MILD vs WILD: Could Wildcats Be Lurking in Your Cat’s DNA?
Does your cat’s DNA contain a little bit of WILD? Check out this article and learn more about 3 cat breeds with recent wildcat ancestors.
LOVE is on our mind…
What happens when a house kitty falls in love with a wild cat? Sometimes, a whole NEW breed of cat is created!
A few of today’s popular cat breeds contain truly WILD cat DNA – DNA from a totally undomesticated species of cat. These hybrids can look shockingly similar to their wild ancestors, and are often more ACTIVE and outgoing.
Here are 3 wildcats whose DNA has found their way into family homes across the globe:
The Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
This wild cat is also known as the "Swamp cat" because it lives in wet or swampy areas in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The Jungle cat was sometimes kept by Egyptians as pets and even MUMMIFIED.
The Jungle cat would be a terrible housecat because it is very solitary, nervous and loves to spray! However, its hybrid offspring, the Chausies, look like the Jungle cat but with the personalities of domestic housecats.
True-bred Chausies are typically fourth-generation, meaning that their DNA is 1/16th Jungle cat.
The Asian Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
The Asian Leopard cat is widespread throughout Asia and is about the same size as a domestic housecat. Despite its small size, it’s known for being quite FIERCE and is very difficult to domesticate.
Chinese farmers kept these cats as pets around 5,000 years ago, but they soon lost favor to today’s domestic cat.
The popular BENGAL cats are hybrids that combine the Asian Leopard’s coloration with a domestic cat’s personality. In order to qualify as an official Bengal cat, your cat needs to have 1/16th Asian Leopard DNA.
Other official breeds that contain Asian Leopard DNA include the Cheetoh and Serengeti.
African Serval (Leptailurus serval)
These medium-sized wildcats are common in Southern Africa and were once WORSHIPPED in Ancient Egypt for their grace and power.
Servals have spotted bodies, long legs and large, striped ears. Some people claim they make loving pets, but Servals’ predatory needs and size (up to 50 pounds) make them difficult to keep in a household.
Their hybrid offspring, the Savannahs, have dog-like personalities and can be strong swimmers. Unlike the Bengal and Chausie, the Savannahs are considered excellent companions with up to 50% wildcat DNA.
Does YOUR cat’s DNA contain a little bit of WILD? Wildcat hybrids can be FANTASTIC pets! However, these recent descendants of ferocious predators often need to be fed a grain-free diet to avoid digestive problems, and taurine supplements are recommended.
Also, they may be genetic carriers for diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease.
If you’d like to learn more about your cat’s DNA, you can purchase a Basepaws CatKit to sequence your own cat’s DNA. We will tell you if your cat is truly a WILD cat, along with everything else your cat’s DNA can tell us about your cat’s ancestry, health and personality.
We’re still learning what the cat genome can tell us, and as early adopters we’ll keep you updated as our research progresses and your cat’s genes are deciphered. Join the Basepaws community and help us build the next generation of cat care - the more samples we have, the more we can do for all felines.