New Shorthairs - Shorthaired Cats

Even more so than for longhaired cats, new Shorthairs are remarkable for what breeders have been able to achieve. They include the American Curl, which has ears that curve away from the face, the American Bobtail, which has a tail rather like a powder-puff, the California Spangled, which is spotted, and the cats featured here – the Bengal, Ocicat, and Scottish Fold.

History
Cat fanciers have always tried to push back the genetic frontiers of feline breeds, but they have probably never been so ingenious as in recent years – a trend that will no doubt continue, with the creation of ever more new cats.

Temperament
The temperaments of new Shorthairs are as diverse as their origins.

Varieties
With each new breed that comes into being, the challenge to develop new varieties is usually rapidly taken up.

Bengal
An extremely expensive cat of which there are up to two hundred in the US, where it originated. It was developed by crossing the Asian leopard cat with a Tabby, in the express aim of creating a wild-looking cat that had the gentle temperament of a domestic Shorthair. The result is one of the most beguiling felines around, and must rank high on the list of breeding successes.

Picture: Bengal

Body
Long, sleek and muscular.

Coat
The fur is short to medium in length, silky, soft, and thick. The color should consist of dark, random or horizontally aligned, spots on a rufus ground color. “Rosettes”, light spots within a darker outer circle, are accepted.

Tail
Long and muscular.

Legs
Relatively short. Hind legs are shorter than forelegs, giving a “stalking” appearance.

Feet
The paws are very large and round.

Head
Should be large in size, with a short nose.

Eyes
Large and round.

Ears
Small to medium in size.

Facial Characteristics
Bengal.

Picture: Bengal Kitten

Bengal Kitten
Although Bengal kittens are born spotted, their initially rough fur disguises the pattering for three to four months.

Ocicat
This American cat was the unexpected result of an attempt to produce an Aby-pointed Siamese. Its spotted coat, tabby face and resemblance to a small ocelot won instant admiration, and breeding lines were quickly established. American Shorthairs were subsequently added to the foundation breeds of the Abyssinian and Siamese to increase the number of color varieties. The Ocicat achieved championship status in 1987, and is renowned for the dog-like devotion that it forms toward its owners.

Picture: Ocicat

Body
Large, well-muscled, graceful, and lithe.

Coat
The fur is short, glossy, fine, close-lying, and ticked with several bands of color. The dark spots should be clearly defined against the lighter background.

Tail
Fairly long and slim, with a slight taper.

Legs
Medium-long, powerful, and in proportion to the body.

Feet
The paws are compact and oval, with five toes on the front paws, and four on the back.

Head
A modified wedge in shape, with a broad muzzle and a short nose.

Eyes
Large, almond=shaped, and slightly slanted.

Ears
Moderately large in size.

Facial Characteristics
Ocicat.

Scottish Fold
If records are correct, the gene for folded ears has been present in the domestic feline population for one hundred and fifty years or so, but the modern cat arose from a mutant kitten that appeared in1966 in Scotland, from where it was exported to the US in the early 1970s.

Picture: Scottish Fold

Body
Medium in size, rounded and well padded.

Coat
The fur should be short, dense, and resilient. Almost all colors and coat patterns are accepted.

Tail
Medium in length, and flexible.

Legs
Medium in length, and fairly muscular.

Feet
The paws are neat and round.

Head
Well rounded, with full cheeks, and a short, straight nose.

Eyes
Large, round and set well apart.

Ears
Should be small and neat, rounded at the tips, and set wide apart. The front of the ear should fold over to completely cover the ear opening.

Facial Characteristics
Scottish Fold.

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