Even though the cat has been dubbed the Asian Semi-Longhair cat (ASL), its origin was actually from Britain. Once thought to be longhair Burmese, the ASL has also acquired an English name called Tiffanie. Being bred from cats that were of Asian background was probably the reason why the ASL has been classed under the Asian group category of cats. The ASL was the result of a breeding program for the Burmilla in the United Kingdom in the1980s. As the name suggests, Burmilla is the cross between the Chinchilla Persian and the Burmese breeds that happened unintentionally. The resultant kittens with black silver shaded appearance have captivated the breeders who made it into a breed in its own right. Interests in further developing its colors, patterns and coats have led to more selective breeding experiments. Some of the results have revealed kittens that were semi-longhair with coats that do not matt like those of their parent breed, the Chinchilla. However, the excitement in breeding silver shaded shorthair Burmillas has outweighed the attention given to this new breed of kittens.
Nonetheless, that did not dampen the determination of a small group of breeders to help achieve full recognition for these attractive cats. The Asian Group Cat Society (AGCS) was set up in the 1985 to develop a group of such cats and of which the ASL is a part. The advancement to full recognition was undesirably slow and it has been difficult to trace the progression of the ASL as a breed due to the lack of data. Even though the breed has not yet been recognized by any United States registries, it has certainly gained more admirers along the way. In 2003, the ASL was awarded the championship status by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) and has also received full recognition by the council.
Physical appearance and attributes
Weighing between 8 - 16 pounds, the ASL is a medium-built cat with a strong straight back. It appears slender, lithe and muscular; weighing heavier than it looks. The chest is full and gently rounded without being overly broad for its body. The body is supported by legs that are lean and paws that are neat and oval. Its hind legs are slightly longer than the forelegs.
The ASL has a short-wedged head with cheekbones that tapers to a blunt muzzle and a good width is apparent between the jaw hinges. It has brows that curve down gently to the bridge of the nose, and the imaginary line continues to run smoothly down its distinctive and gentle nose break. The tip of the nose should be in line with its strong chin. The ASL has ears that are medium to large in size. They are vaguely rounded at the tips, broad at the base and set well apart. When viewed in profile, it carries them with a slight forward tilt. Ear tufts or streamers would be much preferred with this breed.
The ASL has inherited eyes that are large and lustrous. They can be outlined with natural dark mascara-like markings, giving them a smoky beauty that is distinctively deep and captivating. The top lid creates a slight curve that is slanted towards the nose and it is completed with a rounder and fuller lower lid. The eyes can take on any colors from glistening yellow through to green. There is an assortment of coat patterns and colors with blue, black, brown, chocolate and lilac as the five main colors. Radiating its coat color with the luxurious sheen and silky characteristics of the hairs is one of the ASL’s main features. The coat is medium long and without a woolly undercoat. It has a medium to long and flowing tail that is average in thickness and tapers into a gorgeous plume. Its length is sufficient enough for the tip to reach its shoulder. With such length and physical characteristic in all its sophistication, witness how it will sway it in the air like a much-desired feathered scarf and swish it around its body in its natural elegance.
Personality and temperament
As it is, the ASL has the mischievousness from its Burmese ancestry and the easy-going nature from the parentage of the Chinchilla Persian. Easily sparked off by curiosity, it can be spotted venturing into areas that should be out of its boundaries. Its playfulness can be satisfied with interactive play, scratching posts, and other toy sets. Some ASL are more laid back and these can usually be found playing indoor instead. Its high intelligence has made it a fast learner of any tricks and practices in the home.
Being well opinionated is one other way the ASL expresses its aptitude; it can convey its emotions on almost anything. The ASL is highly demanding in personal attention and usually sticks close to its owner. It might get jealous with other pets who may also share the owner’s attention.
This same temperament is also exhibited in its sensitivity towards the feelings of those who are close. Its level of devotion and affection is no less than any of the other characteristics mentioned; seeking and giving cuddles and snuggles whenever possible.
Care and health issues
Grooming the ASL, with its semi-longhair, does require a little more effort in brushing and combing. The absence of an undercoat does help to reduce matting. Regular brushing would be ideal to keep it in good order, but the attention needed is not as much as those called for by longhair cat breeds. The ASL has been said to be prone to ailments and illnesses of indoor cats.
A trip to the veterinarian would be necessary for a healthy growth and to prevent the dominance of round, rape, hook and whip worms that are common in this breed. The tendency for ticks, fleas and ear mites is also possible for ASL, thus, measures need to be undertaken to prevent these undesirable occurrences.
Daily dental care and regular nail trimming would also be required for a pet with overall good well-being. Hygiene is an aspect that cats are particular about. Hence, make sure its litter box is kept clean.
The ideal home
The personality and temperament of the ASL has made it a considerably excellent companion for any family that is seeking for a loving, loyal, active, intelligent and vocal personality in the home.
Spaces in the home should be organized to prevent any unintended dangers or damages that would be cause by the ASL’s curiosity to its surroundings. To satisfy this aspect and also its playfulness, an enclosed indoor and outdoor area that is set up with the relevant toys, poles or gym sets would be ideal for a healthy and active growth. Allowance for personal attention and interactive play should also be given for such a breed.
With adequate care and love showered on this cat, be sure that the ASL will reciprocate with immense warmth and devotion, adding much liveliness to your home.
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