What is a Chausie cat? Chausie cats are intelligent, friendly pets with striking features. They get some of their looks, as well as their name, from the jungle cat (felis chaus). Ancient Egyptians originally domesticated the jungle Cat. As time passed, jungle cats were bred with other domestic cats, resulting in the Chausie.
Even though their ancestors were wild cats, Chausies don’t display any wild behavior. Instead, they’re considerably social and good natured. They’re incredibly intelligent and very curious and active, even into adulthood.
They’re easy on the eyes, too. Chausies have a long, lean athletic build and high, slanting cheekbones. Their eyes are green or gold, and they have a variety of coat colors from brown tabby to jet black.
Chausie Cat Characteristics
Chausie cats are medium-to-large-sized cats with short hair. They’re categorized as a hybrid breed cat. That means they’ve originated from a wild ancestor and been bred to retain their wild looks.
Not to worry, though: they don’t have any wild personality traits. They’ve been bred as domestic cats for several generations and are perfectly safe to have in your home.
A Chausie size is anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds, with the females weighing slightly less than males. They grow about 20 inches in length and can live up to 15 years.
Their bodies are long and lean, perfect for running at high speeds and making high jumps. They have high, angled cheekbones and high set ears. Some Chausies have tufting on the ears that enhances their wild looks.
Chausies are made for activity. They have deep chests for breath capacity but are quite slender and graceful. They're ready to pounce when need be.
Their eyes are angled and flat on the upper lid and almond-shaped on the bottom. They’re usually colored gold, yellow, or green. They have a longer forehead and muzzle to balance their face.
Chausie cats generally come in black or different shades of brown.
They have a variety of pattern types:
It’s not uncommon for their coat patterns to change throughout their lives. You might get a tabby Chausie kitten who grows into a solid color coat.
Chausie cat personalities are one of a kind. They’re very intelligent pets and love to spend time with their owners. Chausies need something to occupy them and keep their mind stimulated, so they’re not recommended for people who might not be home for most of the day. They do well with other cats, and even dogs if they’ve been raised together.
Toys and activities are important for these cats. They love to run, jump on objects and play with you. It’s best if you have surfaces where they can jump and have some space for them to roam.
This high energy breed will keep themselves busy and occupied one way or another, and if left alone for long periods of time, they may not occupy themselves in a way you would like. They can jump up to six feet into the air and have a tendency to take things out of your cabinets if they are left unsecured.
On the plus side, they’re extremely affectionate and love to learn new tricks. It’s not uncommon to see a Chausie walking on a leash or even chasing toys in a game of fetch.
Chausies are well-suited for families and are extremely loyal. They react well to young children and will engage with them during playtime.
Caring for Chausie Cats
Feeding is one area where Chausies can require specific care. Eating meat is sometimes recommended for these cats to maintain good health.
Some Chausies may suffer also from allergies to ingredients in common cat food. Some Chausie owners choose to make their cat’s food from scratch or order from a specialty store. If you decide to go that route, though, consult your vet about what nutrients must be included in their diet.
Grooming your Chausie isn’t all that different from other domestic shorthair cats. They have a short, coarse coat that only needs semi-regular brushing to maintain. They don’t shed all that much, and while not hypoallergenic, might be more suitable for allergy sufferers than other cats.
They will need regular maintenance on their nails and teeth as well. Trim their nails once a month. You can also purchase special toothpaste for cats over the counter or through a recommendation from your vet. Maintaining their oral health is important and can save you time and cost instead of dental surgery later in life.
Chausies are exceptionally active cats, and you will need to keep that in mind before choosing one as a pet. They thrive on attention and activity and even like to be taken for walks outside on a leash. They appreciate plenty of stimulating toys available for them to play with, and return the favor by offering lifelong loyalty and affection.
Due to their rare nature, Chausie cats are commonly purchased from a breeder. The breeder will usually give the kittens their first shots, but you will need to follow up with one or more visits to the vet throughout the year for vaccines and preventative care.
A vaccination schedule includes core and non-core vaccines given to your cat throughout a certain period of time.
The core vaccines your cat must receive in the U.S. include rabies and distemper. Rabies is a fatal disease. Most places in the U.S. legally require your pet to be vaccinated against rabies.
A distemper shot protects your cat from three diseases:
- Feline herpes (feline viral rhinotracheitis)
- Feline distemper (feline panleukopenia)
- FeLV (calicivirus plus Feline leukemia virus)
Your vet will likely recommend prevention of fleas, ticks, and worms. These medicines are usually given orally or applied to the skin periodically throughout the year.
Health Problems to Watch for With Chausie Cats
Chausie cats have shorter intestinal tracts than other house cats. This is thought to be because of their wildcat ancestry.
The shortened length of their intestines can cause some complications in the digestive system. They can have a low tolerance to some plant-based foods which, over time, can cause inflammatory bowel disease.
Special Considerations for Chausie Cats
The active nature of Chausie cats means whoever owns one should be prepared to accommodate them.
Chausies will usually get along with both cats and dogs, especially if they’ve grown up together. A companion cat might be good company for a Chausie if you need to leave the house for a few hours at a time.
They get along well with young children and can stay entertained while playing with your little ones.
Chausies need stimulating company, toys, and exercise. They love to run and jump on surfaces and will also be happy for a leashed walk outside.
Chausies aren’t hypoallergenic, but they also don’t shed hair in large quantities. They could be suitable for those who suffer from moderate dander allergies because they don’t leave lots of hair in common areas of the home.
History of Chausie Cats
Chausies are one of several hybrid cat breeds with traits somewhere between domestic and wild. These breeds were created in response to the ownership of wild cats. Chausies, Bengals, Savannahs, and Toyger cats all fall into this category.
Jungle cats are the Chausie’s wildcat ancestors. They were first domesticated in ancient Egypt because they were good at hunting and trainable.
The ancient Egyptians got so attached to their jungle cat pets that they were often mummified and buried with their owners. They believed this ensured they would be together in the afterlife.
Interestingly, there are some similarities between the jungle cat and the Egyptian goddess Bastet. Statues of her reveal resemblances between her and the revered cat.
There are instances of the jungle cat naturally breeding with domestic cats all around the world, but the first officially documented breeding was recorded in 1990.
By 1995, the Chausie was recognized as its own breed by the International Cat Association (TICA). In 2013, Chausies were given championship status.
Even though Chausies have wildcat heritage, there is enough distance from their jungle cat ancestor that you won’t have to worry about any wild behavior. Chausies are easily trainable and eager to please their owners.
Chausies will make a great pet if you have the time and energy to attend to their needs.