Domestic cats with a hybrid background (Bengals,
Savannahs, & Chausies)
and the "Dangerous wild animal" law in Iowa
Do you know someone
in Iowa that owns a Bengal Cat,
Savannah or Chausie? If so, please make them
aware of this information!
of flawed and confusing wording in a law in Iowa meant to regulate
exotics and "dangerous wild animals", any domestic breed
of cat with a hybrid background is technically considered to be
illegal to own without special permitting no matter how many generations
from an exotic feline they are. Bengals, Savannahs and Chausies,
cat breeds that have a hybrid background, are considered illegal
even if there is no exotic cat ancestor within 2, 10, or even 20
Bengals and Savannahs are eligible to show around the world
in all-breed championship cat shows of The International Cat Association,
and nearly all other international purebred cat associations. Chausies
are also regularly shown and working toward championship status.
For example, in the
2009-2010 show season, 495 kittens, 657 championship
and 134 altered Bengal Cats participated in TICA cat shows
all around the world!
Bengals, and other
feline breeds such as the Savannah and Chausie that have a exotic
feline in their background, should be excluded from Iowa’s
new “dangerous wild animal” law. They are domestic cat
breeds, neither wild or dangerous.
Owners of these pet
cats have been working on changing this law since 2008.
June 19, 2012
Someone shared this blog by Rep. Mary Wolfe, she
explains in part why
the most recent bill is dead and why domestic cats with
a hybrid background are still illegal in Iowa. Politics at work!!
Definitely worth a read...
Bengal Cats featured once again on the international
magazine for cat lovers, Cat Fancy
The Problem with the current law, passed in 2007:
To read the bill that became law, go to the Iowa legislative
page and search on Senate File 564 "SF564"
or use this direct link
or read the full text here http://iowacats.net/SF564.html
Even though the law states that domestic cats are excluded, it also
...“Dangerous wild animal”
includes an animal which is the offspring of an animal listed in
paragraphs “1” to “11” and another animal
listed in those paragraphs or any other animal. It also includes
animals which are the offspring of each subsequent generation.
However, a dangerous wild animal does not include the offspring
of a domestic dog and a wolf, or the offspring from each subsequent
generation in which at least one parent is a domestic dog…
Therefore, according to the Iowa Dept
of Agriculture and Land Stewardship who is tasked to enforce this
law, any domestic cat that has a small exotic cat in the background
such as an Asian Leopard Cat (average weight 9 pounds) or a Serval
(average weight 25 lbs) is considered illegal no matter how many
generations they are from the exotic feline ancestor (even though
first generation wolf/dog crosses are exempt).
(Take note of Federal guidelines: USDA definition
states that a cross between any exotic and a domestic is considered
domestic. From Title
9 Chapter I [link will open a new window]– Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture, Part
1: Definition of terms: ”Hybrid cross means an animal
resulting from the crossbreeding between two different species or
types of animals. Crosses between wild animal species, such as lions
and tigers, are considered to be wild animals. Crosses between wild
animal species and domestic animals, such as dogs and wolves or
buffalo and domestic cattle, are considered to be domestic animals.”)
Read the text
for the Iowa Administrative Code related to enforcement of the "Dangerous
Wild Animal" law. Iowa Agriculture and Land Stewardship Dept
(IDALS), Chapter 77
cat breeds with a hybrid background:
Bengal Cats are derived from crossing the Asian
Leopard Cat (ALC), a small 8-10 lb exotic feline from SE Asia, with
domestic cats. The ALC has a natural immunity to the feline leukemia
virus, and in the late 1970s genetic researchers first crossed the
ALC and domestics. Most Bengal Cats weigh under 15 lbs. Bengals
are eligible to show in all-breed championship cat shows of The
International Cat Association, and nearly all other international
purebred cat associations. As of the summer of 2007, there were
over 60,000 Bengal Cats registered with TICA worldwide. For more
information on Bengal Cats, see
Bengal breed page
Bengal Cat Society
Savannahs are derived from crossing the African
Serval with domestic cats. Servals are usually around 30 pounds,
Savannahs are typically 15-25 lbs, slightly heavier than a large
Maine Coon cat. Savannahs are regularly shown in The International
Cat Association (TICA) cat shows, and now competing agains all other
cat breeds with championship status.
Savannah breed page
Chausies are derived from crossing Jungle Cats
with domestics. Jungle Cats average 20-25 lbs and are found from
NE Africa to SE Asia. Chausies are generally slightly larger than
Bengals and smaller than Savannahs. Like Savannahs, they are near
eligibility for championship status in TICA. For more information
Chausie breed page
(World-renowned feline photographer Helmi Flick
with her first generation Chausie “Bushwah”. Photo courtesy
Watch a Bengal Cat in action on
an agility course at a U.S. cat show!
On the PBS television show "Nature"
episode called "Why we love cats and dogs", a Bengal Cat
was featured running an agility course at a cat show. Click on the
photo below to view the video.
and Chausies have been featured in the international magazine Cat
Fancy many times including these issues in: 2000,
Check out the many videos of pet Bengals
and Savannahs submitted to youtube.