A cross between the Bengal cat and the Ocicat, this breed is still fairly new and rare.
In case you’re unsure what are the characteristics of a Cheetoh cat, this short guide will help you learn all you need to know about this particular feline!
Cheetoh Cat Overview
When the Cheetoh cat breed was first created, the goal was to develop a breed that resembled a big, spotted cat from the jungle even more than the foundation breeds did, without having to add more wild cat genes in the mix. With the stunning looks of both breeds, as well as the intelligence and loyalty of a Bengal and the friendliness and docility of the Ocicat, the end result was a cat breed that exhibited a combination of all the desirable traits. Although registered with The International Cat Association as an experimental breed, the Cheetoh is yet to be recognized as a pedigree breed by this organization.
The first Cheetoh kittens were brought to the world in 2003. The relatively new breed was developed by Carol Drymon of Wind Haven Exotics cattery, after a year and half of research on wild/domestic cross breeds. As the Bengal is the most reliable breed that has wild origins, it became Drymon’s main choice for the breeding program. Not long after, reputable breeders throughout the United States were asked to help establish the breed, following the approved standards for both health and appearance. Although the breed was created and developed in the United States, there are now registered breeders in Australia, New Zealand and Canada that have kittens for sale. The usual price for a Cheetoh kitten is around $400 to $800.
Despite the fact that, at first glance, the Cheetoh looks like it belongs in the jungle, these cats are incredibly gentle and good-natured. Compared to Bengals, who tend to share a bond with one person or their family only, and can be distrustful of strangers, the Cheetoh cats are extremely friendly and not at all shy, a trait they share with Ocicats. Energetic and intelligent, the Cheetoh is a very active breed and you’ll need to keep them busy and entertained. If you prefer laid back, “couch potato” felines, then the Cheetoh probably isn’t a good choice for you. They love playing and being around people, to that extent that their need for attention can be overwhelming at times. A Cheetoh will definitely cherish every moment they have with you.
Same as the Bengals, they learn tricks easily and can be leash trained. They dislike being the only pet in the family, so if you’re looking to buy a Cheetoh kitten, or adopt a rescue, consider getting a pair. Having in mind they get along well with both dogs and domestic cats, if you already have a pet, there’s a big chance that the Cheetoh will instantly become their new friend. Even the males of the breed are unusually amiable and gentle, both with the kittens and adult pets in the home, a rare trait they share with the Ocicat. Breeders of the Cheetoh claim that these cats never display aggressive or antisocial behavior and that their temperament is perfectly suited for large families, especially those with children.
As a breed that’s developed from two different types of spotted cats, it’s no surprise that the Cheetoh has a lush, leopard-like coat. The short, smooth fur with a lustrous sheen is a quality they inherited from the Bengals. So, even though it’s not yet proved, it’s believed that Cheetoh cats are hypoallergenic as well. When it comes to markings, their coat is in most cases rosetted or spotted, although marbled Cheetoh cats can appear as well (called marmalade). The most popular coat color is black and brown spotted, but Cheetoh cats have more allowed color variations, such as brown spotted cinnamon, black and brown spotted sienna, spotted gold, black spotted silver and lynx pointed gold. The soft, short hair sheds less than it is the case with domestic cats, so it’s also easier to maintain. A good brushing once a week should suffice, and keep the feline’s coat shiny and sleek.
The goal the creators of the Cheetoh breed had was to develop a feline that resembles a wild cat more than any other domesticated breed. That’s why they have more prominent ears and smaller almond eyes, as well as chiseled face features. Their jaw is strong and their muzzle broad and more defined, giving them that signature cheetah appearance. Larger than both the Ocicat and the Bengal, the Cheetoh cats can weigh between 15 and 23 pounds, with males being larger than females. Their athletic figure and muscular build, however, isn’t the only thing about their bodies that gives the impression you have a miniature leopard walking around. The Cheetoh cat has a characteristic low-shouldered walk, similar to the one seen with big cats of the wild, a trait inherited from the Ocicat.
Cheetoh vs Bengal
When comparing the Cheetoh to the Bengal, it’s easy to see similarities, since the breed wouldn’t exist without the genes of the Bengal cat. But, is there any real difference between a Cheetoh and a Bengal cat?
Well, when it comes to the looks, the main differences are the bigger size of the Cheetoh cat and their slightly different facial structure. They share the short-haired, spotted coat and an athletic build, and, for a layman, there isn’t much difference between the appearances of the two breeds. Most breeders emphasize that the most important distinction between a Bengal and a Cheetoh is their personality, implying that these felines are less “wild” than their parent breed.
Contrary to popular beliefs, apart from being less shy in front of strangers, the Cheetoh’s personality isn’t that much different. These claims are inspired by a misguided preconception that Bengals are wild, hard to handle or closer to their Asian Leopard cat ancestors than the domestic cats. Which is, simply said, completely wrong. This belief stems from the impression people get about Bengals from the foundation generations, which are genetically closer to the wildcat (although still considered as suitable pets for experienced and responsible owners). The majority of Bengals for sale are, in fact, SBT cats, that are at least 4 generations away from their Asian leopard ancestor. SBT Bengals are loving, affectionate and playful, and there’s nothing in their relationship to their humans that indicates their leopard origins.
You could say that the main personality difference between these two breeds is their openness to people. Whereas a Bengal tends to keep their affection and loyalty reserved for a close circle of humans, the Cheetoh is friendly and less distrustful of strangers. Either way, both breeds are great with people!