According to the Pet Poison Helpline (PPH), hybrid cats were first created in the 1970s as an effort by scientists to study the possible resistance to feline leukemia in wild cats.
The goal of this research was to better understand hereditary factors for leukemia and how to combat the disease. The cats bred for this research were ultimately given to people as pets, creating a demand among cat owners attracted to their unique, often exotic looks.
While hybrid cats now sold to the general public are no longer considered “wild,” the PPH notes that the largest number of behavioral complaints about the hybrid cats being bred and sold today concern aggression and refusal to use litter boxes. These behavioral issues compel many hybrid cat owners to give their cats to shelters, many of which are already overwhelmed by overpopulation.
Before purchasing or adopting new cats, prospective cat owners should give ample consideration to the potential behavioral issues associated with hybrid cats and whether or not such cats will fit into their lifestyles. Millions of cats that are returned to shelters are euthanized each year due to lack of adoptive families.