Safaris are a new hybrid breed and only about 70 individuals exist in the world. They are the product of a cross between the domestic cat and the Geoffroy’s Cat, a Bolivian species of feline. Safaris are mysterious, little known and fascinating...
Key facts about the Safari
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Origins and history
The Safari originates from the United States. The initial pairing of a Geoffroy’s Cat with a domestic cat occurred in a research lab in the seventies - the practice of breeding them came about in the decades that followed. Today, there are around 70 individuals registered by TICA (The International Cat Association).
Physical characteristics of the Safari
Little information is available about their average size. However, we do know that first-generation hybrids (known as F1) are larger than their parents. The following generations, when paired with domestic cats, will produce gradually more regular-sized cats, getting closer to the size of a standard domestic cat.
Female : Between 24 and 33 lb
Male : Between 24 and 33 lb
At the moment, there is very little information regarding the difference in weight between the two sexes.
Given the breed’s rarity, no standard for their fur colour is recognised by the majority of feline associations.
Type of coat
Their eyes are yellow or green
No official standard yet exists for this breed. However, we do know that they are short-haired, spotted tabby cats, and they always have the exotic look of a big cat.
Good to know
There is a high degree of similarity between the genome of several wild cat species, which makes hybridisation between domestic cats and some of their wild cousins easier. Several of them have the same number of chromosomes, often with identical structure.
Nevertheless, the Safari is the result of a cross between the domestic cat and the Geoffroy’s Cat, Leopardus geoffroyi. These cousin species are both part of the Felidae family and are sufficiently similar from a genetic point of view to produce viable hybrid offspring. However, the genome of the Geoffroy’s Cat has 36 chromosomes next to the domestic cat’s 38. Whereas Safaris, the descendants of this hybridisations, have 37 chromosomes themselves. This genetic variability between the two species makes crossing them more difficult and the process is laborious and complicated.
When choosing a cat of this breed, it is important to be meticulous with documentation and make sure to contact trustworthy breeders.
Sometimes cats that are the product of crossing with wild species prefer to spend their energy on physical activities rather than being cuddled. However, anecdotal evidence shows that Safaris are particularly affectionate.
These little wildcat usually enjoys dynamic play sessions that entertain and stimulate them. This means it’s essential to offer daily interactive play activities. Some of them are quite the little sportsmen and even enjoy swimming and climbing!
If their needs for physical activity are met, they relax with their humans when they want to. Just make sure to have high places where they can rest.
They are lively, insightful and are great at learning.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Fear of strangers varies from one cat to the next, but since Safaris are typically energetic and curious, they generally adapt well to novelty.
It’s always important to make sure that cats get enough physical activity and stimulation, whatever their breed. So as long as your Safari is growing up in an enriching environment complete with high-up lookout points, games and dietary stimulation, they will be able to cope with being alone.
Behaviour of the Safari
On the whole, with domestic cats, their tendency to vocalise for communicating with humans varies a lot between individuals and the environment they’re in. Certain hybrid breeds can be slightly more chatty than the average cat, meaning it’s possible that Safaris will be too. Again though, little information is available on this.
Need for exercise / Sporty
They require very high levels of exercise and a diverse range of activities.
Tendency to run away
Being very adventurous and active, they enjoy exploring the outdoors. If you use a lead with a harness, you’ll find it easier to take them on excursions, knowing there is a lower risk of them escaping!
Greedy / Gluttony
Given they have so much energy, Safaris usually have a pretty good appetite.
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Safari and cats
This relationship will depend on several factors, including the way they were each socialised when they were kittens. Nonetheless, it’s not recommended to have domestic cats and wild hybrids in the same household, particularly for the initial generations of hybridisation (F1 to F3).
Safari and dogs
The compatibility of Safaris with dogs can vary, and depends on them being socialised together at a young age and in the right way. That said, a dog and a Safari can get on very well, but there is little documented information on these types of relationship. It’s important to have lookout points and rest areas that are high up, so that the cat can avoid undesired run-ins with their canine companion.
Safari and children
There is little data that might give an insight on the relationship between these felines and children. They would most likely make good playtime companions, but you would have to be vigilant and closely supervise their interactions together. Additionally, it would be extremely important to teach children of any age to read the cat’s body language closely and respect their limits.
Safari and the elderly
Since cats of this breed usually have a lot of energy, certain calmer people would find them too active.
The purchase price of a Safari varies enormously from one kitten to another. Hower, as this breed is still very new, there is not enough date to set an average price for this cat. The price will therefore be high because of the breed’s rarity. The cat’s lineage, sex and age can also influence the cost. You should allow for at least £40 per month to meet their needs, by offering them a high quality diet and ensuring to keep them in good health.
Be wary of fraudulent breeders who deceptively try and sell cats of other breeds as Safaris.
Again, it’s difficult to offer a steadfast protocol for grooming, but for all domestic cats it’s recommended that you brush them on a regular basis.
These cats seem to lose little hair.
Nutrition of the Safari
Clearly, a high-quality diet is essential. This must correspond to their high energy levels, their age and their medical needs.
Health of the Safari
Their average life expectancy is probably around 15 years, but keep in mind that this is based on a small sample of individuals given the breed is relatively new.
Strong / robust
For lack of comprehensive data, it’s difficult to determine the robustness of this breed, so we have given them 2 stars by way of an ‘average’ score.
Tendency to put on weight
The risk of feline obesity is influenced by a number of factors like age, environment, diet and the cat’s activity level. Since these cats are generally very energetic, their risks of becoming overweight are very low, as long as their requirements for physical activity are met.
Since this is a little-known breed, it’s difficult to give concrete advice on the physiological health of individuals. In any case, an annual medical check-up is recommended to ensure their health and wellbeing. What’s more, they can suffer from the same illnesses as non-hybrid domestic cats, particularly oral diseases.
No information is available on possible pairings with other cats. Certain hybrid breeds, like the Safari, sometimes have issues with reproduction, due to some individuals being infertile.
The Geoffroy’s Cat is protected by various regulations concerning the holding and reproduction of wild exotic species (including CITES Appendix 1).