Keeping a real leopard at home is not only difficult but also very dangerous. Therefore, many lovers of carnivorous animals start their smaller copy with almost identical color and affectionate disposition.
Let’s find out what breeds of domestic cats are characterized by a spotted color.
The Origin Of Spotted Color In Cats
The history of this color began with the appearance of the first predators. Most experts agree that mottled coat colors were common in many prehistoric monster cats, including giant jaguars, xenosmilus, smilodons, and machairodus.
The patterned fur coat still helps predators to merge with the environment, making them invisible. The spotted coat allows them to hide from enemies and sneak up on prey.
For a long time, this color was inherent only in wild representatives of the cat family. But as a result of numerous experiments, specialists managed to obtain thoroughbred animals with spotted hair.
The first tabby kittens were born in America thanks to geneticist Paul Keyes.
Wild Spotted Cats
The patterned color is typical for most predators. The most interesting of them are:
These animals are common in South Asia and practically throughout the African continent, except for the Sahara. Their weight rarely exceeds 187 pounds. They are not picky about food and do not disdain carrion. Their body is covered with small round or almost square spots. They can be individually positioned or assembled as outlets.
These large predatory spotted cats are native to South and North America. They weigh about 375 pounds, but such dimensions do not prevent them from moving quickly, skillfully climbing trees, and making huge jumps. The prey of predatory spotted cats is often larger and stronger animals. And sometimes even alligators end up in the teeth of jaguars. Black spots on their fur coat are irregular rings with dots inside.
The number of these animals with a beautiful color is negligible, therefore they are listed in the Red Book. The light gray thick snow leopard fur is covered in contrasting black spots.
These fast-footed animals are capable of developing incredible speed. Their bodies are ideally adapted to the pursuit, the coat is covered with a smooth elastic spine of a spotted color.
These animals visually resemble Asian and American cats and live in the forests of Southeast Asia. They settle near small bodies of water and masterfully fish. Their coat is grayish-brown with black spots and is water-repellent.
These owners of short hair with large ring-shaped spots weigh in the range of 17-35 pounds. Ocelots are recognized as America’s most beautiful medium-sized cats. Kittens living next to people grow up tame and contact.
These wild African spotted cats have an unusual appearance and luxurious fur coat. Serval colors depend on their habitat. Individuals living in open areas have a light skin with large contrasting spots. Forest-dwelling servals are darker mottled in color.
The Most Popular Hybrid Breeds Of Spotted Cats
These spotted cats are descendants of Asian leopards and domestic cats. They received the official status of an independent breed in 1991.
Bengals are medium-sized spotted cats with a bright, memorable appearance. With a small head with pronounced whisker pads, high cheekbones, and wide-set ears. they have oval or round slanting eyes with a “predatory” look.
The muscular body of the Bengal is covered with smooth, silky, shiny flecked hair. The dark markings are regular or rosette, donut, paw print, or arrowhead.
The spots on the body of this breed are in stark contrast to the basic brown, silver, or snowy background. Stroke around the eyes and nose is encouraged.
These spotted cats are blessed with a curious and friendly disposition. Playful and active Bengals get along well with other pets and do not show aggression towards people.
Spotted cats, whose name is made up of two words: toy and tiger, were bred in the United States in the 80s of the last century. They are descendants of Bengals and are still considered an emerging breed.
Toyger outwardly resembles a miniature copy of a wild beast. Its well-proportioned compact body is covered with short, dense striped-spotted hair.
Toygers have a sociable and playful disposition. Beautiful spotted cats are easy to learn and find a common language with other pets without any problems.
This breed appeared in 1986 as a result of crossing a serval with a regular cat. In some American states, savannahs are not only not recognized, but also forbidden to be kept at home. According to local authorities, hybrid animals are very unpredictable and can lead to an imbalance in the ecosystem.
Savannah is a large spotted cat that can weigh up to 35 pounds. The small triangular head has expressive eyes of copper, green or yellow shades.
The main distinguishing feature of the savanna is its large rounded ears with a pronounced pattern. Each of them has a so-called wild spot. The body of the savanna is covered with short silver, brown, golden, or chocolate coat with black or dark brown markings.
These spotted cats are endowed with an active and playful character. Smart and curious savannas quickly become attached to their owners and live peacefully with other pets.
This spotted cat appeared as a result of the targeted breeding work of the American geneticist Karen Southman, who wanted to obtain a breed similar to the serval. Bengals and orientals were used to breed it.
