The Cat Breed That Is Closest To A Lion

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In 2013, geneticist Jong Bhak of South Korea’s Genome Research Foundation told the BBC that a tiger is, quote, “just a big domestic cat.”

How true is it?

Well, cats share 95.6 percent of their DNA with tigers, but that doesn’t mean every house cat has a Bengal tiger inside them. Genetics says one thing, but cat psychology actually paints a little bit of a different picture.

Though Bahk proclaimed tigers to be gigantic house cats, IFLScience claims a house cat, quote, “is basically a tiny lion.”

That assertion is based on a 2014 study published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology. The Bronx Zoo collaborated with researchers at the University of Edinburgh to compare personality traits of domestic cats with those of the Scottish wildcat, snow leopard, clouded leopard, and African lion using a detailed personality survey.

They measured feline neuroticism, agreeableness, and other characteristics typically attributed to humans, and results proclaimed that house cats mostly closely resemble lions. But would cats agree? And if so, which breed best resembles the king of the jungle?

A cat fit for a king of the jungle should have a fittingly feral name, and the Chausie fits that bill to a T. The breed’s name comes from the Latin phrase “felis chaus,” which literally translates to “jungle cat.”

This also reflects the cat’s origins. A hybrid of the Abyssinian and south central Asia’s Jungle Cat, the Chausie was bred into existence during the 1990s.

Strong, athletic, and energetic, this social animal can leap six to eight feet with ease and is an elite hunter.

The Chausie has been likened to a small mountain lion because of its appearance, though some chausies are black as well. And while it might not be a big cat, it’s definitely a big house cat, standing 14 to 18 inches tall and weighing up to 30 pounds.

This little lion also enjoys having a human pride to pal around with and shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods of time. So it’s a great pet for couch potatoes who don’t mind being shamed by their much more active and physically gifted feline companion.

Yes, if looks could kill, a Chausie would kill you like a mountain lion because that’s what it looks like. But while beauty is only skin deep, this pretty kitty’s similarity to a lion isn’t. The Chausie must eat meat. Full stop. Its intestines can’t take plants, so feeding them of any kind of veggies can cause inflammation or malnutrition.

That’s a notable departure from many other cat breeds, which, according to University of Pennsylvania veterinarian nutritionist Kathryn Michel,

“can learn to consume veggie kibble if it has a familiar enough texture and consistency.”

That meaty necessity makes the Chausie more akin to big cats, which are obligate carnivores. Philadelphia Zoo nutrition program director Barbara Toddes told Popular Science that feeding a veggie burger to a lion would be like, quote, “putting gasoline in a diesel engine.”

The Chausie might come closest to looking like the king of the jungle, but one of its ancestors might come closer to being a regal feline. Just like the Chausie, the Abyssinian resembles a miniature mountain lion.

And unlike the Chausie, which has only existed since the late 20th century, the Abyssinian didn’t result from humans playing god with two distinct breeds of cat. On the contrary, the Abyssinian was once thought to have descended from a god that humans worshiped.

The elegant Abyssinian likely originated in ancient Egypt and is the breed that most closely resembles the sacred cats of the past. The Egyptian goddess of cats was Bastet, which appropriately enough, was depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness.

If the Abyssinian was the spiritual descendant of Bastet, then the argument could be made that it has the soul of a lion, if not the body. But this is only half of the Chausie’s ancestral ingredients.

The other half of the Chausie hybrid, the Jungle Cat, may have been domesticated in ancient Egypt, where the cats were also mummified.

In that sense, the Abyssinian and Jungle Cat may have been a match made in cat heaven, making the Chausie a product of divine intervention. Watch the video to learn about The Cat Breed That Is Closest To A Lion!

#CatBreeds #Lions

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