The term “exotic” has been loosely thrown around to describe interesting looking (or incredibly pricey) cats. Calling a Bengal Cat “exotic,” however, really leaves nothing to describe the cats in our domesticated lives that actually are exotic.
For one, there is a cat breed that is actually called the Exotic, which is short for Exotic Shorthair. They started as a cross breed between the Persian and American Shorthair. Later, other short-haired breeds were introduced into the mix, such as the Burmese and the Russian Blue, and then they were bred with Persians again to achieve a short, plush coat with an adorable face.
Then there are exotic cats in the way you might have initially thought: wild cats that have been, in some cases, domestic, and are an exotic pet for sure.
Servals are probably one of the more popular exotic kitties kept as pets in the United States. Servals may look intimidating with their imposing stature and intense eyes, but Servals are mostly interested in hunting small animal prey like birds and rodents, not so much human. There is no record of a Serval killing a human being, but that doesn’t mean their bite should not be avoided.
Savannah Cats are another popular exotic breed that pet eccentrics choose to have as pets. Savannah Cats are a cross between the aforementioned Serval and a domesticated house cat. They are intelligent, confident, playful, and super energetic, but are generally agreed to be more manageable than a Serval.
Many people also think of the Ocelot when they think of exotic cats. Surrealist Salvador Dali kept one as a pet, but they are harder to simply come by now a days. Not only are they difficult to obtain, but they also are not as keen on following orders and will do as they please. The Ocelot is only for an incredibly skilled and seasoned cat owner or trainer with very deep pockets.
If you are thinking about bringing a wild-originating, exotic cat into your home, there are many things to consider. Exotic cats will mark their territory (AKA your house) by spraying. They require lots of space and attention, as their energy levels are through the roof compared to your standard house cat. Many of them are also illegal in certain states and may require you to have a license as well. Because of all these restrictions, re-homing an exotic pet can be nearly impossible, so really make sure you are up for the challenge before bringing one into your home.
Have you ever considered bringing an exotic cat into your life? Do you know anyone with one? Let us know in the comments.