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The Kurilian bobtail cat is a breed of cat that originates in the Kuril Islands, which is territory claimed by both Japan and Russia and geographically close to both. Cats of the breed can also be found on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, and Japan’s Sakhalin Island. The breed is also known by various other names, including the Kuril bobtail, Kuril Islands bobtail, Curilisk bobtail and Kurilean.
The Kurilian bobtail is a rare breed outside of their native areas, and they are not widely known outside of Russia and Japan. A naturally occurring breed with a long recorded history in the chain of Japanese islands known as the Kurils, there is some dispute as to the actual nationality of the cat, as the Kuril Islands run from the most eastern point of Russia up to the very tip of Hokkaido Island, which is Japanese.
The breed is usually promoted as a native Russian aboriginal breed, and is classed as a distinct breed from the geographically nearby Japanese bobtail.
The Kurilian bobtail can be either long haired or short haired, and the short haired variant of the breed is the original, which has been recorded in the Kurils for over 200 years.
The Kurilian bobtail has a natural appearance with a muscular build and broad chest. Females of the breed weigh up to 11lb when adult, with males reaching around 15lb. The head of the cat is a modified wedge shape, large in size with forward-sloping ears and large eyes. The back legs are proportionately long compared to the body, giving the slope of the back a distinctive rise towards the tail.
The tail of the Kurilian bobtail is its most defining feature, being a short pom-pom style that can be shaped either spirally, snagged, whisked or delayed. The length of the tail can range from 5cm long to as much as 13cm long, and may not be totally straight.
The cat can be found in a wide range of different colours, including calico, tortoiseshell, tabby, tabby and white, solid, and bicolour, and the fur is smooth and low maintenance, and can be either long or short.
The Kurilian bobtail’s temperament is considered to be both independent yet loving, with a friendly, bold and trusting nature. They are intelligent cats that make for excellent hunters, and enjoy climbing and athletic exercise. In their home territories, they are also reported to swim and catch fish, often almost as large as the size of the cat themselves! They have a tendency to enjoy playing with water, such as in their bowls or from dripping taps, and may actually swim in ponds out of choice.
They are considered to be a somewhat dog-like cat breed, being versatile and adaptable and easy going, and not overly phased by change. They enjoy the company of people and bond strongly with their families, but they are also happy entertaining themselves.
The Kurilian bobtail is considered to be a long lived, healthy and natural cat breed that has not been subjected to the negative sides of selective breeding or too much human intervention. Unlike the Manx cat and some other breeds with a short tail, the bobtail gene that causes the Kurilian cat’s short tail is not associated with any other conformation changes or health problems as a result of their tail’s structure.
The average lifespan of the Kurilian bobtail is listed as 15 years or more, which represents a much longer average lifespan than that of most other pedigree breeds of cat, and it is not unheard of for cats of the breed to routinely live to over 20 years.
The Kurilian bobtail is generally considered to be a fairly easy breed to take care of, as they are personable and affectionate, while still retaining their cat-like independence and not being overly needy. They enjoy company and being around their families, generally being accepting of both other cats and other pets such as dogs within the home.
They are good with children, and not prone to shyness around strangers. They do best within an environment where they can come and go at will, and have free access to the outdoors when they wish to. They do like to spend a lot of time outside, and often make for prolific hunters, covering a wide-ranging territory and working hard to bring home small prey!
Because they are generally bold and trusting, they may have something of a tendency to follow home people who are kind to them or stop to stroke them in the street, which can make them a potential target for theft.
Their coats are smooth and not prone to knotting or tangling, generally taking care of their own grooming requirements, although the longhaired variant of the breed can benefit from occasional brushing.
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