The semi-wild Safari cat breed will be surrounded by speculation and controversy for more than a decade. To begin with, a spotted pet is a hybrid of a wild and domestic cat, which is an important factor in breeding, selling kittens and maintaining the population. Safaris are not recognized by felinological associations, however, this does not prevent people from freezing at the sight of an extravagant animal.
Little is known for the fact that half-breed cats do not have leukemia. Perhaps this feature will open to humanity the way to treat a dangerous disease, however, for this, doctors need “research materials”. The mating of a wild and domestic cat in nature is nonsense, because animals are instinctively far from violations of the rules of natural selection. The only way out for breeders is to use hybridization by force. But we are talking about a breeding process that is inferior to hunger and the instinct of self-preservation.
A safari is a hybrid of a wild Geoffrey and a domestic cat, most often European or American Shorthair. Geoffrey belongs to the same species as other medium-sized wild cats - Leopardus, however, their size is not as large as, for example, Ocelot or Serval. What do you think will happen if you close a wild and a pet in one room? That's right, the pet will die, and quickly and unconditionally.
Note! To get a Safari, you need to raise two kittens-parents from "young age", and after the onset of sexual desire to tie them.
Large-scale experiments on breeding wild and domestic cats were conducted in 1970 at the University of California, USA. The goal of the scientists was a cat with 37 pairs of chromosomes. For reference, Geoffrey has 38 pairs of chromosomes, and a domestic cat 36. When mating a wild and domestic parent, all males with 37 pairs of chromosomes were born infertile, which forced scientists to bind Safari females with cats of American Shorthair, Bengal or Siamese breed.
Although with great difficulty, scientists managed to get hybrids from Geoffrey. Initially, the breed was named Criollo, later Appaloosa, but both names did not take root, as they were borrowed from "horse terminology." How the animal was named after the hunt for wild cats is also unknown, apparently, Safari was the only option associated with the feline genus.
By 1978, researchers had almost given up on the issue of Geoffrey's hybridization. Gene Mill, a breeder and founder of the Bengal breed, “breathed new life” into the hybridization process. Having received 9 female "half-breeds" from the University of California, USA, she found a way to cross them with "Bengals" in the backyard of her infield. Gene was a geneticist and approached the issue with all responsibility, passing her notes to the university, she became the "godmother" of Safari. Already by 1980, the breed received pre-registration and was entered on the register of the International Cat Association (TICA).
The safari cat breed is controversial for many experts. Most experts of the felinological associations believe that Safari and Bengals are identical. On the one hand, these cats are quite different, on the other hand, Geoffrey and Bengal cats actively interbreed, and their offspring were called Safari. The breed remains experimental and will not soon receive the status of an absolute champion, however, this does not reduce the circle of fans and those wishing to acquire a spotted half-wild pet.
A safari cat, like all hybrid breeds, is marked with the letter F, depending on its proximity to the wild Geoffrey. So, Safari F1 is the direct descendant of Geoffrey and the domestic cat, the offspring carry from 50 to 75% of wild blood. Animals with marker F2-F7 are cats of the following generations from mating of a female Safari and a male of a Bengal, Siamese or American Shorthair. Naturally, the size and temperament of the animal depends on the proximity of kinship with Geoffrey. Particularly large males, which are extremely rare, weigh up to 17 kilograms. The "average" female Safari F1 grows up to 8 kilograms, the male up to 14.
Otherwise, all Safaris comply with a single breed standard:
- Body - strong, muscular, proportionally compact. Shoulders and croups rounded, raised. The chest is moderately wide, deep. Ribs moderately rounded, groin line deep. The back is wide. The neck is medium length, wide, strong.
- Limbs - proportional, muscular. The hind legs are equal to the front in length, however, setting the cat creates a visual impression of a raised croup.
- Tail - flexible, medium length, very thick at the base, tapering to the tip.
