Bengal cat - Sushi - this cat is shown here for illustrative purposes only and has no connection with this article. Photo copyright Helmi Flick. Please respect copyright.
There seems to be some misconceptions around concerning wildcat hybrid cats. There also seems to be a gradual polarization of views on this type of domestic cat. I say this because I have read, yet again, a story about the shooting of a wildcat hybrid. This time it was another Bengal cat in America. This time the cat was a large Bengal supplied by a breeder that was an indoor cat, who escaped onto a golf course, it seems. The cat was seen by a women who probably thought the cat was much bigger than it actually was, became frightened for no good reason and called animal control. Animal control did no better and compounded the problem by shooting the domestic cat companion. What is going on? This just seems so ridiculous. This would never happen in England yet in respect of the Bengal and Savannah cats in the USA and Australia it happens.
- Bengal cat shot in Australia
- Savannah cat shot by a neighbor
- And on a slightly different by similar subject: Serval cat escapes.
The combination of factors that lead to the situation where a domestic cat is shot have a commonality. These in my personal view are the factors:
- They occur in counties where shooting of guns in public is not regarded as something exceptional.
- The Bengal cat is a breed that frankly is arguably unsuited to this world unless kept by very suitable people. The cat is inquisitive and active yet is frequently locked indoors for safety reasons. These cats want to go out. In countries where some people like to shoot things we have the makings of a tragedy if the cat gets out.
- Where the wildcat hybrid is more commonplace there would seem to be a gradual polarization about the wildcat hybrids cats. Some people have misconceptions about them (the lady mentioned above being a case in point) and some authorities (Australia comes to mind) are simply fearful about them and the impact on wildlife, which opens up another can of worms (see How Feral Cats Affect Wildlife). While others adore them.
It almost seems, sometimes, that the wildcat hybrid cat fits rather uneasily into this world. Although there is a place for this type of domestic cat - no doubt about that. The biggest factor for me is that the person adopting a wildcat hybrid cat of whatever generation from the wild should, and needs to be, carefully selected by the breeder as to suitability. The cat should be able to roam with safety (indoors plus outdoor enclosures in my opinion) and a considerable amount of input needs to be provided by people keeping these cats. If the conditions are right these horrendous shootings wouldn't occur. There also needs to be a level of education provided to the local authorities and in the case of the Bengal being shot in the US some educational input given to animal control as well.