Meet the designer cats with wild blood

This story is about small cats… …that look like big cats… and the people that made that possible. But before we get there, let’s back up a bit. We went to an event at the Westminster Dog Show and this year cats were invited. So we went to film them, and we weren’t the only ones. In the middle of a crowd there was a man,
holding his pet cat called a Bengal. That’s Anthony Hutcherson and his whole
life, he’s had one dream: “I always wanted a pet leopard, or a pet ocelot.” Wanting a pet ocelot might sound odd, but until recently owning an exotic cat was not unheard of. People had pet leopards and pet cheetahs and here’s Salvador Dali and his pet ocelot
named Babou. But exotic cats weren’t just for celebrities,
this family in Denver had a pet leopard. They named him Pasha. Growing up, Anthony found books about owning
a pet ocelot, and he was fascinated. “Fortunately the library was a little outdated
so there were still books from The Fifties” “and Sixties in my public school that said
things about having a pet ocelot, and made” “it seem normal…and I thought that could be me too!” But in the 1970s, authorities began restricting ownership and seizing exotic pets. So, instead of owning an ocelot, Anthony’s
dream became breeding a pet cat that looked just like one. He began after seeing a magazine at a grocery store, “At the checkout: like, alien spotted and
woman creates domestic cat that looks like” “leopard and so, I remembered it, and followed
up and found her, and called her.” The woman on the phone was Jean Mill, the
first American Bengal breeder. “At one point I remember saying to her,” ” ‘no, I can’t afford these cats, but I really want one, this is my dream.’ ” ” ‘ I really wanna do it.’ ” “I described to her in specific detail what
I wanted and she said,” ” ‘That cat doesn’t exist. I want that too.’ ’” Jean told Anthony about asian leopard cats:
a wild species native to Asia that was bred with a domestic cat in order to create a first
generation hybrid, called an “F1″, which is 50% wild, 50% domestic. Jean owned an F1, which she received from
Dr. Willard Centerwall, a scientist at Loma Linda University. Dr. Centerwall was breeding hybrid cats in
order to study their leukemia heredity factors, which could help in understanding and combatting
leukemia in human beings. But he only needed their genetic samples and once he bred the cats they needed homes, so that’s how Jean Mill received an F1 kitten in 1980. By breeding her F1 with a domestic cat, Jean
created second generation hybrids. But the males were sterile, so Jean could
only continue breeding through the female offspring. “And when they are four generations away
from the asian leopard cat, fertility is much” “more regular and, in terms of being able
to be shown and be considered a ‘domestic cat’,” “they have to be four generations away
from the asian leopard cat” *banging sound* “Sorry, that’s my cats running through the
room!” By reaching the fourth generation, Jean had
developed a new breed: the Bengal, which was officially recognized by The International
Cat Association in 1986. After his phone call with Jean, Anthony decided
to start breeding on his own, so he bought an F1 bengal and began attending cat shows. “This cat is awesome.” “For the future of the Bengals, I’d like
to see them” “move more in a direction toward looking wild.” “Being instantly identified as ‘oooooh.’ ” “But I want them to be as sweet, turn them
over on their side, or pull on their tail,” “or kiss them, if you have to.” *applause*” Over the years, Anthony’s goal hasn’t
changed. He’s continued to pursue it by carefully
selecting cats for his breeding program. “When I make that decision to breed them,” “I have an idea of what I think the kittens will look like” “and when they are born I try
to pick the one” “that looks the most like what I wanted it to look like.” “It’s like any good chef will probably tell you.” “it’s not adding a bunch of different stuff into a soup.” “It’s what you choose to add and how much and when you add it.” Choosing breeding partners to develop certain
traits is called “selective breeding”. “All cats are beautiful, but I’m not trying
to make all cats.” I’m trying to make a very specific cat.” A specific cat with qualities like rosettes,
the naturally occurring marks on leopards that he describes as a pattern, “…with that same spot that’s maybe black
or brown, and in the center of that spot is a color somewhere between, say yellow or orange-” You get the picture, Anthony knows what he
wants his cats to look like. But selective breeding can put animals at
risk if breeders pair close relatives. So to prevent inbreeding, owners like Vicki
Jeffers come to cat shows. Where they can exchange cats in order to develop new traits, like the shaggy coat we saw on this longhair Bengal. “If I bred her to Jefferson I might get
