Toyger, relatively new hybrid cat being sold by breeders

Nicholas Oberzire runs a cattery called "Styled in the Wild" where he breeds a relatively new kind of hybrid cat called the "Toyger."

The Toyger is a cross between a domestic cat and an exotic one found in south Asia, called the Leopard Cat.

Oberzire says, "Toygers should look like a tiger. It should look like it, not act like it."

In fact, Oberzire says his Toygers act more like dogs than cats, develop strong bonds to humans and are highly intelligent.

And as he showed us, they even walk on leashes.

Most of Oberzire's Toygers are at least four generations removed from wild cats and have just a small amount of wild blood left in them.

Brigitte Cowell breeds "Savannahs", a hybrid combining the domestic cat with an African Serval.

She and her husband live with two first generation Savannahs that are genetically half wild.

Cowell says, "the Savannah will eat cat food, use a litter box, and sleep in your bed without thinking of you as dinner, so pretty much the best of both worlds."

Doctor Jennifer Scarlett says there's a reason some cat clubs refuse to recognize hybrid cats.

She says especially the first and second generation hybrids exhibit wild traits and can destructive to the home.

Dr. Scarlett says, "there's no doubt that they're beautiful but they can be quite nocturnal in their behaviors which can be frustrating to people, and sometimes their temperament can vary quite a bit."

Marilyn Krieger is a certified cat behaviorist, who herself, owns two hybrid cats.

She says they make wonderful pets, but aren't for everyone.

Krieger says the cats are, "very, very intelligent, they bond with people. They're very social animals. I don't recommend them for everyone because they're very active and perhaps people don't want a very active cat."

Despite that, most hybrid breeders have waiting lists.

And people appear to be lining up for the privilege of owning a new kind of cat with a wild family tree.

Kittens from these new, so-called "designer" breeds can sell for anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 each.

Ten US states have laws that ban some kinds of hybrid cats.

Ten other states and the District of Columbia require permits, or regulate them.


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