4 Exotic Cats That Make Excellent Pets

Updated on June 8, 2018
DonnaCosmato profile image

The author has partnered with a retired vet to write about pet health and enjoys researching and sharing tips for pet owners.

Exotic Cats: Pets or Problems?

What are the different types of exotic cats? Most experts would list non-endangered small cats, hybrids, endangered small cats, and big cats. Here we examine four exotic feline hybrids that are registered and recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA).

TICA recognizes two exotic cat breeds as advanced new breeds (ANB): Chausie cats and Savannah cats. Let’s discover the origins, characteristics, and fun facts about these breeds and find out why owning these exotic cats as pets can be satisfying.

Chausie Cat Image

If you want to be sure to thwart the thieving instincts of the Chausie cat, shut doors and drawers completely. Some Chausies have been known to pull them open!
If you want to be sure to thwart the thieving instincts of the Chausie cat, shut doors and drawers completely. Some Chausies have been known to pull them open! | Source

Chausie Cats

Chausie cats trace their roots to ancient Egypt, and their resemblance to the cats depicted in Egyptian art as well as to their jungle cat ancestors is unmistakable.

The original cats developed from natural mating between Felis lybica (the ancestor of domestic cats) with Felis chaus (jungle cats).

In 1990, a concerted effort to develop a new breed using Felis chaus as breeding stock led to the Chausie cats of today, which are a hybrid mix of Abyssinian cats and domestic shorthair cats.

The breed was recognized in 2003 as an Advanced New Breed (ANB) by TICA.

What’s to like about this feline? How about intelligence, energy, and intense loyalty?

On the downside, they are master thieves and can be as annoying as small children with demands for one-on-one attention.

Standard coat colors are: brown ticked tabby, solid black, and black grizzled tabby. Chausie cats with grizzled coats are a rare treasure as there is no other cat in the world with these distinctive markings.

Savannah Cats

Savannah Cats are hybrids (man-made cats), resulting from breeding domestic cats with the African Serval, and the breed was recognized by TICA in 2001.

They are popular for their extreme loyalty and are said to resemble dogs in this aspect. Extremely intelligent, they can be leash trained and taught simple tricks

As a breed, they are active, attention seekers, high jumpers, sociable, and water loving so keep the shower door closed if you don't want company!

Savannahs blend into families with children or other dogs quite nicely; however, keep in mind that as a breed, they are dominant animals.

TICA accepted coat colors are brown spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby, black, and black smoke.

Savannah Cats Image Gallery

Savannah cats are long-lived (about 15 years on average) but extremely dominant animals. If you own other cats, you may want to consider a different breed of exotic cats as Savannahs do best in households with dogs rather than cats.
Savannah cats are long-lived (about 15 years on average) but extremely dominant animals. If you own other cats, you may want to consider a different breed of exotic cats as Savannahs do best in households with dogs rather than cats. | Source
Savannahs have a strong musculature, shorter front legs, and an elongated lean body and tail. Ancedotally, they are reputed to be hypoallergenic and thus good pets for those with allergies, but there is no scientific evidence for that claim.
Savannahs have a strong musculature, shorter front legs, and an elongated lean body and tail. Ancedotally, they are reputed to be hypoallergenic and thus good pets for those with allergies, but there is no scientific evidence for that claim. | Source
According the Guinness Book of World Records, the holder of the title World's Tallest Domestic Cat is Scarlett's Magic, who stands just over 18 inches and is owned by Lee and Kimberly Draper.  NOTE: This is a random image, not Scarlett's Magic.
According the Guinness Book of World Records, the holder of the title World's Tallest Domestic Cat is Scarlett's Magic, who stands just over 18 inches and is owned by Lee and Kimberly Draper. NOTE: This is a random image, not Scarlett's Magic. | Source

Donskoy

Next, let’s take a look at two interesting preliminary new exotic breeds listed with TICA: the Donskoy and the Minskin.

The Donskoy originated in Russia, and Elena Kovaleva is credited with finding the foundational cat.

This breed is also known as the Don Sphynx or the Don Hairless, but it is a naturally occurring hybrid and is not a result of cross breeding with Sphynx cats.

It was recognized by the World Cat Federation (WCF) in 1997 and by TICA in 2005.

