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Should I Get An Exotic Cat Breed?

He's gorgeous, isn't he? Loki is my 4.5 year old Bengal and I can tell you he is a lot of work, but I knew that going in before I got him. I did endless hours of research on the breed. Talked with multiple breeders that were familiar with their genetic make up and behaviors. I knew he would require a lot and even though I prepared myself, I was still blown away by how much of commitment these breeds are.

All exotic cat breeds require a lot of time and tons of training for both human and cat. Although, even with the training your exotic cat may still not listen or act out. Remember, these cats are breed down the line starting with their exotic father. This means they do still have wild tendencies depending on the filial generation they fall under. Filial generations for most exotic cat breeds are as follows:

F1 - 1st Generation  Exotic cat + Domestic Mother
F2 - 2nd Generation Domestic Father + F1 Mother
F3 - 3rd Generation Domestic Father +  F2 Mother
F4 - 4th Generation  Domestic Father + F3 Mother

While most F3 and F4's are prone to being closer to a domesticated cat an F1 or F2 can be both domesticated with wild tendencies. F1 and F2 generations can be extremely emotional, territorial, and harder to train. Even if they know better they can sometimes react without thinking. This is because of their more direct link to the actual wild/exotic cat that they share DNA and traits with. They can be more challenging than their F3 and F4 family members.

Exotic breeds also require more balanced diet and most people keep them on raw meats and supplements. Don't get me wrong, my Bengal can wolf down a bowl of dry kibble like the rest of the domesticated cats, but he will never turn down raw meat. Ever. A raw diet is time consuming and expensive.

Exotic breeds can also have more health issues. Prepare to step up to the plate financially when getting one. Each breed can have specific health problems, so research the breed you are interested in.

Lastly, exotic breeds require a lot of your time and attention. I treat Loki as if he is a small child. He requires exercise three times a day until he is exhausted each time. We play with him a ton and I am constantly creating new and fun challenges for him. Bengals and most of the exotic breeds are very intelligent cats. They figure things out quickly and this can often get them in trouble. A bored exotic cat can have disastrous consequences. You will need to cat proof your home as if you had a young toddler running wild through your house. Also, make sure kitty has plenty of things to do on his own when he is alone. We have a cat wheel and several other cat related toys he can access and play with as well as burn energy when we are at work/school.

When it comes down to it, you are the only one that can make the decision if an exotic breed is the best fit for you and your family. Really do the research and never rush into getting an exotic cat. Talk to breeders, cat behaviorists, veterinarians and other people that already have the exotic cat you are thinking of getting. There are plenty of online communities for all exotic cat breeds and they are a great place to start your research as well as gathering a plethora of knowledge, just make sure you check the facts.

Now, it is time to go exercise Loki or all of my Halloween decorations on the mantle will be history. =P



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