- Head - wedge-shaped with a slightly elongated muzzle. The chin is strong, wide. The bite is correct, the lower jaw is well developed. Mustache pads are dense, round, fit. The transition from the muzzle to the head, pronounced, curved. Cheekbones high, cheeks fit. In adult males, full but not sagging cheeks are allowed. The nose is wide, V-shaped, absolutely straight. The forehead is round, moderately wide. The nasal pad is wide, large, moderately convex.
- The ears - large, close and high set, round, mobile and deep, affects the back of the head. On the back of the ear there are white spots in the form of a fingerprint - "false eyes" that help the predator to scare away enemies creeping up behind.
- Eyes - The upper eyelid is oval, the lower amygdala. Look alert, smart. Eye rims are dark; the inner corner has a “tear mark”. The color of the iris varies in a yellow or green palette, combined with the tone of the coat.
The coat is short, dense with a well-developed undercoat. Wool is elastic, water-repellent. One glance at the photo is enough to understand the complexity of the Safari color. The tail and legs are painted with whole and torn rings. There are several torn necklaces on the chest. Along the back there are spots that fall on the sides. The color on the sides is not sevenfold, consists of round and elongated spots. There are small spots or sockets on the stomach and chest. Between the forepaws and in the inguinal region, the coat is lighter, without spots. According to the standard, the color should fit into the criteria for spotted tabby, that is, a leopard pattern is required. Depending on the breed of the domestic cat involved in the mating, the Safari can have a golden, brown or red (red) color.
It is interesting! Unusually rare and valuable Safari are born with melanism - a black smoky color with distinctly visible spots.
Character and education
Unlike most half-wild cats, Safaris are quite rarely prone to aggression. Even the 15 kilogram kitty will not mind sitting in your arms watching TV. Nevertheless, potential owners are recommended to sterilize their wards at an early age, which significantly reduces the chances of dominant or territorial aggression.
Safaris are strong and very active cats. Be prepared for the fact that the ward will turn any object he likes into his toy. In order to avoid "sabotage", it is recommended to purchase diverse toys, from primitive balls to complex interactive mechanisms with buttons and levers. Safaris are very fond of floating their sharp claws, climbing trees. In the home, instead of trees, a feline complex or furniture will be used - the choice is the owner.
The safari has practically no "bad habits", the cat is not talkative and not intrusive, but there is still a "surprise". Pets are very fond of running water in all manifestations. A cat can spend hours looking at a trickle of water, soaking its paws, getting into a shower stall, keeping you company, but the "charm" in the other, the accomplished owners say that Safaris "gravitate toward the toilet on a genetic level." Moreover, the games are not limited to draining the tank, the cat drinks the "produced" water with great enthusiasm and bathes in it. An alternative to "toilet games" can be a drinking fountain or an automatic drinking bowl that is triggered at the touch of a button.
Maintenance and care
Shorthair cats do not require special care during the year, however, during molting, combing is relevant regardless of breed. After replacing the undercoat, it is advisable to bathe the cat, which will only make Safari happy. In terms of daily care, stroking with a massage glove will be quite enough. The appearance of the wool is more dependent on a properly composed diet. Safaris eat a lot and often, especially kittens. Breeders recommend keeping a pet on natural products, and at least 70% of the diet should be meat and fish.
Safari has a well-developed hunting instinct, so it is almost impossible to keep them in a confined space. If the animal lives in an apartment, he needs regular walks. The ideal content option is a private house and a closed enclosure for walking. A cat walking on the ground partially erases its claws, however, this does not solve the issue of leaving completely; you will need both a claw-tip and claws.
Remember! Safaris guard their territory, so a cat who accidentally runs into the yard or an unexpected guest can be considered a pet by the pet.
It is quite difficult to guarantee the absolute health of the breed obtained by hybridization. Based on the reviews held by the owners of the Safari, we can conclude that the pets are distinguished by good health and endurance. Experts and breeders insist on the importance of proper nutrition, especially during the period of active growth and argue that any health problems are associated with poor diet.