The list of big cats likely to be seen in practice includes:
Lion (Panthera leo): Southern Africa and very limited range in India. Open savanna.
Tiger (Panthera tigris): Asia. Many subspecies and habitats, mostly jungle.
Bobcat (Lynx rufus): American southwest. There are eleven subspecies of Bobcat in the U.S., Canada and Mexico
Lynx (Lynx lynx): Eurasian, Siberian, and Turkistan lynx. Many local varieties/subspecies. Iberian lynx (L. pardinus) and Canada lynx (L. canadensis) are separate species
Mountain lion (Felis concolor): American Southwest, Florida. Also called panther, puma, catamount
Jaguar (Panthera onca): American Southwest (CA, AZ, NM) to Argentina.
Serval (Leptailurus serval): African savannah. Wt: Approx. 40 lbs.
Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis): South- and Central America
Leopard (Panthera pardus): Africa, Middle East, and Asia. Many subspecies and habitats.
Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) Central Asia. Mountainous, rocky habitat.
Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) South Eastern Asia, dense tropical forest.
Exotic Cat Crosses These cats are the result of crosses between domestic and exotic felines. In most cases, these are at least fourth generation removed from “wild” species.
Savannah cat: The Savannah is the result of crossing an African Serval cat to a domestic cat. Usually, Bengal Cats are used to create the early generation Savannahs; however, other domestic cats, such as Oriental Shorthairs, Egyptian Maus, etc. have also been used successfully.: Approx.25 lbs
Bengal cat: The Bengal is a medium to large domestic feline that originates from crossings of the small Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) to the domestic cat in an attempt to create a companion with an "exotic" look but a domestic temperament. After four to five generations of Bengal-to-Bengal breeding, the breed is recognized for championship competition by most international domestic cat associations including TICA, ACFA, GCCF, and AACE. The general build of an Asian Leopard Cat (Felis bengalensis) is similar to a normal domestic cat, but with somewhat longer legs and a longer back. They have a relatively small head with a short narrow muzzle, large eyes (because of their nocturnal habits) and a thick tail of about 11 to 14 inches length. Body length varies between 25 to 32 inches, and they weigh between 7 to 15 pounds. Size and weight vary between subspecies in different geographical regions, but the males are generally heavier than the females.
Serengeti cat: Serengeti cats have been created using primarily Oriental Shorthair Cats and Bengal Cats. Servals have not been used to create Serengetis because of the genetic diversity of the founding breeds - Bengals and Oriental Shorthairs - there has been no need to introduce serval blood into the Serengeti Cat. The current gene pool for Bengals is quite large containing both domestic and wild genes from many individuals of at least 8 different forms: the Asian Leopard Cat, the British Shorthair, unregistered domestic shorthair, the "Indian Mau", the Ocicat, the Egyptian Mau, the Abyssinian, and the Burmese (Bombay). Some even carry Persian bloodlines. The Oriental Shorthair was created from domestic shorthairs and Siamese. The Serengeti cat is a large boned, long legged, domestic cat resembling a Serval, although Servals are not used to create Serengeti cats.
Desert lynx: The Bobcat is the foundation cat for the Desert Lynx breed. The first and subsequent generations derived from the breeding of a Bobcat to an IDLCA acceptable domestic cat is recognized as a domestic Desert Lynx cat. IDLCA recognizes the following breeds as acceptable out crosses to the Bobcat: Maine Coon, Manx, American Bobtail, American Lynx, or Pixie-Bob. Third, fourth and subsequent generations can only be bred to a registered Desert Lynx. The Desert Lynx has a very people loving, friendly temperament and has been kept as a 'domestic' pet for many years. Kittens resulting from the mating of a Bobcat to an acceptable IDLCA domestic cat have a very mild temperament, therefore the Desert Lynx combines the beautiful "Wild" look of the Bobcat with the laid-back, playful, loyal and affectionate personality of a dog.
Highland lynx: The Highland Lynx was developed by crossing two existing breeds, the Desert Lynx and the Jungle Curl. The Highland Lynx has many of the characteristics of the Bobcat with the distinctive curled ears of the Jungle Curl. These cats are definitely family cats. They are inquisitive and want to be a part of household activities. They come in both long and short hair and require the same care as any domestic cat. Many are polydactyl (six-toed). If you are looking for a large cat with a distinctive wild appearance and a dog-like personality, you need to look no further than the Highland Lynx.
Jungle curl: The Jungle Curl is a curled-eared African Jungle Cat hybrid: Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) x American Curl (Hemingway Curl) x outcrosses to domestic shorthairs, Serengetis, Jungle cat hybrids, pure Jungle Cats, Bengals, Egyptian Mau, and Abyssinians. Emphasis is on type, not on wild blood percentage. No further crosses with American Curls or any form of bobtail or polydactyl. Has a tendency to have short tail, but this is being bred out as it may be inherited from domestic cats not Jungle Cats. Hemingway Curl: a localized variety rather than a breed. The first Hemingway Curl appeared as a spontaneous curl-eared mutation in a colony of polydactyl cats known as Hemingway cats (after the polydactyl cats of Ernest Hemingway) on Key West.
Pixie-bob: Two bobcat-domestic cross felines were bred to produce a litter. “Pixie” was a female kitten born from the union of two of these original cats. She was covered with muted spotting on her reddish-fawn coat and had a very wild face, reminiscent of a Bobcat. “Pixie” not only became the dam line for most of the females in the program, but also became the namesake for the breed. Kittens produced today have a muscular body, thick legs and sport a short tail that may be wagged or curled up or down for effect. The most distinguishable feature of the Pixie-Bob is "the face", which evokes the feeling that you are looking into the face of a true Bobcat. They are now registered with T.I.C.A. as a domestic breed, having been DNA tested for wild genes, and found to display none.
Breeding exotic feline crosses (using Savannah cat as an example): The first generation cross is referred to as the F1 (Serval x domestic). The next breeding of (F1 Savannah x domestic) will create a litter of F2 generation Savannah kittens. Because of the fact that the first three generations (F1, F2 and F3 - and sometimes even the 4th generation) of Savannah males are sterile and cannot reproduce, it will usually be 5 generations or more before there can be a Savannah to Savannah breeding.