Cat of the Month ~ September 2011
A healthy Caracal cat is sleek, muscular and highly territorial.
The Caracal is widely distributed across Africa, Central Asia, and south-west Asia into India. While it is relatively common, there is concern over the status of populations on the edge of its range in the Central Asian republics and in Pakistan. Its chief habitat is dry steppe and semi-desert, but it also inhabits woodlands, Savannah, and scrub forest.
Caracal prefer to live in open country, but only where there are scattered bushes and rocks from which it can spring to ambush its prey. A fully grown male Caracal typically weighs 13 to 18 kilograms. Though classified as a small cat it is indeed a heavy animal.
The Caracal has many aliases, being referred to as the African Lynx, Desert Lynx, Persian Lynx and Egyptian Lynx (and its head features in fact resemble the Eurasian Lynx), but it is not a member of the Lynx family at all! Besides, it has longer legs, shorter fur, and a slimmer appearance than a lynx.
In Afrikaans the Caracal is a called the Rooikat or "red cat" whilst in North India and Pakistan it is locally known as "Shyahgosh" or black ears. The word "Caracal" comes from the Turkish (or the ancient Persian) word "karakulak", meaning (you guessed it) "black ear".
The Caracal is now believed to be (genetically) related to the African Golden cat and the Serval. Its distinguishing features are its very long ear tassels (which it moves using 29 different muscles to listen for and locate nearby prey) and eye pupils which contract to form circles rather than the slits found in most small cats.
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Cat of the Month ~ April 2010
The Chausie is a hybrid between the African Jungle Cat and a plain domestic shorthair, and it's a big cat (when fuly grown 900 cms long and 500 cms high)! It's a relatively new breed and was only registered officially in 1995. They take their name from the Latin term for the African Jungle Cat, Felis Chaus.
Because of their ancestry they are excellent hunters and very active when they wish to be. Despite this they are also very loving and playful. They don't mind being touched or petted, but it's reported that this species don't really like cuddling (I don't think many cats do, do they? Ed).
Chausie are known for being twice the size and weight of an average house cat. Despite their size these cats are not bulky, having an athletic build with a wide chest, small paws, long legs, and a thin but dense bone structure. They will take from two to three years to become a fully grown adult.
There are only three official color patterns for the pedigreed Chausie. The first is just plain black. The second is a brown ticked tabby. Cats with this pattern generally have a pale belly with a light tan body and darker brown stripes. The third color pattern is unique to this species and is called a silvered tip. The cat will have a silvery grey coloring with large black dots all over its body similar to that of a leopard.
Chausie have a long, thick neck that leads to a tall and narrow skull. The jaw should taper sharply down to the snout and the eyes are comparatively low on the face. The entire head should be dominated by extremely tall and straight ears, sometimes tipped like a bobcat. In the cat’s resting position the ears should be angled to face directly forward.
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