How to differentiate a domestic cat from a wild feline?

 How to differentiate a domestic cat from a wild feline?

Tracy Wilkins

The news of a Bengal cat mistaken for a jaguar recently gained national repercussion and caused a lot of confusion in Belo Horizonte. The breed of cat that looks like a jaguar mobilized residents of a condominium who, in fear, called the firefighters. The animal was released in a nearby forest, but managed to be rescued by the guardians after long hours of search. In addition to having generated a lot of controversy on the internet,the event also gave rise to the following question: what differentiates a wild cat from a domestic cat? Find out all about it below!

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Does a cat that looks like a jaguar exist?

Yes. The Bengal - also known as the Bengal cat - is a cat that looks like a jaguar. Although not the same size as the big cats, the breed's coat pattern is very similar to that of an ocelot and jaguars. For this reason, it is common for there to be some confusion between the species, especially among those who do not know these animals well.

Bengal cats emerged from the cross between a domestic feline and a wild leopard. It was from this that they inherited striking characteristics, such as the markings on the hair that resemble large cats. This is one of the most exotic cat breeds, and also one of the most expensive. To give you an idea, the cat from Belo Horizonte that ended up in the woods was valued at R $ 7 thousand.Depending on the lineage of the pet, the price of the Bengal cat can reach R $ 10 thousand.

How to differentiate between big cats, feral cats and domestic cats?

One of the main differences between big cats, feral cats and domestic cats is size. There is no such thing as a "big cat" that looks like a jaguar. Domestic breeds tend to be more compact in size and not nearly the size of a jaguar. However, cats can be mistaken for the young of another species, such as an ocelot cub.

Even so, an ocelot is still much larger than a Bengal cat. It resembles, for example, the size of a large dog. Thus, an ocelot cub would be about the size of an adult Bengal cat, but with a totally different behavior from domestic animals.

When compared to wildcats, such as the bobcat, the difference also starts with size: the Bengal is slightly smaller than these animals. Another aspect is that the bobcat's head is larger and less rounded in shape than the Bengal's.

As for the coat, the Bengal is a breed that mixes the stripes of a tiger on the paws and tail; but that has rounded spots on the rest of the body, reminiscent of the jaguar or ocelot. The pattern of both the wildcat and the ocelot is formed by rounded spots all over the body, except for the tail.

The behavior of feral and domestic cats is also quite different

Big cats, like feral cats, do not accept the presence of humans easily and may flee or attack in response to any unwanted approach. Domestic cats, on the other hand, are usually marked by a docile temperament and, although some are skittish and suspicious, they are not animals that will attack anyone gratuitously. They may try to hide, butare already more used to humans, in general.

An example of this is Massinha - the Bengal cat in the news - who even though she was mistaken for a wild cat, she didn't start attacking anyone. She was just scared because she was lost, but because she is a breed of cat that looks like a jaguar, she ended up distressing the residents.

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Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.