“New breed in the cat world!
First CARACAT born few years ago in America from successful crossing wild cat Caracal
& domestic cat Abyssinian. Hybrids were registered as Experimental New Breed in TICA. The new breed came from home bred caracals and Abyssinians, Serengeti and Egyptian Mau, probably some more breeds. The name of this breed is Caracat, so – after Bengals, Savannah and few more hybrid breeds in the cat world we have a new one.”
When can we finally put an end to this reckless and $$-oriented abuse?
Good to know that at least FIFE and GCCF do have a ban on recognizing new hybrid breeds. Probably, also the Australian cat fancy will not follow that trend. CFA just recently and, unfortunately, has opened the door just a gap wide, not sure where that will be leading to. TICA we know have based their very existence on these $$-creations.
Here is some information that I could find on the internet about the “how” and “when”
this $$-creation came into existence:
History of the Caracat
DOMESTIC X CARACAL HYBRIDS
In 1998, I Kusminych and A Pawlowa reported a caracal/domestic
hybrid cat at Moscow Zoo (“Ein Bastard von Karakal Hauskatze im
Moskauer Zoo” in Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 68, No. 4 (1998)).
This article was printed only inn German and I have no translated information.
Though this sounds like a surprising hybrid, domestic cats
are crossed with Servals in captivity and the
Serval and Caracal are interfertile. A zoo is an
artificial environment which would have
contributed to this unlikely mating.
The Savannah gives an indication of problems
breeders would face should they choose to pursue a caracal
hybrid breed. There was apparently an attempt at a caracal x
domestic hybrid; a male caracal was housed with a female Snowshoe,
but the pair failed to mate (Nikki Matthens,
Wild Talk). To regard a domestic cat as a mate,
the caracal would have to be raised with
domestic cats. The lack of interest in “Caracats” seemed related
to the current trend for breeding wildooking striped and spotted cats;
the caracal is more reminiscent of a large Abyssinian with
long black ear tufts. Hypothetical, caracats and Caracal/Abyssinian
crosses were discussed on the Newbreedcats Yahoogroup in November
Details of Joy Geisinger’s caracal x domestic
hybrids (Caracats) were published in
TICA Trend (June/July 2008) and also in
Feline Conservation Federation Journal, Volume 52,
Issue 4, July/August 2008. Following Joy
Geisinger’s death in 2008, Mike Friese (Feline
Conservation Federation) has provided further
information on the hybrids that he received from Geisinger.
The Caracat is a hybrid of Caracal x Abyssinian domestic
with an even toned coat without spots, stripes, or rosettes.
F1 Caracats reach 25- 30 pounds and
stand 12” to 14” at the shoulder, and resemble a cougar
with tufted ears and dark facial markings with some
barred markings on the legs and belly. The tail
length is not stated (caracals have short tails).
F2 Caracats (75% Abyssinian, 25% Caracal)
reach 20 – 25 pounds, stand 10” – 12” at the shoulder, and
still resemble a miniature cougar, but have a
more domestic temperament than the F1 Caracats.
In 2005 a male Caracal kitten, Mandela was raised with 2 female
Abyssinian kittens, Bonnie and Beverly. In May 2007, 8 lb Beverly and 50 lb Mandela
produced Hillary and another kitten, the first deliberately
bred Caracats (accidental hybrids had been born in Germany to a
male domestic and a female caracal). The other kitten died at birth, though,an F1 male called Jude was born in a
subsequent litter (October 2007) along with F1
kittens Jennifer and Monica. Geisinger intended to breed
Hillary to an Abyssinian sire called Romeo when Hillary matured
in 2008. The caracal male, Mandela, was rehomed in February
2008 to a breeder of Caracal x Chausie hybrids. F1 Caracats
inherit the caracal’s hissy, nervous disposition, destructive
tendencies and a screeching call.
F2 Caracats with ear tufts and a “moustache” would probably
be the best looking generation since F3 hybrids (much higher percentage
of Abyssinian) would resemble overgrown Abyssinian cats. F2 kittens
were priced at $8000 (fertile females) and $4000 (infertile males).
