Was The Breeding Between a Domestic Cat and a Serval Really Accidental?

KittyJ

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I'm back with a question about Savannah cats. I've been reading about the history of the breed, and everyone says that it was an accidental breeding. Is this true? Would a serval even mate with a domestic cat in the wild? We have bobcats here and ferals. If a serval would mate with a domestic cat, why wouldn't a bobcat?

Thanks in advance.
 

Maurey

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There's no evidence that a hybrid between lynxes and domestic cats is possible, so whether or not they would mate with a domestic is moot. Male servals that were raised with female domestic cats will mate with them, but it won't always be successful, and can be dangerous for the cats involved. That said, no, I don't believe a wild serval would be likely to recognise a cat as similar enough them to be a prospective mate.

You can read more about the first documented Savannah, bred by Suzy Wood, here. Domestic x Serval and Caracal Hybrids
 
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KittyJ

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Bobcats and lynxes aren't the same thing. The Pixie-bob is supposedly a cross between a bobcat and a domestic cat.

That makes sense. Thank you!
 

Willowy

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The Pixie-bob is supposedly a cross between a bobcat and a domestic cat.
Supposedly. But DNA tests don't show any bobcat blood in Pixie-bobs. This is true of all alleged bobcat hybrids. As far as anyone can tell, domestic cats and bobcats are not interfertile.

(And bobcats are lynx rufus, they are in the lynx genus.)
 

Maurey

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Bobcats are a type of lynx. Only Americans call red lynxes bobcats, to my knowledge. Pixiebobs are domestic. No supposed lynx cross has stood up to scrutiny. Bobtails are a relatively common spontaneous mutation.
 
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KittyJ

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Supposedly. But DNA tests don't show any bobcat blood in Pixie-bobs. This is true of all alleged bobcat hybrids. As far as anyone can tell, domestic cats and bobcats are not interfertile.

(And bobcats are lynx rufus, they are in the lynx genus.)
Really? 😲 Hmm, that's strange.
 

Scott R

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My late wife adopted 3 cats from her work's parking lot, along with their mommy 30 minutes later. Mommy died of heartworm which is rare among cats, but it was something she was diagnosed with and we were prepared for it. The three kittens were all tabbies. The male orange tabby is now age 6, 32#, has 18" legs, 4" paws, and he is tearing my right arm and desk chair apart. I called OSU (Ohio State) and they undeniably told me that my lovely, orange, lap kitty was partially a bobcat. It was the size of his paws that were, to them, a dead give-away. Domestic cats don't have legs and paws that size.
 

segelkatt

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I just saw an article where somebody inquired about where and how to buy/adopt a Marguerite cat. This is an experimental breed of a cross with a Sand Cat which hails from the far Western Mongolia like the Pallas Cat. Not for sale although a few Pallas are in zoos. The Sand Cat does not look much different from a domestic beige-y cat with a bit shorter legs, a flatter face and a bit longer hair. I am glad that the scientists are not planning to breed this cat as it is hard to keep, its arid home will cause many respiratory problems in the more humid conditions everywhere else. I guess the person inquiring just wanted a cat that nobody else has for bragging purposes. Certainly not a cat lover.
 

goingpostal

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My late wife adopted 3 cats from her work's parking lot, along with their mommy 30 minutes later. Mommy died of heartworm which is rare among cats, but it was something she was diagnosed with and we were prepared for it. The three kittens were all tabbies. The male orange tabby is now age 6, 32#, has 18" legs, 4" paws, and he is tearing my right arm and desk chair apart. I called OSU (Ohio State) and they undeniably told me that my lovely, orange, lap kitty was partially a bobcat. It was the size of his paws that were, to them, a dead give-away. Domestic cats don't have legs and paws that size.
How could a random person from OSU possibly know what was in your cat from over the phone description? There's never been a shred of evidence that bobcats and domestics can cross so that's an entirely crazy thing for someone to say "undeniably".
 

Meowmee

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I'm back with a question about Savannah cats. I've been reading about the history of the breed, and everyone says that it was an accidental breeding. Is this true? Would a serval even mate with a domestic cat in the wild? We have bobcats here and ferals. If a serval would mate with a domestic cat, why wouldn't a bobcat?

Thanks in advance.
I don't think they can produce offspring even if they (bobcats and domestics) mated according what I have read. Also dna evidence showed they have not successfully mated when pixie bobs were tested. Anyone can get their cat tested if they really suspect it is part bobcat. I am not sure about Savannahs you can google and get info on how they started. Here is a link.
Savannah Breed History – Savannah Cat Breed History – Savannah Cat History – TICA’s Official Savannah Breed Section
 

cmshap

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How could a random person from OSU possibly know what was in your cat from over the phone description? There's never been a shred of evidence that bobcats and domestics can cross so that's an entirely crazy thing for someone to say "undeniably".
I completely agree with the fact that such a statement from an OSU person is sketchy, but if there is any evidence to the contrary, I'd love to hear it. Or even if it's not direct evidence, but just more detail about what this person said (which can then be discussed here, as to its merits), please elaborate.

The word "undeniable" is not evidence.

