Chausie: Cat Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Chausie Cat

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The Chausie cat is a relatively new cat breed that was created in the 1990s in the United States. The Chausie (pronounced “chow-see”) was developed by breeding domestic cats and a wild cat species called the Jungle Cat (felis chaus). In appearance, the Chausie looks wild, but this fully domesticated breed is a sociable, affectionate and good-natured house pet. 

In form and function, the Chausie is meant to closely resemble its wild ancestor. It has a long, sloping forehead, high cheekbones and a long muzzle, with a full, slightly rounded chin and wide nose with puffy nose leather. It is large and tall with long legs and a deep chest, but it is not a bulky cat. The Chausie’s athletic, lanky, lean body is built for running and jumping—the breed standard compares their body type to that of a basketball player or Olympic long jumper. 

The triangular ears are tall, large, and wide, with rounded tips and preferably ear tufts—tiny bits of hair that stick up from the tips of the ears. The tail may be shorter than a typical cat tail, ranging in length from three-quarters to full length, with preference being given to a slightly shorter tail.

The Chausie’s short, slightly coarse coat comes in three colors: brown ticked tabby (sandy gray to reddish gold with two to three bands of dark ticking around each hair and preferably tabby barring on the tail, upper inside of the front legs and to the hock on the back legs); black grizzled ticked (a pattern inherited from its Jungle Cat ancestors, the hair shaft is banded with lighter coloration at the skin, alternating dark and lighter bands of ticking and ending with a dark tip); and black (solid black).

The Chausie is a highly active and playful cat that needs lots stimulation and company. This is not the best breed for people who are away from the house many hours a day. Confident, assertive and outgoing, Chausies are loyal and affectionate with their human families, getting along well with people of all ages, including respectful children. They can live peacefully with dogs and other cats when introduced properly and raised with them. 

Breed Overview

Weight: About 15 to 25 pounds

Length: About 20 to 22 inches

Coat: Short to medium, with a dense, soft undercoat and a somewhat resilient, slightly coarser outer coat

Coat Color: Brown ticked tabby, black grizzled ticked tabby, or black

Eye Color: Any color, including blue or odd-eyed

Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years

Characteristics of the Chausie Cat

 Affection Level   High
 Friendliness   High
 Kid-Friendly   High 
 Pet-Friendly High 
 Exercise Needs   High
 Playfulness   High
 Energy Level   High
 Intelligence   High
 Tendency to Vocalize Medium
 Amount of Shedding Medium
Chausie Cat

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Jungle Cat (felis chaus)

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Chausie

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History of the Chausie Cat

The Chausie is a hybrid breed created from breedings between domesticated cats and the wild species known as the Jungle Cat (felis chaus). The Jungle Cat is an ancient wild cat that has been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians, who appeared to have domesticated them and cherished them as pets. This is evidenced by drawings and Jungle Cat mummies found alongside their human owners in Egyptian tombs. 

In the 1990s, some breeders set out to create a domestic cat breed that closely resembled the Jungle Cat. Many different breeds of domestic cat were used in the early Chausie breeding program, including the Abyssinian and the domestic shorthair (mixed-breed shorthaired cats).

Eventually, the breeders succeeded in their quest to develop a new breed and christened it the Chausie, basing the moniker on the Latin name for the Jungle Cat (felis chaus). The Chausie has been recognized by the International Cat Association since 1995. In 2013, the breed was granted championship status by TICA, which allows cats to compete in cat shows for titles. 

Chausie Cat Care

The Chausie’s short, slightly coarse coat is easy to care for. Simply brush weekly with a soft slicker brush to keep shedding to a minimum. Bathe occasionally and trim your Chausie’s nails every two or three weeks. Be sure to look inside your cat’s ears about once a week. You should not see any redness or excessive debris in the ears. If you do, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. If the ears look just slightly dirty, clean with a pet-safe ear cleaner and cotton ball and or square of gauze (never stick a cotton swab inside a cat’s ear). 

Chausies are extremely active and inquisitive cats. Always in motion, Chausies love to play, run, jump, climb, and explore, and many even like water. They are known to open cabinets and rummage through their contents—child locks might be helpful to prevent especially curious Chausies from making a mess of things. Provide a variety of acceptable surfaces for scratching, which is a natural and enjoyable feline behavior. Scratching posts or cat trees are great for cats that like to scratch vertically. Cardboard or sisal scratchers that lie on the ground are good for cats that like to scratch horizontally.

Highly intelligent, Chausies love learning new things. Described as “dog-like,” some Chausies like to play fetch and even like wearing a harness and leash and going for walks outside. In general, the breed is easy to live with and fun to be around. They are extremely social cats and need a family that can be home with them a lot to provide engagement and companionship. Most Chausies reliably use a litter box, though occasionally some Chausies that have more wild blood might be more prone to spraying or litter box issues. 

Common Health Problems

Some pedigreed cat breeds are prone to developing certain genetically-linked diseases, but the Chausie is quite healthy and has few health concerns. Responsible Chausie breeders select their breeding cats carefully and avoid breeding cats with health issues. Many reputable breeders also offer a health guarantee for their kittens.

Diet and Nutrition

While obesity is a concern among cats in general, most Chausies are naturally so active that they rarely become overweight. Feed a high-quality diet and serve measured amounts twice a day for adult cats rather than free feeding (leaving food out all day). Talk to your breeder or veterinarian about the best type of food to feed.

Pros
  • Easy-care coat

  • Intelligent and active

  • Friendly with people and pets

Cons
  • Rare; hard to find 

  • Needs a lot of attention

  • Doesn’t do well if left alone

Where to Adopt or Buy a Chausie Cat

Chausies are extremely rare. The International Cat Association maintains a list of active breeders on its website. If you’re considering buying a Chausie kitten, try visiting a local cat show, where you can see many different cat breeds and connect with reputable breeders. To find a cat show in your area, do an internet search for “cat show near me.” Due to the breed’s rarity, you’re unlikely to find a Chausie at your local animal shelter, but breeders often facilitate when one of the cats they’ve bred needs rehoming. 

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Chausie cat, you might also like these cat breeds:

Otherwise, check out all of our other cat breed articles to help you find the perfect cat for you and your family.