I think that one very good reason why it is inadvisable to allow your wildcat hybrid such as the Bengal or Savannah cats outside unsupervised is because, at a distance, and if an observer is unsure, they look very much like a genuine wild cat. Perhaps the observer lets their imagination run wild and they believe that they are viewing an unknown but dangerous wild animal roaming around their neighbourhood. The person talks to somebody else or perhaps even contacts the police. And then, in America, animal control get might become involved and before you know where you are you’ve got a mini-crisis on your hand in the neighbourhood and the cat is being hunted. If not allowed outside voluntarily sometimes full-time indoor high filial Savannah cats escape because they are intelligent and need challenges. This can lead to real problems in the community.
You can be certain that in countries such as the UK, every so-called big cat sighting or black panther citing is in fact a domestic cat sauntering around the fields. This tells us that people have great difficulty in measuring the size of an animal at a distance when their imagination takes hold. And in mysterious big cat sightings the observers don’t understand that the genuine big cats such as leopards and jaguars have an entirely different gait to the domestic cat.
The domestic cat’s gait is quite dainty and delicate compared to the arrogant and confident gait of a big cat. I believe that the biggest distinguishing feature is the way cats walk. If a person is unsure about properly sizing a cat, they should observe how they walk which will clarify the matter. It will tell them that they are looking at a domestic cat.
The picture on this page by Amy Chambers, taken in East Texas, of a Bengal cat really does hit the spot in supporting the point that are making. It does look like it could be a wild cat but of unknown origin and that can cause a little bit of concern in the neighbourhood.
You won’t, however, see a feral Bengal or Savannah cat. They’re just too valuable to be allowed to wander around outside unsupervised unless occasionally, as we see in the photograph it might happen. But in this photograph, you don’t see a feral cat (too glamorous, clean and well kept) but you might see what you think is a wild cat but are unsure what species it is.
I make that point because feral cats are maligned quite considerably by the public. They consider them to be transmitters of disease and predators of too many native species such as birds. However, a recent study indicates that when domestic cats are allowed outside (and a large percentage still are) their food source is still almost entirely made up of commercial pet food even if they hunt rodents and birds outside. This indicates that a high percentage of domestic cats either don’t hunt or they don’t eat the prey animals that they successfully kill.
One aspect of this is that although a well-fed domestic cat will still instinctively hunt, they won’t want to eat their prey. So, it seems that the primary source of food is provided by their human caregiver and the hunting is a secondary source and a minor one.
P.S. there are wild cat look-a-likes which are not wildcat hybrids such as the Ocicat. This breed is entirely domestic but selectively bred to look like a small wild cat.
P.P.S. In some US states there are quite strict laws on wild cat hybrid ownership.
SOME MORE ON WILD CAT HYBRIDS: