Believed to hail from the mountain regions of Cyprus, the Cyprus Shorthair or ‘Aphrodite’ as it is otherwise known, is thought to be a truly ancient breed with an origin that pre-dates Egyptian cats by roughly 4,000 years. There is evidence to suggest that these cats are linked to St. Nicholas of the Cats, a Byzantine monastery, because they were imported during the 4th century to help control an infestation of dangerous snakes in the building. Whilst these cats used to be quite common in native Cyprus, today they are rarely observed in coastal areas of the country. The Cyprus Shorthair is not independently recognised by any major cat registries.
The Cyprus Shorthair is a cat of slender and athletic build, with long legs, a triangular face, erect ears and slightly oblique eyes. The coat is sleek and dense, and insulates the cat from the mountain colds it is used to. The breed’s athletic structure aids it in climbing, and the Cyprus Shorthair is known for its climbing and hunting abilities. Generally speaking, the Cyprus Shorthair boasts a tabby patterned coat, although many colours and patternings are permissible. These cats are rarely seen in the domestic setting so there is limited information on their physical appearance or structure, and outcrossing with feral cats has meant there are great variations in these traits.
Owners of this breed have described its energetic, inquisitive and fun-loving temperament that makes it a delightful house cat. Highly sociable and adaptable to new situations, people and other pets, the Cyprus Shorthair is a suitable breed choice for young families. It is not uncommon for this breed to resist being handled, preferring instead to act aloof and independent, although there are breeders that contest this, describing the Cyprus Shorthair as the ideal lap cat. On average, a fully-grown Shorthair will weigh 8-12 pounds, with a typical life expectancy of 12-15 years.
Due to the relative rarity of the Cyprus Shorthair, precious little is known about any genetic or breed-specific health conditions. It is safe to assume the breed is hardy due to the nature of its early existence.