The agile and stocky Highlander Cat (known originally as the Highland Lynx or Highlander Shorthair), is an experimental breed of cat derived from the Desert Lynx and the Jungle Curl breeds. The Jungle Curl itself is a new breed of feline derived from ‘wild cat’ ancestry – namely two Asian small cat species, the Leopard cat and the Jungle cat). No wonder then that the Highlander was bred to look like a ‘Big Cat’ in minature.
Cat of the Month ~ July 2018
In ‘expert’ speak the highlander is a ‘feline hybrid’ or ‘cross’ between Felis catus × F. chaus X Prionailurus bengalensis).
The Highlander breed refinements began in 2004, with the aim of:
- producing a domestic cat with the look a big cat
- provide a means to distinguish the breed from its foundation stock
- to seek competition status in major breed registries.
The name Highlander was adopted in late 2005 abd by May 2008 the breed was recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) for competition in the ‘Preliminary New Breed’ class, moving up to ‘Advanced New Breed’in 2016.
TICA divides Highlanders into two varities, under the names Highlander Shorthair (HGS) and simply Highlander (HG) for the longer-haired variation. The breed is now classified by REFR (Rare and Exotic Feline Registry) as part of the Desert Lynx breeding group, which also includes the Desert Lynx, the Alpine Lynx, and the Mojave Bob.
Though the Highlander is mainly of domestic stock origin it has distinct features from its composite breeds, for example the curled ears and the bobbed tail. The curled ears are of course from the Jungle Curl cat whilst the bobbed tail is from the Desert Lynx. In addition these cats have spotted or marbled markings, and do resemble a small bobcat. A further unusual feature of these cats is the Polydactyl claws in which an extra and separate toes grows on each paw.
The Highlander has a long sloping forehead and blunt muzzle with a very wide nose. The eyes are wide-set and the ears are upright with a slight curl and a slight backward lilt. A strange feature whihc some of these cats posess is polydactyl paws whihc can be described as a prominent split between toes.
Highlanders have no known health problems, and are fond of water. The body is substantial and very muscular. Females can grow to between 10 and 14 pounds, and the males between 15 and 20 (or about as heavy as a Dachshund). Despite the “big-cat look”, the Highlander is a human-oriented, friendly and playful cat, and very active and confident. The Highlander displays tabby/lynx point or solid point coloration in various colors.
Highlanders might look like minature big cats look but they are very gentle creatures (if any cat can be totally gentle)! Like many cats they are highly energetic and will chase and stalk anything moving. They are also curious and friendly when it comes to meeting human strangers
In January 2019, the TICA board will review the Highlander Breed Group’s request to advance to a Championship Breed.
Finally, for some good highlander footage (and cute~~ commentary heres a little video made in the USA by Cats101
Cat of the Month ~ July 2017
The Iriomote cat is probably a subspecies of the leopard cat or may be the sole member of an entirely separate genus (Mayailurus Iriomotensis)….who knows!
Iriomote live only on the small Japanese island of Iriomote or ‘Iriomote-jima’ and nowhere else on the planet. The island lies 200 kilometers to the east of Taiwan and has a total area of 113 square miles (292 sq km).
Iriomote cats have a dark grey and brown fur colour with lighter hair on the belly and insides of the limbs. The sides are marked with rows of dark brown spots, which often form into stripes around the neck and legs. It has been observed that the Iriomote cat has a relatively elongate and low-slung build, with short legs. The tail is dark brown (with a darker spots pattern on the back sides) whilst the underside of the tail is solid dark brown as is the very tip of the tail. It has rounded ears with black fur spread along the edges. Adult Iriomote cats have a white spot on the back of each ear, much like those found on tigers’ ears. Young Iriomote cats do not have these marks, and even as adults the spots will not be as white as those seen on other leopard cat subspecies. Its eyes are a light amber shade and there are two dark brown spots on each cheek.Habitat
Iriomote cats have been seen in wooded mountainous areas, open country and even mangrove swamps and beaches along the island shores. They will though also climb trees, wade into water and even swim. It is thought to spend most of its time alone and, like many wild cats, is mostly nocturnal and especially active during twilight hours. During the daytime, they tend to sleep in tree hollows or in caves (out of the heat of the day and no doubt away from human disturbance). To mark territory they will urinate and defecate on rocks, tree stumps and bushes. Their home ranges vary from 1 to 7 sq km (or 0.38 to 2.7 sq miles) in area.Food
Recent studies into the cat’s diet reveal that its prey includes animals such as fruit bats, birds, wild pig, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and crab. The cat also can swim well and will catch fish if the opportunity presents. It has been shown that these cats prefer areas near rivers, forest edges, and places with low humidity.
