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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Japanese Cat Breed: Kurilian Bobtail

Just like the islands where it was found, both Japan and Russia lay claim to the Kurilian Bobtail, which sounds like something right out of Star Trek or Star Wars.

The Kuril Islands runs from the northernmost tip of Hokkaido to the easternmost point of Russia, and has been a bone of contention between the two nations for a very long time.

So… the Russians know the cat as the Curilsk Bobtail, and the Japanese as the Kurilian Bobtail.

(Note: The Russians are promoting this cat as a Russian aboriginal breed and as something completely different from the Japanese Bobtail.)

If you glance back up at the photo above, the cat looks similar to a fluffy lynx, but still... with a couple of these cats sitting on your feet, you can stay warm all winter!

A nice-looking short-hair Kurilian Bobtail.

There are two versions of the cat, a short-hair and a long-hair, but both have a kinked, short tail known as a 'pom-pom' that, regardless of the variety, the tail is fluffy containing two to 12 vertebrae.

The tails are not chopped by human intervention… these cats are born like this… a mutation that sticks around thanks to a lack of genetic diversity.

The short-hair version is considered to be a natural breed (and I bet this is what Russia is claiming as its breed), and is known to have been on the island for over 200 years and apparently used to run in packs.

Please note that there is also a different cat breed known as the Japanese Bobtail, which Pat G. will be pleased to know I will write about shortly.

The Kurilian Bobtail… has, longer rear legs than the front, and a slightly hunched back.

Weight:
Male: 11 to 15 lb
Female: 8 to 11 lb

Coat: double layered
Coat Color: red to grey
Eye Color: yellow, green or yellowy-green
Litter size: 2 to 3
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Fur type: short to semi-longhair
Bobtail: 2 to 5 inches

The Kurilian Bobtail might be related to the other main Japanese breed, the Japanese Bobtail, but it is actually closely related to the Karelian Bobtail of western Russia and Finland.

I know, I know… the fact that the cats are so similar, and that the Japanese Kurilian owes its origin to a Russian Karelian, Japan might as well cede the Kuril Islands back to Russia and apologize for the mistake.

Kidding aside, the Kurilian Bobtail is a pet cat breed, but it still exists on the Kuril Islands as a wild cat… and is considered to be an excellent hunter and fishing cat that loves to play in the water and can catch fish as large as 5-kg (11-lb). Really.
I don't know if this is a staged shot, or a real wild, long-hair Kurilian Bobtail, but the cat looks majestic perched on the boulder as though it were peering about for a moose to stalk and kill for lunch.
Now, despite some of the breed being wild, even those wild cats are known to be gentle.

All versions of the Kurilian Bobtail are rare. Why? Litter size - just two and maybe three per per birth period.

For those of you who like doggies, the Kurilian Bobtail is dog-like. It is considered to be: adaptable, gregarious, trainable and easygoing.

These cats tolerate change better than most, and adapt well (usually) to kids, dogs and even other cats - but it is not a lap cap, instead liking its independence, with trust, and so will often be nearby at its Master's feet. Awww. Trip.

Okay... you know how some cats are yowlers, or have an annoying loud meow? Well, while not overly talkative, the Kurilian Bobtail can make a musical trilling sound that sounds like a bird call.

The late Daffy, and current Freddy (both regular tabbies) both make a sound that sounds like they are calling birds... a chattering... Daffy was an outdoor cat, and did kill one, while Freddy... he does his calling from inside the house perched on the windowsill in the room where I do my writing. It's not an annoying sound, but I do find it intriguing trying to determine what he thinks that sound will do.

Somewhere with cat scratch fever… no wait… that is something completely different…

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

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