The Chausie Cat Breed: An Exotic and Wild Domestic Hybrid

Stephanie has been a professional freelance writer since 2007 and likes to write about a variety of topics including unique cat breeds.

What Is a Chausie?

Cat fanciers and many adventurous owners are seeking breeds of domesticated cats that go beyond the ordinary. Developed from cross-breeding small wild cats with domestic breeds, there are now a number of tame, hybridized cats: Bengals, Toygers, and Chausies.

The Chausie cat, like many of these hybrids, possesses numerous endearing characteristics that differentiate it from its "average" domestic relatives. These cats are:

  • Extremely active
  • Intelligent and trainable
  • Adventurous and enjoy walking on leashes (much like dogs)
  • Water-loving
  • Social (get along with other animals in the household)

What Makes This Breed Unique?

The Chausie is a bit larger than the domestic Bengal cat and the Toyger, and weighs in at about 25 pounds when full-grown; they can be nearly twice as tall as regular domestic cats. This breed is also known as a "Jungle Curl," a "Stone Cougar," or a "Mountain Cougar."

Some people also refer to Chausies as "Jungle Cats," although they actually descend from this wild species. Therefore, the breed is the result of crossing a Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) and a domestic cat (often the Abyssinian).

Information About the Chausie's Wild Relative

Also known as the "Swamp Lynx," the Jungle Cat surprisingly is not related to the lynx cat family. It is a medium-sized feline, about 28 inches long, and 2 feet tall. They weigh approximately 35 pounds. The cat has pointed ears (resembling a lynx) and long legs. It lives in Egypt, Asia, India, and Sri Lanka, and populates the savannas and dry forests, but prefers grasslands near water.

Jungle Cats that live close to rivers and lakes actually dive for fish. Other items in their diet include frogs, birds, and small rodents. The species is not classified as endangered, although many are captured and killed for their fur. They are regularly hunted in the Middle East and have basically disappeared from African regions. This may explain why so many people are interested in a domestic cat breed related to the Jungle Cat.

Video: The Wild Jungle Cat

History and Characteristics of the Chausie Cat

Chausies were first bred in the 1960s to provide owners a safe (and legal) alternative to keeping wild Jungle Cats as pets. Even today, however, prospective owners should check local laws and regulations. In a few locales, hybrid pets are illegal. It is important to note that your pet must be at least F4 (four generations from its wild ancestor).

Chausies are good-natured felines and described as "fearless but not aggressive." These animals generally have exquisite beauty, grace, and characteristics that some would say make them more akin to owning a dog (including their love of water, trainability, and fierce loyalty to their owners). No wonder this breed is so popular!

Breed Appearance

  • Body Type: A premier Chausie specimen will have tufted ears (although not required as a breed standard), a 3/4-length tail, and a long, lean body.
  • Coat Colors: Accepted colors include brown-ticked tabby, silver-tipped, and black.
  • Maturation: Because they are larger than most domestic cats, kittens can take 2–3 years to reach full maturity. Kittens are often born with stripes or spots all over their body, but when they reach adulthood, only stripes on the tail, legs, and face should remain.

Are Chausies a Recognized Breed?

The Chausie breed was recognized by TICA (The International Cat Association) for registration status in 1995. This was changed to Advanced New Breed Status in 2003.

What Is the Price of a Chausie Cat?

Are you thinking about adopting one of these cats? They come with a pretty steep price tag. Depending on pedigree, age, whether they will be bred or shown, and characteristics, plan on spending at least $500-$2,000 for a Chausie.

Are You Thinking of Adopting a Chausie Cat?

Owning a Chausie is similar to most domestic cats with several exceptions. Be sure to do your research:

  1. As mentioned above, you should check to make sure that it's legal to own a hybrid domestic cat breed in your city or state.
  2. These cats are larger and more active than most, so be sure to have plenty of toys and time to spend with them (or risk having them get into trouble).
  3. Some owners have reported that their Chausies develop a gluten allergy, which may require a special diet. Commercial cat food is usually made with wheat and other grains that may irritate the digestive system. Be sure to have your pet thoroughly checked by a veterinarian.
  4. As always, unless you will be breeding, be sure to spay or neuter!

