars were spent on hospitalization and testing and medicines and ultrasounds because we thought he had severe IBD and a potential blockage or significant internal defect. Considering that he was four years old when we bought him, you would think that the breeder might have mentioned this. After I let her know that he was sick, (but we did not want to return him) she stopped communicating with us. I had spoken (on the phone) with this lady repeatedly and at great length about this cat to make sure he was going to work in our household. I was assured that he was “naturally lean” but didn’t have any health problems. Apparently, “naturally lean” is code for an inability to gain weight because of all the diarrhea and vomiting. At least the specialty food, to which he is now restricted, has resolved the bulk of his health issues. This cat was a breeding stud for several years at that cattery, and one of his daughters is still a breeding queen there.

Buyer beware.  Thank you,  Heather

Midnight Rescue

March 22, 2006 11:21 pm: I had just gotten in from a three hour meeting of the Animal Advisory Committee where we had wrestled with the long range goals of Animal Services and how we would be able to stop the flood of animals in the front doors to be euthanized because people didn’t want them any more. How could we fund education and aggressive spay / neuter programs in a county government fraught with cut backs? How could we stop the killing of 34,000 healthy dogs and cats each year in an environment of thought that could only do more of what wasn’t working by building more places for people to bring their pets to die? It was a topic worthy
of the energy we had all put into it tonight, but at the end of the night all we had managed to do was suggest that an outside consultant be paid to tell us how to do it and we would leave funding the implementation to another day’s discussion.

Jungle Cat RescueBeing away from my computer for 3 hours means a pile of emails will have collected and standing at my desk I began to sort through them. I really wanted to go to bed, so not sitting down seemed to me, as if it say, I was not committed to answering all of this mail, but would see if there was anything that just couldn’t wait until morning. Then the phone rang.

The voice on the other end was shaky, female and began, “I got your number from the answering machine, and I’m sorry to call so late, but I have called everyone I can think of and Fish and Game said they would send someone yesterday, but they never did, and the trapper said he will just euthanize the cat, and the cat is scared, and I am afraid he is going to die, and if I let him loose someone is going to shoot him. It’s a big cat. I think it might be a Florida Panther. It weighs 90 pounds, is three feet long, had VERY big teeth and his paws are as big as my hands. I caught him in my garage. He has been tearing up cats in the neighborhood and some are missing. I think he ate them. I caught him in the trap with some cat food. He just fills up the entire trap…”

I don’t know how long she went through her description before I spoke. There was no hurry to speak as she was just flowing with information. I jotted down the details as I silently pondered her authenticity. I have been outspoken against people breeding and selling exotic cats and have committed much of my time to trying to stop the trade. I had become the target of a segment of our society that is comprised largely of drug dealers, criminals and those just too ignorant or uncaring to see that their participation in the industry causes such suffering for the animals. In their chat rooms they had suggested more than once that the only way to stop me was a bullet. Was this call in the middle of the night a set up for just such an opportunity?

Was this woman’s voice shaking because she was lying and involved in something that could send her to prison? The notion of a 90 lb. Florida Panther, in a dog trap, in a garage, in a waterfront community like Apollo Beach, was pretty far fetched. Is that why Fish and Game had not responded, or did she just say she called them first so that I wouldn’t? I queried her more, asking the same questions in different ways. If she was lying she would get tripped in her own tale and if she wasn’t she would surely think that I was an idiot who just couldn’t get the picture.

After a while I decided that no one could have made up a story like hers and told her I would be sending our Operations Manager Scott and our own licensed trapper to see if she changed her mind about wanting someone to come right away. Her only concern was if our trapper was of the same conviction as the one she had called earlier and I assured her that we would not kill the cat. She gave her contact info and it all matched up with the public records. She was in a high rent district that was not consistent with where most of our opponents live. I called Jamie to wake her up.

Jungle Cat RescueGroggy she answered the phone. She had been too exhausted to sleep, but had finally managed to drift off when she heard my voice saying, “Get up. We have to pick up a Florida Panther in Apollo Beach.” She said to wait out front and she would be ready in three minutes and she was.

As she climbed into the truck she asked me to repeat what it was we were doing again and why. If this was a 90 lb cat we would have to pick up the van from the sanctuary and have an enclosure ready upon our return. The woman was afraid for the cat because she couldn’t open the trap to give him water and he had been in it for a couple days. We needed a place we could release the cat so that he could stand up (which she also said he couldn’t do in the tiny trap he was wedged into) and get a drink.

As we switched out gear to the van Jamie called Scott to alert him that we needed a cage ready. He prepared our rehab cage because it is far removed from the tour route and the other cats in case this was truly a wild cat and as a quarantine measure.

On the one hour trip to Apollo Beach Jamie and I placed bets as to what was in the trap. Would it be a dog? A raccoon? A neighbor’s oversized tom cat? A bobcat? Partly this was due to the barrage of such sightings that turn out to be such animals and partly in our nervous aversion to what the real implications of this trip could mean to our lives. Jamie was armed with a Mag Light and has become something of an Amazon in strength due to her daily life of outside work at the rescue. I have a history of deflecting harm thanks to an overly protective Guardian Angel and hardly ever even consider my own safety but I worried for Jamie. She is the permit holder to pick up a native animal and had to be there. She knows the element of enemy we are up against. A master of disguise and undercover surveillance she has been face to face with those who use and abuse these animals. If anyone knew the dark void of greed, ego and selfishness that these exotic animal breeders and dealers shared it was Jamie. We were ready for whatever the night might bring.

I was somewhat relieved to find at the end of our route the homes were in the million dollar range. At least gun fire would probably cause an investigation. The caller met us at the door and holding back her dogs waived us to enter the garage. I quickly scanned the room to try and determine if there was anyone lurking and to get a feel for what kind of person we were dealing with. I wasn’t too thrilled with the notion of being thrust into the garage; was that so we wouldn’t make a bloody mess on the carpet?

Jungle Cat HissingOpening the garage door I saw the trap that was virtually busting at the seams with brown fur. Glancing around the garage I didn’t see anyone or anyplace anyone likely could be hiding. I know Jamie’s observation skills were far more adept and that she could also go on for hours describing exactly everything in the room to its most minute detail after a five minute visit. The woman rejoined us and shut the door behind her. She was no match for us and I began to un tense every muscle that had been as tight as piano wire for a battle.

She described the cat again; as if we couldn’t see him and detailed discovering the cat a week before and all that she had done to try and find help. Finding no one who cared, she borrowed a trap and set out to catch the cat herself for fear that someone would shoot him. Finally she turned to Jamie and asked, “So, what is it?”

Jamie responded that it was a Jungle Cat and I interjected that it was the biggest Jungle Cat I had ever seen. We gathered a written statement from the woman, interviewed her mother who owned the home, took photos and settled the 26 lb. Jungle Cat into the back of the van for the hour ride home.

