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Genetics Question for Breeders

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Forgive me if I sound like a nut, but I just drove by a mangled cat today and it's been bothering me all day.

I think due to the carcass it was wild dogs or coyotes, I know a few owners who take liberties in allowing their dogs to roam freely on the street. So my question is this, with new breakthroughs in genetics and gene doping would it be physically possible to breed a cat the size of an average female German Shepherd yet keep the domestication? If dogs can be breed up to 185 lbs, and yet still be manageable, are cats different in this case?


Thank you.
post #2 of 16
Probably yes, but why? Cats have not been domesticated as long as dogs have and except for a few breeds, most are capable of surviving in the wild better then the dogs.

I would not recommend it because you just might wind up with more genetic problems (structure, etc.) then you'd want. Right now the size of Maine Coons, Ragdolls, and some other larger breeds are experiencing problems with hip dysplasia.

And you know it was only the larger breeds of dogs that had the problem originally - now its medium and some smaller dogs are also showing signs.

IMO you shouldn't be messing around with genetics. You really are not improving the cat by making it smaller or bigger
post #3 of 16
Dogs get hit by cars all the time, and killed by coyotes and wolves too.

Having a big cat wouldn't stop that. It would just result in the 'cat' were it to be left to roam like the tiny cats are, killing small cats and small dogs, small HUMANS, and everything else, because that's what cats do. And some stupid owner WOULD let a 'housecat' the size of a cougar roam about, because they wouldn't see the problem with it.
post #4 of 16
If you breed only the biggest individuals for several generations I'm sure you could create "dog large" cats. I would queston why though. I see a potentially very dangerous animal, more dangerous than dogs due to the fact that cats are not as domesticated as dogs and they're not pack animals.

Another issue is the health issue. In dogs extreme size (too small or too big) creates health problems and I'm sure it would in cats too. We already see joint problems in some of the larger cat breeds.
post #5 of 16
The way I see it, one of the reason it works to have cats as pets is their size.

They have very strong hunting instincts (usually) and will play lots. I would have been killed several times over accidentally by now by Nikita if she were the size of a German Shepherd. I don't think it's a matter of domestication, not really, it's more a case of the cat instincts and I know I wouldn't want to loose the playfulness and hunting instinct from cats.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks you guys! I have 2 more questions, lets say Bush just up and announced unlimited stem cell research funding. Would that solve the problem of joint deterioration? Is it a matter that they are carnivores? Could say someday in the future we could breed an omnivorious cat? (dare I say?)

The reason I say that is because there are alot of benefits of having a large cat, protection, getting rid of unecessary pests in your garden, etc. but you guys make very good points. I wouldnt mess around with nature, so consider thread this junk science...


How long do you think it will be until we fully domesticate the cat?
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilJoey511 View Post


How long do you think it will be until we fully domesticate the cat?
Hopefully never! Their "wildness" is part of their allure IMO.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilJoey511 View Post
How long do you think it will be until we fully domesticate the cat?
It is domesticated, but the way a cat is is down to its nature - it's a solitary hunter, and one of the most predatory and carnivorous creatures on the planet. Dogs can be trained because they are by nature pack hunters, they can easily accept humans as being part of their pack, and will accept a human in the role of 'alpha'. This is in a dogs nature, and it is why large dogs can easily be kept and trained without posing a risk to anyone.

Because a cat hunts alone for its own subsistence (or at most to feed its own kittens) without taking into consideration other members of a pack, it doesn't have any instinct to follow a leader, or to listen to a command from a human, and that won't change. Its primary instinct is to look after itself, regardless of what any other cat or indeed a human would like it to do. A tame housecat the size of a tiger would be as risky as keeping a tame tiger.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Is it possible to breed a smarter cat then?
post #10 of 16
If you breed a smarter cat, you may not want to know what they have planned for us
post #11 of 16
If my cats were smarter I would live in fear, they already know how to manipulate me and how to break into the fridge!

