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Exotic Cat Breeds

To some people cats may all seem alike, despite differences in color or size. Certainly cats appear more similar than dogs, which range from the towering Great Dane to the tiny Chihuahua. But cats do have their own breeds within the species just like dogs, and each has its own unique characteristics. Imagine a cat that likes to swim, or one that's related to a tiger! Sounds unreal, but it isn't. Many domestic cats have been interbred with wild species to produce gorgeous and extremely intelligent pets. If you are thinking about a cat why not try one of these breeds?


The Bengal breed originated when cat fanciers mixed a domestic cat with the Asian Leopard cat. The result was an extremely intelligent and beautiful pet. Bengals are often gray with striping or rosettes, and sometime have a gold dusting that looks like glitter. Bengals can mature at anywhere from 10-14 pounds, but some males reach larger sizes. Bengals are a very vocal cat, and will chirrup at things that interest them, and yowl when they want something. They also defy the idea that cats hate water. Bengals love water and some will even swim. Like a dog a Bengal will chase his tail, fetch for you, and walk on a leash.


The Chausie is a result of mixing a domestic cat and the wild jungle cat (Felix chaus). Chausies are also known as "stone cougars" because their solid light brown hide and head shape are reminiscent of a cougar. These cats are also larger than their fellow domestic cats, getting up to twenty-five pounds in some cases. Like Bengals, Chausies are very intelligent and like to play and walk on leashes. Chausies must be at least four generations removed from their wild ancestors to be legally owned, and some cities have restrictions beyond that. Check with your local government to make sure a Chausie (or a Bengal) would be legal and welcome in your town.


Imagine having a tiny tiger of your own! With the Toyger breed, it's now becoming possible. Toygers are actually the result of selective breeding of tabby cats; they have no wild stock in them. The reason the breed was developed was to create a domestic cat that resembled the wild tiger and would remind people about the plight of the great feline. Toygers are still being developed, but the choice members of the breed have dark pumpkin colored fur mixed with horizontal black stripes, just like a tiger! For the most part Toygers will act like other domestic cats.


The Ocicat is another example of breeding domestic cats to achieve and aesthetic look like a wild cat, in this case the ocelot. Ocicats come in also shades, from silver to chocolate, but they all share the spotting that makes them look so like their wild cousins. Some say Ocicats look a lot like the Bengal. Unlike the Bengal however they do not have wild ancestors, and behave more like your regular domestic cat, albeit with a gorgeous coat!

There are many other varieties of cats, some with long hair, some with no hair, and some with just enough. But whichever kind of cat you choose for a companion, remember that you are their guardian and provider. Good luck finding the exotic feline of your dreams!

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