The Chausie, pronounced "chow-see" is a fully domestic breed that strongly resembles the Jungle Cat, Felis chaus. Jungle Cats are common in Thailand. In the late 20th century, cat fanciers in the U.S. gained experience in developing purely domestic breeds from selected species of wild cat. The process involves mating a few members of one carefully chosen small wild cat species to a great many domestic cats. In the late 1990s, a group of breeders decided to apply this new expertise to develop a breed from Felis chaus.
The first Chausies were Jungle Cat hybrids, and were bred in the late 60's and early 70's. These early hybrids were created to offer those interested in exotic cats a more reasonable alternative to the often ill-fated attempts to make pets out of wild animals. Many different domestic cats were used in the beginning, but at the current time, the only permissible outcrosses are the Abyssinian and the domestic shorthair. In Egypt, more than three thousand years ago, two species of wild cat found their way into Egyptian homes. One was Felis lybica, and the other was Felis chaus. Felis chaus, also known as the Jungle Cat, was relatively tame in temperament from the start, with more than usual potential for domestication, but so was Felis lybica. Whether it was chance or there were other reasons, the Egyptians ultimately developed the domestic cat from Felis lybica. Nonetheless, they loved the Jungle Cat, enough to honor them occasionally with formal funeral rites, such as mummification - enough to take them hunting and paint them into scene after scene in murals. Some say that the statues of the goddess Bastet were modeled after Jungle Cats and we can certainly see the resemblance in her long, slender body and large ears!
Occasionally, members of Felis chaus mated with domestic cats. From North Africa to India to Southeast Asia, there were reports dating back centuries of cats that seem to have been Felis chaus hybrids. While we cannot know for certain, the "Saem Sawet" described in the 700 year old Siamese cat poems may also have been a Jungle Cat hybrid.
The Chausie was given foundation registry status in The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1995. In February 2001 the breed was advanced to Evaluation status (effective May 1, 2002). In May 2003, the Chausie achieved 'Advanced New Breed' status and now competes in the Advanced new Breed (ANB) rings in TICA shows.
Common personality traits in the breed are their activity level, they are thieves, they are loyal and bond tightly to their person - they can learn to open doors and cupboards and love to get into things - they are thought of as the "supervisor" as they want to be in the middle of whatever is going on, they are curious and intelligent. They need stimulation and interaction....they are not a breed that does well by themselves if a person is gone all day.
If you want a couch potato this breed is not for you!
The Chausie, is a medium to large size feline that is tall and long-bodied, with a rectangular torso, deep chest, and flat sides. The Chausie is tall, statuesque, and shorthaired. The head is relatively long, with a full muzzle and deep chin. This gives the Chausie a cougarish look. At the same time, the ears are erect and large; they are both tall and wide, placed far enough apart to just corner the top of the head. The ears sometimes have tufts on the tips. The Chausie comes in three color-pattern combinations: brown ticked tabby, solid black, and black grizzled tabby.
The grizzled tabby pattern came originally from Felis chaus and is unique to the Chausie breed. No other domestic breed of cat occurs in that pattern. Imagine a tabby with a very dark background to its black markings. It's so dark you almost can't see the markings because they are all nearly the same shade of black. Then imagine a sprinkling of white bands scattered randomly across the coat. It's a bit like the Milky Way on the coat of a black cat, but with hints of tabby pattern visible here and there. The tips of the hairs are black. The white occurs only as bands in the middle of the black hairs. That's the grizzled pattern.
The Chausie is even more striking in motion. The Jungle Cat, which the Chausie closely resembles, is built for hunting, running, and jumping. The Chausie is all slinkiness and loose-limbed, lanky grace.
Health Issues Common to Chausie
All pedigreed cats have some sort of health problem, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
Chausies are generally healthy, but it is always wise to purchase a kitten from a breeder who offers a written health guarantee.
Pet Insurance for the Chausie
Pet insurance for purebred cats costs more than for mixed breed cats. This is because a purebred cat is more likely than a mixed breed cat to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which purebred cats are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your cat is when he’s a healthy kitten. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.