2:13 am we arrived back at the sanctuary and the only way to get the cat to the rehab cage is to carry him across 2 acres of underbrush on a foot wide path lit by only a flashlight. I carried the flashlight and Jamie hauled the 36 pounds of cat and trap. Jamie turned him loose in his new enclosure and unlike most trapped cats he just moseyed out of the trap and strolled around the Cat-a-tat checking out the brush bama, the cave and the swinging platforms. She gave him water and secured the cage.

The next day we called Fish and Game, now known as the FWCC, to report the incident. We checked the lost and found while Dr. Wynn checked the cat over to try and tell, without sedating him, if he was a male, neutered or not and what was up with those huge paws? We had filmed an interview for a documentary into the small cat and hybrid cat business and the producer called saying she needed a few more break away shots. I told her about the rescue and offered to let her document what happens when these animals escape.

Jungle Cat at Big Cat RescueThe minute she saw the cat she said it was a Stone Cougar and that there was a hybrid dealer a couple hours away who was trying to make himself famous by breeding a Chaussie (Jungle Cat / Domestic Cat cross) that looks like a cougar. Purposely inbreeding causes traits such as the polydactyl feet to make the paws bigger and the stunted, dwarf like legs to make the cats’ body style more closely resemble a cougar. The Jungle Cat is used for its brown coloring and hybrids are typically larger than either parent, so this would give the desired size for the pet owner who wants something big enough to beat up the neighbor’s Rottweiler.

This cat’s escape, or release, sums up the hybrid issue. The first generations are large, mentally confused, and often exhibit the worst of both species rather than the best. Hybrids are marketed as being miniature wildcats with all of their beauty and mystique while being easy to keep; eating cat food and using a litter box. What is most often created is a rather ordinary looking cat with no house manners who will fight you to the death for the defrosting meat in the sink. Children and pets are particularly in danger and there isn’t a house that can contain them, or in which anyone who can smell will want to live. They are often relegated to lonely lives in back yard cages or are turned loose to fend for themselves on whatever neighbor’s pets they can catch.

This cat probably sold for $2500.00 and was just a way to make some money to his breeder. This cat once was a new buyer’s prized possession. This cat knew what it meant to live in fear on the street with no one who cared if he lived or died, except for a woman who was determined that he would not be shot for mauling the neighbor’s cats. This cat may now spend 20 years in a cage because he is too big and too dangerous to be kept as a pet anymore.

On April 27 Sparticus, the Jungle Cat hybrid was re-united with his family. According to his owner, they had been vacationing and their home broken into. All of their pets had been set free and they had been unable to find Sparticus. Someone saw his story on our site and alerted the owner who was able to identify the cat by his microchip number.

This cat is the one with a story to tell and you can help him tell it: Exotic cats were not meant for life in cages. Please don’t support the exotic pet trade; including the hybrid pet trade.

Nervous and Temperamental

Hi, A few years ago I was living in Miami. It happened to be a cold October evening around 8 PM. In the parking lot I spotted a small orange kitten. Well, about 2 hours later I was able to catch him and bring him into my apartment. Since I had 2 other cats and a small dog. I put him in my spare bathroom with food, water, litter box and a box with lots of towels for a bed. The next day I asked around to see if any one knew where he came from. Of course you know the answer to that. I took him to my vet. My vet pronounced him to be in good health. So he had his shots, etc and came home. The vet did say he had pretty big ears and big feet. My boy grew and grew. As he grew he became more nervous and temperamental. Luckily he did get along with my other pets. After ripping my vet apart, we decided he would have to be sedated before any more visits. He developed irritable bowel syndrome and occasionally would spray. I was the only one that could handle him and at times I had problems with him. (biting and scratching). Mario grew to be 30# of solid muscle. I had him for 7 years before he developed osteosarcoma. Every vet, I had a few, said they thought he was a hybrid. I have told my story over and over. Wild or hybrid these cats do not make good pets. Mario was my boy. I stuck by him. Even held him during hurricane Andrew. He howled and shook for four hours. However if I had children, I never could have. kept him. Please pass my story along. Thanks. Jan Kelley

Super Feral

6 June 2007
Wild-domestic fashion pets sneaking past quarantine leaves native animals at risk Serval-cat “supercat” shouldn’t be let in without scrutiny A loophole in Australia’s biosecurity system means hybrid African Serval-domestic cat crosses can be imported into the country with no assessment of their potential to decimate native wildlife.

Chief Executive of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Professor Tony Peacock, pointed out the loophole to the Quarantine and Biosecurity Review in Canberra today. “Hybrids of wild animals and domestic animals are a stupid American trend to breed more and more exotic pets” says Professor Peacock. “No one anticipated such animals when our quarantine laws were formulated, so we apply a definition that a fifth generation wild-domestic cross is legally a “domestic” animal and so escapes proper scrutiny”.

“Fourteen of these wild-cross cats are currently in quarantine on their way to Australia and have apparently passed all Federal requirements. We hope the Queensland Government will classify them Class 1 Pest Animals under State Legislation and ban them, but this sort of thing should be a Federal responsibility. An Adelaide breeder is advertising animals available in 2009”.

“This loophole will effectively lead to fitting a nuclear warhead to our already devastating feral cat population. So-called “Savannah cats” are more than double the size of domestic cats and can jump two metres from a standing start. Haven’t our native animals got enough to contend with?”

The practice of hybridising wild and domestic animals deserves much more scrutiny itself. An American breeder describes the issue on her own website:

…it can be extremely difficult to accomplish the Serval to domestic cat breeding. Whether it be the Serval male to the domestic female (which is most often the case), or to attempt a female Serval to a domestic male … because the Serval body type is so much longer and taller, this makes the pairing physically quite challenging. Add to that the differences in behavior between a wild cat and a domestic cat, and in some cases, too much aggression on the part of an intact adult Serval …

“I think anyone that forced a mating of an African Serval and a domestic cat in Australia would find themselves in serious discussion with animal welfare authorities” said Professor Peacock. “It is certainly a practice we shouldn’t condone by allowing people to import this new style of fashion animal. We need to update our quarantine rules to keep up with this exotic pet trend”.

The same loophole would allow a variety of hybrid cats and potentially wolf-dog hybrids if they pass disease regulations.

“The Quarantine and Biosecurity Review provides a great opportunity to point out anomalies that need attention. This issue has arisen from the practice of breeding new animals that did not exist when laws and regulations were framed.”

“Our native animals are at risk because of a fashionable desire to own an exotic pet. The impact on these vulnerable species will remain long after the fashion dies out” said Professor Peacock.

