The California Spangled cat is a breed of domestic cat engineered to resemble a miniature leopard for the purpose of bringing attention to the plight of full size leopards being slaughtered for their pelts. Despite their wild look, the California Spangled cat was bred using combinations of other domestic cats (unlike the Bengal, a domestic leopard- look alike which was bred using both domestic and feral cats); therefore, the California Spangled cat’s behavior is purely domestic.
History of the California Spangled Cat
The engineering of California Spangled cat was a conservation attempt. In 1971, cat enthusiast and author Paul Casey visited Africa and became highly concerned with the hunting and poaching of spotted wild leopards for their pelts. Upon his return to the states, Casey began work on developing a domestic version of the leopard in order to draw attention to this situation. Using only other domestic breeds including British and America Shorthairs, Abyssinians, Siamese, and street cats from Malaysia and Egypt, Casey successfully created the California Spangled cat in 1986. The breed made its debut in that years Christmas catalogue for Neiman Marcus. Today, the California Spangled cat remains rare, and can be found registered in The International Cat Association (TICA) and shows in the “New Breed or Color” category.
Appearance and Behavior of the California Spangled Cat
These felines were bred to resemble miniature wild leopards, and the result is very successful! The breed is characterized by its athletic, lean body and of course, spots. The markings should preferably be rounded, or blocky, but oval and square spots are acceptable in the breed. The coat of the California Spangle cat can be shades of grey, black, or brown. They even have the same low- slung gait as their more wild look alikes. The ears are set back far on the head, and rounded. Their eyes are almond shaped, and typically amber. The male California Spangled cats weigh between 12- 15 pounds, and females weigh between 8- 10 pounds. This is an active breed, who enjoy eye contact and will climb to achieve it. The are mild- mannered, despite the wild appearance, and are devoted to their owners. The California Spangled cat is curious and affectionate, and is likely to inspect everything you are doing.
The California Spangled cat is best paired with an owner that is present everyday. Someone who is out of town a great deal, or who wants a cat that is more shy and retiring should not choose this breed. Families with children over five would be a great home for a California Spangled cat, as smaller children tend to not know their own strength and may harass the cat into defending itself. The California Spangled cat is high energy, and would need an owner who can devote time every day to playing with it.
Buying a California Spangled Cat
Obtaining a California Spangled cat is a difficult endeavor. The breed is very rare, expensive, and there is usually a waiting list at the breeders. It is important to do your research to find a reputable breeder; moreover, it would be wise to choose a breeder whose website has the TICA logo. This guarantees that the breeder abides by the organization’s code of ethics. You can search for breeders of the California Spangled cat on the TICA website directly, as well. The cost of a California Spangled cat can range from $800- $2500, although more expensive kittens have been sold. As the breed is rare, it is most likely that the kitten will have to be air shipped to you, and the cost of the shipment is not usually included in the upfront cost of the kitten. Some California Spangled cat breeders will require the buyer to agree to breed their kitten when it comes of age, to ensure the continuation of the breed.
“California Spangled Cat”. (2003). http://www.catster.com/breeds/California_Spangled_Cat
The International Cat Association. http://tica.org/index.php