Charles Dickens said there is no greater gift than the love of a cat and with so many breeds to pick from, you are spoilt for choice. Of course, each breed has its characteristics that differentiate it from the rest; among the many, yet very rare is the California Spangled. It was bred in the 1980s and was once the second most expensive cat at $24,000. Today you can buy it for between $800 and $2,500 so if you are interested in having one you might as well learn everything about it and these ten facts will get you started.
1. Why it was named “spangled”
The thing with marketing is that you have to differentiate your product for customers to distinguish it from your competition easily. That is why manufacturers sue anyone who tries to copy their product’s name or even logos. That being said, even if the California Spangled cat had spots, Paul knew that his new breed had to be distinguished from the spotted tabby and Ocicat. As a result, he creatively came up with “Spangled.”
2. Its breeder faced a lot of backlash
Despite the novelty of the idea and the reason behind the breeding of the new breed being so noble, Paul’s decision was not well received. According to Messy Beast, the idea of the California Spangled angered so many people, including animal rights activists who were against breeding it in the first place. Others believed with the already spotted breeds registered, there was no need to add another one while some still felt the hype around the cat demeaned the feline to more of a commodity than an animal. The funny thing is that even Paul’s employees thought it was hypocritical of him to promote an animal that was not supposed to be killed for its fur, yet the store they operated sold fur.
3. It was an instant hit in the market
The backlash that Paul faced did not stop clients from calling to place their orders. The breed was in such high demand that immediately it was introduced to the public through the cover of a catalog, 53 orders were made in less than three weeks. The store could get as many as 400 calls a day inquiring about the availability of the cats, and they had a waiting list since the available ones were sold out. Between October and December 1986, Paul was expecting an increased demand.
4. Why the breeder decided to breed it
After accompanying Louis Leakey to the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, the two men saw how poaching of the leopard was causing the dwindling numbers of the wild animals. Therefore, Louis Leakey encouraged Paul to breed animals that resembled leopards or ocelots to raise awareness regarding the killing of small wildcats for their fur. They also wanted to discourage keeping the wildcats in harsh conditions as exotic pets while also pushing to preserve the leopard. Consequently, Paul thought of having a domestic cat that resembled a leopard hence called it a “house-leopard” to ensure that people viewed it as a pet and not a wild animal whose fur they would want to wear.
5. It was first sold to the public as a Christmas gift in 1986
Given the demand that the California Spangled cat had, it made sense for Paul to sell it as his- her Christmas gift. Each cat went for $1,400, and the store could not keep up with the orders since each litter only had three to five kittens. The his-hers gift idea was a tradition at Paul’ store, but with this cat, each customer got the order delivered by Paul himself or his representative.
6. It has eight bloodlines
Getting the spotted look and other desired characteristics made Paul look for specific animals to crossbreed; thus, Paul came up with a blueprint that comprised 11 generations. The first spangled cat, therefore, was as a result of crossbreeding a spotted silver Angora and a female Siamese; this selection resulted in the close-lying soft fur he was seeking. Other cats used include the Abyssinian, British Shorthair, spotted brown tabby Manx, an Egyptian street cat, American Shorthair and a Malayan street cat.
7. They are ideal pets
The California Spangled cat may look like a wild animal, but it is one of the safest animals to have at home. It not only is affectionate but according to Wamiz, it also is very playful, friendly and energetic.
8. Initially thought to have wild blood
Paul Casey kept denying that the cat breed does not have any wild blood, but the animal’s characteristics and behavior led people to believe that it does. Besides the sharp hunting skills, the cat would not laze around on the floor but preferred high vantage points as if looking for prey as wild animals do. They remained in the high perches quietly observing until they saw something that sparked their interest. Due to this behavior, there was a controversy that it has some Bengal blood.
9. It is considered extinct
After perfecting the breed for ten years, the California Spangled cat was even recognized legitimate enough to be registered. Therefore in 1986, it was entered in the TICA (The International Cat Association) registry, and five years later, it was registered by the American Cat Association (ACA). Paul closed the breed to outcrosses because he wanted to preserve that distinct look of the California Spangled cat. In 2000, it was considered extinct after being overshadowed by other spotted cats. Consequently, you can longer find it in the TICA and ACA registry.
10. Great for those with allergies
If you cannot go without sneezing due to the mere presence of cats yet you would like one as a furry companion, the California Spangled will cater to your needs. As Kittywise explains, the breed may not be hypoallergenic, but the fact that it produces less dander than other breeds makes it an excellent choice for those who are allergic. Also, the cats are very good at grooming themselves so you will barely have to deal with dander.