Fashion breeds of cat bred through mating wild cats:

“Bengal Cat” hybrid with Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis (SE Asia, 6.8 kg) (already in Australia)

“Savannah Cat” hybrid with Serval Leptailurus serval (Africa, 20 kg)

“Safari Cat” hybrid with Geoffroy’s cat Leopardus geoffroyi (S. America, 4 kg)

“Chausie” hybrid with Jungle Cat Felis chaus (Asia, 16 kg)

“Serengeti cat” Bengal cat/ Asian Short-haired cat hybrid

See Big Cat Rescue’s concerns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiLAcEp5Vng


Prof Tony Peacock

Invasive Animals CRC

Ph: 0402 036 110

Email: tony.peacock@invasiveanimals.com

University of Canberra, Canberra ACT 2601

But What About An F4 Bengal Cat?

I’ve had my F4 Bengal, Lelu, for nine years, since she was about 15 weeks old. She was a rescue from a terrible breeder, who is thankfully no longer in business. After nearly a decade, I have some warnings for people looking to buy a hybrid cat:

1. HYBRID CATS ARE DESTRUCTIVE. No matter how well trained, no matter how sweet, they destroy things. I have to keep fragile knick knacks in locked china cases. Anything that is out has to be able to take the fall and not break, because she will knock it off whatever it is sitting on. She chews holes in mini blinds just to get a better view. If it is shaped like a pen or pencil, she will take it; this includes pulling straws out of drinks while you are holding them. If it has fur, leather, suede or feathers on it, she will attack it, drag it to her “den,” chew it to shreds, and usually pee on it for good measure. She steals shiny things, such as rings or bracelets, tears up vent covers, and drops the jewelry inside. I’ve done more to Lelu-proof my house than I ever had to do when my daughter was a baby.

2. HYBRID CATS WILL HAVE NIGH UNBREAKABLE HABITS. It took two years to break Lelu of the habit of nursing – sucking on my shirt, frequently in the middle of the night so I’d wake up with a giant cat drool spot. She yowls, constantly, louder than a Siamese, and nothing can make her stop. I had to learn to tune it out just so I could sleep or watch TV. She bites. She plays with water in the toilet – and will lift the lid if you close it so she can keep playing. I did manage to get her to use a scratching post (Lelu is NOT declawed), but it took years and a constant application of cat nip. Now, I cannot replace it – she will not accept a substitution. She guards the food – and maintains her place as alpha cat in the house violently if necessary. Fortunately, my other cat is perfectly comfortable letting her run the show.

3. HYBRID CATS WILL ATTACH TO ONE PERSON. While this may sound like a good thing, it can be a very bad one. Lelu is attached to me, which means that no matter where I am in the house or what I’m doing, she is there. If I am seated, she is in my lap, including at the dinner table. Pushing her down does no good – she never takes the hint. She will keep jumping into my lap, or she will dig her claws in to prevent being pushed off of me. She follows me into the bathroom, even gets in the shower with me. If I close a door to keep her out, she will actually rip chunks out of the door. When I leave the house, she yowls until a return. When I go on vacation, she won’t eat. If someone sits next to me on the couch, she will wiggle her way between us in order to establish her possession of me. She has attacked people who try to remove her from my lap. I would expect that if I ever gave her to another home, she would completely lose the thin veneer of domesticity she has.

4. HYBRID CATS RARELY GET ALONG WITH OTHER PETS. I have, through a great deal of patience and extremely slow integration over a period of months, managed to get Lelu to accept three additional pets, two other cats and a ferret. In each case, I had to have the new pet locked in one room for over a month, only bringing them together under supervision. Even still, Lelu is extremely territorial and possessive – she tolerates the other animals, but there is no real bond. She gets along best with my ferret, but I think that’s because my ferret is the only pet I have that can outrun her. It is also my understanding that the two of them getting along is highly unusual.

5. HYBRID CATS ARE NEUROTIC. Every Bengal I’ve ever seen or heard of has some sort of anxiety issues. Lelu, for example, stress grooms. The insides or her front legs are completely devoid of fur. If she’s under extreme stress, she will actually lick skin off until she bleeds.

6. HYBRID CATS ARE KILLERS. I have a dirt crawl space in my house, so I get mice, insects, even the occasional snake. Lelu kills them. She doesn’t play with them, she pounces, kills, and walks away. This is great for keeping my house pest free without chemicals, but not such a good habit when you bring a new baby pet home. She tried to kill a kitten I rescued from outside. I was helping to rehab a deformed chick hatchling from a class project, and she actually tore the latching cage top off the cage to get to the chick (fortunately I heard the noise and caught her in time). I watch very carefully when babies are around, too.

7. HYBRID CATS ARE SMART. Lelu can open any door she can get leverage or a grip on. Everything must lock or latch, or she will open it. She understands how to use mirrors to see around corners, and recognizes her own reflection vs. another cat’s. She actually uses the full length mirror in my bedroom to attack my other cats. She can and will open pill bottles that don’t have safety caps. She fishes cigarettes out of packs and eats them. She flushes toilets to watch the water run. She turns the stereo on and off to watch the lights flicker. Nothing is safe.

8. HYBRID CATS HAVE STRANGE HEALTH ISSUES. Lelu has a chronic cough; nothing gets rid of it or alleviates it. I’ve heard of bowel issues in Bengals, as well as neurological problems such as seizures or nervous tics. They also have strange reactions to normal veterinary medicines; you cannot take your hybrid to a regular veterinarian, you must take them to an exotic vet. Fortunately, I live near one of the best exotic pet clinics in the country. Lelu is allergic to flea bites. The one time she got fleas each bite turned into a huge weeping sore. When I got her spayed, she ripped the stitches out three times, two times by bending around the funnel collar, until there wasn’t enough flesh left to re-stitch. We had to pack the raged open wound with Neosporin to get it to heal. The scar is horrific.

In conclusion, I would say that it takes a very unusual person to keep a hybrid cat, and keep them well and happy. It’s similar to having a baby, except imagine the baby is deaf and will stay in their terrible twos for 15-20 years. I love my cat, and have not regretted any sacrifice I have made to give her a happy home. I will continue to own rescued hybrids – I know how to raise and care for them now, they fit with my personality and lifestyle, and so many need good homes that I could provide, I feel obligated to do what I can to help. But if you value your knick knacks, want a low maintenance pet, or just “like the look” of a hybrid, you need to NOT own one. They are, and will continue to be throughout their lives, wild animals. If what you want is a spotted cat, check out the ocicat breed – they are not hybrids.

Christine Stark majackmail@yahoo.com

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  1. Very informative article but very sad. It’s a shame, these stories I read about these beautiful animals.

