Most people have heard of the Bengal cat which over recent years has become a popular companion and family pet all over the world. A very similar looking cat that you may not have heard of is the California Spangled Cat which is a relative newcomer to the scene and although popular in the United States, these lovely wild looking cats are relatively unknown in other countries of the world including here in the UK.
The California Spangled Cat was bred in the United States during the 1980s by Paul Casey and an anthropologist called Dr. Louis Leakey who wanted to create a wild looking cat that boasted a kind and gentle personality. But they also wanted to create a wild looking cat that resembled a mini-leopard so that people would be more inclined to save and preserve the big cats in the wild.
Casey used a Traditional Siamese female, a breed that is often referred to as an Old Style or Applehead Siamese in his breeding programme and he crossed her with a long-haired silver spotted Angora. A little later the British Shorthair, American Shorthair, spotted brown tabby Manx and Abyssinian were introduced into the mix. Each of the breeds was carefully selected and introduced into the breeding programme in a meticulous way. Then Casey introduced street cats he found in Egypt and Malay which he did in his final generation breeding programme with an end goal being to end up with cats that boasted beautiful wild patterned coats.
By 1985, he had achieved the desired look he had always wanted to create and it was at this time that many cat fanciers started to notice the breed. He formed the California Spangled Cat Association (CSCA) and introduced his breed to the world in 1986. At first, the breed was very expensive not only because they were so rare, but also because there weren't many kittens available.
Today, breeders the world over are trying to promote the breed, but there are still very few cats registered with the CSCA which numbers around 200 or so throughout the world. These lovely cats are also gaining the attention of registries which means they may eventually achieve Championship Status in America through TICA and ACA. The Spangled cat has however, has already achieved New Breed and Colour status in America.
The California Spangled Cat looks like a miniature Leopard and has a long, low body with their hind legs being shorter than their front ones. They have a beautiful coat with leopard spots standing out in contrast to a cat's background coat colour. They have wedge shaped heads with nice large ears which are set well apart on a cat's head. Their eyes are nicely outlined with black giving a cat a wild look about them adding to the overall appearance of a mini-leopard.
The Spangled cat is active, energetic and intelligent being affectionate and gentle all rolled into a lovely wild looking body. There is nothing they enjoy more than to jump up high so they can look down on the world from a high vantage point. They boast a very high prey drive and like to be able to explore the great outdoors. With this said, cats should only be allowed to roam around outside if it is safe for them to do so.
Luckily, they are also known to be highly adaptable which means they are happy to be kept as indoor pets providing they are given lots of attention and things to do to prevent boredom setting in. They form very strong bonds with their families and are better suited to households where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they never spend too much time on their own. The other thing to bear in mind is that because Spangled Cats are so rare and therefore very expensive, it is best to keep them as indoor pets just in case they get stolen.
Because the Spangled Cat is such a gentle and laid-back character they are known to make wonderful family pets although they are best suited to households where the children are slightly older. They also get on well with dogs they have grown up with, but care should be taken when a California Spangled Cat is around smaller animals and pets because of their high prey drive.