The breed got its name in honor of the African national park of the same name, which is home to many servals.
The Serengeti is a large, long-legged cat with a wedge-shaped head and large eyes of light green, hazel, yellow, or honey. The graceful muscular body of the animal is covered with short, stiff, tight-fitting hair of a spotted color.
Serengeti are sociable and sympathetic animals that get used to humans for a long time. These spotted cats are characterized by fearlessness and curiosity. Therefore, they cannot be let out into the street without the accompaniment of their owners.
The Most Popular Spotted Domestic Cat Breeds
The tabby color is found not only in hybrids but also in most domestic cats. The most popular among them are the following breeds:
- Egyptian Mau;
- pixie bob;
- British Shorthair and Scottish Fold;
- American shorthair (shorthaired pointer);
- European shorthair;
- Maine Coon.
This spotted domestic cat was bred as a result of a random experiment by an American named Virginia Dale. It is obtained by crossing Abyssinian Siamese and American Shorthair.
The Ocicat is easily recognizable by its elongated muzzle with large, rounded ears and expressive almond-shaped eyes. But the main distinguishing feature of the breed is its spotted fur.
Agile and intelligent Ocicats love active games and quickly get used to their owners. These large spotted cats are easy to train and do not tolerate solitude.
These spotted cats are considered one of the oldest animals of this genus. According to legend, Mau was the favorite of the goddess Bastet. According to the researchers, her spotted color is of natural origin, and not obtained as a result of selection.
The body of the Egyptian Mau is similar in structure to the body of a cheetah and is covered with short hair. The cat’s fur is replete with numerous specks. Where these marks are located, the hairs are colored dark, not along the entire length, but only at the tips.
The first kittens of this breed were born in 1985. They were born as a result of mating a short-tailed polydactyl cat with a spotted cat. And after 10 years, the breed received official recognition from TICA.
British Shorthair and Scottish fold
These cats are considered one of the oldest domestic breeds. Both of them are registered in feline organizations and have several acceptable color options. But most often there are spotted individuals among them.
The British and the Scots are similar not only in appearance but also in character. Both are self-sufficient, phlegmatic animals. They quickly get used to people and love children.
American shorthair (shorthaired pointer)
Work on the creation of this breed started at the beginning of the last century. For her breeding were used cats brought to the United States from Europe. As a result of targeted selection, it was possible to obtain Kurzhaars with an attractive appearance and luxurious short fur.
The most famous American color is a silver tabby with large black spots on a light gray background.
Kurzhaars are calm, moderately mobile animals, they do not require special care. These beautiful spotted cats quickly get used to their owners and get along equally well with all family members.
This indigenous breed has a long history, but it was not officially recognized until 1982. The most common color of the European Shorthair is spotted.
These cats have an energetic temperament and have not lost their hunting instincts. Spotted natives quickly become attached to their owners and easily make contact with children.
In all likelihood, the representatives of the breed descended from oriental cats that came to Siberia with merchants. They have a luxurious long coat with a dense, dense undercoat. And the most popular color of Siberians is the spotted tabby.
These huge cats were bred in America and are the pride of overseas felinologist. Maine Coons are impressive in size and weigh about 27 pounds. These large fluffy cats come in a variety of color options, the most popular of which is the spotted one.
The Rarest Breeds Of Spotted Cats
Among the whole variety of cats with a leopard coat, there are those that have not yet become widespread.
The breed appeared as a result of crossing Burmese, Siamese, and Abyssinians. She has many color options. But spotted cats look the most impressive.
Among the ancestors of these spotted cats are Angora, Siamese, Manx, British shorthaired, and Abyssinian. Californian beams have a “wild” appearance. And on their luxurious fur coat, there is a tabby pattern.
In all likelihood, this young breed comes from Siberian and Amur cats. Spotted ussuri is visually similar to a predator and has a proud, independent disposition.
Sokoke or Kenyan forest
This breed originated from kazonzo and partially feral domestic cats. It was approved in 1992 thanks to the efforts of Jenny Slater. Small, lithe, slender, spotted cats are endowed with a wayward independent character and have a developed hunting instinct.
Spotted cats attract attention with their natural grace and unusual exterior. Despite their “wild” appearance, many of them have a playful, affectionate disposition and high intelligence. It is these qualities that make mini leopards very popular among those who dream of getting closer to nature.