  2. Soon true, I owned a Bengal and within three years became the most hated/feared pet owner in the neighbourhood. Monty was beautiful but had all the negative traits of a Bengal, nocturnal loud miaowing, attacking all wildlife, neighbours’ cats and threatening Jack Russell’s and Boxers. I would never trust him and crouch in the garden as he would always pounce on me. As a kitten, playtime was extremely rough and it stayed with him forever, so much so, I would wear long sleeves at work so it didn’t look like I was self-harming. He bit and scratched every neighbour and stalked my partner’s nephew who was a crawling toddler… God forbid telling this info on the social media Bengal pages, I would get vilified!

  3. We have a beautiful cat my husband adopted her from Petsmart. She was little and timid with a very unusual unique coat. I thought our Sarah wax a little Abyssinian cat… well her paws I noticed were very different then the paws of my previous cats. I noticed her meows were quite different as well and she nips and bites. I had to call the vet because our Sarah tried to commit suicide in our blinds we were terrified we heard a blood curdling cry and we were so scared because she bit so hard how to get her out of them. We had to throw a towel over her as we both wore gloves to untangle her. She was so scared if took us two hours of calm speaking to her and petting her to let her know she was safe. We live in Ohio well I was referred to a “Hybrid Vet” I asked why and I was told well Sarah’s a chausie cat I was told. I said I don’t understand well we went to Sarah’s new vet who declawed her front paws so she could not harm herself again. It was a godsend he did as she started clawing our old chairs. He gave her all her shots and she’s on a grain free diet occasionally we give her roasted chicken salmon scallops and shrimp those are her preference. We were told not to get any other pets as well. She’s growing up lovely. Our little girl is gorgeous she’s very protective of my spouse and I extremely atheletic and we have to play with her to wear her out. We just invested in a six and a half foot cat tree. She no longer yodels but when she wants to eat you feed her on time or she does get upset. She understands “ stop” and “ No No” she opens doors and she loves water. We have an atrium with our cat friendly plants it’s her favorite room as well as our bed. She is a wonderful pet we have educated ourselves in everything we could find to raise Sarah and provide her with a healthy safe home. Her favorite toys are feathers from turkeys baseballs and rubber snakes. She lives to cuddle and be near us. She’s terrified of the outdoors. Her body is different to me she likes like an absynnian but her body says she’s a hybrid.

  4. Holly if you are getting a cat because you want an animal that is more independent and low maintenance, then a Bengal is definitely not the cat for you. And you know what? That's ok. It's much more important for you to get a cat that works with your home life. Bengals are much more like a dog in that they need a lot of time and attention. They spend their days being playful, loud, and getting into everything. I love my Bengal, but they are not the cat for everyone and I think many are abandoned when the owners realize the kitten stage lasts about 10 years. In the next year there will be literally millions of cats in shelters and rescues that will need a good home. I hope you find the perfect cat for you.

  5. WHY would you get F2.. a Bengal domestic should be no less than F4. Its people like you that give Bengals a bad name. Get a true Bengal and not an ALC hybrid and you have the best cat in the world. Your vet friend should have known better. Cant be a very good vet. So stupid

  6. PS:- Michael Driver and anyone reading I am from the UK and we don't seem to have the problems like the US. Mainly because we have the RSPCA ( Royal society prevention cruelty Animals)and the PDA ( Peoples dispensary for sick animals) both charitable run. We also are encouraged to buy insurance at good rates for vet bills. They are chipped and registered too. My older babe who is now 2yrs 5mths fell and broke her leg, at approx. 9mths old she had to have a metal plate with a 'hospital' visit all paid by insurance. The place was like a luxury hotel and treatment was amazingly good.. She is fine now. When I read about the problems in US specially with the large cats which are owned privately. Specially Tony the Tiger been stuck on a gas forecourt in a small cage for more than 10yrs. The world wildlife have been trying to save him and give his remaining years a good life with them. Does it happen NO The powers that be will not agree to let him go. Yet they are trying to kill our Bengals, for no good reason. I could cry for that Tigers plight so where is the protest on this site about a real problem. USA wants us to think they are the greatest country in the world, well guess what you are one of the worst with your stupid laws on animals and gun laws. But will not leave our beloved pets alone…. Sorry Rant over

  7. Michael Driver :- I totally agree with what you say. They confuse Bengals with Asian Leopard cats bred with an exotic. True Bengal is several F's down from the source and are brilliant Breed of cats NOT designer hybrids as they like to say.

  8. Thanks for this. We were considering a Bengal but will not do it now. Also, I have been to your sanctuary when we lived in Tierra Verde and it is wonderful! Thanks for all you do. I live in Destin, FL where we have Feline Friends of Destin. They do the trap and release program of the many feral cats. Its a great program.

  9. I recently allowed an adolescent cat to come into the house now and then when it was raining. However, he was very persistent about wanting to be ours. We called him squeaky because his chirp sounded like a rusty hinge. At the time it never occurred to me that he might be a hybrid. He is extremely smart, very affectionate and quite athletic. He can jump four feet straight up as if floating on air. He's incredibly curious and is easily bored. He has rather large feet, his coat is tabby breaking into spots and he has white feet and and a mostly white face but his eyes have black eye liner. Thank goodness he uses a litter box and can eat cat food, although he eats a lot and flings it about as if tearing up meat. I have to leave him out at night because he gets bored and wakes us up with trills, chirps and bouncing around. Our main problem is a black part Persian feral cat that we adopted last year the same way we adopted Squeaky who I have renamed George as in "Curious George." The former feral is now a lovely gentle cat, a bit afraid of strangers but otherwise quite tame. However, George bullies her and tries to play much too rough with her. I forgot to mention that we did get him neutered last month for obvious reasons, but also hoping it would calm him down. He is very attached to me but we travel quite a bit and take the black feral with us. Does anyone have experience traveling with a fairly tame hybrid?

  10. Hi,
    After reading through all your warnings about hybrids and their problems, it came to my attention that I am lucky. I have 2 F4 Bengals and they are brother and sister, they are inside cats and are relatively well behaved. The boy, Eddie, has only stopped spraying but Nala never started. they use their litter trays and are happy to share their food. I agree in saying that they do have very wild tendenceies as they love to stalk anything that moves and ‘chirp’ at the birds outside. They are 3 years old and have a routine and only respond to my sister when she visits and myself. Eddie is a very anxious cat but we have sorted that we have sorted that with natural therapy. They do wake me up every morning at 5:25 (5 minutes before my alarm) and they are demanding food by 6. All in all they are very loving pets and they love my other two animals (a great dane and a english mastiff puppy)

  11. Because there are 0 'honest ethical breeders' with a 100% success rate in breeding those kind, loving, domesticated F5 Bengals – thereby producing many F2, F3, F4 and F5 cats that are NOT suitable as pets, and should NOT be bred. So where do all these 'extra' cats go? What breeder can afford an extra 100 cats that can't be homed, can't be sold as pets – either they ARE sold as pets (not very responsible), or they're euthanized (more responsible, but how responsible is it to breed animals knowing you'll have to put down hundreds of unhomeable cats?) Bottom line, there is no reason or purpose for the breeding. To achieve one lovely, domesticated Bengal with correct patterning you're creating many, many cats that can't find homes, can't be turned loose…why would any responsible breeder knowingly do that? You're also using captive wild cats to create this 'new' breed – also not terribly responsible. It doesn't matter if breeders never make a dime selling F5 Bengals – regardless of anyone's profit, this breed creates countless 'waste' animals, and that's just something I can't support. Every F5 Bengal comes from a long line of wild hybrid and captive wild cats – it's impossible to responsibly breed them, for every lovely house pet there are countless 'rejects' farther up the line. I wanted a nice cat, so you know what I did? I adopted a domestic cat that had been dumped outside my house. And she yowls and knocks things off shelves, but none of my dollars supported the purposeful breeding of cats that have no future like those unhomeable F2 and F3 great-grandparents of the 'fantastic' F5 Bengals.

