Cheetoh Cat: Wild-Looking but Surprisingly Cuddly

Cheetoh Cat playing in the garden
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

Exotic, wild-looking cats are all the rage these days. Their luxurious spotted coat makes them highly coveted among cat fanciers, but when you take everything into consideration, one question comes to mind: when you take their looks out of the equation, what else do these cats offer? Are they a pleasure to be with?

Granted, most wild-looking domestic cats such as the Ocicat can also develop strong bonds with their human, but due to their wildcat gene, they don’t make great lap cats. But don’t worry; you’re not out of options yet because there’s still the Cheetoh cat.

Cheetoh Cat lying on the floor

This cat has the wild looks and high energy of a Bengal, but you will also discover that deep within, the Cheetoh is very tame and has a sociable personality. They love the attention and the company of human beings, so they make for excellent lap cats. They are also suitable for homes with children and other pets because they are trustworthy and amicable.

You may find it difficult to collect information about the Cheetoh since this is considered a new and rare breed. If you are not sure of the Cheetoh’s characteristics, we will help you in understanding more about this lovely feline. In this article, learn more about the breed’s health needs, home requirements, temperament, history, and personality.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High

  • Grooming: Low Maintenance

  • Health: Very Good

  • All Around Friendliness: Very Good

  • Exercise Needs: Very Active; requires daily exercise

Cat Breed GroupShort-Haired, Crossbreed
SizeMedium to Large
Weight15 – 23 lbs
Lifespan16 – 18 years

The objective of Carol Drymon—the breeder who first sparked the legacy of a new breed known as the Cheetoh cat—was for them to resemble a wildcat with a build that is bigger than their foundation—the Bengals. It was also her objective to create a new breed that looks fierce but is actually tame, intelligent, and loyal. What resulted was a cat breed that had the friendliness and docile nature of the Ocicat and the loyal and intelligent nature of the Bengal.

As of now, the Cheetoh is registered as an experimental breed by The International Cat Association and is yet to earn the recognition as a pedigree breed. Although they are a domestic breed, the Cheetoh always catch the eye of people because of their resemblance to exotic jungle cats such as leopards, margays, and ocelots. Thanks to the vivid markings on their coat, they have very distinct, wild looks. Cheetoh cat size is their main selling point. They can grow between 15 and 23 pounds for males and from 8 to 12 pounds for females.

Cheetoh Cat playing in the garden

It is easy to differentiate between Cheetoh cats and other Bengal breeds because of their leopard-like coat; it is short-haired and smooth—traits that are inherited from their Bengal parent. Because of this trait, although it is not yet proven, many breeders believe that the Cheetoh is a great choice for households with dander-sensitive members and children because these cats are believed to be hypoallergenic.

These cats are best known for having a black and brown spotted coat, although recent years have seen different color variations which include: white with flecks of gold, silver, smoke, tan, and sienna. Owners only have to brush the feline’s hair once a week because they shed less than most domestic cats.

Since they are bred to resemble wildcats, they have prominent ears, almond-shaped eyes, and a chiseled face. They have a defined muzzle and a strong jaw—features that give them a cheetah-like appearance. Their athletic figure, muscular build, and low-shouldered walk give them a distinct “untamed” aura.


While they look fierce, Cheetohs are actually very gentle, friendly, and sociable. They bear a striking resemblance to dogs because they are highly intelligent and loyal. Male Cheetoh cats can display maternal affections to their kittens and towards juvenile cats—a trait inherited from their Ocicat parents.

Owners are likely to find their feline friends by the bed as they are also known for their habit of waking up their favorite human. Cat owners also have to realize that this cat breed is attention-seeking and get lonely rather easily, so they are not suited for families whose members are often away.

They are very low maintenance and would need only the occasional grooming to keep their coat in good shape. They shed very minimally and produce little dander if any. It would be wise for owners to massage their Cheetoh cats occasionally to stimulate better blood circulation; these high-strung cats are often tense and would certainly appreciate the attention.

cute-cheetoh-kitten sitting up near come boxes

They are generally very healthy and are very rarely affected by known illnesses and conditions that often affect other cat breeds. Owners of Cheetoh cats should still see to it that they have enough savings for regular checkups, vaccines, and other general medical costs.

One thing that many cat owners may dislike about the Cheetoh, though, is their frequent vocalization. It is a very effective morning alarm because the cat will cry or meow to wake you up, but it may be a concern to have this cat around communities that do not like the sound of undesirable crying especially at night, such as apartment complexes.

Main Highlights

  • Carol Drymon’s objective when she bred the Ocicat and Bengal cats was to have a cat that resembled a wildcat—bigger than their parents, but with a tamer, more intelligent, and friendlier personality.

  • Male Cheetohs can grow up to weigh between 15 to 23 pounds while females can weigh from 8 to 12 pounds.

  • Many breeders believe that the Cheetoh is hypoallergenic because of their smooth, short fur. Although, because this breed has only been around for several years, this theory hasn’t been confirmed properly.

  • They often have a roasted, spotted, or marbled coat although these days they also come in different color variations.

  • The overall look of the Cheetoh-their athletic figure, muscular build, and low-shouldered walk—make them look like a miniature leopard.

  • Despite their fierce looks, they are actually very gentle, friendly, loving, sociable, intelligent, curious, and affectionate.

  • They are attention-seeking and would wake their human companions up with constant crying or meowing.

  • They are very low maintenance and generally healthy, but regular vet visits are highly encouraged.

