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With a wild cat appearance, the California Spangled cat has an affectionate, social, and playful personality. These ‘house leopards’ love to actively engage in family life and enjoy interactive play sessions where they can show off their sharp hunting skills and burn off excess energy. California Spangled cats make gentle, loving pets, bringing joy and companionship to any home, day and night.
History of the California Spangled cat
In the 1970s, Hollywood scriptwriter Paul Arnold Casey Jr. decided to develop a domestic cat breed that resembled a miniature leopard. This idea came to him after a trip to Tanzania where he saw the plight of leopards and other spotted cats illegally poached for their fur. With the support of anthropologist Louis Leakey, he set out to breed a ‘house leopard’ to raise awareness and save the lives of these magnificent wild cats. Paul Casey was convinced that people would stop buying expensive fur coats, if the fur resembled their beloved pet.
In 1986, the breeding program was successful and the California Spangled cat breed was introduced commercially. The breed made its debut on the front page of the American mail-order Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue in December 1986.
They were advertised as a ‘His and Hers’ gift idea, and described as:
Leopards for your living room… a purring, affectionate pet with the look of the wild. A jaguar whose natural habitat is your lap, not the jungle.
However, whilst there was initially strong interest, the breed was slow to take off. With only 58 California Spangled cats ever registered, they remain a rare and exotic breed. The worldwide population peaked at 200 cats. Following the death of Paul Casey in 2007, the breed was no longer recognised.
|Origin||United States (1971)|
|Weight||4 – 7 kg (9 – 15 lb)|
|Height||22 – 25 cm (9 – 10 in)|
|Body Type||Long and lean|
|Personality||active, affectionate, athletic, curious, friendly, intelligent, playful, social|
|Coat Care||Requires little brushing|
The Spangled cat is a medium-sized cat with an athletic and muscular body shape. They move gracefully with a low-slung walk like big cats when they move in to kill their prey. Exotic looking, their short spotted coat was bred to resemble a wild cat – with distinctive black, brown, silver, or gold spots that can be triangular, square or oval. In addition, they have prominent sculpted cheekbones with large whisker pads. They have expressive almond-shaped eyes that are usually pale amber to deep copper.
California Spangled cat personality
With an affectionate, social and playful personality, this is a cat who enjoys taking an active role in family life. They enjoy play sessions and entertaining family members with their stalking and pouncing games which show off their superb hunting skills.
They are known for their curiosity, high energy levels and athletic ability. Because they’re intelligent, they are easily trained to walk outside on a leash. Like the leopard of the wild, California Spangled cats will actively seek out any high places. For instance, they love to climb trees, cat towers or your shoulder where they can survey their territory from above.
They also make gentle and loving pets. They form close bonds with their family and will happily enjoy cosying up on the sofa with you, day or night. Naturally friendly and sociable, they also get on well with other cats.
Caring for your California Spangled cat
These cats adapt well to life as an only pet, because they are independent by nature. Their short sleek coat is easy to maintain and weekly grooming will keep it in good condition. We recommend daily interactive play sessions – the California Spangled cat has an active and intelligent personality, and boredom can be an issue.
Common health concerns
They are a strong breed and have no known hereditary health problems.
Did you know?
Ultimately, the high price tag of US$800 – $2,500 makes this an expensive breed, and has likely also impacted their popularity.
Where to adopt or buy a California Spangled cat
Finding a California Spangled cat for adoption or to buy can be challenging due to the breed’s rarity.
Are California Spangled cats rare?
Yes, the California Spangled cat is considered rare. Its limited gene pool, competition from Bengal cats, and lack of recognition from major cat registries contribute to its rarity. While you may still find them, they are difficult to locate compared to more popular breeds.
Are California Spangled cats hypoallergenic?
Yes, the California Spangled cat breed is often considered hypoallergenic. They produce lower levels of allergenic proteins compared to other breeds, which may make them a more suitable choice for individuals with mild to moderate allergies
Do you have a California Spangled cat or have you ever met one? Share your experiences in the comments below.