  12. What you write is a bunch of hogwash! I see a recurring theme here. Most all of these foolish people somehow got hold of *F1* Bengals, which DO NOT have any business as pets! Period! F1, F2, & F3 ONLY should be in the hands of RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS! PERIOD! Only F4 & SBT belong in the hands of RESPSPONSIBLE, WELL INFORMED, INTELLIGENT, & THOSE WILLING TO DEAL WITH THE QUIRKS OF BENGALS, ETC SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO OWN ONE. PERIOD! Many of the issues that you point out, and that your supposed letters, & emails from others complain about are issues present in many breeds of cats including DSH cats. Destructive, vindictive, killers by their very nature, usually form a stronger bond with one human over others, territorial, randomly pee or poop outside their box if upset, ill, or pissed off, there's ALWAYS an alpha in a home with more than one cat, ALL cats can be very vocal, some more than others particularly breeds such as Siamese, ALL cats can, and do wake you at ungodly hours playing games such as "racing kitty", "pounce on Dad's ties", and "stare at Mom until she awakens". F4, SBT, & beyond DO NOT require an "Exotic Animal Veterinarian" as their exotic genes are so dilute as to almost be absent! The letter from the "Vet Tech" that claims to have, irresponsibly, especially in light of knowledge they SHOULD have, obtained an F1 Bengal kitten because it "was amazing looking", and "bought it on the spot" from a "BREEDER". Sorry, but legitimate breeders DON'T SELL F1 Bengals as pets to ANYONE! Takes this kitten home, and complains about it yowling! Take ANY kitten from it's mother, and litter mates, of course it's going to cry for them! This "Vet Tech" stated : "I neutered…" ??? Really??? Then : "I had a four paw declaw done…" Declawing ANY cat should be outlawed in the US as it is in most, if not all of Europe where it is also a jailable offense in some countries. You are not only removing the cats defense mechanisms, their toes are AMPUTATED to the first joint, this is exceedingly painful which can, and does last for life of these poor kitties, many cannot even stand the feel of clay litter any longer, and have to use an alternative litter, or pads for life, they can no longer climb, ESPECIALLY with all four paws declawed, these poor creatures suffer for life for the convenience of their owners! An F1 is NOT a suitable pet in any way, shape, or form! I lived in the state of Florida for many years. This sort of thing is endemic there out of pure greed. It's not only hybrid cats. Look at the problem they're having with large, non native snakes. As well as many species of animals that were simply dumped in the wild by irresponsible people when they tired of their fad purchases. Florida is full to the brim with backyard "breeders" of cats & dogs, that are universally kept in deplorable conditions.
    I wonder, though, why do you say NOT a single word about the many wonderful, responsible, ethical Bengal cat breeders that DO NOT sell any cat that is not F4 or SBT as pets? That these breeders don't really make money at breeding. Their expenditures outstrip their income from selling these wonderful cats. I've seen the figures from a well known, highly respected, prominent breeder. He has the means to support him in his endevour. His wife would skin him if she saw the books! He makes nothing off selling the cats. Bottom line is : people treat EVERYTHING they have, including those other humans that are even the tiniest bit "inconvenient" to them, as disposable. Something else to be put away, done away with, thrown away. "Out of sight, out of mind." We are a "Throw away society" plain, and simple.

  13. the entire point of the post is try to inform people that hybreds generally do not make good pets. its not trying to say that ever last bengal is a horrible pet, but a lot are. they are super loving, but they ARE destructive and food aggressive. Breeders don't tell you that they often do not get along with regular cats and will have bloody fights. people need to know.

  14. You didn't mention Ocicat's or Cheetoh's; which are bred from an Ocicat & a Bengal. We have a Cheetoh & we love her. But, she has to have her outside time. She also will yowl if she can't see you, & until you answer her, so she can find you, she keeps doing it.

  15. You didn't mention Ocicat's or Cheetoh's; which are bred from an Ocicat & a Bengal. We have a Cheetoh & we love her. But, she has to have her outside time. She also will yowl if she can't see you, & until you answer her, so she can find you, she keeps doing it.

  16. I grew up with a Hybrid cat (F3 Bengal) from a very young age. My parents bought him when I was two and our dog died from a rescue shelter that asked us if we would take him owing to our families background in handling difficult animals. Perhaps unusually the cat was easy to train as from the first week we worked out he would do just about whatever you want if you rewarded him with food and gave him plenty to do.

    the advice I would give to anyone considering getting a hybrid as a pet;
    – Don’t get one, unless you have experience handling animals.
    – Get it Neutered or spayed at a young age.
    – Expect it to kill things, We once found a pile of dead snakes outside our back door killed by our cat.
    – Don’t allow the cat to form bad habits when it is small that will get annoying when it is bigger. Mine
    used to insist on laying on my feet which didn’t bother me until he got old and started t complain quite vocally about having to move when I got up.
    – expect it to attach itself to one person, this person will have more control over the cat than any other and the cat will demand attention from them on a regular basis.
    – provide it with something to do, if not it will get bored and destroy things.
    – Remember that it is smarter than your average Cat, we thought we had our cat trained not to scratch the couch by yelling at it when ever we saw it. But then realized that the cat had just stopped scratching the parts it thought we would see.
    -They will mix with other animals but make sure they are introduced slowly and that you mix with animals the cat will not kill. eg. Dog’s of a larger size not the little ones like Yorkshire terriers. generally they will attack most animals at first so cation is advised.

    and finally if you just want something you only have to give a litter box, bowl of water and feed don’t get a hybrid get a normal cat. Hybrids are not as healthy and can vary greatly in temperament I would knowing the health issues they have discourage the breeding of these animals or the keeping of them by anyone that is not experienced in meeting the animals needs as these cats don’t like to be re-homed please remember that getting one can be a 15 to 20 year commitment

  17. This reminds me of the one night we watched a friend's bengal cat, which he had gotten from a friend as a kitten because she moved across country. We had watched him when he was a kitten with no issues but the second time he was an adult.

