The Chausie Cat Breed: An Exotic and Wild Domestic Hybrid
What Is a Chausie?
Cat fanciers and many adventurous owners are seeking breeds of domesticated cats that go beyond the ordinary. Developed from cross-breeding small wild cats with domestic breeds, there are now a number of tame, hybridized cats: Bengals, Toygers, and Chausies.
The Chausie cat, like many of these hybrids, possesses numerous endearing characteristics that differentiate it from its "average" domestic relatives. These cats are:
- Extremely active
- Intelligent and trainable
- Adventurous and enjoy walking on leashes (much like dogs)
- Social (get along with other animals in the household)
Did You Know?
The Chausie cat is the result of crossing a Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) and a domestic cat.
What Makes This Breed Unique?
The Chausie is a bit larger than the domestic Bengal cat and the Toyger, and weighs in at about 25 pounds when full-grown; they can be nearly twice as tall as regular domestic cats. This breed is also known as a "Jungle Curl," a "Stone Cougar," or a "Mountain Cougar."
Some people also refer to Chausies as "Jungle Cats," although they actually descend from this wild species. Therefore, the breed is the result of crossing a Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) and a domestic cat (often the Abyssinian).
Information About the Chausie's Wild Relative
Also known as the "Swamp Lynx," the Jungle Cat surprisingly is not related to the lynx cat family. It is a medium-sized feline, about 28 inches long, and 2 feet tall. They weigh approximately 35 pounds. The cat has pointed ears (resembling a lynx) and long legs. It lives in Egypt, Asia, India, and Sri Lanka, and populates the savannas and dry forests, but prefers grasslands near water.
Jungle Cats that live close to rivers and lakes actually dive for fish. Other items in their diet include frogs, birds, and small rodents. The species is not classified as endangered, although many are captured and killed for their fur. They are regularly hunted in the Middle East and have basically disappeared from African regions. This may explain why so many people are interested in a domestic cat breed related to the Jungle Cat.
Video: The Wild Jungle Cat
History and Characteristics of the Chausie Cat
Chausies were first bred in the 1960s to provide owners a safe (and legal) alternative to keeping wild Jungle Cats as pets. Even today, however, prospective owners should check local laws and regulations. In a few locales, hybrid pets are illegal. It is important to note that your pet must be at least F4 (four generations from its wild ancestor).
Chausies are good-natured felines and described as "fearless but not aggressive." These animals generally have exquisite beauty, grace, and characteristics that some would say make them more akin to owning a dog (including their love of water, trainability, and fierce loyalty to their owners). No wonder this breed is so popular!
- Body Type: A premier Chausie specimen will have tufted ears (although not required as a breed standard), a 3/4-length tail, and a long, lean body.
- Coat Colors: Accepted colors include brown-ticked tabby, silver-tipped, and black.
- Maturation: Because they are larger than most domestic cats, kittens can take 2–3 years to reach full maturity. Kittens are often born with stripes or spots all over their body, but when they reach adulthood, only stripes on the tail, legs, and face should remain.
Are Chausies a Recognized Breed?
The Chausie breed was recognized by TICA (The International Cat Association) for registration status in 1995. This was changed to Advanced New Breed Status in 2003.
How Much Do Chausies Cost?
Are you thinking about adopting one of these cats? They come with a pretty steep price tag. Depending on pedigree, age, whether they will be bred or shown, and characteristics, plan on spending at least $500-$2,000 for a Chausie.
Are You Thinking of Adopting a Chausie Cat?
Owning a Chausie is similar to most domestic cats with several exceptions. Be sure to do your research:
- As mentioned above, you should check to make sure that it's legal to own a hybrid domestic cat breed in your city or state.
- These cats are larger and more active than most, so be sure to have plenty of toys and time to spend with them (or risk having them get into trouble).
- Some owners have reported that their Chausies develop a gluten allergy, which may require a special diet. Commercial cat food is usually made with wheat and other grains that may irritate the digestive system. Be sure to have your pet thoroughly checked by a veterinarian.
- As always, unless you will be breeding, be sure to spay or neuter!
This Breed Requires Activity
If you are thinking about bringing one home, be prepared to invest more time playing with your pet than you might otherwise expect.
Video: The High-Energy Chausie Cat
Sources and Further Reading
© 2008 Stephanie Hicks