Breed History

In the year 2001, Carol Drymon who worked at Wind Haven Ranch had a dream of having a cat that resembled wildcats but with very minimal wildcat genes in the mix. She had multiple options—with Ocicats and Bengals being the breeds best suited to fulfill her requirements—but neither of them felt right to her because she wanted a bigger cat that’s broad-shouldered instead of slender. Drymon wanted to achieve something similar to the Liger—a breed that is a cross between a lion and a tiger.

Black and white image of a Cheetoh kitten with blue eyes

Over the span of two years, Drymon worked tirelessly to crossbreed Ocicats and Bengals; finally, her efforts bore fruit in the year 2003. Combining the genes of the Ocicat and the Bengal, Drymon finally acquired kittens that looked fierce and stunning but with a disproportionately tame and friendly personality. The Cheetoh has been registered as an experimental breed with The International Cat Association.


These cats can weigh from 15 to 23 pounds for males and up to 15 pounds for females. Many people wonder how and why they are able to grow bigger than their parents; this is probably because the breeders selected the individual cats that would be involved in the breeding process very carefully—making sure to combine the genes of only the biggest and most well-behaved Ocicats and Bengals.

Personality and Character

At first glance, people may feel afraid of the Cheetoh because of their striking resemblance to jungle cats, but surprisingly, they are very gentle and good-natured. Unlike their Bengal parents who tend to only bond with a single human friend or their family members, the Cheetohs are very friendly and not shy—a trait they inherited from their Ocicat parents.

They are very active, energetic, and intelligent, so it would be good for owners to have the energy to keep up with their feline friends. Being very active, it helps to keep them entertained and busy with toys and other pets. They seek the attention of everyone in the household, and if this is given to them, they would be very happy—so much so that they may resort to acrobatics to show just how elated they are.

Image of cheeto-the-stray-kitten

Inheriting the curiosity and the intelligence of their Bengal parents, they can be leash-trained. They will feel lonely being the only pet in the house, so keeping them in a multi-pet household is the best way to go—especially if you can’t always invest your time in them.

Male Cheetoh cats are also very amiable, gentle, and loving. Unlike males of other cat breeds, male Cheetoh cats don’t mind looking after their kittens. Breeders claim that these cats are not one to display aggressive behavior, so their temperament is perfect for families with children. Although, they may not be suitable for senior citizens because they need owners that can keep up with their high energy level.

Health and Potential Problems

The Cheetoh is a cat breed that is known for being generally healthy. There are not many reports of this breed contracting illnesses and conditions that other cat breeds are inflicted with, although you might want to watch out for heart conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as well as joint problems because their parents—specifically the Bengal—are vulnerable to these conditions. Cat parents should still remember to take their cat to the vet regularly for checkups, vaccination, and maintenance.

Care Features

The Cheetoh is a very active cat so they may feel restless around the house especially if you keep them as indoors-only cats. They require daily exercise, although you usually don’t have to concern yourself over this as the cat can handle it themselves. All of the activities the cat is involved in on a daily basis could already make up for their exercise needs.

Feeding Schedule

If you allow your cat to hunt outdoors, you should not be grossed out if you ever find your Cheetoh cat eating birds, rabbits, mice, and other small animals; this is simply a part of their natural diet, and they are polishing their hunting skills.

A Cheetoh cat getting rest outside

As indoor cats, they should be fed much like other cats—with dry pet foods—but it would be very important to also include some raw meat into their diet. Make sure that they are fed with food that is as close to their normal diet as possible—meaning no high-carb foodstuff; rather, focus on those rich in animal-based protein.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Originally and more popularly, Cheetoh cats have black and brown spotted coats, but in recent years, there are now different variations like white with flecks of gold in it, sienna, silver, tan, and smoke.

a A Cheetoh cat walking in the yard

They only need the occasional brushing to keep their coat in good condition. They are capable of cleaning their own coat, so you wouldn’t need to bathe them often although it wouldn’t hurt to do so occasionally—maybe once a month. Owners should massage their cat to stimulate circulation as well as to prevent the development of joint problems, especially in aging cats.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The Cheetohs look very wild and fierce, but they are actually very sociable and loving. They are not the type to be shy around other cats; they are also not likely to show aggression or be standoffish at all. The males are very kind to kittens. This characteristic is very unique as most male cats do not show that much attention and affection to their offspring.

Cheetoh-Cat-Laying-on a-Red-Couch-

They are excellent lap cats and appreciate a lot of attention. They are very playful towards other pets, and they love those that can keep up with their high-energy games. Older kids that can perfectly match their active nature would love every bit of playtime with them.

Wrap Up

The Cheetoh cat breed was born out of a dream of creating a cat that had an extraordinarily wild appearance but coupled with an extremely docile nature. What resulted out of the breeding efforts was a cat that had the distinct traits of both their Bengal and Ocicat parents. The Cheetoh cat is surprisingly bigger than their parents in size.

They are very muscular, athletic, and graceful. They are known for having a low-shouldered walk—a trait that is not common among domestic cats. They can either have a rosette or spotted appearance with eyes and ears that resemble wild cats.

Cheetoh Cat rolling over on the floor

Despite their fierce appearance, the Cheetoh is actually very loving. They are not shy of showing how much they love being around people and other animals. Even the males are gentle and would take care of their kittens and juvenile companions. They also enjoy being petted, so they make a perfect lap cat.

The Cheetoh cat has the best of both worlds in terms of appearances and temperament. Do you think this is the best breed for you? Or maybe you’re not interested in wild-looking cats so much as you are in fluffy and homey ones that you can cuddle with whenever you want. Either way, we’d love to hear your opinion, so please share a comment in the section below!

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.