    He immediately started attacking our cats, tore up my hubby's hand so bad he almost needed stitches, and sprayed our furniture. We ended up staying up most of the night to make sure he didn't kill our cats. He ended finding the original breeder and returning the cat and now he's a stud.

  18. I wonder if Lelu has asthma? In cats, this presents mostly as a chronic cough, with or without actual wheezing. You treat it with prednisone, a steroid that cats can tolerate fairly well. But the best way, IMO, to treat feline asthma is to administer Flovent, a medication formulated for humans, in an inhaler. To do this you should get a device called the AeroKat. It's basically a tube with a muzzle mask on one end and an opening in the other into which you insert the business end of the inhaler. Shake the whole assembly very well, then place over the cat's muzzle and depress the inhaler in one puff. In the AeroKat is a flap that lets you count the number of inhalations the cat makes. Your vet will tell you how many are needed, and how often. When finished, wipe the cat's face with a moist cloth, dry, and then GIVE a TREAT. Better yet, show the cat the treat first so that he knows it's what is coming to him, then administer medicine. The chief advantage of medicating this way is that the drug goes directly to the lungs without passing through the rest of the system. Even though cats can tolerate steroids well, over time systemic administration will have side effects–some harmful–on the cat.

  19. The cat in the story titled ‘it isn’t the cat’s fault’ has another reason for being aggressive besides being a hybrid – he was declawed.

    Declawing literally removes the tips of the cat’s digits. It’s like if you had the tips of all your fingers removed at the last joint. It’s a painful healing process and it’s traumatic for the cat.

    Furthermore, cats feel insecure without their claws. A declawed cat is more easily frightened than a cat with claws, because they know they can’t use their claws to defend themselves. If they’re allowed outdoors, they will be bullied by all the neighborhood cats because they can’t hold their own in a fight without claws.

    And since their only weapon is their teeth, declawed cats are far more likely to bite. They’ll often bite when other cats would claw, or because of their emotional issues they may even bite for no apparent reason at all. Trust me, I’d rather get clawed by a cat than bitten! A bite has a greater risk of getting infected, and is usually more severe.

    I knew a declawed cat once, who belonged to a friend of my Dad’s. This cat (completely domestic, by the way) would come up to you and rub up against you, acting really affectionate, but if you made a wrong move he’d suddenly turn and bite. Mostly mild bites that didn’t break the skin, but still no fun, and I always worried if he got really upset he’d do worse. This kind of behavior is often typical of cats that have been abused, which just goes to show how traumatic declawing is.

    It’s far kinder to just give your cat a scratching post and teach them to use it, or else if you let them go outside they can just use a tree. In terms of them scratching humans, best to avoid provoking scratches and make sure you have a cat that is tame enough to make a decent pet. And don’t use fingers as toys – use a string (supervised only, so they don’t eat it) or something you can roll along the ground like a ball.

  20. Hey BCR:
    Love the work you do. Regarding hybrids, I’d like to share my cat’s story. Rascal is part Chausie, and was rescued in the fall of 2006.
    We first saw Rascal in our neighborhood in August 2006. He was unsuccessfully attempting to hunt. He was a very striking cat, but his fur was matted and he was emaciated. A fellow animal-loving neighbor set a humane cat trap for him. He was so skinny that the trap had to be weighed in order for Rascal to trigger it.
    Rascal lived in our neighbor’s garage for a while. He was absolutely terrified of us. Any attempt to approach him resulted in hissing and spitting, and we quickly decided that he had no owner (the unanswered “Found” ads confirmed this). He was likely an abandoned kitten.
    Despite his demeanor, I became attached to him pretty quickly. When our neighbor moved, I did not want to see him go to a shelter (his feral nature was pretty much a guarantee that he would not be adopted), so I offered to look after him. I set up a bed for him in my old playhouse, and began to feed him a steady diet. I also attempted to socialize him.
    Just a week later, Rascal looked like a completely different cat. He had gained a good amount of weight, and his bones were no longer visible. His coat had become soft and glossy. He was still afraid of most people, but he had bonded with me. Sending him to a shelter at this point was out of the question, and my family made the decision to adopt him.
    About a month after he had been adopted, we discovered that Rascal was part hybrid.
    Rascal is a bit like Jekyll and Hyde. At times, he is incredibly affectionate and snuggly. At other times, he will destroy the house if left unattended. He is also the most possessive and territorial cat I have ever met. He’s got in in his head that I am “his”, and no one else can have me. In short, he is a handful, but I would not trade him for anything.
    I don’t like to think about what may have happened had we not taken him in. I don’t think he would have survived. I am so glad that we were able to give him a home. To anyone thinking of purchasing a hybrid cat: don’t. The hybrid cat trade leads to staggering amounts of animal cruelty. Rascal’s abandonment as a kitten is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many cats in shelters that are waiting to be adopted. Give one of them a home. It will be the best decision you will ever make.

  21. I Agree that hybrids are dangerous, but I own a F1 bengal and she is much more domestic than my siamese cat. All the things that has been said in this article is perfectly applicable to my siamese instead of my sweet bengal.
    I guess it all depends on the temper of your cat. I had a bunch of siameses and I can really affirm that they are pretty wild animals. They bite, spray, destroy everything, kill other animals, open doors and all those nasty things you are saying about bengals. The funny thing is that I never saw my first generation bengal do any of those stuffs.

  22. I want to thank you for this article about hybrids.

    Just over a year ago we adopted a shelter kitten. She was among a litter of five that had been turned in to the shelter, fostered out, and then returned as being adoptable. I liked her spunky personality, widespread ears, and unusual coloring–white paws, chest, flanks and chin, but the rest of her was covered in spots, golf-ball size rosettes, and marbling. When I brought her home the first thing my teen daughter was said: “mom, you bought a baby snow leopard!”

    The kitten integrated well into our household and became a playmate to our 4-year old cat, who had lost her companion–a feral I had successfully rehabilitated. The kitten and cat played and had a great time.

    However, we noticed some strange behavior with our new kitten, and as she grew older, the behavior became more severe, as opposed to less. She began chewing paper towels (on the roll) at night and shredded them to pieces. She ripped and tore with her teeth all the muslin lings under our box-spring mattresses, and climb inside. The linings were pulled up inside the box springs. She chewed on boxes and left piles of shredding all over the house. She would meow for hours, staring at the curtain rods (actually, poles) in our 10 foot ceilings. Sometimes she would jump and land precariously on top of the poles. On two occasions she climbed a corner shelf and stared at the ceiling fan and cried pitifully, wanting to lunge onto the blades.

