4 Exotic Cats That Make Excellent Pets
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
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 Image GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
Donskoy Cat Image
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.
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Which of these four exotic cats do you think would make the best pet for you?
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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.
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References and Resource Materials
Messy Beast, “Short-legged Cats,” Sarah Harwell, 2005-2008
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