Wild or ‘jungle’ cats, thought to have been favoured by the Ancient Egyptians, contributed to the development of the Chausie. It is highly likely that domestic cats encountered these feral animals along the banks of the Nile, or when they trespassed into their homes, and thus the cats went on to breed. The resulting hybrid cat, known as the Chausie, thereby reflects both its forbears in appearance, structure and temperament. The jungle cat was held in high esteem by the Egyptians, who often had these adept hunters mummified with them when they were buried in tombs. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of enthusiasts and breeders, the Chausie, named after Felis chaus (meaning ‘jungle cat’) was granted championship status in 2013.
A medium to large-sized breed, fractionally smaller than a Maine Coon but larger than a Siamese, the Chausie is often mistaken for the Abyssinian in appearance and structure. With large, wide-spaced ears, a long body and nimble legs, the Chausie is well suited to hunting and climbing. As a breed standard, the Chausie is only permissible in three colours, including black with grizzled tabby patterning, solid black, or black with ticked tabby patterning. Usually out-crossed with the Abyssinian and the domestic shorthair, numerous other colour variations are seen due to the domestic shorthair not being one single breed.
Very popular although difficult to come by, the Chausie is a highly affectionate cat breed, well suited to indoor or outdoor living. Due to their ‘wild’ blood, the Chausie is both athletic and inquisitive and should be provided with plenty of interactive toys, scratching posts and companionship if housed permanently indoors. Additionally, the breed is compatible with both children and other house pets when introduced to them gradually, and possesses a natural love of people. For this reason, Chausies do not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time, and benefit from having another cat in the home. On average, a healthy Chausie will weigh between 9-15 pounds depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 15 years.
The Chausie is a hybrid cat and so any breed-specific or genetic health conditions are difficult to determine. It is generally thought that the Chausie is a healthy and resilient breed, providing its needs are met and it is housed indoors.