A relatively new breed that is not recognised by any of the major registries, the York Chocolate first emerged in 1983 when it was noticed in a litter produced by a longhaired, black male cat and a black and white female. The cat, given the name Brownie by farm owner Janet Cheifari, boasted a semi-longhaired coat in rich chocolate brown, which caught her eye immediately. Brownie produced her own litter the following summer, which included a chocolate brown, semi-longhaired male. This was eventually bred back to Brownie, thus developing a new generation of York Chocolate. Chiefari decided upon its name easily, choosing to include mention of its handsome colour and of her hometown, New York. The breed is still considered ‘experimental’ by many cat associations that choose not to register it as a distinct breed.
A hardy and athletic farm cat in structure and appearance, the York Chocolate is both handsome and distinctive, boasting nimble legs, a heavy carriage, wide-spaced, round-tipped ears, bright eyes in green, hazel or amber, a plumed tail and semi-longhaired coat. The coat should either be solid chocolate brown, bicolour chocolate and white or bicolour chocolate and lilac, darkening as the cat matures from a kitten. The coat requires moderate grooming and is soft and plush to the touch. The York Chocolate is a keen and capable climber, having developed on a farm, and possesses strong hunter instincts. Owning a low, rumbling purr that has been described to sound like an engine ticking over, the York will communicate softly with you when it wants your attention.
In terms of its agreeability with domestic living, the York Chocolate is well suited to an active family environment with children and other house pets. Welcoming strangers into the fold with vigour and friendliness, the York Chocolate gains admirers easily for its gentle and amiable disposition. Despite this, the York is not your typical lap cat, but manages well enough when left to its own devices. That said, this cat will not respond well to being alone for long periods of time, having a natural love of people and everyday activity. To keep your York Chocolate entertained and stimulated throughout the day, ensure a variety of interactive toys and playthings, as well as your companionship, are readily available. On average, a healthy York will weigh between 10-14 pounds, with a life expectantly of roughly 15 years.
The York Chocolate is not susceptible to any known genetic or breed-specific ailments, but of course will suffer from common feline health complaints just like any other breed.