the beautiful tail and the nice ears” “and the kittens might get this wonderful pattern.” “So what you do is you look for traits in
cats that yours don’t have” “and you look at the pedigrees to be sure that you are not inbreeding too much.” To avoid inbreeding, breeders need a large
gene pool, which means breeding large numbers of cats. “People are convinced that there are too
many cats in the world” “and there are an awful lot of cats in rescue.” “And they say, ‘well, here you are breeding
superfluous cats” ” ‘when there are cats that are wanting for a home.’ ” “And, I mean, they have a point.” “They have an important point.” “But if you look at these cats, they justify
the breeding” “because they are just wonderful, wonderful, animals.” Animals like Anthony’s cat Ovation. “Her name’s Ovation, she’s the greatest
cat in the world.” And while the development of bengals has taken
decades, other breeds are just getting started. This is a Savannah, which were developed by breeding domestic cats with a serval: a wild carnivore native to African savannahs. Unlike the Bengals, we found just a few cats at this booth. and that’s because the Savannah is a newer breed. The first F1 Savannah was born in 1986. So there are fewer late generation Savannahs compared to Bengals. A cat like this can cost over a thousand dollars. But earlier generations of Savannahs are even more expensive An F1 Savannah can cost upwards of $20,000
and owning one isn’t only expensive. It can be illegal, depending on local laws. In New York State, it’s legal to own a hybrid
as long as it’s sixth generation or later. But any generation of Savannah is illegal
in New York City. So even though these cats had a special exemption,
the cats we saw at this show– they’re technically illegal. And that’s a major reason why breeders come
to the show. By showing their cats, breeders hope to demonstrate
that hybrid species are just as safe as any other cat. But what if you aren’t into leopards, what
if you what you really want is a tiny tiger? This is Tony, one of Toygers we met. That’s Toyger for “toy” and “tiger”. This newer breed was created by Judy Sudden. And before you make any assumptions, NO, she
did not breed a tiger with a house cat. As feline geneticist Steven O’Brien explained
to me, that…wouldn’t work. “As the time has elapsed, the further apart
a species might be to another species,” “the less likely they will produce fertile offspring at all.” “The reason is evolution is a gradual process.” If you look at the cat family tree, you can
see that domestic cats and asian leopard cats separated from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago, which is about half the time that has passed since they separated from great cats, like lions and tigers. “It’s not exactly half, but it’s on that order.” “So there has been twice as much time for gene differences that inhibit compatibility.” “Which means that you are twice as likely to
have generated reproductive isolation,” “which just means it’s just not gonna work, Charlie.” “It’s just not gonna work.” It’s not gonna work means you can’t breed with tigers. So Judy Sugden created Toygers by selectively
breeding domestic cats. “…and so then you breed that kitten to another kitten…” As a result, there’s nothing wild about
these guys. “We just wanna go until…” “To make it reminiscent of a big cat.” “And so, on a tiger, the chin is big and kind of sticks out.” “Well, they are beautiful.” “Well, thank you very much” And while breeding a tiny tiger might seem
ambitious, Judy had help along the way. “I started breeding in the mid Eighties.” “My mother developed the bengal and that was
to look like a little leopard.” “So I said, as we were watching that thing
progress,” “Well maybe we need a little tiger!” Judy’s mother is Jean Mill. The first American Bengal breeder and Anthony Hutcherson’s mentor. It turns out, the world cat breeders is pretty small. Like Anthony, Judy has spent her entire life developing a new breed to resemble its wild counterpart. “His name is Tony.” And also like Anthony, she’s still pursuing
that goal. “What’s your name again?” -“Max” “Max. Anthony. I’m Anthony.” Because although you might think these cats already look like tiny tigers and little leopards, they see something we don’t. Something to improve. Something that will keep pushing them closer to that goal: the cat that they always dreamed of. “My motivation hasn’t changed.” “And…I went back to the public libraries and used bookstores and I bought those books.” “Because they inspired
me then and,” “in moments when I think my fellow breeders have no idea what they are doing” “or I question how many litter boxes I can clean in a day,” “I still flip through those
books and think,” “Well, I’m almost there.”

