There are upwards of 40 known cat breeds in the world, all of which differ in their personalities, habitats, prey preferences, and more. Having delved into the world of wild cats, we’ve conjured up a list of some of the most exotic cats around.
They come in different shapes, sizes, furs, and bearing unique quirks. Some are nocturnal, whilst others are most active during the day. Some can swim, whilst others stick firmly to the land. As for something that they all have in common? They’re intrinsic hunters.
Read on for a dive into six of the most exotic cat breeds in the world.
This list would be incomplete without the serval cat. The serval is of African origins so it’s no surprise that they’re in their prime in the warmest of climates.
Aesthetically, many draw comparisons between servals and cheetahs, the key difference being the size of their tail; the serval’s is considerably shorter. They are hunters through and through, and with distinctly long legs, are able to catch their prey with effortless leaps.
Whilst servals were often kept as pets by the highest-ranking Ancient Egyptians, now, keeping a serval is relatively uncommon. In fact, as with most exotic cats, in many states doing so is illegal.
They’re much too wild to be domesticated. Interestingly, it has become a common breeding practice to breed a serval with a domestic cat in an effort to produce a hybrid. The much tamer Savannah cat is the most prominent example of this.
Geoffroy’s cats are solitary and nocturnal, and typically measure at around the same size as a domestic cat. But don’t be fooled. Whilst they’re on the small side, they remain one of the most fierce wild cat breeds around.
Their small size actually works in their favor. It does wonders for their agility and has positioned them as skilled hunters. Not only are they able to effortlessly scale trees, they are capable of walking along the underside of branches. Impressive!
Interestingly, the color of their fur depends on when they are located. Geoffroy’s cats are found in South America and the more north they are, the more likely their fur is to be brownish-yellow with black spots. Further south, it tends to have a gray background.
Within these regions, they are typically found residing along riversides, marshes, or open woodlands. It’s no surprise then, that they are confident swimmers who dive into water with ease. So much so that they are known by many as ‘fishing cats’.
The ocelot cat has roots in brushlands and rainforests, and can be found dwelling in such environments anywhere from Argentina to Texas. They are touted for their infamous chain-rosette style furs; short, smooth, and rife with black marks.
It’s this very fur that they are hunted for; a factor that played a considerable part in their past categorisation as an endangered species. Fortunately, their population has since grown but whilst they’re no longer considered endangered, they’re certainly not free from risk.
One notable area in which ocelots excel is climbing. It’s the skill they most heavily rely on when hunting their prey.
Whilst cats in general, especially those that are wild, have gained a reputation for their independence, ocelots tend to be fairly dependent and clingy. If kept as a pet, they require a lot of attention, time, a playful environment, and last but not least, space!
After all, they’re medium sized and measure at roughly double the size of the average domestic cat.
The bobcat, often cited as a small version of the lynx, is arguably the most well-known of all exotic cats. They can be found scattered around North America across a range of habitats, from deserts to mountains, and even the ordinary suburbs.
In appearance, they’re approximately twice as large as average house cats, with notably long legs and paws. Hence, the lynx reference. Whilst their underbelly is white, the rest of their fur tends to be brown or red toned with varying degrees of spotting. Measuring at approximately 6 inches, their tails have a ‘bobbed’ appearance; the very reason for the name ‘bobcat’.
Their nocturnal nature means that it’s unusual to stumble across them, although the fur-hunters try their best. But bobcats are hunters too, and relentless ones at that.
The leaping pounce is there not-so-secret weapon, and in their presence, no rabbit, bird, or rodent of any sort is safe. Plus, their sheer strength and agility mean that they are capable of successfully hunting larger prey too.
Last but not least, young bobcats are adorably known as ‘bobkittens’, and that’s our favourite fact of them all!
Caracal cats are arguably the most regal of them all. Their prominent large tuft ears double up, in turn closely resembling a crown.
Their golden toned fur follows suit. From communicating with their caracal peers through twitches, to unparalleled sound detection, their prominent ears are arguably their greatest asset.
Caracals can be found roaming across Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Asia. In this regions, they are considered the fastest and most talented hunters around.
Their hunting efforts are aided by their sand coloured coats, which offer fantastic camouflage against their typical backdrops. Plus, their footpads are well-cushioned with fur enabling them to creep up on their prey without the risk of emitting any noise whatsoever.
Given their location, the prey of caracals ranges from anything from rodents and birds through to mongooses and monkeys; a notably varied diet. As for their party trick? They can leap an impressive 10 feet in the air and capture birds mid-flight. A sight to behold!
The jungle cat, also known as the reed cat or swamp cat, can be found in abundance across India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In appearance, jungle cats are as sleek as can be. Whilst they’re regarded as large in size, they have long legs, a slender body, and sandy fur with either brown, gray or red tones.
They prefer wet habitats. Think swamps, wetlands, floodplains and the like. Similarly, when they’re found frequenting deserts, you can guarantee there’s a riverbed or oasis nearby. Wherever they may be, they’re unlikely to be spotted in a group. Breeding season aside, they’re perfectly content in their own company.
Jungle cats are at their most active in the early morning. They spend a vast amount of this time hunting. Due to their ongoing proximity to water, they tend to primarily hunt fish, and to do so, they dive. In addition, the water makes a nifty hiding place too.
So there you have it. Six of the most exotic cats in the world. Did you learn anything new? Or perhaps you’ve encountered one of these felines in the flesh?
We’d love to hear about it so feel free to share your experience with us via the below comment box.