Bahrain is a small island just off the east coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Bahrain (or Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn) literally means "Kingdom of the two Seas". Significantly 92 percent of the 257 sq mile area of the island is a flat desert plain, so 'Dilmun' cats have a tough time of it.
The mottled and striped Bahrain Dilmun have very distinctive markings and vary in colour from dark brown, through ginger, lightening to gold and silver. These Bahraini cats were called the 'Dilmun Cat' it is believed after the local ancient name of the Island. They generally appear as slender, elegant tabbies with beautiful silky coats that are said to the feel like a Persian carpet.
'Dilmun' both hardy & friendly
Photograph: courtesy of Adele O'Shea
Dilmun cats have managed to adapt over the centuries to accommodate the harsh climatic conditions of Bahrain such as the extreme summer temperatures (max 35 °C /95 °F ) and high humidity in the evening. Also rainfall in Bahrain is minimal and irregular. Presumably they have developed large ears and a short fur allowing them to transpire and dissipate heat from their bodies more easily. It is perhaps not surprising that Dilmuns are generally fond of water (like the Bengal Cat) no doubt due to the cooling effect of drinking and being near water in the extreme heat. Also they are inclined to sleep during the daylight hours and to appear from their shelters revived and lively in the evening [no change there then from the U.K. domestic cats I've seen, Ed]. Of course in the cooler months they do often become more active during the day.
Generally Dilmuns cats are looked upon with disdain in their home land, which is likely due to their opportunistic nature in that they frequent areas of human habitation, where there is a sufficient supply of food (scraps and rodents) and enough shelter. This is unfortunate as the cats of Bahrain are particularly endearing creatures because of their friendly and likable personalities.
Dilmuns are adaptable creatures, able to breed and feed in amongst the roughly built sheltered housing areas of the island. However today with modern commercial development taking place these usual habitats are slowly disappearing due to demolition of old style building and replacement with modern concrete architecture.
Lets hope the Dilmun can survive these changes to their environment.