It's not about being smarter, in a way cats are smarter than dogs because their entire mentality is geared towards looking after themselves without help or co-operation - but dogs are socially smarter and more readily adapt to co-operation with other dogs or humans. You can't really compare the two species, as they depend upon different methods of survival - and both are smart enough to survive, just in different ways.

For me the thing that appeals most about a cat is its independent mind. It doesn't seek your approval, it just gets on with what it wants to be doing. I would hate to see anyone trying to change that
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If you breed a smarter cat, you may not want to know what they have planned for us
Totally! My goodness, my cats would probably have a house party and tie me up Though they do love me alot, so maybe we'd just play scrabble together.

Can you imagine a crazy smart, tiger sized house cat?! They already think they are, but I love them exactly as is, so no radical DNA changes in the future I hope. Very creative thread, hope alot of people find it.
post #13 of 16
Interesting thread, I think this too.

But if you want a real big cat, it is probably easier to domesticize another species.
F.eks. the Fisher-cat CAN be domesticized, and some people do have them as domestic cats.
In nature they are solitaries, only female raising the youngs. But I read somewhere in captivity it is common also the males helps to raise the kittens.

I have also seen a series of pictures from such one domesticized fisher-cat. Shehe was apparently pal with the domestic cat also living there.

Thus, when domesticized they apparently behaves more or less like our usual loved domestic cats.
Perhaps not quite so kindly cuddable and purring. Which is a very important point why we bother to have our cats as family pets.
post #14 of 16
If I wanted a BIG cat (my favs are the Cheetahs which I would love to own one - King Cheetahs are really cool), I'd just get one instead of trying to breed a domestic cat to the size of the Cheetah
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Interesting thread, I think this too.

But if you want a real big cat, it is probably easier to domesticize another species.
F.eks. the Fisher-cat CAN be domesticized, and some people do have them as domestic cats.
In nature they are solitaries, only female raising the youngs. But I read somewhere in captivity it is common also the males helps to raise the kittens.

I have also seen a series of pictures from such one domesticized fisher-cat. Shehe was apparently pal with the domestic cat also living there.

Thus, when domesticized they apparently behaves more or less like our usual loved domestic cats.
Perhaps not quite so kindly cuddable and purring. Which is a very important point why we bother to have our cats as family pets.
Imagine going outside your home and seeing an 80 lb version of this animal walking around your neighborhood. Hmm so it can be done!!!!!!


Reproduction and Social Behavior
"
These cats have a reputation for being ferocious, and have been recorded driving off packs of dogs. There is a myth of a fishing cat that carried off a four month old baby in Singapore, which cannot be proven. These cats often avoid humans at all costs. There was an incident of a large male fishing cat that broke free of its cage and entered a leopard's at a local zoo, and the fishing cat killed the leopard!

Breeding season is year-round, usually in times of the year that are favorable for procreation. After a gestation period of 63-70 days, two or three kittens are born in a den in the reeds. The kittens are fully grown by nine months. Male fishing cats will help with the cubs in captivity, but it is unsure whether they will in the wild.
"


http://www.lioncrusher.com/animal.asp?animal=49

Thank you, when you mentioned the fishing cat I remembered hearing a tale whereas a wild fishing cat in captivity manage to escape and kill 2 adult size leopards. The cat is one fierce animal, and they almost locked me away for all the angry letters I sent to MGM studios for the innacurate portrayal of Tom the cat!!! (I kid, I kid!!!)
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilJoey511 View Post
Imagine going outside your home and seeing an 80 lb version of this animal walking around your neighborhood.
That wouldn't be safe.

Just as an 80lbs normal domestic cat wouldn't be safe.

As mentioned before cats are really fantastically put together hunting machines. They don't need to be in a group to hunt so they're not as controllable (i.e they don't have the same we need to work together! so I'll do what you say instinct) as dogs.

This is a fundamental difference between the two types of animals and has nothing to do with intelligence per se.

A roaming 80lbs cat is roughly the equivalent of a roaming pack of dogs in hunting mode with no human supervision. Again, not safe.
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