Video: The High-Energy Chausie Cat

Sources and Further Reading

  • Savannah Cats: A Hybrid Domestic Cat
    Lovely Savannah cats are a hybrid domestic cat breed. They make excellent and unique pets.
  • Jungle Cat - Wikipedia
  • Chausie - Wikipedia

© 2008 Stephanie Marshall

Donna Rayne from Sparks, Nevada on November 09, 2019:

Wow! I enjoyed reading this excellent article! Thank you!

Carie5150 on March 06, 2015:

I acquired an exotic kitty a few yrs back and he may be a chausie. Coolest cat ever! He is black ticked and beautiful:)

brandon on May 10, 2013:

MYA talk about BEING ignorant? You can't even spell let alone use english. Kinda an oxy moron (sure u dont know that one). were somone trolls a blog to type smack, and cant even SPELL now THAT'S somone BEING ignorant. Perhaps you ment ignoramous or idiot and BTW its spelled HEALTH not healt. Least try and sound intelligent. That is all awsome cats tho ;)

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 06, 2011:

Thanks craftybegonia,

A baby tabby cat sounds wonderful. Its been a while since we've had a kitten in our home. Appreciate the comment and vote. Best, Steph

craftybegonia from Southwestern, United States on December 06, 2011:

Beautiful animal, but I have my hands full with a wee bee tabby! She's smarter than smart, though, and loves her leash! Voted up.

Kara on November 04, 2009:

My daughter found an abandoned kitten and brought him home last year; appears to be a hybrid of some sort. He now weighs about 15 pounds and is very aggressive at times. He bit me really badly 2 nights ago, and I'm left with no choice but to euthanize him due to his unpredictable behavior (yes, he's neutered). I agree with Mya that it's irresponsible to "invent" new animals when only 1 in 10 cats in the world actually find homes. Whoever breed this poor guy must've known they'd made a mistake and dumped him in a townhome development to be "someone else's problem".

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on June 23, 2009:

Hey Dorsi - thank you so much!! Yes, I loved putting together the cat series last year. We have a Bengal cat which also is very energetic.

Thanks for the kudos for Peachy Green. I'm having a lot of fun...

Dorsi Diaz from The San Francisco Bay Area on June 23, 2009:

Cool hub Steph about some very cool cats. Boy that cat in the video DID have tons of energy, didn't he? BTW- great blog you have over there at Peachy Green. Very nicely done!

Thumbs up!

vicki on May 02, 2009:

why do all this mix breeding when there are so many unwanted cat all over the world, so many die

Mya on April 04, 2009:

It is an irresponsible thing to do crossess with this animals. You are an ignorant person, crosses like just result in abnormal animals, and healt problems. You should search for more information, and stop being an ignorant. Also apllies to all of those who are searching for a hybrid pet. This is like crossing a human with a chimpanse.

Emily on December 28, 2008:

The cat you have pictured as a "Jungle Cat" is actually a Caracal, and the last video are actually 100% Jungle Cats not hybrids. Just thought I'd throw that in there. Beautiful photos though. I have an F2 33% Chausie myself. :)

Michael on July 18, 2008:

Thanks for this page. I've never been to your site before. There is not much on the internet about the early history of this cat, though.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 22, 2008:

Thank you so much, rmr!

rmr from Livonia, MI on April 22, 2008:

Another beauty! You are rocking the cat hubs!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 21, 2008:

Yes, Angela - the one thing you can do is see if there is a rescue organization. That may bring the price down a bit. But, I'm with you (with 4 kids, 2 dogs and a cat), I'd best not add to the mix. :-)

Thanks solarshingles! I appreciate the comment.

solarshingles from london on April 20, 2008:

Thank you for so nice and thorough description of this 'state of the art' cats.

