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In the United Kingdom, part-wild hybrid cats could be banned as domestic pets. An Instagram trend lit the fuse of concern regarding these beautiful, photogenic felines.

With animal welfare in question and the negativity surrounding a “wildlife black market,” legislators may take action.

Here’s what you should know about these cats and the controversy surrounding them.

The Debate Over Part-Wild Hybrid Cats As Pets

This trend mostly focuses on the Savannah Cat, a cross-breed of domestic cats and African Servals, reports The Guardian. Prominent since 2001 as a high-dollar trophy cat, one Savannah Cat kitten can cost over $20,000.

Over the years, their popularity has risen due to Instagram accounts for cats like Stryker, who has over 800,000 followers. The trend, in turn, spawned the “luxury cattery,” a kind of boutique cat breeding service.

Per Wildheart Trust, there are 259 exotic cats currently registered as pets in the United Kingdom. However, a large number of these cats are owned by breeders to produce Savannah Cats.

Animal welfare activists argue that these kinds of cats have far more complex needs than the casual pet parent understands, particularly those just looking for Instagram fame.

And worse, the demand for these cats is results in breeders using illegal wildlife trade to obtain wildcats.

Should The UK Ban Breeding Of Savannah Cats?

“Urgent legislative action to make this form of hybridization illegal will prevent the suffering of individual animals caught up in this trade and mitigate against future threats to wild populations of exotic felids,” reads a statement from Wildheart Trust.

“The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary has over 40 years of experience caring for exotic felids. We see first-hand the physical and psychological damage inflicted on animals at the hands of humans,” the statement continues.

Currently, there are plans to review the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations from 2018.

According to a source from The Guardian, “restrictions on the breeding of certain types of cats” will be further considered. However, no such legislation currently exists.

What is your stance part-wild hybrid cats as pets? Do you think legislators should regulate or band the breeding of these cats? Let us know in the comments below.

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