Iriomote cats are carnivorous and prey on various mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and crustaceans. They typically ingest 400–600 gramms (0.88–1.32 lb) of food a day. Other wild cats primarily hunt small mammals, such as rodents and rabbits, but because there are no other carnivores to compete with the Iriomote cat on the island, there is no need for them to isolate themselves from the various habitats and food sources that are available. Thus, their diet is quite varied.
Mammalian prey includes black rats, Ryukyu flying foxes and young Ryukyu wild boar. Their prey also includes a wide range of birds, such as the spot-billed duck, slaty-legged crake, Eurasian scops-owl, pale thrush, and white-breasted waterhen. Reptiles include various types of snakes and Kishinoue’s giant skink. They are also known to hunt Sakishima rice frogs, yellow-spotted crickets and crabs. As their hunting grounds tend to be in swamps or on shores, they sometimes swim and dive to catch water birds, fish, and freshwater prawns.
When eating birds that are larger than a dusky thrush, most types of cats will pluck the feathers and then eat it, but the Iriomote cat will eat even large birds whole without removing the feathers. “How big is a dusky thrush Ed?”….no idea Osc… let me just look that up.
Since the Iriomote cat mainly inhabits the lowland coastal regions of the island, the cat is in direct conflict with the island’s human population. Recent estimates have put the total Iriomote cat population to be as low as 100 individuals. The threats to this rare cat are loss of habitat, growing competition from the island’s feral cat population, and tourism.Names
The Iriomote cat (Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis) was discovered in 1965 by Yukio Togawa (戸川幸夫 Togawa Yukio), an author who specialized in works about animals. In 1967, it was first described by Yoshinori Imaizumi, director of the zoological department of the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. However before its scientific discovery, the Iriomote cat was known locally by various beautiful names. In Japanese, the cat is called Iriomote-yamaneko (西表山猫, “Iriomote mountain cat”). In local dialects of the Yaeyama language, it is known as yamamayaa (ヤママヤー, “the cat in the mountain”), yamapikaryaa (ヤマピカリャー, “that which shines on the mountain”), and meepisukaryaa (メーピスカリャー, “that which has flashing eyes”).
This small cat has been listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008, as the only population comprises fewer than 250 adult individuals and is considered declining. As of 2007, there were an estimated 100–109 individuals remaining. It is certainly one of the rarest of cats, with its entire population contained on one Japanese island.
Source: From Wikipedia & others
Cat of the Month ~ May 2017
The Raas cat is a native animal on the Indonesian island of Raas in East Java. The Rass Cat is also known as a Busok or Buso Madura (or just Madura) cat. It is said that the Raas cat is from a pure breed line without mixed genes from other cat races. However this cat is not yet recognised by Tica as a cat breed.
Raas village cats are considered very special and are highly protected by local inhabitants who, it is said, prevent export of these cats from the island shores. They are known to the islanders as either “Cat Buso” (grey cat), or “Cat Madura” (blue cat). It is believed the blue-gray or Maew Boran stock had been taken to the island on trading ships many years ago.
The Madura breed is now in decline and this has been documented in a study carried out by Lesley Morgan (ACF – Australia) and Dr. Ronny Rachman Noor (Faculty of Animal Science, Bogor Agricultural University). The study also concluded that these cats may be descended from the Korat cat breed and that they are now a closed colony of bobtailed blue cats. It appears that the declining numbers of cats of this type on both Raas and on Madura suggest a high degree of in-breeding and weakening of the breed. A further trait of these cats is that some have cinnamon coat color. These are rarer to find and known as Amethyst Raas.
There are several myths surrounding the Raas breed. It is said that:
- the Raas cat is believed to have a sixth sense
- the true Madurese paint (i.e. cat) originating from Raas Island, may only be kept by ‘important’ people such as religious leaders and high ranking government officials.
