Safari Cat

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Is the Safari Cat right for you?

The basics:
With perhaps fewer than 100 of these cats in existence, the Safari cat will be a difficult cat to find. This cat is the result of crossbreeding the Geoffroy's Cat with the domestic cat. Safari Cat's have been bred since the 1970's, but are quite rare due to the difficulties of successfully breeding the two cat species. The challenge is caused because the Geoffroy's Cat (and some other small wild cats from South America such as the Ocelot) possesses only 36 chromosomes, while the domestic cat has 38.

When a Geoffroy's Cat breeds with a domestic cat, the Safari Cat has 37 chromosomes. Because of this, many litters are not carried full term, and some breeders have reported a sex-linked lethal gene, which makes males very rare. In addition, male Safari Cat offspring tend to be sterile. Safari Cat's are referred to as F1, F2 etc.. F1 represents the First Foundation breeding, and these cats are 50% domestic and 50% Geoffroy's Cat. F2 Safaris have been produced, but this has proved to be very difficult.

The Safari Cat originated in the 1970s and was bred for leukemia research at Washington State University.

Appearance / lifespan:
Though early generations (F1) of Safari Cats can be incredibly large, later generations are average in size. They look similar to the wild Geoffroy cat that helped found the breed, with a lean, athletic body, sturdy boning, and a long torso. The legs are strong with large paws. The head is somewhat wedge-shaped a long face, a squarish muzzle, prominent cheekbones, and fleshy whisker pads. The bridge of the nose is broad. The ears tall with rounded tips. The eyes have a rounded lower curve and a flattened top.

The Safari Cat has a short coat, spotted with solid spots and rosettes. There may be striping on the legs and tail, and an “M” marking on the forehead with dark stripes down the back of the head. There may be a dark stripe down the back with spots on either side. Coat colors reflect various tabby shades, including black or brown tabby and blue tabby.

Behavior / temperament:
The Safari cat is incredibly rare and little has been documented about their personality. It is said that they are friendly, gentle, fun-loving and very active. Like other hybrid cat breeds, the Safari cat probably has a very high energy level with a high need for play and interaction.

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