The Jambi and Habari cats are two exotic cat breeds that a visitor kindly brought to my attention. They are very rare and little known breeds. By my estimation, the Habari is considerably better known, however. The Jambi is a wild cat hybrid while the Habari is not stated as being a wild cat hybrid.
However it is stated that the breeding of the Habari is a trade secret and is not based on cat pedigrees (the history of the cat’s parentage) but DNA profiling. Well I have not seen that before (i.e. a breeder using DNA testing to ascertain a breed type, although it is done routinely now to assess different wild cat species). I am not sure if this is true as there is no mention of this on the site of the breeder (or at least I think it is the breeder’s website – Select Exotics).
Update Dec 2016. Jan posted a photo of her Habari (see comment):
“Habari” is a Swahili word that means “what’s the news?” It’s similar to the English “What’s up?” or the Spanish “¿Qué pasa?” The typical response is “nzuri sana”, which means “very good.” For that reason this page is on the cat news page! Although the Jambi and Habari cats are not hot news but they are recent.
One problem with these rare breeds of cat is that there is a scarcity of photos but instead of a photo I can confirm that they are classic spotted (rosettes on the Habari) exotic cats very much like the Savannah and Bengal cats, both of which are well known.
The Habari is a large cat at 25+ pounds (11 kg), which is at the very top end of domestic cat size (excluding the F1 wildcat hybrids – see MAGIC). They are claimed by Select Exotics to be 16 – 18 inches tall (45cm to the shoulder max.). This is more or less the height of the Guinness World Records Tallest Pet Cat, F1 Savannah cat Magic. So that puts the Habari at the very top end on height too. They would appear to be F1 wild cat hybrids on that basis, perhaps a Serval being the wildcat element. If that is the case we are preciously near the Savannah cat.
This is supported by the breeder (or a breeder of these cats), who says that the Habari does not like being picked up! I find that odd as well, to be perfectly honest. How good a cat companion cat that kind of cat be?
Whereas the pedigree of the Habari is shrouded in mystery the Jambi, it is stated, is a Asian Fishing cat/domestic cat wild cat hybrid. I have never heard of a breeder breeding from the Fishing cat. You can see a list of wild cat hybrids on this page: Wild Cat Hybrids. You will certainly need to create special facilities for a Jambi cat as they like to go fishing….! Baths won’t do.
Above: This is an Asian Fishing cat catching a fish in someone’s bath! Are you going to allow this to happen in your home with your Jambi cat?
The Jambi has a cobby or stocky body shape with coat colors from golden to silver and dark spots. This is a brand new breed and it is stated that at this time (December 2009) there are only immature cats of this breed.
They are projected to be large too but less so than the Habari, at 14 – 22 pounds for males.
Prices? Habari price: $20,000. Jambi price: $,2000 – 4,000 for kittens currently.