Despite its popularity, precious little is known about the origins of the Asian cat breed. It is widely believed that the Asian developed in Britain in 1981 by the selective breeding efforts of Baroness Miranda von Kirchberg. Besides this, there is limited factual information on the breed’s evolution or its original forbears. The Asian is likened to the Burmese and the breed group comprises five cats, including the Burmilla, Asian Tabby, Asian Smoke, Asian Self and the Longhaired Tiffanie. The Asian cat is sometimes referred to as the Malayan – this name was adopted in the United States in 1980 to cover all colour varieties of the non-traditional Burmese. The name ‘Malayan’ was probably inspired by the Burmese’ areas of origin - Burma, Malaya and Thailand.
The breed is described as medium-sized, with an athletic build, a broad muzzle, wide-set ears, and a tapering tail. The coat is typically short and close, and requires little in the way of grooming. All colour varieties are permissible with the breed, with black, brown, sable, lilac, blue, chocolate and red being the most common varieties. The Asian is a highly intelligent and active breed that benefits from being outdoors, although it is well suited to indoor or outdoor living, providing its needs for exercise, stimulation and companionship are met with.
Like the Burmese, the temperament of the Asian is gentle and affectionate, and the cat is highly devoted to its owner and family. Interactive toys are a must if this cat is to be kept indoors, as its intelligent nature demands mental stimulation throughout the day. A bored cat is often a destructive cat, so providing things for it to do is essential. A very sociable breed, the Asian appreciates the company of other cats, and dislikes being left alone for long periods of time. On average, a healthy Asian cat at full maturity will weigh 8-15 pounds, although there are discrepancies across gender. The typical life expectancy of the breed is 15 years, but this will vary depending on whether the cat is housed indoors or out.
Generally speaking, the health of the Asian breed is very good, and few genetic or breed-specific conditions are identified. Polycystic Kidney Disease is one complaint that is documented in the breed, although not with any great prevalence.
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