Popular Hybrid Cats Explained

Humans have been in awe of cats for thousands of years. Their looks, attitudes, and predatory nature is an amazing combination. Whether it’s big cats, house cats, or hybrid cats, one thing is certain: people love cats! Our Hybrid Cats Explained guide will show you how you can get the best of both wild cats and house cats in one adorable little package!

Big cats have always been awe-inspiring. They’re strong, they’re amazing hunters, and they look like something you wish you could just run up and hug. But what if there was a way to shrink down these wildcats and domesticate them? Would you want a leopord in your house that’s the size of a housecat? 

A hybrid cat is the offspring of a domesticated cat that has been bred with an undomesticated or wild cat breed.

That’s right, people have bred wild cats with domesticated housecats to make miniature versions of leopards and jungle cats. Oftentimes this breeding is done to take the physical characteristics of a wild cat with the mannerisms and temperament of a housecat. 

You need to keep in mind, however, that these hybrid cats still have some genes left over from their wild ancestors. Hybrid cats are more mischevious, they’re more active, they require much more mental stimulation, and they require A LOT of physical enrichment and exercise. 

Most Hybrid Cats Don’t Usually Make Good Pets For First-Time Cat Owners!

Hybrid Cats Explained

Before we dive into our Hybrid Cats Explained guide I want to make a few points. I know most people are just going to gloss over these but these points need to be made:

  1. You should adopt a cat from a shelter – There are thousands and thousands of very loving and amazing cats that are stuck in shelters waiting for a home. Breeders are detrimental to the rescue community, especially breeders of wild cat hybrids. If you adopt a kitten, don’t forget to check out our New Kitten Checklist!

  2. Wild cat hybrids are for advanced cat owners only – If you’re going to get a hybrid then you better have decades of cat-parenting experience across different breeds with different temperaments. Go read the opening paragraph about wildcat hybrids on the WildCatSanctuary website. Still want one?

  3. WILD CAT HYBRIDS ARE NOT FOR INEXPERIENCED OWNERS – I don’t care how redundant this is. These animals may look amazing and they may seem like amazing pets but they will destroy the animal’s life, your home, and your sanity if you don’t know how to properly care for one. 
How to calm down a hyper cat

1. Bengal Cat

Hybrid Cats Explained: Bengals
ig: @bengaals_cat_clubb

One of the most popular hybrids today is the Bengal Cat. Bengal Cats are a wild cat hybrid that are a cross between an Asian Leopard and a Domestic Cat. Breeders must separate them 3 generations from its Asian Leopard relatives before it is considered domesticated. 

Bengals are known for having wild cat spots on their fur, also known as rosettes, and for their unique personalities. It’s common for Bengal Cats to enjoy water and have personality traits that dogs typically have. This breed LOVES to talk and is extremely smart. 

Do Bengal Cats Like Water? They most certainly do! They absolutely LOVE water. Owning a Bengal is not like any other cat you’ve ever had before!

LIFESPAN: 12-15 Years
HEIGHT: 10-14 inches
WEIGHT: 8-15+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, Active, Vocal

2. Savannah Cat

Hybrid Cats Explained: Savannah
ig: @f1savannahs

Resembling a miniature Cheetah, the Savannah Cat is a cross between an African Serval and your everyday house cat. These are one of the largest domestic breeds that you can legally own. Their name comes from the African Savannah that their Serval ancestors call home. 

Savannah Cats are very active and very intelligent. They require a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Do not consider a Savannah Cat if you do not have a large, dedicated playing area for them. 

LIFESPAN: 12-20 Years
HEIGHT: 20-22 inches
WEIGHT: 14-25+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, friendly, intelligent, VERY active

3. Toyger

Hybrid Cats Explained: Toygers
ig: @aslans_adventures

Toygers have been bred to look like miniature tigers. They’re not really considered a wild cat hyrbid (like a Bengal or Savannah) but they do have some wild cat genes in them since they have Bengal Cat relatives. Toygers are a cross between a Bengal Cat and some type of Domestic Shorthair or Tabby. 

Toygers (short for Toy Tigers) are growing in popularity, but haven’t quite reached the fame that Bengal Cats have. Their coat is an orangish color with black stripes, just like a tiger! These cats are very friendly towards other pets and kids, they love playing, and they’re great to leash train.

LIFESPAN: 10-15 Years
HEIGHT: 10-14 inches
WEIGHT: 8-16+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Extremely friendly, smart, active, loves going on adventures

4. Cheetoh

Hybrid Cats Explained: Toyger
ig: @aloha_bruce

The Cheetoh is another Bengal cross. An Ocicat (a fully domesticated spotted cat) is bred with a Bengal to make a domestic cat that has beautiful spots just like a wild cat. Cheetohs aren’t quite popular yet as they’re still a relatively new hybrid. Like Bengals and Toygers, Cheetoh’s are said to be incredibly intelligent and playful. 

LIFESPAN: 10-15 Years
HEIGHT: 12-18 inches
WEIGHT: 12-22+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Smart, friendly, playful

5. Chausie

Hybrid Cats Explained: Chausie
ig: @lisaalisa_basilio

Chausies have been bred to look similar to a mountain lion. They’re a cross between an Abyssinian and the wild Asian cat. They must be 4 generations removed from their wild cat ancestors to be recognized as a Chausie.

With long legs and a ton of energy these cats can be VERY athletic and are amazing to watch while they play. They also love the company of other cats, especially other Chausies. 

LIFESPAN: 12-15 Years
HEIGHT: 14-18 inches
WEIGHT: 10-16+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Athletic, playful, affectionate

6. Serengeti

Hybrid Cats Explained: Serengeti
ig: @batcatrascal

Another cat that’s not technically considered a wild cat hybrid but still has some wild cat genes hiding back in it’s lineage is the Serengeti. Serengeti cats are a cross between a Bengal Cat and an Oriental Shorthair. Serengeti hybrids were bred to resemble the African Serval while still maintaining a typical domesticated housecat temperament. 

