8 Cat Breeds That Resemble Tigers, Leopards and Other Wild Cats
by Laura Cross
Published on May 13, 2015
If you’ve ever dreamed of having a tiger, panther or leopard without, you know, the dangers of living with wild animals, you’re in luck: There are plenty of domestic cat breeds that look just like their big cat cousins. From the striking Bengal to the unusual Savannah, meet 8 cat breeds that aren’t as wild as they look.
Thanks to his unique ticked coat, the Abyssinian bears the appearance of an African wildcat. And it's not just his coat that's an attention-getter: He also stands out for his playful, intelligent and energetic nature.
Want a breed with the looks of a leopard and the demeanor of a domestic cat? Look no further than the Bengal, a breed that was developed by crossing small Asian Leopard Cats with domestic cats. Bengals have stunning coats that come in many striking patterns: rosettes, spots or even marbled, where one or more colors swirl into his coat's background color.
If it weren't for the Bombay's generally calm and easygoing disposition, you'd think he was a miniature black panther. The breed's exotic looks were achieved by crossing sable Burmese with black American Shorthairs, earning him the nickname “the patent-leather kid with the new-penny eyes.”
The Egyptian Mau can run up to 30 mph, so he may not sit still long enough for you to notice his naturally occurring spotted coat and the exotic mascara markings around his eyes. Researchers believe the breed originated in Egypt and probably descended from an African wildcat.
With a coat that can be dotted with tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender or fawn spots, the Ocicat is quite an exotic-looking breed. But there's nothing wild about him: He's the result of crossing Abyssinians, Siamese and American Shorthairs.
A relatively new breed that was recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2012, the Savannah is known for his unusual appearance. His large, tall ears sit on the top of his head, and he has a long neck, long legs and a short, thick tail. Plus, he wears an exotic spotted and striped coat. And it's no wonder he's so wild looking: The breed was created by crossing an African serval with a domestic cat.
As the longhaired variety of the Abyssinian, the Somali also bears the appearance of an African wildcat. And thanks to his bushy tail, he could be mistaken for a fox, too. Like his shorthaired cousin, the breed tends to be clever, curious and highly active. If you're looking for a lap cat, then the Somali may not be for you.
With his orange and black or brown striped coat and muscular body, it's easy to mistake the Toyger for a real tiger cub. Thankfully, the breed is much nicer (and safer to own) than a tiger cub and tends to be sweet, calm and friendly. His wild looks come from crossing a Bengal with a striped Domestic Shorthair.
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