- anyone attempting to smuggle a cat from Raas island (especially if they are an unmarried person,) will find … “their boat sinking!”
- if the said person survives the shipwreck then that person will instead be dogged with misfortune.
For more information on the Raas cat visit the official Site of the Raas Cat. Please note that a web page translation may be required.
Cat of the Month ~ August 2015
- One is the brow line and characteristic eye set that gives the breed a somewhat sad and anxious look.
- The eye color of the Mau is described as “gooseberry green”.
- A flap of skin extending from the posterior end of the ribcage to the hind leg gives the Mau a phenomenal leaping ability.
- The Mau can run at very high speed also due to its extended skin flap on the hind leg.
- Mau’s have a “tiptoe” graceful stance given by the hind legs being proportionally longer than the front legs.
Flaviu the Lynx was reported missing from Dartmoor Zoological Park (near Plymouth) on July 7, triggering a search involving a police helicopter and a drone. Tweny Five humane traps were set but all to no avail until …) He was finally caught last Saturday morning (July 30th) in a trap set by keepers.
Flaviu was trapped 200 yards from Hemerdon Plantation, a woodland about a mile away from the zoo. Apparently our lynx savaged four lambs on Friday (well, we all gotta eat!). Realising big cats returned to the scene of a kill, the four lamb carcasses were removed from the site and a 5 foot by 2 foot mesh trap baited with veal was set right, where the lambs were found. A keeper stated that captivity is the best place for an animal such as Flaviu …as it is likely she would have been shot if continuing to attack sheep in the region.
We are Glad to say that Flaviu is now safe and sound – but we hope she enjoyed her short lived freedom.
Have to pay a visit to see the lovely creature, hey Osc?
Flaviu the Lynx has gone absent without leave… well in fact he’s escaped! The two year old male Lynx is approximately the size of a large domestic cat and is described as grey/silver in colour. He apparently chewed and clawed his way through the wall of his enclosure just hours after arriving at Dartmoor Zoological Park in Devon, last Wednesday.
When keepers realised Flaviu was gone, the zoo was evacuated and a police helicopter, tracker dogs and teams of officers and keepers spent the whole of last Thursday searching for the missing animal. Traps loaded with meat have been laid in the hope they will lure the cat back to be humanely caught and returned home. Local schools, landowners and farmers have been warned not to approach the animal.
Experts said the lynx, which was raised in captivity, could still be near the zoo. George Hyde, the zoo’s operations manager, and the police tried to reassure people that the cat was unlikely to be a danger to humans. He said: “We are in a rural location, so the likelihood of the lynx coming into contact with people is very slim. The likelihood is that he is very scared, very anxious, and he will stay away from people.”
Hyde added that the lynx was fed before his journey from an animal park in Kent to Devon on Wednesday, so he is unlikely to be desperate for food. Asked if he was embarrassed to have lost a lynx, Hyde said: “It’s a challenge. Animal containment always poses the possibility that you will face a situation like this.”
Sgt Tracy Sharam, of Devon and Cornwall police, who is co-ordinating the search, said that although the lynx could already have ranged up to nine miles from the zoo, keepers had suggested it would most likely be hiding somewhere within a mile. She said: “Obviously, when you get a new cat to the house, it goes and hides for a while. It’s probably got the same sort of feelings.”
Keepers are planning to subdue the lynx with a tranquilliser dart once it is found before returning it to the zoo. Vets are being kept on standby in case the animal needs emergency treatment. “We don’t want to kill the animal at all – that’s not what we are looking at,” said Sharam.
Rick Minter, who has written about big cat sightings in the UK, said he thought Flaviu would have a good chance of surviving in the wild. “He will have no problem hunting for mice, rabbits, pigeons, pheasants,” he said. He also said “Flaviu would have a decent chance of finding some of his own kind already living wild. There have been sightings of lynx in the south-west of England”. It is thought the cat was spotted again by the police drone carrying a thermal imaging camera that had been assisting teams on the ground.
Lets hope that Flaviu stays free and finds cats of his own kind in the wilds of Dartmoor ….
Article Source: theguardian.com
Cat of the Month ~ May 2015