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100 Responses

  1. Bayley Carr says:

    I have a f6 savanna

  2. indi 51 says:

    Wow, it must have like, perfect IV's. Imagine all of those cat eggs D:

  3. ShugaWataPurple says:

    My allergies are flaring up watching this

  4. WillyWonka says:

    I have a bangle cat

  5. Ari Cat says:

    I feel like they treat them like property..

  6. 74554N 41-5H4TTi says:

    That convention took like playing Pokémon in a community day convention
    We exchange codes and infos make deals and most importantly trade cats oh sorry I mean Pokémon

  7. Jason Richter says:

    I don't know who to feel more sorry for, the cats or the humans.

  8. game. io says:


  9. Pi says:

    Isn't this horrible in a way?

  10. Joshua Bicknell says:

    The way people at animal shows handle their pets, shows you that, that animal is only there to make them money.

    Edited to add punctuation.

  11. AxoDev says:

    realize that this is vox

  12. that one weeb says:

    Is it just me or do I feel really uncomfortable about this? I don’t know why but it just makes me uneasy

  13. Ryan Airey says:

    breeders are dirtbags

  14. Real Mart says:

    It’s funny because if you let these cats out they will never come back

  15. Sremon Karmakar says:

    bengal is a state of India and i live there.bengal have tiger not leopard.

  16. Monica Figueroa says:

    Toyger!!! Is so beautiful!

  17. Tammy Stephens says:

    We adopted a beautiful Bengal, because she doesn't bother my husband's allergies. She's wonderful, and is very healthy. We love her so much!

  18. Daniel Reynoso says:

    it justifies the breeding? as beautiful as they are, i dont want them.

  19. super sublimnails says:

    To make the perfect toyger breed you need some caracal can make the perfect cheeks

  20. Victor Pires says:

    Is this ethical?

  21. 02Nawal says:

    Stop breeding cats. There's way too many cats.

  22. OhtheSuffering says:

    Personally, I’d like a lykoi.

  23. John gulbarga says:

    Now we are to destroying animals
    Its written in Bible that we should not cross breed any animal

  24. Zach Taylor says:

    Cats are dodo

  25. Sean Chamberlain says:

    when can we breed stupidity out of our own species

  26. Blackfish says:

    Have there been naturally occurring hybrids in areas where the serval/Asian leopard cat is endemic? Seems like they should be pretty common since feral cats are absolutely everywhere,

  27. Great Escape says:

    How about a dinosaur

  28. ITun3 s says:

    what if u can pair ape and human? 😂

  29. REKKLES MAGNUS says:

    What's the difference between selective breeding and eugenics ?

  30. Infernzo Do says:

    Now this is what I do to my Rexes and gigas in ark

  31. Java says:

    I have one, it’s great

  32. Lillie Jae says:

    These are so upsetting. Those cats at the shows are getting smothered. The best cats ive ever met came from shelters

  33. chocolate smile says:

    Beautiful cats. I would love lots of them, yes lots. I just love cats, but then again I love animals period! Especially elephants I'd like a pet elegant too! And a dolphin, I'm very serious, no kidding!

  34. Stirlingite 555 says:

    He doesn’t care about them. He only wants them for their looks

  35. Steve says:

    Just play Minecraft if you want a pet ocelot.

  36. Amit Singh says:

    Coming Soon:-
    Apple Bengal Cat Gen 6 Build 0.1
    Huawei MateCat Pro Build 1.1

  37. Cody Blankenship says:

    Judging them by the color of their skin 🙄

  38. PeachyPhi says:

    So who's going to be the first to make cat dogs??

  39. Apurva Patil says:

    This selective breeding science seems so interesting. But still don't like the idea of breeding them just for sake of humans hobby of possessing the exotics.

  40. Ramaswamy K says:

    basically breeding and dumping those which do not look exactly the way they want them to look…and probably putting the mother cat at risk of death due to pregnancy with larger species as well…does not seem good or ethical by any means. I would still adopt rather than encourage such tampering which is mostly done in an inhumane manner

  41. Ayla Garza says:

    What about the cats in shelters? ….the most unique cats of all.

  42. alma villa says:

    Cats Rule!!

  43. Frogz toe says:

    This made me uncomfortable

  44. Sunu Kim says:

    Lets do this with humans

  45. Evan Pineda says:


  46. carter Cornwell says:

    I used to own a Bengal and a Toyger They passed of old age but I made sure their lives were the best possible 😀

  47. almost 12 dollars says:

    judy sugondese

  48. dimas gulla says:

    You just getting scarier H O O M A N

  49. ScottStorm says:

    What did the ocelot say to the snake "It's not over yet!"

  50. Sage k says:

    My cat actually looks like the bengal cat. Is it common in India?

  51. Incog Spectator says:

    We dont need more cats they are becoming more bad than good with the many owners and there lack of when it comes to watching and making sure there rodents dont become a nuisance they just let there cats stroll around and get pregnant. Figures they are rodents just like humans. Rodents dont recognize that they are the infestation until they start cannibalizing each other lol

  52. Liza S says:

    poor babys… they aren't objects

  53. ClaireBeauty 418 says:

    He has to have lubiderm on a night stand lol

  54. Tlilticoatl Art says:

    if males are sterile it means they shouldnt exist and we should not contribute to this consumption.
    This is not okay. just a whim of rich people. Theyre precious, i love cats, but nature is wise.

  55. Aaron Kai Macdonald says:

    "That's toyger for Toy and Tiger"

    ah ok, i thought i have to research the meaning of the name up, thanks.

  56. Sparklepuppy00 Aj says:

    Nah fam, my designer cat is my ocelot in Minecraft 😤✌️

  57. Drive-By Troll says:

    5:45 Yes, there are already too many domestic cats in the world. PLEASE ADOPT

  58. Khaleel Abulnaja says:

    I hope it works with a lions.