However, it's definitely possible for somebody to own a bobcat, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The wisdom of doing so, I will leave up to others to scrutinize. But a crossbred one with a domestic... no.
 
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denice

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32#, has 18" legs, 4" paws, and he is tearing my right arm and desk chair apart
That is extremely large for a domestic cat. I would be more inclined to think it is possible that this is a bobcat. It is not at all unusual for a bobcat to have the coloring and markings that strongly resemble an orange tabby. I take it the other two are normal size, if they are then I think this could be a bobcat rather than the product of some very unlikely crossbreeding. I know that cats with a litter will often take in an orphan, this could have been an orphan newborn bobcat.
 

cmshap

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I would be more inclined to think it is possible that this is a bobcat.
I know that cats with a litter will often take in an orphan, this could have been an orphan newborn bobcat.
That's an interesting and plausible explanation.

The male orange tabby is now age 6, 32#, has 18" legs, 4" paws, and he is tearing my right arm and desk chair apart.
I have read that bobcats can NEVER have tabby stripes... like it's not just extremely rare; it is a genetic impossibility.

I'd love to hear someone more knowledgeable confirm or debunk this. I just randomly read it somewherw online recently.

It's also possible this cat just could be a genetic rarity, an unusually huge domestic cat.
 

thefiresidecat

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My late wife adopted 3 cats from her work's parking lot, along with their mommy 30 minutes later. Mommy died of heartworm which is rare among cats, but it was something she was diagnosed with and we were prepared for it. The three kittens were all tabbies. The male orange tabby is now age 6, 32#, has 18" legs, 4" paws, and he is tearing my right arm and desk chair apart. I called OSU (Ohio State) and they undeniably told me that my lovely, orange, lap kitty was partially a bobcat. It was the size of his paws that were, to them, a dead give-away. Domestic cats don't have legs and paws that size.
pictures or it didn't happen
 

mmdesolate

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That's an interesting and plausible explanation.



I have read that bobcats can NEVER have tabby stripes... like it's not just extremely rare; it is a genetic impossibility.

I'd love to hear someone more knowledgeable confirm or debunk this. I just randomly read it somewherw online recently.

It's also possible this cat just could be a genetic rarity, an unusually huge domestic cat.
I have no idea why, but most of the "size anomaly randombred domestic cats" I've encountered were orange. My dad used to have one who was the size of a normal adult male cat by 4 months old, and was 27 pounds (fat lol, he was supposed to be 20) as an adult.
 

Meowmee

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I have no idea why, but most of the "size anomaly randombred domestic cats" I've encountered were orange. My dad used to have one who was the size of a normal adult male cat by 4 months old, and was 27 pounds (fat lol, he was supposed to be 20) as an adult.
The largest domestic shorthair cat I have seen was a giant ginger tabby. When he sat, he was nearly 2 feet tall. He was a gentle giant too and had been declawed on all four paws 😿 I cared for him at a petco when I was volunteering with the rescue a long time ago. My Merlin is also a big guy… He’s a ginger, tabby tuxedo.
 

mmdesolate

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The largest domestic shorthair cat I have seen was a giant ginger tabby. When he sat, he was nearly 2 feet tall. He was a gentle giant too and had been declawed on all four paws 😿 I cared for him at a petco when I was volunteering with the rescue a long time ago. My Merlin is also a big guy… He’s a ginger, tabby tuxedo.
My dad's old orange giant (2001-2013) was named Turbo, and he got him as a "sickly but solid-framed older kitten, around 9-11 months old", took him to the vet to get him checked out and see about neutering him, turns out he was only 3 months old. We never measured his height, but he could take up a two-seat couch by himself if he stretched out a bit.
DVC00012.JPG
 

Gunther4ever

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My late wife adopted 3 cats from her work's parking lot, along with their mommy 30 minutes later. Mommy died of heartworm which is rare among cats, but it was something she was diagnosed with and we were prepared for it. The three kittens were all tabbies. The male orange tabby is now age 6, 32#, has 18" legs, 4" paws, and he is tearing my right arm and desk chair apart. I called OSU (Ohio State) and they undeniably told me that my lovely, orange, lap kitty was partially a bobcat. It was the size of his paws that were, to them, a dead give-away. Domestic cats don't have legs and paws that size.
Could you send me a pic- there is a cat down in the Keys that they are trying to idenify that's in a colony down there- he's super large compared to the other cats and he has "auburn' colored fur and dark tips on his ears. He has large paws, a very straight top line, large chest, long legs and large paws - he's and impressive guy. He does not stay with the colony he just meanders in when he's sight seeing.
 

Meowmee

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My dad's old orange giant (2001-2013) was named Turbo, and he got him as a "sickly but solid-framed older kitten, around 9-11 months old", took him to the vet to get him checked out and see about neutering him, turns out he was only 3 months old. We never measured his height, but he could take up a two-seat couch by himself if he stretched out a bit.View attachment 457062
He's gorgeous… he looks a bit like Merlin. Merlin is def overweight. Merlin did not look like he was going to be a big cat when he showed up. He was thinner and smaller.
 
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