Angela Harris from Around the USA on April 20, 2008:

These cats are beautiful. I was interested until I saw the price tag. ;) But I have enough animals to keep me busy, anyway.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 20, 2008:

Thank you, pgrundy and John! I must dedicate this series to Romeo (our Bengal cat) - and John has kept me going! There are a few more exotic cats to explore, so stay tuned! Thanks for the great comments and support. :-)

John Chancellor from Tennessee on April 20, 2008:


This you have been doing a very great job of educating us about all the exotic breeds of cats. BSH (before Steph Hicks) my knowledge of cats was limited to Tom, Alley and pampered domestics ones.

pgrundy on April 20, 2008:

Wow. I never heard of these animals. I have a cat that I really love, but he's just as cat. A big cat, but just a cat. The idea of walking a cat on a leash is very exotic. I tried it with my house cat and he liked it but I wouldn't say he walked on the leash exactly---more like, wandered around on his own and balked at it when it stopped him. Thanks for a really fascinating hub. I will look for these cats, I'm intrigued!

10 Exotic Cat Breeds That Make Excellent Pets

Looking for exotic cat breeds that make excellent pets?

Check out these 10 gorgeous breeds that definitely stand out in a crowd!

So, you want a cat, but a common breed like Tabby or Ragdoll just isn’t for you, right?

You want something a bit on the wild side, right?

A unique cat for your unique personality?

Well, that’s where exotic cat breeds come into play. Now, we’re not talking about lions and tigers and pumas (oh my!). They may be exotic, but they do not belong in houses!

Still, there are some more exotic cat breeds that you actually CAN adopt that make great family pets

Let’s check them out, along with some cute or informational videos about each one!

Exotic Cat Breeds that Make Great Pets

1. Bengal

  • Bengal cats feature an exotic appearance without the wild cat danger.
  • These cats came about by breeding domestic cats with Asian Leopard cats. They are not recommended for first-time cat owners because of the fact they are active, curious and require a great deal of attention.
  • Bengals are also affectionate, intelligent and social.
  • Don’t forget to get them one of these cute trees: Best Cat Trees For Bengals

RELATED: Wondering what a Bengal Munchkin Cat Looks like? Read our guide.

2. Chartreux

  • The Chartreux cat originates from France and features a gorgeous blue, plush coat.
  • They first made their way to the U.S. in 1970 and were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1987.
  • The Chartreux is the perfect lap cat and TV watching companion.

3. Devon Rex

  • Many folks have compared the Devon Rex with folklore pixies, both in appearance and personality.
  • Physically, these cats have big eyes, long legs and a slender body.
  • Personality wise, the Devon Rex are active, mischievous and smart.

4. Exotic Shorthair

  • The Exotic Shorthair cat breed is a lot like the Persian cat breed, in the fact that they both have the same beautiful, sweet face, but the Exotic Shorthair has a shorter coat and is more active than the Persian.
  • These cats are easygoing, loyal and peaceful.

5. Ocicat

  • The Ocicat looks like a wild cat because of its spots, but is 100% domestic.
  • The spots, randomly situated throughout the body, feature various colors including blue, chocolate, cinnamon, fawn, lavender or tawny.
  • These cats came about as the result of the pairing of a male Abyssinian cat and a female Siamese cat.

6. Pixie Bob

  • The Pixie Bob cat breed looks wild and exotic, but they are really a mild-behavioral breed of cat

Related: Playful Cat Breeds.

  • What makes these cats stand out above the other cat breeds is that they feature a trait known as polydactylism, meaning they have more than the normal number of toes.
  • 7. Scottish Fold

    • The Scottish Fold looks somewhat like an owl because of its unique feature, ears that fold forward.
    • The Scottish Fold was created from breeding an array of cat breeds including American Shorthairs, Burmese, Exotics and Persians.
    • These cats are curious, dexterous and outgoing.
    • How cute is this video of this Scottish Fold riding in the car for the first time?

