Like the Bengal cat, the Chausie cat is a man-made hybrid that was selectively bred using “wild” stock. While the Bengal breed involved a cross with the Asian Leopard Cat (Felis Bengalensis), the Chausie breed was a cross between the domestic cats and the Jungle Cat (Felis Chaus). These wild cats with Latin name were roaming the swarms of South Central and had bred in the wild with domestic cats before. It was not until the 1990s, when breeders started to cross the Jungle Cats with the Abyssinians in their efforts to create a wild-looking cat with a temperament of a domesticated cat.
The efforts paid off and in 1995, the Chausie was granted registration by The International Cat Association (TICA). The Association later promoted the breed to Evaluation status in 2002 and within a year’s time elevated it to the Advanced New Breed status. Continued efforts have finally seen the Chausie claims the championship status in 2013.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Chausie is a medium to large sized cat with a substantial weight that lies between 15 – 30 pounds. It possesses a long and lean body that is firm to the touch with a chest that is balanced with no hint of roundness. Its good musculature is displayed in its excellent athleticism. Such athleticism is rooted also in its untamed Jungle Cat hind legs that are built slightly longer than its forelegs. The powerful legs with medium boning allow it to leap over six feet in the air. Extending the leg length are rounded and relatively small paws. It has a slightly thick tail and even though its length contrasts with its long body, it is still well articulated.
Chausie has a modified wedge head that is of a medium size. It has an ancient Egyptian elegant that comes in part to its large ears and elongated muzzle, which is well formed with full whisker pads and a firm chin. The muzzle also balances off the high and angular cheekbones. Viewed in profile, the high and long forehead presents a slight convex bend over the eyebrows before descending into a gentle concave curve below the eyes. The concave curve continues to the nose that rises at the tip to form a slight bump above the convex nose leather. Its pair of large and wide ears shows a slight taper into rounded tips and may be adorned with long ear tufts to give the cat a wild lynx look. They are set tall and upright with a slight outward slant. It has a pair of medium eyes that are of an almond shape; the outer corners present a slight slant towards the base of the ears.
This stunning breed wears a coat of short or medium hair that allows for at least two bands of ticking. A slightly coarse outer coat covers the dense and softer undercoat and together they can display three different color-patterns, namely, brown-ticked tabby, solid black and grizzled tabby. The Grizzled tabby pattern is acquired from the Jungle Cat and is considered unique to the Chausie; its effect is produced by the alternating light and dark bands of color on each hair shaft. The coat of brown-ticked tabby appears in a golden or tawny coat with black ticking.
Personality and temperament
The Chausie is an extremely active and playful cat. This is evident from its love to run, jump and leap. Its excellent athleticism inherited from its wild ancestors gives it the ability and agility for these stunts. It may be a highly social cat with majestic wild looks, but this feline still lives by the law of the jungle. Think twice about bringing it to a home with small children or delicate objects. Top with curiosity, alertness and intelligence, the Chausie is a quick learner. Opening the cupboards, doors and drawers thus pose not much of a challenge for this breed. Though fearless, it is not an aggressive cat; it can be leash trained and is also capable of showing affections unreservedly. Chausie has been described as dog-like in many respects. With its loyalty and propensity to form a close bond with the one favorite member in the family, it is no wonder so. The personality of Chausie does hint at its need for attention and stimulation. It is certainly not a cat that can be left alone.
Care and health issues
This is a strong and hearty breed with no known genetic diseases. A healthy Chausie can expect to live up to an average life of 15 years. It should avoid cat food with grains and vegetables because many Chausies are unable to break down plant matter. Further along the digestive process, the plant inflames the intestines and disrupts the absorption of vitamins and minerals that would lead to chronic malnourishment. To avoid this, they need specialized diet that is free of gluten and comprises of meat. It is important to get a written health guarantee when purchasing the cat to ensure that it is not contracted with any common feline diseases.
Grooming the short hair is relatively easy; a once a week brushing will suffice to help distribute the skin oil and to keep the coat healthy. Other basic grooming care should include frequent teeth brushing with vet approved toothpaste, nail trimming and ear cleaning whenever necessary.
The ideal home
The Chausie is not passive cat and would be better suited for a family that is made up of very energetic people. It is best suited for outdoor living, where it has the freedom to run, explore and to exercise its agility. The space must be safe and escape-proof. Frequent walks would help to burn off its load of energy. While it is suitable for indoor living, spaces would need to be created for this highly active breed. Equip the adventure zone with cat toys, cat trees and cat gym sets. Chausie is a friendly and sociable breed, but it might show low tolerance towards children who play rough. Thus, it is important to teach young kids at home the proper way of handling a cat. It can get along well with other family pets provided that they are introduced well. This charming cat will certainly bring lots of entertainment, fun and love to the family who is ready to commit to loving and caring for this rare treasure.