10 Hybrid Cats That Evoke Their Wild Cat Lineage

Illustration of different hybrid cats

The Spruce / Elnora Turner

A hybrid cat can be a happy medium between the appeal of a wild lion or tiger and domestic tameness. Pet hybrid cats are domestic house cats crossbred with wild feline varieties. They're often brilliant and athletic with a streak of unpredictability, but they're generally friendly around people.

Tip

Fundamentally, producing hybrids with wild cats is the product of two species that were never meant to mate in the first place. Crossbreeding hybrid cats on your own can result in aborted babies, premature births, and unhealthy kittens, depending on their genetics.

Breed Characteristics

The more wild-looking cats have spotted and striped patterning on their coats that evoke images of leopards, tigers, and cheetahs. Most hybrids are high energy and will search every nook and cranny of your home, as it takes note of its territory, and in some cases, spray to mark its home. Most will retain some of their "wild" personalities and may not get along easily with other cats. Their wild nature includes biting, bred out of domesticated cats, but not entirely out of hybrids. Many hybrids have difficulty eating commercial cat food, often leading to bowel disease and digestion ailments.

Here are 10 hybrid cat breeds if you're looking to take a walk on the wild side.

  • 01 of 10

    Bengal

    Bengal cat sitting on weathered deck

    itsabreeze photography / Getty Images

    Bengals are one of the most common hybrid house cats. The breed resulted from crosses between domestic shorthairs and small Asian leopard cats, and its coat retains leopard-like spots. These smart, active cats are always on the move. They love climbing, playing fetch, taking on-leash walks, and even splashing in the water.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Sleek, muscular body; striped and spotted coat

  • 02 of 10

    Chausie

    Chausie cat outside

    Satyendra Kumar Tiwari / Getty Images

    Resembling small mountain lions, chausies are also called stone cougars. They were the result of crossing domestic Abyssinians with wild jungle cats of Asia, Felis chaus. They are large and muscular with a broad chest and long legs, usually with black or gray coloration. They were accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2001 and can be shown in the Advanced New Breed Class. These are high-energy cats that need a lot of environmental enrichment to stay entertained. And hide your breakables because odds are their boisterous jumping and climbing won’t be limited to their cat trees. This breed tends to be very social loves interacting with their families.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 14 to 18 inches

    Weight: 15 to 30 pounds 

    Physical Characteristics: Long, tall body; elongated snout; sometimes tufted ears

  • 03 of 10

    Cheetoh

    Cheetoh cat walking in grass

     Chris Rue / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Despite the name, cheetoh cats do not resemble a cheesy snack. They are a cross between a domestic ocicat and a Bengal, which gives them a very wild look. Cheetohs tend to be playful cats that love to run, jump, and climb throughout their home. But they also have a gentle side and appreciate cuddling with their favorite humans.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 15 to 23 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Spotted coat; large, muscular body

  • 04 of 10

    Desert Lynx

    Caracal lynx over black background
    Byrdyak / Getty Images

    The desert lynx might have some bobcat DNA in it, but this cat also has been crossed with several domestic breeds, including the Maine coon, Manx, American bobtail, and pixie-bob. Still, these cats strongly resemble bobcats with their muscular build, short tail, and spotted pattern. They’re typically friendly and loving with somewhat of a dog-like personality.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 16 inches

    Weight: 8 to 25 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Bobcat-like appearance; various tail lengths; large ears; spotted or ticked coat

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Highlander

    Gray British Longhair cat with yellow eyes lying on bed
    EndTimeImages / Getty Images

    The highlander is a new cat originating from a cross between two hybrids: the desert lynx and the jungle curl. Highlanders tend to have bobbed tails and spotted or marbled coats, which resembles a bobcat. But because they come from two hybrids, they’re fairly tame, gentle, and affectionate cats.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 16 inches

    Weight: 10 to 20 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; curled ears; some have polydactyl paws and bobtails

  • 06 of 10

    Pixie-Bob

    pixie-bob cat sitting on a table

    Christina Griffiths / Getty Images 

    Some believe the pixie-bob resulted from natural mating between bobcats and domestic shorthairs, though DNA doesn't seem to back up the hypothesis. The cat’s wild appearance and bobbed tail might be a natural genetic mutation. This cat is a good choice for families who want an affectionate, interactive, fully domesticated feline.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 11 to 22 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Bobcat-like appearance; shorthaired to shaggy coat; various tail lengths

  • 07 of 10

    Safari

    Geoffroy's cat on a bag
    Picture by Tambako the Jaguar / Getty Images

    Safari cats are a rare hybrid that resulted from a cross between domestic cats and the small, wild Geoffroy’s cat of South America. Safari cats typically have a compact, muscular body with a spotted coat. Just like the wild Geoffroy, these cats are strong climbers and need lots of vertical space to expend their energy.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 15 to 25 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Large, muscular body; short, spotted coat

  • 08 of 10

    Savannah

    Savannah cat sitting against a gray background

     Volchanskiy / Getty Images

    A popular hybrid, savannah cats are taller than typical house cats and look like small cheetahs. They are a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, an African wild cat. These intelligent, athletic, and spirited cats require lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep them entertained. They need ample room to play, especially vertical space.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 20 to 30 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Tall, lean body; erect ears; golden coat with dark spots and bars

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Serengeti

    Serengeti cat
    KrissiLundgren / Getty Images

    The Serengeti looks very similar to a wild African serval but developed from a cross between Oriental shorthairs and Bengals. This gave the cats their spotted coat and athletic build. These cats are typically affectionate with their families and extremely energetic. These cats also need plenty of space to play.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 8 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long legs; large, rounded ears; spotted coat

  • 10 of 10

    Toyger

    Toyger cat against a yellow background

    Erich Schmidt / Getty Images

    Toygers are not wild cats, though their striped markings might make you think that you've just seen a mini tiger. Its look comes from crossing domestic shorthairs with Bengal cats. They are intelligent, high-energy cats with a friendly demeanor and adaptable to many different living situations. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 7 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Orange to tan fur with black stripes; muscular build; gold to green eyes

Breeds to Avoid

The American Association of Feline Practitioners discourages ownership of early generation hybrid cats due to public safety and animal welfare concerns. The first three generations of the matings of the wild cat with the domesticated cat are called foundation generations or F1 through F3. Cats resulting from the first three matings are still considered wild cats with aggressive tendencies. These early generation hybrids are often prohibited or regulated by state or local laws. If you plan on getting a wild hybrid, make sure you are getting an F4 generation or later. Those generations are considered “domestic” hybrid cats and can be sold to the general public.