The Chinchilla cat line is thought to have originated in 1882 when a silver Angora type female was mated with a non-pedigree male of similar colouring. One daughter from their litter, called Chinnie, became the first title holder for Chinchillas. She was preserved on her passing and still remains on display at the London Natural History Museum today!
Chinchilla cats are actually a type of Persian cat, and remain one of the most popular type of longhaired cats on the market. Their name is said to comes from that of the South American rodent also called the Chinchilla, whose fur coat is also silver to white two-toned, and has a dense velvet like feel to it. The pedigree has been very carefully “manufactured” over time by breeders to ensure that the line of Chinchilla cats remains as pure and close to the original as possible.
So how should Chinchilla look like if you are thinking of showing them off? Looking at a pedigree Chinchilla coat you can see the undercoat is a pure, snowy white. The back, flanks, head, ears and tail should be white tipped with black giving them a silvery appearance when you look at them. At a show the judge would look to ensure that the chin, ear furnishings, stomach and chest are all a pure white as well. Any uneven marking on the coat of tabby, brown or cream styles are considered undesirable in show, but they are still lovely pets! The best colouring for the eyes of a Chinchilla cat is emerald or blue, look for deep even colouring in the eyes as this is preferable.
Like other longhair cat varieties its important to make sure that you groom the cat as often if possible, indeed daily in the cooler months. Chinchillas will shed their hair rapidly, so best not to wear black around them or you will end up just covered in fur every day. Their eyes sometimes may become runny, so keep an eye out and ensure that you help wipe away and build up on their eyes. Chinchillas do not cope well in the warmer summer months, so its best to keep them indoors in a cool environment with air conditioning if you live somewhere quite warm or are having a particularly hot summer.
There are a few health problems you should take note of to look out for in Chinchilla cats. Firstly there is Cardiomyopathy which is a heart condition known to occur in younger cats and kittens. Next there is Polycystic kidney disease, which has been known to affects cats between 3-10 years. Usually this is fatal to the cat and can be a very sad experience for the owner. Lastly there is the never ending annoyance of hairballs if the cat is not groomed well enough to ensure the hair which has fallen out remains on the hairbrush and not in the cats stomach. Be sure to take your Chinchilla to the vet often for checkups and watch their behaviour to ensure its not out of the ordinary!
Breed Information Panel
Coat – Thick and dense with two toned white and silver coloration.
Eyes – Emerald or blue green, visible line around eyes in black or dark brown.
Other Features – Nose leather in brick red and Paw pads in black or dark brown.
Grooming – Demanding, thorough and daily is advised.
Temperament – Placid, occasionally livelier than other Persians.