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Chausies: An Exotic Hybrid Domestic Cat Breed
The Chausie is a Beautiful Hybrid Domestic Cat Breed
Cat fanciers and many adventurous owners are seeking breeds of domesticated cats that go beyond the ordinary.
Developed from cross-breeding of small wild cats with domestic versions, there are now a number of tame, hybrid cats including Bengals, Toygers and Chausies. These animals generally have exquisite beauty, grace and characteristics that some would say make them more akin to owning a dog (including a love of water, trainability, and fierce loyalty to their owners). No wonder hybrid domestic cat breeds are so popular!
The Chausie (also spelled "Chaussie) is a bit larger than the domestic Bengal cat, and the Toyger, weighing in at about 25 pounds full-grown, and they can be nearly twice as tall as regular domestic cats. It 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 breed. The Chausie is the result of a cross between a Jungle Cat (felis chaus) and a domestic animal. Abyssinians are most often used to achieve the strongest resemblance to the wild counterpart.
What is a Wild Jungle Cat?
Also known as the "Swamp Lynx," the Jungle Cat ancestor of the Chausie has no relation 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, enjoying habitat in savannas and dry forests, but preferring grasslands near water. The cats that live close to rivers and lakes actually dive for fish! Other items in their diet include frogs, birds and small rodents. It is not classified as endangered, although many are captured and killed for their fur. The Jungle Cat is regularly hunted in the Middle East and has basically disappeared from African regions. This may explain why so many people are interested in a hybrid domestic cat breed related to the Jungle Cat.
The Beauty of Chausies
History and Description 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, that is four generations, from its wild ancestor.
These cats have many endearing characteristics that differentiate them from their "average" domestic relatives. They can be extremely active, yet intelligent and trainable. Like other hybrid domestic cat breeds, they enjoy walking on leashes, much like dogs. Chausies also love water play! If you are thinking about bringing one home, be prepared to invest more time playing with your pet than you might otherwise expect. They are good-natured felines, described as "fearless but not aggressive." These cats get along well with other animals in the household.
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. Accepted colors include brown ticked tabby, silver tipped, and black. 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.
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.
Are you intrigued? Thinking about adopting one of these hybrid domestic cat breeds? 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 $500-2000 for a Chausie.
High Energy Level!
Are You Thinking of Adopting a Chausie Cat?
Owning a Chausie is similar to most domestic cats, with several exceptions.
First, as mentioned above, you should check to make sure that its legal to own a hybrid domestic cat breed in your city or state.
Second, the 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!)
Finally, 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.
And, as always, unless you will be breeding, be sure to spay or neuter!