The males were expected to be infertile for up to 5 generations.
The hybrid males were to be sold as neutered, declawed pets while
the females would be sold with breeding rights on the basis they
would be bred only to registered Abyssinian males. Geisinger wrote
that the F2 females would quickly earn back the $8000 price with
their first F3 litter – suggesting a commercial enterprise rather than
a cat-fancying one.
Joy Geisinger’s husband greatly hated Mandela, the Caracal stud,
and the feeling was apparently mutual. Mandela was an exceptionally
gentle Caracal, who loved “lap time” with Joy, and the new owners planned to breed him to a
Chausie to maintain the larger size and exotic look (this would also
be a safer match than a petite Abyssinian female). Geisinger considered
this is a step backwards, as the offspring would be greater than 50%
wild cat and not very domesticated. However, the Chausie breed is
several generations down the line and Geisinger’s fear would be
unfounded if a later generation Chausie is used; some Chausies also
have a short tail.
TICA granted experimental breed status for the Caracat and, although
it would take years, Geisinger aimed to give the Caracat the same
status as the Savannah. This would mean moving beyond the F2s,
something she had not previously wanted to do because of the possible
loss of caracal looks, however, it is not possible to have a breed
comprising F2 cats alone. She knew the F1s would be purchased as
fast as she could produce them, but she noted that the breeding process
was difficult for the Abyssinian females. The greater size of the caracal,
however gentle, meant a mating neck-rip could be lethal to the much smaller domestic
female and one of the females had spent around 30 hours in labour
because of the size of the hybrid kittens. On May 3rd, 2008,
Geisinger wrote to Mike Friese that the F2 generation would be
the most marketable Caracats and that she had an Abyssinian
stud, Romeo, lined up to breed with her 3 F1 Caracats. She hoped
Romeo would pass on his sweet disposition to the F2 offspring.
She was certain she would not be able to keep up with the demand
for F2 kittens in spite of having 3 F1 Caracat females. The oldest
F1 Caracat, Hillary, had already come into season by May 2008
(10.5 months old), but was not bred because she was not fully grown.
Monica and Jennifer were not due to come into season until the late
summer/early autumn of 2008. Neither Bonnie nor Beverly became
pregnant before Mandela left so there were no further F1 kittens.
Romeo had attempted to mate Hillary, but his was considerably
shorter than Hillary and was unable to manage the neck-hold and intromission at the same time. The only F1 male Caracat
Geisinger was able to produce was Barnabus Jude.
In Europe, Poespoes Cattery, planned to acquire one or two F2 females
(which would be DNA tested) who will also be backcrossed to a caracal male;
this would give F1 females that have a higher percentage of caracal
than an F1 caracal/domestic cross and would help establish generations
beyond F2 with the desired look. Before this happened, Geisinger died
and it was not known what would happen to her caracal/Abyssinian
hybrids, nor was there further news of the caracal/Chausie hybrids.
The caracat faces the same gestational mismatch issues found in
serval hybrids. The caracal gestation period is 73 days while the
Abyssinian gestation period is 63 days. This means hybrids borne
by a domestic female will be premature in terms of the caracal.
The website detailing Caracat hybrids did not mention DNA verification
of the hybrids and incorrectly stated Chausies, Savannahs and
Bengals used any domestic female that will tolerate a wild male
(this is only true of backyard breeders mass-producing unregistered versions of those breeds) and that hybrid
males are sterile for 5 generations. F1 males are sterile according
to Haldane’s Rule, and the F2 to F4 generations may be infertile or
poorly fertile but 5 generations of infertility is not guaranteed.
The fact only one F1 male was born (or survived) is also in accordance
with Haldane’s Rule.
Caracal – Description
Animal Group Petition to restrict hybrid cats
Petition failed, unfortunately! On October 8th, 2014 California’s Department
of Fish and Wildlife made the decision to reject the petition to regulate hybrid cats within the state of California!
There is more hope in Europe, though!
More food for thought!