Bearing in mind the popularity of the diminutive and impressive sand cat, the only true desert cat, there may be some people who are interested in whether a domestic cat has mated with one to create sand cat x domestic cat hybrids.
Sarah Hartwell on her website messybeast.com tells us that there is a recorded breeding of a male sand cat with a tabby, shorthaired domestic cat female. It appears to have been deliberate. The male had been bred for the pet trade and lived in a special enclosure mimicking their environment, as I understand it. The male lived with access to the domestic cat who become pregnant.
THERE ARE ILLUSTRATED LINKS TO MORE PAGES ON THE SAND CAT AT THE BASE OF THE PAGE.
She was pregnant for 66 days and there was a litter of four kittens, half of which were males.
Two had ticked tabby coats and the other two had spotted tabby markings. These were first filial or F1 sand cat wildcat hybrids.
Apparently they were friendly. The males being more so than the females. They were energetic at playtime. Sarah said that they were rowdy. They bark like the sand cat and their meow is non-domestic in character being nasal and a ‘eeeing’ sound. Wild cat sounds are very distinctively unlike domestic cat sounds: tending to be more aggressive sounding I’d say.
Sand cats do very badly in captivity perhaps because of their specialised lifestyle and anatomical adaptations to the desert. They become fatally sick quickly.
The two male F1 sand cat hybrids died to FIP. Sarah says that is was due to an overreaction to feline coronavirus. One female was killed by the father. The last female survived but her whereabouts were unknown as at 2016.
Second filial (F2) sand cat hybrids were also born under a different breeding project in 2016.
The creation of F1 and F2 wild cat hybrids is contentious. Big Cat Rescue’s founder and owner, Carole Baskin, has fought against the trend to produce these cats for many years. She has to rescue them sometimes in addition to the wild cats she rehomes at her sanctuary in Florida.
The most famous F1 wild cat hybrid is perhaps a female Savannah cat called Magic. In the day she was dubbed the world’s biggest domestic cat. She was in the Guinness Book of Records as I understand it. That record may have been stopped subsequently. The successor to her world title was another Savannah cat called Trouble. Trouble escaped his home and died on the road.