The California Spangled Cat is a breed with a rather unique origin story. Inspired to create a domestic feline with spots like an ocelot or leopard, “Lassie” writer Paul Casey and anthropologist Louis Leakey experimented for over 15 years before realizing their vision.
The result was a breed developed from eight different domestic cats:
- Cat of the Nile
- Brown Tabby
- Malayan tropical house cat
- Spotted Silver Longhair
Casey and Leakey designed the breed to have the distinct spots of a wildcat, but the domesticated nature of a house cat. They hoped that this unique mix would generate awareness of the illegal poaching of wildcats and discourage the purchasing of fur coats. Debuting in the 1986 Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog, the Califoria Spangled secured its reputation as one of the most exclusive and expensive Christmas gifts. Each cat cost $1400 and lucky pet parents would have their new companion hand delivered by Paul Casey. This was not the first time that an animal had made the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog. Previous animals that made the cut were camels, ostriches, and shar-pei puppies.
Founding pet parents also became members of the American Spangled Cat Association, receiving a newsletter written by Casey himself.
Size and Temperament
The California Spangled is of a medium to large size, and weight ranges from 8-15 pounds. They are relatively active cats that need a larger house or yard for running, playing, and climbing. Owners know them to be affectionate, and they’re great as a family pet. Also, there are no documented breed-specific health problems for this mixed breed.
Their popularity has waned due to recent interest in Bengal and Savannah breeds, but California Spangled Cats can still be found in rescue groups and at local shelters.