    Most of all, she grew. By the time she was 9 months old she weighed 13 pounds. The vet couldn’t figure out what was happening. She was scaring the willies out of our older, 5- pound female cat. Any surfaced that could be could be climbed on, anything that could be knocked over, would be knocked over. She follows us to the bathroom and tries to play with the (ehem) stuff in the toilet bowl.

    Now she is 1 1/2 years old. She weighs 17 pounds and has an immense barrel chest, big torso, extremely long tail, and huge muscular (but short) legs. We have no idea when she will stop growing. Her facial features have never changed, and she still has the odd ears, wide eyes, and triangle shaped face. She is a very lovable cat in her own way, but there is something strange about her. She does not cover her (gigantic) poos, ever. She licks us incessantly and loves to eat anything shiny–ribbons on Christmas presents are a danger. She meows–yowls?–and chatters and clicks whenever she is bored, which is when she is not asleep. Last night as I sat in the recliner she leaped onto the back of it, then jumped from that onto our floor lamp, which came crashing down on the rug. She carries her favorite toys and from room to room and puts them in all sorts of odd places for us.

    She is an entertaining cat but we know something is “off’ with her, and our other cat suspects it, too. I did a bit of online research and found a post that someone else in our area (Sarasota County) adopted a cat from a local shelter around the same time as us and her description was identical to ours.

    My guess is that there are unscrupulous breeders in our area who are experimenting and dumping the rejects. I don’t know how this practice can be stopped. Don’t get me wrong: we loves our cats for who and what they are; it would just be helpful to know when you are adopting a cat that you are actually getting a domestic cat, and not some unpredictable hybrid that is going to grow to be as big as a house.

  23. We were looking for a male companion for our female, wanting something “different”, when an ad came up on a local site for a two year old white, male, devon rex. He had been a past breeder, came from a grand line, and we were just thrilled at the prospect of a devon. Neither of us had ever met one, we’d only seen them online. This one was just within out price range too, and my husband bought him for me as a first year anniversary gift.

    When we met him, we both knew we were instantly in love! Curls all over, and the biggest eyes..one blue, one yellow. Pure white fluffy fur. The face was kind of odd all together, oddly shaped muzzle, super wide nose, and the eyes were oddly placed on his face. His ears and eyes were some of the biggest I had seen (having always had siamese in my life, that’s saying ALOT!), And his body shape was so odd…long-legged, but barrel chested, wide, pudgy body, and heavily muscled. And he made the oddest expressions I had ever seen, almost like he was part human! But we loved him, bought him, and brought him home.

    We learned almost immediately that from posts from the breeder online after that point that something was wrong. Not only was our boy acting like a nut case…he yodeled, he made the strangest sounds we had ever heard, leading to the neighbors congratulating us on our “new baby”…but they thought WE had had one! And our boy sure did sound like an angry human child when left in the bathroom for the first few days! When he’d get angry, he’d splash in the toilet, “for attention” we thought. He’d sleep in the sink, even though it dripped, and he took to toilet training like he’d always gone in the toilet all of his life! We figured it would calm down when he got out of the bathroom…which came earlier than we wanted, but he had learned to open the door himself and there was no stopping him then.

    It got worse! This is when I began really researching that breeder! We found out she had kept him locked in the basement with no socialization short of her two young children. He wasn’t allowed to touch the kids’ toys and would be locked in a 10x8x6 cage if he did where he had no kitty toys and a foot tall “cat post” for entertainment. He’d never seen a window before, and had no idea what to do when seeing ours for the first time! He instantly fell in love with the view from the fourth story floor. His only knowledge of other cats was being thrown into that cage with a female in heat…which made his intro to our girl a real pain. He would stalk her like prey. And the “reputable” breeder said this was NORMAL for breeders to not socialize their studs, though she claimed he was “raised under foot and around children and dogs”! I was horrified. He didn’t know how to be a cat…he didn’t know anything! He didn’t know how to play, or what a toy was. He was afraid of everything, and he only knew that he HAD to climb and that birds outside and children playing with the coolest thing in the world to watch.

    She had supposedly had him on a grain free diet, but admitted he “had bowel problems” and medicated for this. We don’t use medication on ourselves or our fur-babies! So he had withdrawals immediately. We also found he had over 6 kinds of worms and other ear and eye parasites…which we attributed many of his problems to. And he couldn’t meow right…or so we thought. He barked, yodeled, and talked in the oddest ways, which we associated with being raised around small dogs and young children.

    On a grain free diet he became another animal all together…he became something we had never seen before. He lost all of that fat and out came this long legged, almost comically long legged cat with thick, meaty legs and tiny dainty paws (we call them his “hooves”). We learned that he had the longest claws we’d ever seen on a cat, and they curved like little fish hooks. And the longest fingers, almost like a raccoon’s with no webbing between them. He became more and more vocal as he learned that this was allowed. And he had to be taught that the bed was ok, but even over a year later, he still asks “permission” to get on the bed, the couch, or anywhere else where people have “claimed” it first. He claimed one couch for his own after we moved the first time, and would get very vocal and irritated if you walked near it or sat with him…we had to train him not to bite or get us with the claws. He learned that he liked to be on the desk and in the highest place in the room: on top of the computer monitor. Telling him no got the dirtiest looks, and a reminder of how intelligent and keen he was…especially when HE had decided it was time for HIM…no matter what we might be doing at the time, we had to stop and entertain him, “or else”.

    He never took to raw meat like our female, unless it was something like deer, or wild animal. When we had a litter of kittens, one of our vets wanted to test their bloodlines…he was shocked as we were to find a rosette spotted and thickly tiger marked tabby from a siamese mother and a pure white albino father! This is when he turned to me and calmly said he had never seen anything like this after the initial tests came back. He sent the results off to an exotic specialist, and sure enough, our male, white, fluffy, devon rex had turned out to be half asian wildcat!

    Upon doing some research, things began to fall into place for us…like his obsession with fishing for the goldfish, or how he would even climb into the fish tank to chase them when we were not home. Or how he LOVED a warm bath and had to be locked out the room when one of us was taking one…because he’d climb right in the tub to soak too (you can imagine the yodeling and heart-rending cries for being denied this pleasure!). The distinct yodel and human infant sounds. The weird chirpy voice he had. The facial features were obvious then. The feet didn’t make much sense, but his bloodline is undoubtedly devon rex. And when I researched further into the only cattery he could have come from originally, it suddenly made sense why the breeder we bought him from later admitted she had no papers for him (she first claimed she would mail them…not that we cared about papers either way though!)…it was because the breeder she bought him from had had an “accident” litter…their devon rex got to the asian wildcat. She could not sell them in her area because the law prohibited the sale of f1 kittens to anyone but a licensed breeder. When checking her page, there was a period that fit the time frame when she had claimed to have two different litters at that time: a set of devons and a set of bengals…two days apart. Having done some research before this point in what a devon SHOULD look like, it made sense…he was built like a lumberjack on steroids, and the only part of him that was devon was the tiny feet and the curls.

