The Cheetoh Cat is a cross between the well-known wildcat hybrid, the Bengal cat and an Ocicat (non-wildcat hybrid). This is a relatively large, gentle and wild-looking cat. Bengal cat breeders like the wild look. I have decided that this breed is a ‘once removed wild cat hybrid’ as it contains some wild cat genes but relatively little. Cats 101 say there is no wild blood but this has to be wrong.
I have to refer to the ‘parents’. The Bengal cat is a wild cat hybrid, a cross between the Asian Leopard cat and a domestic cat. While the Ocicat is “a three-way hybrid interbreeding a Siamese, an Abyssinian and an American Shorthair to produce a domestic jungle cat”. So, the wild blood in the Cheetoh comes from the Bengal cat side.
RELATED: The Ocicat
The Bengal SBT (4th generation) has about 12.5% wild blood so the Cheetoh, on the face of it has little wild blood but that doesn’t stop this cat looking nice and wild while being thoroughly domesticated. Wildcat hybrids have a greater tendency to play fetch as shown in the video.
Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.
As mentioned, the Cheetoh cat is noted for its nice temperament, intelligence and wild cat appearance. The cat above photographed by ‘pawsforportraits’ demonstrates the traits nicely. His name is aptly, King Louis. He looks regal.
The coat is a spotted tabby cat coat (see cat coats tabby). Their size is bigger than average at about 15lbs + for the males (see domestic cat size). The CFA won’t recognize domestic cats with wild blood so this rare cat is registered with TICA as an experimental breed and with the less well-known cat association, the United Feline Organization (UFO) (recognized in 2004).
As the breeding is quite involved here is a schematic:
As at 2022, I decided to update this page and refresh it. Below are some more details. The page has been checked over, added-to and republished as at 21 January 2022.
The breed was created in 2003 by Carol Drymon of Wild Haven Exotics Cattery. Her goal, apparently, was to create the most wild-looking domestic cat ever. Through selective breeding, within about 18 months, she had created the Cheetoh.
The Cheetoh has some wild blood within to put this in layperson’s terms. This comes from the Bengal cats side. It’s a wildcat hybrid once removed if you like. Carol did not introduce new are blood but as this is a hybrid and one of the cats is a wildcat hybrid there is a little wild blood in this cat breed.
The Ocicat is not a wildcat hybrid. It is a fully-domesticate cat created itself through selective breeding.
The distinctive tabby spotted and rosetted pattern comes from the Bengal cats side.
The Cheetoh has inherited some of the Bengal cat character as expected. They like to play in water and have that inherited liveliness and intelligence that we have come to expect from the wildcat hybrids. There are said to be gentle, playful and affectionate. They are described as outgoing and good with people. And I’m told that they get on well with children. Although character is also dependent upon the selective breeding process and how the breeder raises the cat and therefore there will be differences between individuals.
The Cheetoh is not accepted by the major Associations to the best of my knowledge as at 2022. The International Cat Association (TICA) and the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) do not recognise this breed formally. It is not listed on their website. It is said that the United Feline Organisation, which appears to be a minor cat association, recognises the breed. They don’t seem to have a website and I wonder whether they actually exist. In short, the Cheetoh, didn’t really take off as a new breed. Perhaps people decided that there were already enough wildcat hybrids and wildcat hybrid lookalikes in the cat breed marketplace.
They do resemble the Bengal cat which is to be expected. They are known for their beautiful coats decorated with tabby spots, rosettes or marbling. There are various colour types such as cinnamon with black/brown spots, sienna with black/brown spots and gold spotted or black-spotted smoke.
It is said that the Cheetoh benefits from hybrid vigour in that it is bigger than either of their parents. They weigh between 15-25 pounds on average and are very muscular. In contrast, Ocicats weigh on average around 10 pounds. Although the Bengal cat can be quite large. I’ll presume that its size come from the Bengal cat side of the breeding programme.
- pictures of Cats.org