These rare cats are typically hairless by reason of genetics, although some are designated as brush coats and lose patches of fur versus becoming entirely hairless. They are intelligent, active, good family cats, and socialize well with other pets.

Their wrinkly coats and other-world appearance are guaranteed conversation starters for those that are unfamiliar with the breed. The standard coats are rubber bald, flocked, velour, and brush.

Donskoy Cat Image

The Russian Hairless is another name for the Donskoy and it is often mistakenly considered to be related to the Canadian Sphynx, but it is not. Although hairless, the breed is actually classified as a shorthaired cat.
The Russian Hairless is another name for the Donskoy and it is often mistakenly considered to be related to the Canadian Sphynx, but it is not. Although hairless, the breed is actually classified as a shorthaired cat. | Source

Minskin Cats

Minskins are diminutive dwarf cats with extremely short body fur, hairless tummies, and fur points on their extremities (like the Siamese’s color points.) The foundational cats for this hybrid are the Munchkin, Sphynx, Devon Rex, and Burmese.

The breed developer is Paul McSorley, and they are incredibly rare; as of 2005; there were only 50 in existence.

The Minskin loves everyone: kids, other pets, and people. Their sweet temperature combined with an eternal kitten-face earns them the nickname “Hobbit” cat.

In addition to unusual coats, a distinguishing feature is their short legs. While they can jump, it takes them several leaps and some intermediary boosts to reach the same point another cat could reach in a single jump. All coat colors are accepted by TICA.

If you are tempted to run out and purchase one of these exotic cats, think through the decision. Acquiring any pet requires a time and expense commitment.

Exotic feline hybrids must be kept indoors or taken outdoors on leashes because they still have some wild instincts and may run away. If they become ill, finding a qualified veteranian may be difficult or expensive.

Should you be unable to keep them, finding a suitable home may be problematic. If, however, you have considered the cost and are willing to make a lifetime commitment, any of these exotic felines would make a fine family pet.

Share Your Opinion

Which of these four exotic cats do you think would make the best pet for you?

Would you consider owning an exotic pet, or would the costs and other potential problems scare you off?

Please take a minute to leave me a note in the comment section and share your opinion on the subject of exotic cats as pets.

References and Resource Materials

Messy Beast, “Short-legged Cats,” Sarah Harwell, 2005-2008

www.chausiebreedcommitee.com

TICA, “Minskin,” http://www.tica.org/public/breeds/ms/intro.php?zoom_highlight=minskin

TICA, "Donskoy," http://www.tica.org/public/breeds/dh/intro.php?zoom_highlight=donskoy

Undisclosed author, "The World's Tallest Cat Breaks Her Own Record," Cat Channel, http://www.catchannel.com/news/2010/09/20/worlds-tallest-cat.aspx

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Donna Cosmato

    Which of These Exotic Cats Do You Prefer?

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      • profile image

        sara 4 years ago

        Im getting an F4 savannah cat in a few years!

      • DonnaCosmato profile image
        Author

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Thanks for the compliment, LadyLyell! Just like you, I'm learning more and more about cats and other pets daily. It's an enjoyable subject, which makes doing the research a pleasure:)

      • DonnaCosmato profile image
        Author

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Hi mljdgulley354 and thanks for sharing your opinion! It's funny but I didn't realize how much the Donskoy's ears did look like a donkey's ears until you pointed it out:) All these kitties are really adorable and it was so much fun learning more about them that writing this hub seemed more like play than work. I'm glad you liked it!

      • DonnaCosmato profile image
        Author

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response to the hub on exotic cats, pmccray! They are all so graceful and appealing, it is hard to pick one, is it not?

      • LadyLyell profile image

        LadyLyell 6 years ago from George, South Africa

        What a vast knowledge you have of cats and as I have little to none I can learn much by following your articles.

        Happy new year!

      • mljdgulley354 profile image

        mljdgulley354 6 years ago

        Beautiful pictures of cats. I think the ears on the Donskoy make its name apparent, it has donkey ears.

      • pmccray profile image

        pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

        I'm a cat parent therefore already prejudiced. Really like the Savannah Cats. I'm thinking that will be the next breed I choose. Excellent hub. Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked useful, interesting and book marked.

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