  59. petros rantou says:

    "The smallest feline is a Masterpiece"-Leonardo Da Vinci

  60. Abuzer Komurcu says:

    can this guy breed the norwegian forrest cat with a ocelot? that would be beautiful! with those prints

  61. Xinyi Wang says:

    Me and my enemy if we were in the 1950s:
    Me: I have a Cheetah UwU
    Enemy: oH yEaH?! I hAvE a WoLf

  62. DJ Akademiks Supreme Hoodie says:

    "All cats are beautiful"

    proceeds to breed cats because its free real estate

  63. Ali Chahin says:

    I like the camaraderie between cat breeders.

  64. Rytron Gaming says:

    I also am going to save up for a toyger

  65. Fluffycoolkid Coolkid says:

    Oh I have a little Bengal baby! She's in my profile pic

  66. Introvert_ scribe says:

    Just because they have a different kind of obsession in raising cats from the majority doesn't mean we are qualified to berate how they're literally wasting their money and time, and should've adopted homeless cats instead. Those shows we're their doors to showcase to the people their life work and how much they love their cats. Plus, the cats didn't look stressed at all being petted by strangers, so chill my fellow cat lovers. Furthermore, it's not like they do domestic abuse to the kittens who don't show the traits they had hoped for and knowing so, we can deduce that they have the apropriate measures taken. They deserve respect to have paved way to a new breed of cats which means we have a new addition to the cat family tree to cuddle—safely. 😁😄

  67. Manoj Kumar says:

    Yo, we don't need expert to tell Tigers can't breed with cats..

  68. The Ambivalent PS2 Bloke says:


  69. Foze Rocks says:

    in my language pasha means king so he should feel compfortable idk

  70. canou fred says:

    Dude has the lotion bottle in the back ground.

  71. Jess says:

    Pause at 9:08…. Im sorry but that just looks cruel

  72. cloudhockey says:

    my cats aren’t some exotic breed mine are just regular cats, but they are special to me

  73. Nicole Orellana says:

    these breeders look and sound sick in the head

  74. Cader Locke says:


  75. American Bee says:

    Get a cat with fang like ancient age stone tiger. I want one.

  76. RKT Gaming says:

    I have a bengal named “hunter” 8 months

  77. Masam M. says:

    The International Cat Association


  78. SleepyCoco says:

    Yeah I have a f1 cat, pretty fast a top speed at aurond 30 mph he's my fastest

  79. Seung Hyun Kim says:

    Why keep bengals when you are friends with asian leopard cats that occasionally raid your chicken coop

  80. Mo Wuggets says:

    Pet cheetahs

    I’ll shut up

  81. XxnormalbobaxX says:

    My cat is the mix of bengal and British shorthair—British bengal~

  82. ᖇᗩ乙0229 says:

    CATS wil be CATS

    They purr

  83. Rosaleene YT says:

    Why am I watching this?

  84. Mega Supertramp says:

    It will probably go wild when you eventually can manipulate through crispr or something like that

  85. Gage Ferland says:

    Is there a breed that looks like a cheetah

  86. skycat04 says:

    This video is like an anthology film… when in the end every person is revealed to be connected to each other… 😄

  87. Michelle-Andrea Girouard says:

    There are so many things wrong with this

  88. Joseph Halbohn says:

    “Wanting to own a pet ocelot may seem odd”

    This is literally one of my dreams 😭

  89. M says:

    0:55 Tyler Joseph does too

  90. Jes H says:

    All cats are beautiful. Some are just breeding for the money and profit.

  91. Flying Wolf Man says:

    "I went to a dog show for the cats."

  92. Loop Garoo says:

    Try breeding a house cat with a lion maybe that will satisfy the "exotic cat" lovers.

  93. The Aloy YT says:

    Sabre tooth cat

  94. Minx- says:

    Why is it when the black guy smiles in a picture it feels like he's staring in my soul

  95. EyFmS says:

    What is this obsession of humans beings for the need to stand out and try so hard to be unique by acquiring unnecessary possessions? I can't understand…

  96. MC BackFat says:

    Mojang called your being sued for stealing their idea

  97. kirby 64 says:

    there are so many stray cats, cats in shelters, cats being euthanized, etc and people like this will spend so much time and money for this. it saddens me so much.

  98. sonnossonnos says:

    just buy a leopard toy. stop messing around with cat genes

  99. Sniper 2000 says:

    Inbreeding is really bad for animals and professionals understand it too. Ever wondered why 8 out 10 dog shows are won by a mix-bred dog cause they tend to be smarter and genetically healthier than pure bred dogs.

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