Cat-dog hybrids just can’t happen, but other species do interbreed

Q: Can cats and dogs breed together?

A: no Their anatomy, physiology and breeding behavior are too diverse.

However, interspecies breeding occurs in some other animals.

Surprisingly, there are more than 40 examples of crossbreeds between different wild cat species, such as lions and tigers or domestic cats and wild cats. The three most common cat breeds that result from breeding a domestic or pet cat with a feral cat are Bengal (domestic cat crossed with an Asian leopard cat), Savannah (domestic cat crossed with an African serval), and Chausie (domestic cat crossed with an African serval). with a jungle cat).

Domestic dogs, wolves and coyotes can also breed together.

Horses and donkeys crossbreed. A mule is a cross between a female horse (called a mare) and a male donkey (called a donkey). A hinny is created when a male horse (a stallion) is mated to a female donkey (a jenny).

Bird breeders breed finches with other species, such as canaries. The hybrid offspring are called mules.

Falconers crossbreed different species of falcon to breed birds with the hybrid vigor that makes them better hunters.

Amazons, parakeets (a type of parakeet) and macaws all interbreed. Different species of domestic ducks interbreed and domestic ducks breed with wild species.

Backyard birds sometimes interbreed. For example, Black-capped Tits breed with Carolina Tits where their ranges overlap.

Other species that interbreed include whales and dolphins, cattle and buffalo, various species of snakes (like a boa and a python), and various types of crocodiles.

African killer bees are the product of crossing African bees with honey bees to create bees that produce copious amounts of honey and are heat tolerant.

Some offspring of interspecies breeding, especially the males, are sterile. But others may continue to breed and establish a new species.

Q: My ferret Zippy goes with me everywhere, even to my college classes when he rides in my backpack. Should he use a heartworm preventative like our dog did? I live in New Jersey where we have heartworm.

A: Most people with ferrets know that their pets should be vaccinated to prevent rabies and distemper, but don’t realize that their ferrets also need to be protected against heartworm, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Like dogs and cats, ferrets can develop heartworm disease if an infected mosquito bites them. Because a ferret’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels are tiny, even a single heartworm can cause significant damage.

Clinical signs of heartworm infection include lethargy, cough, difficulty breathing, vomiting, hind leg weakness, and fatigue after minimal exercise. Death is all too common.

Treatment options are limited and problematic, so it’s best to prevent heartworm infection. You can do this by applying Advantage Multi for Cats to Zippy’s skin once a month throughout the year. This product also kills fleas. Other heartworm preventatives sometimes used to protect ferrets from heartworm infection are Revolution, Interceptor, and Heartgard Plus.

Dogs and cats also need monthly heartworm prevention throughout the year. Many products are available for them. Most also kill roundworms and hookworms, intestinal parasites that can infect humans; Some heartworm remedies also kill fleas and ticks.

Lee Pickett, VMD, practices veterinary medicine in North Carolina. Contact them at

[email protected]

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