The Tiffanie cat originated in England under a shorthair Burmilla breeding program and is the result of an accidental mating that occurred between a Burmese and a Chinchilla. This breed turned out to be essentially a semi-longhaired type of Burmilla, which normally wears a coat of short wiry hair. Even though interests in this breed were low as the type was regarded as undesirable, there were breeders who found beauty in this breed.
These breeders set out to develop the breed in its own right. It also became apparent to them that this cat type would appear when first generation Burmillas were mated together. To develop the ideal standards, the breeders used naturally occurring longhair Burmillas that came through the shorthair program and cross them back to Chinchilla. Crossing the cat back to the Chinchilla in the early generations has helped to develop a type that is distinct from the longhair Burmilla.
The Governing Council of Cat Fancy (GCCF) eventually granted the Tiffanie preliminary status in 1991 and only advanced them to the Championship status in 2003. Despite its coat length, the Tiffanie is being categorized under the Foreign Shorthaired Section of the Asian Group in GCCF.
The name of this breed is spelt with an ‘ie’ ending rather than a ‘y’ ending in order to differentiate the breed with the longhair Burmese, which is known as “Tiffany”. The Tiffanie is also sometimes known as the Australian Tiffanie; and in major breeding groups in Australia, it is referred to as the Burmilla Longhair so as to encourage breeders to keep the breed type truer to the Burmilla standard.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Tiffanie is a medium sized cat that weighs between 10 – 15 pounds and is substantial both in body and bone. Its body is moderately long with a good muscle tone that makes it heavier than it appears to be. It has a level back and its good musculature is also exhibited in its strong rounded chest. The legs are medium in length with strong boning. They taper into rounded paws with tufts between the toes. Also in proportion to the body is a medium to long tail that is moderately thick and that tapers into a rounded tip. As the cat matures, the tail will grow into a gorgeous plume and the Tiffanie carries it with much grace and elegance.
Head of the Tiffanie is slightly rounded and fairly broad. However, the head is in fact longer than it is wide. Defining the contours are its well-developed cheeks, firm chin and broad, gently curved muzzle. Carrying the head is a well-muscled neck that wears a plush beautiful ruff. Atop the head is a pair of medium sized ears that are set wide apart, tilting slightly forward. They taper slightly into rounded tips and are well adorned with tufts. Tiffanie has large expressive eyes that are rounded and that illuminates in any shades of green. Aqua green is preferred and yellow or yellow-green is accepted in young kittens that are under two years of age. The eyes are further accentuated with eyeliner-like outline that corresponds to its coat color.
This breed wears a single coat of semi-long hair that is silky in texture and is both luxurious and soft to the touch. Slight differences in the length and amount of hair should be allowed as the season changes. The coat color can come in black, brown, blue, chocolate and lilac in silver or golden. Some cat registries would accept red, cream and tortoiseshell.
Personality and temperaments
The Tiffanie has its personality and temperaments based on its ancestry. Generally, the Tiffanie should be a good balance between the Burmilla and Chinchilla. This cat has been described to be a highly curious breed that would explore any possible spaces and items in the home. It loves the attention given by its humans and has a high level of sensitivity towards their emotions. Even though it can get along well with other family pets, it generally does not enjoy shared attention due to its high jealousy for its favorite person in the family. Tiffanie can be considered a vocal breed that has a sweet voice and is not overly demanding. Being also an intelligent breed, this cat will easily master the skill of opening doors and cabinets. Moderately active and playful, the Tiffanie would enjoy any forms of interactive play and can also do well on its own. However, it does not tolerate solitude for long and would seek the companionship of its humans.
Care and health issues
A healthy Tiffanie cat can have an average lifespan of 17 years. It may be prone to Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a hereditary kidney disease associated with the Chinchilla breed. However, careful breeding would help avoid this problem. Thus, it's important that the cat is bred under responsible and qualified breeders who would also be able to produce a written health guarantee for the cat. Other than PKD, there are in fact no known health issues specific to the Tiffanie. An annual visit to the vet for health check up and vaccination would still be advisable to help maintain the cat’s overall good health.
The semi-longhair coat of the Tiffanie would require some attention, but it is not as high maintenance as the Persian breed. A weekly brush out with a soft brush would suffice to keep the coat in good order. Depending on the seasons, the level of shedding would differ. Other basic grooming and hygiene care should extend to brushing the teeth regularly with vet-approved toothpaste. Trim the nails once every 2 weeks and ensure that the nail beds are clean. Also check the well-furnished ears for redness or odors that might indicate an infection.
The ideal home
Tiffanie is suitable for indoor living. Spaces must be created for this curios and moderately playful breed to run and play. It would enjoy interactive toys, cat gym sets and scratching poles. If it is allowed outdoors, ensure that the space is safe and escape-proof. An outdoor garden connected to the home with non-toxin plant would be ideal for exploration and for playing fetch. The Tiffanie would usually get along well with children and other family pets with proper introduction and supervision. The sensitive and affectionate Tiffanie makes an excellent companion and would be ideal for any family that is ready to shower it with care and attention on a daily basis.
Photo by Heikki Siltala - CC BY 3.0