Wildcats in the living room?

True to the motto “Bigger, nicer, better!” Has become in cat breeding for some time a new and extremely dubious fashion trend noticeable: The crossing of small wild cat species, such as Serval or Karakal, with domesticated cats. Unfortunately, not only the “common domestic cat” seems to have lost its fascination for many, but also the numerous cat breeds can no longer satisfy the need of some people to surround themselves with novel, exotic-looking animals. In connection with such breeding attempts is naturally hardly ever talked about how mating, gestation and childbirth and what breeding for the offspring means. In 1980 it should be possible for the first time to pair a serval, a species of African wildcats, with a Siamese female. The offspring were called “Savannah cat” and since the mid-1990s in the US established as a new breed of cat. A current fashion trend is crossing the Karakal, an African-Asian wildcat species also known as the “desert lynx”, with Abyssinian cats. The descendants are referred to as “Caracat” and already advertised intensively on various websites. Servals and caracals may not be kept in Austria by private individuals. There are therefore breeders who spend their cats abroad to cover, which is associated with the animals with additional stress during transport. The effort seems worthwhile in any case: descendants from such crossings are offered by about 5,000 euros; according to other information, in individual cases even a purchase price between 8,500 and 22,500 euros (!) Can be achieved.

The price always pay the animals

Most breeders strive to play down: “Desert lynx loves domestic cat” is said there euphemistically, while problems are spoken at best under a hand. But what, from the point of view of animal protection, is really against this breeding attempt? A closer look reveals that wildlife crossbreeding is associated with a whole range of animal welfare issues: Just the fact that Serval and Karakal are significantly different from pet cats in size, weight and gestation shows that in the context of mating, during pregnancy and at birth significant problems may occur. Since the offspring – in particular as far as the first generations are concerned – have different attitudes than domestic cats and are larger or heavier, their attitude proves to be problematic, not only for animal welfare reasons but also in terms of a possible safety risk.

Heavy weights are the order of the day

With an average shoulder height of 60 cm (Serval) or 45 cm (Karakal) and a body weight of up to 20 kg (Serval) or 18 kg (Karakal) both types of domestic cat are clearly wild cats in the living room? Questionable Trends in Cat Breeding In Africa, Arabia, and Asia, the caracal is superior to my pet 39, so that the cat can be paired with mating, e.g. can be seriously injured or even killed by the neck bite.

If the cat was still successfully covered, it can be assumed that the path of suffering for the dam is only beginning: Since the gestation period at Serval 71-74 days and the Karakal about 70 days, in the domestic cat, however, only 58-63 days, It often comes to premature, miscarriage or stillbirths. About possibly damaged, but in principle viable “committee animals” and their fate is not known. But even if the offspring are healthy, the birth for the cat is associated with stresses that go beyond normal birth pains: Since the hybrid fetuses are larger than unborn pets, it often comes to heavy weights. In breeder circles it is reported that many mothers can never deliver their puppies alone, but either die at birth or be released by emergency cesarean section to save at least the precious puppies. Is it any wonder that Savannah breeders describe the birth of first-generation viable animals as a long-awaited miracle! Since the hybrid cats, at least in the first generations, have different or higher standards than domestic cats, animal welfare problems are inevitable in the attitude of the hybrids. Many a keeper should be so overwhelmed after a short time that the animals are released or even exposed. Allegedly veterinarians who specialize in the treatment of exotic animals have already been asked to vaccinate a Savannah cat kept in the apartment with the blowpipe …

Claw amputation in the purchase price inclusive

Although it is alleged on the one hand that Caracats are by no means dangerous, on the other hand US breeders only sell entkrallte animals and these only to households in which no children live, younger than twelve years. As already mentioned, Serval and Karakal may in principle only be kept in zoos in Austria. That also the attitude of the descendants is problematic not least for security reasons, show foreign regulations: Thus animals, which arise from crossing between wild animals and domestic animals, in the federal state of New York up to and including the fourth generation a holding ban; in the urban area, subsequent generations may not be held. In Australia, imports of Savannah u.a. banned for protection of species, as it is clearly superior to the domestic cat also in hunting and therefore may pose a threat to local wildlife.

Resist the beginnings

Since the mating of domestic cats with wild cats in particular for the dams is associated with considerable suffering or even fatal end and the Austrian Animal Welfare Act expresses the tendency to heavy weights explicitly as an example of Qualzuchtmerkmale, it is assumed that the making of such breeding the facts of animal cruelty fulfilled and thus forbidden; The animals may therefore not be issued, imported or passed on. However, since it is unclear to which successor generation this prohibition should apply, the crossing between domestic animals and wild animals should already be expressly prohibited, as is the case in Switzerland.

About Tony Jack

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