More Cat Care Information:
Because cats are all closely related, crossing between one species and another is possible. This is called hybridisation and has led to a whole range of breeds of both domestic and wild cats that carry the genes of different branches of the feline tree. Also, unlike with some species, these hybrid cat breeds are fertile and can produce young, leading to a new breed.
|General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home|
|You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.|
|General Cat Care #2: Feeding|
|An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).|
Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.
There have been a number of accidental or purposeful crossbreeds between different species of wild cat, resulting in some unusual cats and some odd names. One example is the servical/caraval, which is a cross between a serval and a caracal. This first happened accidentally in Los Angeles Zoo when a male serval and a female caracal were housed together – their offspring is a servical. If the gender of the parents is reversed, this is a caraval.
The Blynx is the offspring of a bobcat and one of the Lynx species and can occur in nature when one of the animals cannot find a mate of its own species. They tend to resemble bobcats with larger bodies and smaller feet but have ear tufts and a black tipped tail like a lynx.
The hybrids of domestic cats and their wild cousins have given rise to a group of breeds. There is also a careful classification system in place to grade how suitable these cats are going to be as pets and it is important to take this into consideration if you plan to adopt one.
F1 cats are where one of their parents is a wild cat and are considered too wild to be a house cat. These cats normally live with professional breeders in special accommodation. They are then bred with either another hybrid of the same species or another type of domestic cat. This generation is F2 and are still not considered suitable for pet status in some breeds. The next generation is F3 and so forth, so the number indicates how many generations removed from the wild cat each animal is. Typically, F3 or F4 are the very lowest numbers that should be considered as pets.
|General Cat Care #3: Grooming|
|Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs|
|General Cat Care #4: Handling|
|To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.|
|General Cat Care #5: Housing|
|Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.|
The Savannah is one of the more famous hybrid breeds, the result of a crossing a domestic cat with an African Serval. Male cats of this breed are often infertile within the first few generations of the mating but females aren't. The first was born in 1986 and is a large cat, bigger than any domestic species, with a tremendous jumping ability. Due to their wild heritage, they are also illegal to own in some states of the US, but are recognised as a championship breed by The International Cat Association (TICA).
The Bengal is one of the original hybrid breeds of cat and came from a cross between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard Cat. There have been occurrences of natural hybrids in the wild going back to 1934 but became a domestic breed due to the work of geneticist Jean Sugden-Mills in the 1960s. It has now been accepted by the TICA and is considered a great house pet after fourth generation breeding (F4).
The Chausie is a cross between the domestic cat and the Jungle Cat, the largest of the Felis genus of wild cats, found in Asia. These cats cat grow to three feet long and weigh 35 pounds but tend to be around the 18 pound mark. They are classified as a championship breed by the TICA and F4 or F5 cats are said to be suitable for house cat status.
The Pixiebob comes about through natural mating and have been observed in the wild. Carol Ann Brewer was the first person to adopt one of these cats in 1985 and it then bred with a local cat. They are tall cats with front legs that are slightly smaller than their back legs and thick coats. They are known to be loyal and loving pets though are less expressive than many breeds, perhaps due to their wild heritage.
If you are thinking about adopting a wild cat hybrid breed, it is always important to fully understand the potential differences between them and other breeds. While a cat that is four or five generations from a wild cat is going to make an excellent house pet, they do tend to be larger and more robust than many cats, with different characteristics and behaviours. Therefore, it is worth spending time around the breed before adopting to ensure a good match for your family.
|General Cat Care #6: Identification|
|If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.|
|General Cat Care #7: Litter Box|
|All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).|