Their tell-tale spotted coat shows that they are definitely related to Bengal Cats. These cats are very energetic and love to play and climb, so they need a lot of physical stimulation and play time to keep them busy. 

LIFESPAN: 10-15 Years
HEIGHT: 8-12 inches
WEIGHT: 8-14+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Athletic, playful, vocal

7. Pixie-Bob

Hybrid Cats Explained: Pixie-Bob
ig: @pixiebob_dreams

Sometime around 1985 an American Bobcat had kittens with a Domestic Shorthair. Ann Brewer, who owned the Domestic Shorthair, named one of the female kittens Pixie. As a result, the Pixie-Bob hybrid cat was accidentally created. 

Pixie-Bobs are pretty large and muscular. Their natural bobbed tails really showcase their Bobcat lineage, as does the exotic markings on their fur. Despite coming from a wild ancestor, Pixie-Bobs are fairly laid back and make great pets for most households. 

LIFESPAN: 12-15 Years
HEIGHT: 20-25 inches
WEIGHT: Up To 25+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Friendly, intelligent, playful, affectionate

8. Highlander Cat

Hybrid Cats Explained: Highlander Cat
ig: @ragnar_et_freya

The Highlander Cat is a new experimental breed that has only been in development since 2004. They’re a cross between two other hybrids, the Jungle Curl and the Desert Lynx. Because it is a cross between two previous hybrids, it technically doesn’t have any wild cat genes. 

The lack of wild cat genes means it can be docile and affectionate just like your plain-Jane house cat, but their exotic looks let you know that they’ve certainly got an interesting family tree. Highlander Cats are very playful and need a lot of play time to expel their energy that builds up throughout the day. They also LOVE water!

LIFESPAN: 8-14 Years
HEIGHT: 10-16 inches
WEIGHT: 10-20+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, friendly, playful, loves water

9. Mokave Jag Cat

Hybrid Cats Explained: Mokave Jag Cat
ig: @alibaba_inky

This is a very new breed as of 2005 and nobody reading this list should ever consider getting one as a pet until more is known about this animal and until more is known about them and their wild mannerisms can be bred out of them.

As of this article’s publication date, not much is available online about these exotic-looking cats. The information you can find online is often conflicting from one source to another. 

LIFESPAN: ?
HEIGHT: ?
WEIGHT: 20-30+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Breeders say that they’ve selectively bred out any wild cat mannerisms and Mokave Jag Cats are as friendly as a normal domesticated cat, but they have incentive to exaggerate to get more sales. There is very little verified information from reputable sources available for now.

10. Pantherette

Hybrid Cats Explained: Pantherette
ig: @daveyg1988

As their name implies, the Pantherette has been bred to look like a baby or miniature Panther. Pantherettes are a fairly new breed and are essentially solid black Bengal Cats, kind of. Bengal Cats that are born very melanistic are black. These melanistic Bengals are bred with other breeds to create a miniature panther that people can keep as pets. 

They’re still such a new breed that not much verifiable information is available about their temperament. Early reports indicate that they’re just as docile as a normal cat, while being as alert and as active as a Bengal Cat. 

LIFESPAN: 10-15 Years
HEIGHT: Varies Greatly
WEIGHT: 8-20+ lbs
TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, smart, loyal, playful

What eats cats in the food chain

Should I Get A Hybrid Cat?

Hybrid cats look awesome, they’re exotic, everyone who seems them will comment and ask questions about them. Having said that, MOST hybrid cats do not make good pets unless you’re a seasoned cat owner. Most hybrids still have wild genes hanging around in their DNA, this makes them have wild cat tendencies.

Hybrid cats, if not cared for properly, can be destructive and they can be dangerous. Whenever a hybrid cat does not get the physical and mental stimulation they need they can and will resort to tearing your house up AND tearing you up. They tend to be VERY vocal to a point where even the biggest cat lover out there will say it’s annoying.

It’s also not uncommon for certain hybrid cat breeds to avoid their litterbox because, remember, cats in the wild don’t use a litter box. They spray and mark their territory. 

As we’ve mentioned above, if you’re looking for a new cat then your very first stop should be at your local animal shelter. If your shelter has a hybrid cat breed available AND you’re a seasoned cat owner who feels they can take on the task of rescuing them, then a hybrid cat might just be for you!

Are Hybrid Cats Legal?

The legality of owning a hybrid cat varies by country, by state, and even by city. It also varies by whichever breed you’re considering adopting or rescuing.

Bengals, one of the most common hybrid cat breeds, are illegal to own in New York City and the entire state of Hawaii. Many other states have restrictions on Bengal Cat ownership. 

Savannahs, another popular hybrid cat breed, are illegal to own in Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Rhode Island, while many other cats only allow fourth-generation or later Savannah cats.

If you’re planning on adopting or rescuing a hybrid cat you need to check both your State’s and your City’s local laws about ownership. 

Can Hybrid Cat Breeders Control Temperaments?

Hybrid cat breeders have one goal in mind: to make money by selling you an exotic pet. They will often take a wild cat hybrid and market it as owning a “lap leopard” or “friendly jaguar” where they claim the animals have the looks of a wild cat with the temperament of a domestic cat. Genetics don’t exactly work this way. 

Breeders can claim they use selective breeding to breed out any wild cat tendencies. In reality, breeders can’t control which elements they get from the wild or domestic cat. One of the most common reasons for people to surrender their hybrid cats is that they won’t use the litter box. 

Most Commonly Surrendered Hybrid Cats:

-Bengal Cats
-Savannahs
-Chausies