Long-haired Persians and hairless sphinxes, miniature Singaporeans and huge coons - the variety of breeds allows everyone to choose a pet based on their own ideas about the ideal cat. Or almost everyone. Fans of exoticism and exclusives are more and more attracted to the domestic cat Caracal - a sunny handsome man, so similar to a miniature lynx!
Caracal is a flexible, slender and fit cat-athlete. The coat is short, from light yellow to a brick-red color. The average weight of 14 kg, males of some subspecies can reach 20 kg or more. Height is about 45 cm, the length of the muscular stretched body is about 85 cm. The tail is not as short as that of a lynx, but it doesn’t differ in special length - about a third of the body or about 25 cm. The muzzle is neat, not elongated, masking strips around the eyes and forehead. .
The main feature due to which the caracal cat became domestic is its unusual ears: long, sticking out almost vertically, with rich decorative tassels of black color. By the way, from Turkish "karakulak" is translated as "black ear".
In the lap of nature
Unobtrusive and curious caracals are longtime acquaintances of the natives of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India, the Arabian Peninsula and, of course, Africa. The caracal genus, until recently quite numerous, includes nine subspecies. But for a layman, the wild cat Caracal Nubica is not much different, for example, from Caracal Algira - representatives of different subspecies are too similar both externally and habits.
Steppes, foothills, savannas, shrubby and sandy deserts are the favorite habitats of all subspecies of caracal. Hunting mainly in the evening twilight, an outwardly funny animal is able to defeat a fox, a small antelope, and even a thirty-kilogram gazelle! Like many other wild cats, the caracal creeps up to the victim, and then overtakes her with several huge jumps - four meters from the spot! But more often caracals are content with birds, jerboas, hares and other small animals, hunting and eating several times a day.
In relation to personal space, caracals are not too different from other cats - the territorial instinct is extremely pronounced. The male can occupy an area of several hundred square meters, the female is slightly smaller. Constantly patrolling the borders, the caracal marks them not only with urine, but also with feces. Caracal kittens leave their mother with the onset of sexual instinct, setting off in search of their own hunting grounds and a new home - crevices in a rock, an abandoned fox hole or a cozy hollow.
High intelligence and the absence of fear in relation to humans allow keeping caracal cats at home, which has long been used by the natives of India, Namibia, Algeria, Sudan and other countries. Karakalov was kept as a guard of livestock and poultry yards, used in bird hunting, organized competitions similar to the "rat hunt" of terriers. Only instead of rats, the caracal had to catch the maximum number of birds, attacking the flock on takeoff. Lucky breeders in a short moment of flight of the flock will easily destroy 5-7 pigeons, making lightning quick jumps in height of two or three meters!
Wild nature of the domestic beast
The so-called caracal cat breed is not mestizo or domesticated animal. These are the descendants of freedom-loving independent savages, in whose veins the blood of true hunters flows. All animals are divided into those who can be domesticated and those who can only be tamed (well, those who cannot be tamed). It is impossible to domesticate Caracal, he will forever remain a savage, even if adapted to life next to a person. In addition, we must not forget about the nature of all felines - they never obey a person, always consider themselves the owner of the territory and, cornered, never yield to even a stronger opponent.
Does this mean that a caracal domestic cat can become dangerous in certain conditions? Of course, if one of the family members does not fully understand the psychology of feline behavior. Do not trust advertisements in which the potential owner is convinced of the absolute harmlessness and peacefulness of the caracal. Despite its small size, a domestic “lynx” can cripple even an adult: it is a cat, agile and flexible, armed with sharp claws, powerful jaws and unlimited courage.
However, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the owner himself provokes a favorite: caracals are by nature not aggressive, not nervous, quite accommodating and attentive to a person’s mood. At home, a caracal cat is not dangerous if the owner, acting by cunning, persuasion and affection, from small claws, accustoms a kitten to life next to people. Socialization is crucial! The kitten must understand that strangers can "invade" its territory, otherwise the reception of the guests will end with either aggression or extreme stress.
The average price of a caracal cat in Russia is about 400,000 rubles. The price includes a package of documents confirming the origin of the kitten. Without such a certificate, the animal can be seized, and the owner will be fined for illegal keeping of exotic animals. In addition, the lack of documents may indicate that the kitten's parents are recently caught wild animals. And this will certainly affect the character of the baby. A kitten for home maintenance must be born at home and from tamed parents, who also were born in captivity.
If you are afraid of the cost of a caracal cat, it is better to opt for a more “traditional” pet. The money that you have to give for a kitten is only a small part of the upcoming expenses. The lion's share of the budget will go to:
- the construction of a high spacious aviary. In a cramped apartment, the caracal will be unhappy. This is not a domestic animal, but a domesticated animal that needs personal space, walks in the fresh air, and physical exertion;
- feeding fresh meat and fish. Daily. For a minimum of 15 years. This is not homemade murka, consonant with a spoonful of sour cream and a handful of porridge with a chicken;
- veterinary care. An ordinary veterinarian, having seen such an unusual patient, is likely to refer the owner "to distant lands" to a specialist.
Do not forget that the breed of cats caracal is just a harmonious name. Having settled a kitten the size of an adult murka in the house, be prepared to part with a cozy sofa, your favorite curtains and other things dear to your heart. Of course, there is an aviary, but you can’t keep the pet locked up all the time - it will wean from people, run wild, and with cats this process happens very quickly.
It’s quite possible to accustom the baby to order, to the honor of sunny eared horns: educated caracals use a claw-brush and a tray, do not scare guests, do not offend children (if the children understand how to handle the cat). If the kitten grows in the company of homemade Murka, they can become gentle friends.
Watch the video: NATURE. The Story of Cats. Asia to Africa. Preview. PBS (December 2019).