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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-17-2004, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Lightbulb Cabbits

On this website you will find great info about cabbits:

This was taken from that same website:

Cats Can't Breed With Rabbits!

It is possible to cross-breed some animals. You can get crossbreeds from wolves and dogs because they are genetically closely related. You can get crossbreeds from horses, donkeys and zebra because all of these are closely related (the offspring are mostly sterile). You can get crossbreeds from pet cats and some species of wildcat because they are closely related. But you can't get crossbreeds from cats and rabbits because they are unrelated and are genetically very different from each other. A cat is a carnivore with its whole body adapted to hunting and meat-eating. A rabbit is a herbivore with its whole body adapted to eating plants. Even if you got a very confused cat to mate with an equally confused bunny, their genes are incompatible so you won't get offspring.

Closely related species can hybridize (e.g. horses and donkeys produce mules) but cats and rabbits are too distantly related. Their genes carry the code for very different structures e.g. a long vegetarian-adapted bowel in a rabbit and short obligate carnivore bowel in the cat. Even if a cat was mated to a rabbit and the egg was fertilized, it would die after a few cell divisions when cell differentiation occurs (when it starts to build the structures of the body) since the cat genes and rabbit genes give conflicting instructions and the embryo cannot work out what sort of creature to build.

Cats Can't Breed With Rabbits - Digestive System Differences

Herbivores evolved a gut to cope with the plant material cellulose. They produce an enzyme (cellulase) to digest this and have a long intestine which gives plenty of time for cellulose to be digested. Despite this, rabbits pass soft, partly digested faeces which is eaten straight from the anus. This is digested a second time, finally producing the familiar hard, almost odourless rabbit droppings. Cats are carnivorous. They cannot produce the cellulase and cannot extract any nutritional value from grass. Cats will eat small amounts of grass and other plant material as an emetic or as roughage; it is either vomited up or passes through their gut undigested. Despite its long gut, a rabbit must process its food twice to extract enough goodness from it. The cat, with its short gut, cannot digest grass. Cats are referred to as obligate carnivores because of their complete inability to digest plant material.

Cats Can't Breed With Rabbits - Mating and Gestation Differences

To start with, cats and rabbits have different mating habits. Female cats are induced to ovulate by the barbs at the end of the tom's penis. These barbs scratch the female cat's vagina as the tom withdraws after mating; this scratching is what causes an egg to be released by the female's ovaries. Male rabbits have smooth penises i.e. no barbs. Even if a sexually frustrated rabbit mated a female cat, the smooth penis means no stimulation of the female so she does not ovulate. No ovulation means no eggs for the rabbit's sperm to fertilize. One explanation from cabbit-believers is that the female cat must mate with a tomcat immediately before or after mating with the rabbit in order to ovulate. Even if she had already ovulated (from mating with a cat a few moments before or after), the cat and rabbit genes are incompatible and cannot form an embryo; any offspring will invariably be due to the prior or subsequent mating with the tomcat.

All but two of the cat species have 19 pairs of chromosomes while the rabbit has 22 pairs (38 chromosomes in cats, 44 in rabbits). Only genetically similar animals (same number of chromosomes) can hybridize. The gestation period of the rabbit is 30-31 days. The gestation period of the domestic cat is approximately 63 days. This is not a "similar gestation period" - the cat's gestation period is double that of the rabbit.

Cats Can't Breed With Rabbits - Genetic Differences

Michael Onken of the MadSci Network writes that there has never been a successful cross between a cat and a rabbit. The production of a hybrid mammal requires a great deal of genetic sameness (not just similarity) between both parents and even then the offspring are often sterile or stillborn. A viable cross between creatures as different as a cat (carnivore) and rabbit (lagomorph) is impossible without extensive genetic engineering. That sort of genetic engineering is still decades away. The closest modern science has come to this is with "hybridomas". Hybridomas are cells formed by fusing a normal cell with a tumour cell to create a hybrid cell which can multiply in the laboratory, but which cannot build a whole new creature. After the cells fuse, the hybridoma randomly ejects its redundant chromosomes.

Researchers have successfully made mouse/rat hybridomas (both are rodents) and have tried more exotic combinations. The closest they have come to a cabbit is a rabbit/hamster hybridoma (lagomorphs and rodents are closely related). The only other way Onken could think of to produce a cabbit, would be to surgically alter either a cat or a rabbit, though this would still not be a cat/rabbit hybrid.

In 2002, Chinese scientists attempted to use rabbits as surrogate hosts to cloned panda embryos (newborn panda cubs are about the same size as rabbit kits). They introduced panda DNA into rabbit ova (eggs), but none of the 2300 embryos resulted in pregnancy. They then tried using cats as surrogates. 21 cats were implanted with 10 panda-rabbit embryos and 10 cat-rabbit embryos (cat DNA in a rabbit ovum - to see if rabbit ova could implant in a cat uterus). None lasted past 48 days, compared with about 65 days for a normal cat gestation (Biology of Reproduction, vol 67, p 637). These non-viable cat-rabbit embryos were not "cabbit" hybrids as the nucleus only contained cat DNA and would have resulted in cat offspring that had rabbit maternal mitochondria. The experiment indicates that rabbit ova cannot develop in a cat's womb and that ova containing non-rabbit DNA don't develop in a rabbit's womb - so even if cat-rabbit hybrid embryos could be made in a test-tub and implanted in either a cat or a rabbit, the pregnancy would fail.

Despite the genetic impossibility, the cabbit myth has also been quoted as the "scientific" proof for a breed of cat called the Honeybear. Honeybears are a variety of Ragdoll cat. The original breeder claimed that Honeybears were created by genetic manipulation of the genes of a skunk, which were then "infused by injection" into the bloodstream of a cat. Genes simply don't work that way. At the current level of knowledge, the effects of gene therapy cannot be passed on to offspring. However, as "proof" of genetic manipulation, the breeder cited the cabbit, which she said "ate like a cat and gave pellets like a rabbit." As well as cabbits themselves being genetically impossible, this dietary claim as anatomically impossible. A rabbit produces pellets because it eats a high-cellulose plant-based diet. It would be impossible for a carnivore to produce rabbit droppings!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 11:33 AM
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Great info. Of course it isnt possible for them to breed! We call my friends cat a cabbit because of his stumpy tail.
Some say that the "cabbit" myth came from manx cats who do only have a stumpy tail.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 01:50 AM
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Surprising but I can't say myself if it is a good process for different species considering the health of the offspring, though zebra and horse had success.

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gestation period, male cat

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