    8. Singapura

    • The Singapura cat breed hails from Singapore and developed as a breed in the U.S. during the 1970’s.
    • These cats are the smallest cat breed, weighing an average of 5-7 pounds

    Related: Cat Breed With Big Eyes.

  • The Singapura cat breed are known to be curious, intelligent and playful.
  • 9. Sokoke

    • The Sokoke cat breed originated from Kenya in Africa.
    • These cats somewhat resemble cheetahs with their wild cat appearance, but they are indeed domestic.
    • They are known for their unique features, including blotched tabby coat pattern, almond-shaped eyes and stiff tail.

    10. Sphynx

    • The Sphynx is a hairless cat breed that hails from Toronto, Canada.
    • While it is true they are hairless, they are not considered hypoallergenic because they do produce dead skin cells, also called dander.
    • These cats make great family pets and are often used as show cats. This video cracks me up!

    All of these exotic cat breeds make great family pets. Even better, they’re actually MEANT to be family pets.

    You May Also Like

    Remember, even though lions and tigers and pumas look beautiful in the wild, they are supposed to STAY in the wild.

    They don’t belong in houses. In fact, owning one as a pet may not just be dangerous, in many places it’s illegal!

    Hybrid Cat Breed Summary

    Some of the cats on this list are hybrid wild cat breeds and some are not so wild. I would suggest trying to find a cat rescue to adopt rather than buying one from a breeder.

    Or try buying one then adopting a second one so that they have a playmate. Whichever route you choose, may your wild hybrid cat bring you years of joy? Check out Petfinder to find a cat to adopt in your area. Also, take a look at my article for pet rescues and adoption centers in Philadelphia, PA.

    Breed Traits

    As with other hybrid cat breeds, the Chausie is a high-energy feline. These cats need a lot of attention and a lot of toys, cat trees, and scratching posts to stay entertained. They don’t do as well in homes with many delicate objects or in families with small children because they still retain a lot of their wild tendencies. But they can do well in homes with other pets, such as dogs.

    These cats are also highly social, intelligent, loving, and outgoing, and they seek out the attention of their owners. In addition to playing, they enjoy interacting with their families, so they should not be left alone for extended periods of time. Only cat owners who spend a good amount of time at home every day should consider getting this breed, as it isn’t wise to leave these cats alone for 12+ hours a day.

    Chausies need to be a fed a diet that consists of meat and no plant matter because their digestive systems are unable to break down grains and vegetables. Feeding the wrong type of diet can lead to intestinal inflammation, malabsorption of nutrients, and malnutrition.

    The Chausie Cat Breed: An Exotic and Wild Domestic Hybrid - pets

    By Kia Benson, DVM
    Associate Veterinarian, Clinical Toxicology

    The tigress crouches as she stalks her prey, her eyes dilated to take in the sparse light of a cloudy night. Closer and closer she moves on silent, padded feet. Her prey shows no awareness of its danger. Suddenly, she pounces, administering the killing neck bite and rapidly disemboweling her prey with her hind claws. She is once again victorious – the squeaky mouse is no more!

    Anyone who lives with a cat as an animal companion has undoubtedly witnessed the described scenario time after time. Even after countless thousands of years of living with humans as domesticated animals, our feline companions still manifest many of the wild behaviors of their larger cousins – leopards, tigers, and other species that we group together as “great cats”.

    Acting a little like their wild brethren is one of the numerous reasons we adore cats. However, there has been a growing movement among cat breeders to bring some of the wild closer into our homes. Hybrid cat breeds are being created more and more frequently as breeders try to create miniature leopards and other types of more exotic, wilder looking cats with which we can share our lives.

    What are Hybrid Cats?

    The creation of hybrid cats first began as part of a scientific effort in the 1970s to study possible resistance to Feline Leukemia (FeLV) in wild cats. These studies aimed at better understanding heredity factors for leukemia and combatting that disease. Domestic cats (Felis catus) were bred with the Asian Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), a small wild cat native to South, Southeast and East Asia.

