Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hybrid Cat Breed Facts: Marlot

The 20th century has seen many different hybrid cat breeds. A hybrid is defined as a cat whose parents are of two different, but established breeds. The resulting offspring, while not a true breed unto themselves, are unique enough to be given their own name. One of these hybrids, the Marlot, is the result of crossing an ocelot female with a Margay male.

In August of 1976, the Long Island Ocelot Club Newsletter announced the birth of a male kitten into the family of Barbara Brocks. This kitten, with an ocelot mother and a Margay father, was called a Marlot. The parents, both of whom were approximately three and a half years old, were bred in captivity.

A few months later, in February of 1977, a second kitten was announced, a little girl named Precious. She was a vocal little girl with a slick spotted coat. She resembled both parents with rosettes that were dark like a Margay. Her golden coat also seemed to come from her Margay father, but she certainly had the ocelot tail and pink nose. Brocks mentioned another Marlot kitten, Baby, in 1980. It is assumed that there were other kittens, though this hasn’t been confirmed.

The Marlot is a breed typically only known to cat breeders. It is quite rare, and also quite expensive. Very few people have seen one in person, and there aren’t many pictures around, so most people don’t even know what they look like. Marlots are typically sandy in color with a brown marbled pattern. In fact, they look a little like Bengals, but more wild and with more variation in markings, due to their hybrid nature.

With a stripped pattern on the legs and tail, the Marlot could be said to have a tabby appearance. The spots on the main body as well as the general facial structure resemble the Margay parent, though the body seems more like an ocelot. The coat has a wonderful shine, and the entire cat is built for jumping.

As a pet, these cats are very much like their wild ancestors. They are playful and mischievous, and inclined to get into trouble. If left to their own devices, they will climb and jump to the highest places, and tend to knock things over. This isn’t because they’re clumsy. They simply enjoy the pleasure of it.

Marlots are highly clever. They are the type of cat that can figure out how to open a locked cupboard just to get to the food you left in there. Because Marlots are the descendants of wild cats, they require a great deal of socialization as kittens. If you choose to purchase one of these unique cats, you should be prepared to spend a great deal of time with your new family member.

Because of their rarity, information regarding Marlots is limited. Though it is certain that breeders have continued to cross the Margay with the ocelot, it is impossible to estimate just how many of these cats have been bred since the 1970s. It is not even certain that this was the first time these breeds were crossed. Despite their rarity, their unique look and attitude make this hybrid breed an attractive prospect for the cat lover looking for a loving companion.

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