The California Spangled Cat is considered one of the rarest cat breeds in the cat fancy. It was bred to resemble a miniature cheetah or leopard. The initiator of this ideal breed was the Hollywood scriptwriter and playwright, Paul Casey. This idea came about after a visit to Africa, where Casey learned about the death threat faced by the last remaining breeding leopard in the area. A conversation with anthropologist, Louis Leaky had encouraged Casey to create a breed that looked like a mini leopard. Both Leaky and Casey figured that if a mini-leopard can be domesticated, it would help people to relate better to the conservation problem.
Back home, Casey drew up an 11 generation breeding plan. The breeding program begun in the mid 1970s and included the Abyssinians, Angora-like spotted tabby, Asians (Housecat from Malaysia), American and British Shorthairs, Egyptian Mau or street cats of Egypt and Siamese. The development was carefully engineered and tracked by Casey and it took many generations of breeding before the ideal breed was established. In 1985, Casey formed the California Spangled Cat Association (CSCA) to help promote the breed and to create awareness about the protection of endangered wild cats.
The California Spangled Cat was finally introduced to the public in 1986 through an advertising campaign in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue. It however created much controversy. Nonetheless, favorable responses from the public continued to grow. Efforts were made to help the breed attain championship status from the International Cat Association (TICA) and American Cat Association (ACA). To date, it has attained the New Breed and Color Status and has two International Grand Championships in Europe. There were rumors that the California Spangled has become a ‘ghost breed’, in which the breeding of this breed has been abandoned. Thus, the California Spangled remains a rare breed with uncertain hopes for breeding to be revived.
Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium sized breed that weighs between 9 – 18 pounds. It possesses a long, lean body of a semi-foreign type with strength being displayed through its well musculature. The legs are long with solidly built thighs. They extend into well rounded paws. The hind legs appear slightly longer than the forelegs bending at an angle. Its tails are thick and moderately long, tapering into a blunt tip.
The California Spangled Cat has a head of moderate wedge and well proportionate in length and width. Its rounded forehead is complemented with its high and broad cheekbones. Atop the head is a pair of large ears that are set upright. They are broad at the base with rounded tips. Viewed in profile, a stop between the forehead and nose is evident. The muzzle is full and well developed with a firm chin and jaw. Its whisker pads are also one of its most prominent features.
This breed wears a coat of short hair that is close lying to the body and smooth to the touch. The hair length may however be longer on the abdomen area and on the tail. What makes the coat distinct it the spotted pattern that runs throughout its entire body. The legs and tail are, however marked with broken bars of horizontal markings.
Personality and temperaments
Beneath the wild look is an affectionate and devoted heart with a sociable nature. It is known for its sharp astuteness and athletic abilities. Its liveliness is shown through its love in running and climbing. The playful side of the California Spangled makes it an ideal companion for children. It generally gets along well with people and other friendly pets. Due to its high level of activeness, this breed would not be able to tolerate solitude for long. However, this same trait also makes it an entertaining breed with unending stunts of amusing antics.
Care and health issues
The California Spangled Cat is a healthy breed with no serious hereditary health issues and has an expected lifespan of 15 years. It is still important to obtain a written health guarantee form a qualified breeder to ensure that the cat is not suffering from any common feline diseases.
Grooming the short, sleek coat of the California Spangles is relatively effortless. A weekly grooming will suffice to help distribute its skin oil and to maintain a healthy coat. Other basic grooming practices to be observed include frequent teeth brushing with vet approved toothpaste. The nails will need to be trimmed whenever necessary. Clean the ears with a damp cloth if it is dirty and if redness or odors occur over a prolonged period, send it to the vet for inspection.
The ideal home
This active and playful breed would appreciate an outdoor space where it can exercise and run. The outdoor area must however be safe and escape-proof. While it is able to adapt to indoor living, it does get bored easily without an adventure zone. Thus, it is necessary to provide a space equipped with cat furniture, cat trees and cat gym sets. The ideal family will also be one that is ready to set aside an adequate amount of time daily to care and to give it the attention it needed. This breed can get along well with children who know how to handle a cat well. This exquisite wild-looking breed with its ready devotion and even temper is certainly a treasure to have around the home.