    We got a crash course in what it is like living with and loving a severely neglected cat…but also what that does to a bengal. We are still learning and growing with him and his litter of amazing kittens. They’re certainly different, and most certainly not for the faint of heart! We’re also teaching the children who come around that our kitties, while cute and slightly bigger than your average house cat are still “kittens”. They are wild animals, and if you don’t listen to them, they will let you know their displeasure. Our male doesn’t hurt the kittens, but when they were first born, he’s get in the box to clean them, and when our girl would get mad, he’d steal a kitten, go hide, and snuggle it half to death. We’re still not sure if this was hunting or not…he never hurt one, but he’d definitely get angry when denied time with them. Someone told us that some asian leopards are like that, and the males are more protective and the female hunts, or they take turns. It was certainly a shock for us the first few times though! And other cats know there is a difference immediately…most regular cats he meets are terrified of him, though he’s only friendly with other cats; we believe it’s that odd, musky smell he has, something that very much says “wildcat” to me. (he’s territorial but not aggressive unless our girl is in heat…then he’s a monster to any male of any species). We’re very careful who we adopted our kittens from him to, and he’s only had one litter for this reason. There wasn’t a bad one in the litter, but they are all certainly bengals! We made sure the respective adoptive families knew this and knew what to expect! We also made it more than clear: if they ever needed to find that kitten a new home, to contact us immediately and we would do it for them, taking the kitten or cat back home if it was an emergency or that important. One adoptive family already knew what to expect, one had no clue but is enjoying the adventure, and the third was rehomed to a family who is learning themselves just how strange, wild and often unpleasant, a wildcat mix can be but loves their giant kitten!

    While they all have amazingly good natures, they are wild animals…they are intelligent beyond that of a regular cat and far more resourceful. They can’t eat what a normal cat might and when they do, they’re violent and hard to handle. While young, all but one of the 4 kittens is well over 20+ pounds of screaming demon when they want something, often times just affection at 4 am on a weeknight. These cats whine with the expression of a child, they are vocal, mouthy, and the attitude is miles wide! When they’re happy, they can still turn off and on to any mood instantly and back, and play often goes from funny and cute belly tickles to your hand is becoming hamburger and their eyes are glittering while they try to decide if your hand might just be edible after all. And the biggest mistake we made was giving kisses in front of them…they imitate us. It started with their daddy, who saw our female lean in close and touch her nose to our lips. He wanted some too. The kittens picked it up. Which is ok…until one of them decides half way to your face that it’s “time to play” or they are angry…then the poor victim finds claws in the sides of the face and ears and being drawn in close for nips to the mouth and nose. Not meant to hurt, but it does! Our male doesn’t spray other than when TRULY angry at us for something, like not coming home over night without “telling” him. He doesn’t see us pack or we say “Be back later!” and then don’t come home…he marks the door.

    Some might say here “Oh, they don’t understand human speech!” and let me tell you, you couldn’t be MORE wrong! They understand far more than people give them credit for, enough that it pales regular cats and most dogs. We have taken to spelling out some things he knows, usually food related, or he can be a handful. And if he knows his favorite snack is somewhere, like the cabinet, or the fridge, it had better be locked, and I mean LOCKED, or he will find a way to get to it. The fridge is no competition.

    So to make a really long story short, and I could go on for DAYS here…I don’t see a problem with breeding bengals and wildcats for people who are responsible and KNOW what they are getting into and are prepared to handle it. But there is more demand for them by people who aren’t as patient as we were, and I hate to imagine our boy if he had been taken by someone else! His previous owner HATED him and she never knew him or spent time with him. I can easily imagine this cat being put into a home expecting a house cat or the devon temper and getting a bengal..it makes my stomach turn. I know people who have adopted and bought bengals knowing what they were getting and STILL couldn’t handle it. Every cat is different, and when you get a wildcat mix, you’re in for all manner of hell, no matter how sweet, cute, or loving they are. Our boy is “cotton balls and razorblades” all at the same time. And when you imagine that the average breeder keeps their cats locked in cages all day and all night, then later spays and sells them to homes as pets…that makes me sick. But it’s common practice, accepted and even suggested for bengal breeders by bengal breeders and big name associations to raise them this way. These cats need, desperately, socialization and tenderness and patience…and most people just don’t have the right personality for the bengal cat…not the other way around.

    1. There is no genetic test available to determine level of “wildcat”. Intact males get jowls. They howl for girls. Sounds like your issue, the solution is neutering. Why did you breed unknown cats?

  24. I don’t understand this..These are wild animals not children… I found a starving almost dead kitten under a house where i stay sometimes..It would only come to a mother cat call which I can imitate quite well ..finally caught it like this and once I started scratching and stroking it gave in..It was very sick in the stomach.. been surviving on scotch finger biscuits I feed to birds .. fed it chicken livers then necks.. it started digging up roots and eating them dirt and all… must have fixed its intestinal flora because it sure is hell on wheels now.. was so unusual I hunted info and turns out it’s a Bengal.. so pretty so smart so athletic so affectionate and that fur coat is the softest thing ever.. and the eeriest cry.. it talks to me in cat.. won’t answer to english but comes instantly to cat.. I’m sure it thinks i’m it’s mum transmogrified.. tries to groom lick me but that sandpaper tongue is a bit much.. I don’t give it medicine.. it fixed itself ..no problems at all now ..strong and fast as.. i don’t put up with power games ..I tell it in cat if I’m peeved and if it persists I grab it’s head and rattle it dizzy.. it’s learned .. still attacks full bore but keeps the claws and teeth to itself.. total violence but no blood and its purring all the while… loves fight games.. knows that if I have gloves and trousers and boots on it can attack with teeth and claws and really goes for it.. had its first thunderstorm this morning …was in a major panic until it saw i wasn’t bothered and lost interest.. smart cat… so clean .. took no time to train.. I take it through it’s paces with a rag on an elastic on a fishing rod and the speed and athleticism is astonishing.. serves double duty as local birds can see it and know they know what it can do so it has no hope of catching them.. There are drains and trees nearby full of black plague rats and there have always been feral cats around there eating them… numbers never seem to change .. supposed the weak are killed by the strong and the snakes.. water dragons eat rats also and it has a dragon as a friend ..they sit in the sun together and it helps the dragon fight rivals .. bush turkey tries to kill it but it’s very fast ..too fast for the turkey.. more like a dog than any cat I know ..follows me .. waits for me to come home .. i think that’s got a lot to do with refrigerators and chicken necks though .. practical cat… absolutely admirable and interesting creature

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