    After their time in the research lab was complete, some of these early generation hybrids were given to people as pets, and the movement to create “little leopards” and other exotic/wild looking cats was born. Over the years, breeders worked to incorporate the wild coloring of these hybrids into more domestic stock, and in the 1980s the Bengal breed became official.

    As the Bengal breed and demand for exotic looking cats took off in more recent years, other hybrid cats were also engineered. Some of the more common hybrid cats available now include the Savannah and the Chausie.

    Savannahs resulted from crossbreeding a Serval (Leptailurus serval, a wild cat found in Africa) with the Domestic cat.

    The Chausie hybrid resulted from crossbreeding a Jungle Cat (Felis chaus, a wild cat native to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asis, and southern China) with the Domestic cat.

    In hybrid breeding terms, the first three generations resulting from these engineered matings are called foundation generations, or F1-F3. Breeders use these foundation generations to create additional generations of hybrids. Although they are being used to breed “domestic” hybrid cats, F1-F3 animals are essentially still wild cats with the aggressive tendencies that one would expect from a wild animal. These early generation hybrids are often prohibited and/or regulated by state or local laws.

    The F4 and later generations are considered “domestic” hybrid cats that can be sold to the general public. Breeders advertise these cats as having the look of the wild with the personality of the domestic cat. However, they don’t fully educate potential owners regarding the common health and behavioral issues secondary to this hybridization. After all, who wouldn’t want to sell a hybrid kitten for $20,000 instead of a purebred Domestic breed of cat like a Burmese for only $2,000?

    Behavioral and Health Issues in Hybrid Cats

    Interbreeding wild cats like Servals, Asian leopard cats, or Jungle cats with domestic cats for a few generations does not make the result a domestic cat. Throwing a few generations of domestic cat bloodlines in the mix does nothing to counter the evolutionary process that, over thousands of years, created these wild cats in the first place. Hybrid cats are still genetically programmed to be wild. The F4 or later generations of these hybrid cats are simply exotic looking cats with wildcat tendencies.

    The largest number of behavioral complaints from owners of 4 th generation or later hybrid cats fall into two categories – lack of litter box use and aggression. Far too many hybrid cats are turned into shelters or “big cat” sanctuaries for these two issues.

    Outdoor wild cats traditionally mark their territory by urination, spraying, or leaving scent markers via scratching on objects (trees, rocks, etc.). Although we can even see this behavior in some thoroughly domestic cats for various reasons, marking territory through urinating outside the litter box or through destruction of property (furniture, clothing, etc.) is much more of an inherent behavior in hybrid cats. Some cats will urinate along the boundaries of a room, as they would the boundaries of any wild territory they inhabited. Neutering or spaying a hybrid cat will not change the behavior. uncontrollable house-soiling issues.

    Aggression is also common in hybrid cats. Other than lions, wild cats are solitary by nature. They may not adjust to being in a social setting with people, and can act in very unpredictable ways. This can include attacking members of the household if approached for petting, or injuring other animals in the same home. They may be more apt to attack other animals (cats and even dogs) in the neighborhood as well if allowed to roam.

    Hybrid cats are an unnatural breeding. Fundamentally they are the product of two species that were never meant to mate in the first place. Breeders can end up with aborted pregnancies or premature births when nature determines that something is amiss. Some of the more common illnesses among hybrid cats include digestive issues such as IBD (a painful irritable bowel disease), or persistent infection with an intestinal parasite called Tritrichomonas foetus. Both medical issues can cause chronic diarrhea and may be both difficult and discouraging for both the owner and the veterinarian to treat. Additional medical issues in some breeds of hybrid cats include Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), and possibly a higher incidence of FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis).

    Wellness protection for hybrid cats is also a medical issue. Vaccinations normally used to protect our feline companions from disease have not been approved for use in hybrid animals. While these vaccines are considered safe to use in hybrid cats, manufacturers cannot assure their effectiveness due to lack of testing.

