“Marguerite” – sand cat x domestic cat, wild cat hybrid

People interested in the wild cat hybrids ask: “Could a sand cat breed with a house cat?”. The answer is yes and it is called the “Marguerite”. In 2014 it was a new cat breed. It is a sand cat crossed with a domestic cat. The domestic cat, in this instance, is a female ticked tabby. The pictures immediately below show two young, first filial (F1) Marguerites. ‘First filial’ means first generation so their parents are a male sand cat and a female domestic cat. More on that below. And at the base of the page are pictures of what I believe are second generation Marguerites.

The sand cat is the only true desert living cat. The sand cat’s anatomy has evolved for desert living. The cat’s prey (mostly gerbils) provides all the water it needs. There is thick fur on the undersides of the paws. The ears are very large to pick up the sound of prey when hunting at night.

sand cat domestic cat hybrid
Sand cat x domestic cat, wild cat hybrid. These are young first filial (F1s)
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This wild cat hybrid’s name comes from General Margueritte who lead an expedition. The cat was discovered by Capt. Victor Loche in 1856 in Eastern Algeria.

Sarah Hartwell of the messybeast.com website says about the Marguerite:

“Thought you might like a photo and info regarding the F1 Sand Cat domestic hybrids which are now registered under the breed’s name ‘Marguerite’.

F1 Sand Cat wild cat hybrid
F1 sand cat hybrid. Photo: Sarah Hartwell who states that the photos are for research purposes only.
Marguerite. This is an F1 - first generation - sand cat x domestic cat hybrid
F1 sand cat hybrid – Marguerite. Photo: Sarah Hartwell

The sire is a pet sand cat who was surplus to conservation breeding; his siblings are used in sand cat breeding programmes so his genetic input wasn’t needed, but it’s a good idea to keep him entire in case he is ever required on breeding loan to a zoo.

His breeding consort is a ticked tabby domestic female and he is also companionable with the pet cats in the household. Their offspring’s head and body shape resemble that of their sand cat sire, being sturdy with stocky legs and large feet; the black “armbands” are also a sand cat trait.

Their ears are relatively wide-set and large, and their muzzles fairly narrow. Sand Cats themselves are tameable (but not domesticated) and these F1 offspring are friendly, especially the males.

As well as being affectionate (including with visitors and the vet), they are very rowdy and rather destructive when playing. One oddity is that they prefer not to jump onto seats, laps, shoulders etc, but climb up instead. They bark like sand cats and also meow, though the mew is an ‘eeing’ sound.”

Here is are a couple of pictures of what I believe are a pair of second-generation Marguerites from the PUREBLISS CATTERY:

Second generation F2 Marguerites
Second generation F2 Marguerites. Photo: Purebliss Cattery.

The breeder of the kittens above says that they don’t like to be on their own and need to be adopted out in pairs. I am not sure of the logic behind that. They also say that they have sweet temperaments – ‘very soft natured’. I have to say the F2 cats are not that interesting in their appearance. I don’t think this wild cat hybrid has gained any traction as a successful pet to put it simply. And I think the reason is because their appearance compared to the well-known Bengal is muted and less outstanding. Appearance is all when it comes to the wild cat hybrids. These are exotic pets. They need to look exotic too.

Here is another picture from the same cattery:

F2 Marguerites
F2 Marguerites. I believe that these are second generation Marguerites. Correct me if I am wrong. Photo: Purebliss cattery.

The information above was ‘early release of information’ in 2014 from Sarah. She was very thankful be given the opportunity to write about this cat. It was hoped the cats would make a public debut over the next few months. Update 2021: I think this was a bit of a non-event. Perhaps the era of excitement about the wild cat hybrid is over. The mainstream wild cat hybrids: Bengal and Savannah are probably enough. There are many others – click here to see a list.

I have a page on living with wild cat hybrids. Please click here.

Sand cat

Note: this page was written in 2014. It has been upgraded and republished on Nov 30, 2021.

35 thoughts on ““Marguerite” – sand cat x domestic cat, wild cat hybrid”

  1. I’m just curious… why would you hybridize a Sand Cat? They are small and, if socialized, seem to do fine in homes. They are litterbox trainable and everything. I would try to obtain another Sand Cat and breed them pure. I just don’t like all the hybridization going on… if people want an exotic cat, there are plenty of them that make decent pets. It seems to me that if you took the more anti-social ones out of the breeding pool, eventually you would end up with very well adapted house-sandcats, house-caracals, etc.

    • Hi Robert, it is probably possible. You could argue that the Asian leopard cat should never have been selected for the Bengal cat because this wild cat is too independent and untameable. The question is do we need domesticated wild cats rather than giving them space to live naturally in the wild? The latter is preferable. We should not possess wild cats possessions to entertain and amuse us. It is too self-indulgent and bad for conservation. Times have changed.

  2. I’ll admit that this is a very attractive cat.
    But, I don’t have an understanding about why a project like this would be necessary when I just read Michael’s article about CKD on the rise and lacking enough research. I think time and money could be better spent finding answers to existing issues rather than creating something new.
    More cats being born equals more cats being killed.

    • Yes the CKD article really gets me angry – I feel like, as a complete stranger, I could walk into the cat world and tell them all get up off their butts and do the right thing.

      In this day and age – whenever one looks at any commercial activity, one can see huge amounts of problems, and those problems tend to always be similar in nature accross the board. Usually something about the unsustainability of the activity due to cutting corners with quality to affect cost – and usually the money saved going into the pockets of 1% of the people involved in whichever commercial activity is concerned.

      Infact – it’s reached a point where if you enlightened me to a proffession I never heard of, I would already assume these problems MUST exist within it, because that’s the story and endgame of capitalism.

    • Totally agree, Dee, with a passion. Resources and energy are not always directed in the right place. A lot of money and energy is spent in “entertainment” (this new breed is a form of entertainment really) when there is much work to do to fix the basics. I like fun and entertainment but we should have fun after the work of reducing CKD, reducing shelter deaths etc.. has been completed.


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