Sarsenstone Cattery, The Chausie Nile
Sarsenstone Cattery's Chausie Nile

Wrong and Wronger
Misconceptions About Chausies

Tasurt Tor of Sarsenstone, an excellent example of the Chausie breed
 
New breeds generate a lot of excitement and flurries of publicity. Unfortunately, with that, rumors and factoids spread like wildfire. People not experienced with the breed jump to conclusions. Sometimes writers or new breeders are quick to write about the breed without adequately researching it or seeking broader perspectives.

This page tries to address some of the more common errors.

Factoid: "Chausies typically are 15 to 30 pounds." 

Truth: The Chausie is an ectomorphic breed. It's built for leaping and running. Consequently, it is a lanky cat, but not a heavy cat. Chausies are a breed of domestic cat. They are no larger and no heavier than other domestic cats. They do tend to be a little above average in size, but only a little. Typically they are between 8 and 15 pounds, with females tending toward the lower end of that range and males toward the higher end. At the present time, Maine Coons are usually larger than Chausies.

Factoid: "Chausies are descended from the African Golden Jungle Cat and a domestic cat." 

Truth: Chausies are descended from the Asian Jungle Cat (Felis chaus). While there are a handful of Jungle Cats living in the Nile Delta of Egypt, that's just the itty bitty edge of Africa. The vast majority of Jungle Cats live by rivers and lakes in Asia, especially in India and Pakistan.

Also, Jungle Cats are not all "golden." They are usually ticked tabbies, with hints of mackerel pattern, especially in the younger cats. The overall impression you get (due to the background color) is in a range from golden to sand-colored to granite gray and all the way to black. The black ones virtually all seem to be grizzled. That means they have alternating white bands on a lot of the hairs of their coat, giving them a starry or frosted appearance. So, they come in many different shades and variations in pattern.

In contrast to Jungle Cats, today's Chausies are currently allowed to come in solid black as well as in the range of ticked tabby colors.

Factoid: "Chausies are wild cat hybrids.

Truth: Chausies are not a hybrid. According to the dictionary, a hybrid is an individual offspring of two different species. For example, a mule is a hybrid born of a horse and a donkey.

Chausies are not a hybrid. They are a domestic breed of cat, where the parents are the same species, all the parents look a lot alike, and they look a lot like their offspring. Although derived from Jungle Cats 15 years ago, the vast majority of Chausies nowadays are more than 80% domestic in ancestry. They look like each other, breed to each other, and produce kittens like each other. 

Factoid: "Chausies are unpredictable." 

Truth: Chausies are just as predictable as any other breed of cat. They are highly intelligent, logical, rational animals. Because they are cats, first and foremost, they won't necessarily do what you want them to all the time. But they do what makes sense to them, and they aren't hard to understand or predict if you understand how they think. They are friendly, affectionate, and easy to live with.

Factoid: "Chausies can't be trusted around children." 

Truth: Chausies are just as trustworthy around children as any other kind of cat. In fact, in many ways they are better with children on average than most breeds because they LOVE to play and they love activity and excitement. They hate being alone, which means they are often much happier in a family of adults and kids than as an only cat with just one adult.

Factoid: "Chausies will destroy everything in your house." 

Truth: Chausies are domestic cats. They are no better and no worse than other domestic cats. Train them to a scratching post, give them toys and attention daily, and they are fine. They are easier to live with than many dogs because they are usually smaller and less potentially destructive than dogs.

Factoid: "Chausies are biters." 

Truth: Chausies are very active and love to play. They will chew and kick your hand playfully if you let them, but so will pretty much all domestic cats. And, just like all other types of domestic cats, Chausies occasionally will bluff you. For example, if you clip their claws and they aren't used to that, they might act like they are going to "clip" you back. An eye for an eye. :-) But they don't. I've called that bluff many a time. They learn to accept the nail clipping with equanimity. Again, I've enountered that just as often with traditional domestic breeds of cat as with Chausies.

You should teach all domestic cats from an early age to play with toys, never directly with your hand. The cute bunny-kicking cats do as kittens is not so cute when the cat is full grown with adult claws and strength. Nonetheless, a decently reared domestic cat never bites with intent to harm. I once was holding a Chausie when someone started running an electric egg beater from behind a curtain at a cat show. It scared him so badly that he scratched me in his efforts to escape the egg beater monster and run away, but he did not try to bite me or try to deliberately harm me. He calmed down quickly and I was soon able to pick him up.

Factoid: "Chausies need lots of space to run."

Truth: Chausies don't need any more space than a Maine Coon or a Siamese. They need less space than most dogs. If you have a house or a reasonable size apartment with scratching posts, toys, windows to look out of, and some daily attention from yourself, they are fine.

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