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Have you ever dreamt of having a pet tiger? How about a lion or a leopard?
While most people would be happy with a domestic housecat, some daring pet owners have long wanted to welcome exotic felines into their homes. Of course, caring for wild cats isn’t exactly child’s play.
For this reason, breeders in the 20th century began developing species that look like wild animals, but behave like their tame counterparts. These interesting cats look like the great cats, but they’re much easier to share a home with.
Watch the Fascinating Video
Learn More about the Descendants of Wild Cats
In the early to mid-1900s, it wasn’t uncommon for people to own wild cats. Surprisingly, people willing welcomed these animals into their homes. Many governments around the world began banning the ownership of these creatures in the last century, however. In turn, breeders began working on creating breeds that exhibit the appearance of wild species.
Jean Mill was the first person to seriously pursue this breeding goal, creating what is now known as the bengal in 1986. Bengals are descendants of the asian leopard cat. In this video, viewers get to meet Anthony Hutcherson, an early fan of the bengal, who has been involved in breeding the cats for several decades.
Anthony explains some of the qualities bengals should exhibit, including rosettes, the patterns seen in wild animals. Of course, getting these characteristics to show up in new kittens requires a process known as selective breeding. While such
While bengal breeding programs have been ongoing since the 1970s, there are also a number of newer breeds that have only been developed in recent years. These new breeds include the savannah and the toyger. While the savannah is the offspring of a serval, a wild African cat, and a housecat, the toyger doesn’t have any wild blood at all. Instead, this unique breed was created by selectively breeding standard housecats.
Oh, and the toyger? It was developed by Judy Sugden, the daughter of Jean Mill! It seems that cat breeding is a pretty small world after all.