    There is no doubt that hybrid cat breeds spark our imaginations with exotic images of leopards and other great cats. However, obtaining a hybrid cat should involve the same type of deliberate and reasoned thought that should be involved in adopting or purchasing a truly domestic cat. Look at your individual situation and lifestyle, and at the pros and cons of living with a particular animal for the rest of their lives. And please consider the millions of cats euthanized yearly in shelters already due to lack of adoptive families.

    The Chausie. Exotic Hybrid Cat.

    The Chausie Is this hybrid cat breed right for you?

    A Chausie is also known as Jungle Curl, Stone Cougar, or Mountain Cougar. It is a hybrid of the Domestic Cat (Felis Silvestris Catus) and Jungle Cat (Felis Chaus). Despite their wild appearance, they are domestic. Never heard of a Chausie? You're not alone. This exotic breed is the result of careful breeding between domestic cats and wild jungle cats. Chausies were bred the first time in the 1960's and 1970's as a safer alternative to keeping jungle cats in the house. In the late 1990's a group of people began to breed and develop the hybrid jungle cat. These breeders have made a concentrated effort to acquire the traits of medical and personality that have made this breed apart from others. One of the first things done was to choose a name that describes the breed. The name "Chausie" (pronounced "chow-see") was derived from the Latin name for the Jungle Cat, Felis Chaus.

    The goal in breeding the Chausie remains the same today as it was when they were first created: a breed that has the looks, grace, and the size of a wild jungle cat, but the gentle disposition of a domestic cat. Today, the most common domestic breed used to produce Chausies is the Abyssinian, this is because it has the same look as the jungle cat, but is substantially smaller. Since adult males can reach no less than 25 pounds, Chausies require large spaces and lots of activity. Although the Chausie has not been identified by the CFA, they were granted the status in the International Cat Association (TICA) in 1995. Chausie males in the first and third generations are usually sterile, so only Chausies four generations removed from the wild cat ancestor are considered "show quality" animals. In addition to being extremely loyal to its owners, Chausies have a level of high energy, are champion jumpers, and are extremely playful, making them an ideal companion for young children.

    The Chausie has a wild look, with a long, slender body and large tufted ears. They are elegant in appearance and statuesque. They have gold or yellow eyes and the head is resembles a triangle with three rounded corners. Chausie males typically weigh about 25 pounds, while females tend to be smaller. It is not uncommon for a male Chausie to reach 30 Pounds. They can be found in three colors - brown ticked tabby, solid black and silver-tipped black. Their ears are particularly alert and mobile. Chausies are known for their speed and vertical jump of nearly six feet. The breed has a strong resemblance to its wild ancestor, but is good natured, loyal, intelligent and affectionate, as you would expect in a domestic cat. It is a very active breed, and loves to play with toys or other cats. It keeps this quality in adulthood. Chausie cats are very active and people oriented. They are excellent jumpers and hunters. They need time and attention, particularly interactive play time. Despite their wild ancestry, Chausies are people oriented and affectionate. They tend to be courageous, which can get in trouble if they are allowed outside. They can learn to open doors and cupboards and love to get into things. They tend to be very interactive, as they want to be in the middle of whatever is going on. They are curious and intelligent. They need stimulation and interaction. They are not a breed that does well if left alone all day.

    In Egypt, over 3000 years ago, they valued the jungle cat. They admired admired enough to paint murals and honor them in funeral ceremonies, They mummified them to send their pharaohs in the afterlife. These cats were beloved companions and highly revered. It is much the same today with their more domesticated relative, the Chausie. Please consider this article when you decide if the Chausie is the right breed for you.

    For more information and help finding a Chausie breeder, please visit the Chausie Breed Committee website.

    For information on pets, photos, interesting articles, and cat name lists, visit Top Pet Names.

    Watch the video: Meet the designer cats with wild blood (October 2021).

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