Can Cats and Rabbits Breed? AI-generated image of a cat and rabbit hybrid

Can Cats and Rabbits Breed? The Unusual Tale of the Cabbit

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

It’s no secret that rabbits are well-known for their breeding prowess. But does the rabbit’s propensity to reproduce at a scary rate extend to mating with creatures that aren’t rabbits?

It may sound like an April Fool’s joke but videos that supposedly prove the existence of cabbits (a hybrid of cat and rabbit) are widely viewed on social media platforms like TikTok. Unlike kuppies (or dittens) that have been thoroughly proven to be fictional, there is a lot of debate around cabbits, and even scientists are arguing about whether they exist.

A genuine oddity or just another hoax?

Literature is ripe with fascinating, mythical creatures with combined distinguishing features of ordinary animals like the minotaur, griffin, chimera, and basilisk. However, a cabbit’s origin did not come from word-of-mouth folklore but from historical writings in natural science.

The earliest account of a cabbit’s existence was published in 1712 in the Natural History of Northamptonshire, where the author described seeing a creature with the “fore-part of a cat, hinder-part of a Rabbet (sic)”.

Since then, stories of cabbit sightings have been reported in several historical natural science papers, published in the History of the Royal Society of London and in the Du Pouvoir De L’Imagination sur le physique et le Moral de L’Homme

While it’s easy to dismiss these claims as a hoax given that there is no definitive proof other than witness accounts, there are also modern reports of cabbits being spotted in the US and other parts of the world.

A genetic impossibility

From a genetic point of view, it does seem like cabbits can’t possibly be real. Basic biology dictates that  for conception to occur, the parents must (1) have an approximately equal number of chromosomes; and (2) belong to closely related genetic families.

In this case, rabbits belong to the Leporidae family (22 chromosome pairs), while cats belong to the  Felidae family (19 chromosome pairs). Although there are many advances in science today, it’s still not at the stage where it can easily violate the basic rules of biology.

But what about those cabbit videos and photos?

While it’s easy to accuse those videos and photos of having been altered by Photoshop or Deep AI, there is a real creature that sports the head of a cat, a rabbit’s tail, and a propensity for “hopping.” However, rabbit DNA has no part in its genetic makeup. It is a special breed of domestic feline known as the Manx cat.

The Manx, named after the British Isle of Man (where it originated), is a natural genetic mutation that resulted in a cat with a noticeably stubby or absent tail. More interestingly, this cat breed actually moves like a rabbit by walking with both hind legs hopping in unison.

Aside from the obvious similarity with rabbits, Manx cats also tend to have rounder bodies (due to their hind legs being longer than their front legs), rounder heads, smaller noses, and larger eyes and ears compared to ordinary domestic cats.

Orange manx cat loafing on top of thesofa backrest
Manx Cat
Image Credit: Helena Jacoba / Flickr

With so many seemingly similar physical characteristics to rabbits, it’s no wonder that many still believe cabbits exist for real.

Do Manx cats make good pets?

Manx cats do make excellent pets, even for first-time cat parents, due to their affectionate and playful personality. They are also extremely loyal and will follow their human wherever they go. In addition, they are “talkative” and will not hesitate to tell you when they need something.

These cats are highly trainable. They can do tricks, follow verbal commands, and sometimes, even learn a few tricks by themselves (i.e., opening cabinets or turning on faucets).

Lastly, although cats are known for being excellent hunters, the Manx can take it to a new level. Since they are high-energy pets, they get their energy out by hunting and capturing anything smaller than themselves with extremely high precision.

How do you care for a Manx cat?

Surprisingly, Manx cats are low-maintenance when compared to other domestic cat breeds. Of course, there are the usual requirements, like a water bowl and litter box. You would also need to account for daily brushing since most Manx kitties have double coats and are prone to shedding.

However, you do need to accommodate their high energy and curious nature by playing with them and teaching them new tricks.

Since these felines are well-known for their jumping abilities, you might need to invest in a high-quality cat tree. In addition, you might want to buy cat toys that can mimic hunting and trapping to keep them from getting bored.

With regards to their health and nutrition

Manx cats don’t require a special diet. Like other kitties, you just need to feed them with food rich in protein, fiber, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

The biggest concern of Manx cat owners is the health issues that are often related to their absent tails. Since a cat’s tail is connected to its spine, it means that a Manx has a shorter spine, making them prone to spinal damage and other similar injuries. The shorter spine also leads to other health problems, such as partial paralysis and arthritis.

In addition, because of their abnormal anatomy, they can also develop flaccid megacolon, which leads to constant incontinence and other problems concerning bowel movement. For this reason, you must ensure they do not ingest milk-based food, which can trigger digestive issues.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Help Your Cat Stay Healthy

Final Thoughts

Although it would have certainly been interesting to see a real-life cabbit, the loving, ever-playful Manx cat should more than compensate for that fantasy.

If ever you find yourself wanting a pet that physically looks like a cross between a cat and a rabbit, consider buying or adopting a Manx cat instead.  

Featured Image Credit: Eldar Zakirov / DevianArt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by MonsterInsights