The Chinchilla is one of the oldest cat breeds that people developed in their quest to breed a Persian cat with a pale coat. The development of the cat was achieved over many years of selective breeding. There are reports that the breed developed from a female cat named Chinnie in 1882. There’s also confusion about the naming of the cat and whether and whether it stemmed from Chinnie or it was more closely related to the similarities between the appearances of the cat at the Chinchilla. Chinnie was the offspring of two award-winning cats and while there is no evidence, it has been reported that they were most likely Silver or spotted tabbies. Chinnie was bred by Mrs Hurt of Sandal Mayner in the United Kingdom. Mrs Vallance purchased Chinnie and bred the cat with Fluffy a pure silver cat with tabby markings which subsequently won first prize in the Silver Class at Maidstone, Cheltenham and Ealing.
The development of the breed continued through Fluffy and Chinnie which produced numerous award winning offspring until Mrs. Shearman’s Champion Perso, produced the legendary Ch Silver Lambkin, who is regarded as the first Chinchilla cat. Breeding continued at a pace resulting in the breed becoming instituted at the Crystal Palace show.
In the US, there was an attempt to establish the silver Persian as a separate breed called the Sterling, but it was not accepted. Silver and golden Persians are recognized, as such, by CFA. In South Africa, the attempt to separate the breed was more successful; the Southern Africa Cat Council (SACC) registers cats with five generations of purebred Chinchilla as a Chinchilla Longhair. The Chinchilla Longhair has a slightly longer nose than the Persian, resulting in healthy breathing and less eye tearing. Its hair is translucent with only the tips carrying black pigment, a feature that gets lost when out-crossed to other colored Persians. Out-crossing also may result in losing nose and lip liner, which is a fault in the Chinchilla Longhair breed standard. One of the distinctions of this breed is the blue-green or green eye color only with kittens having blue or blue-purple eye color.
Chinchillas have a very quiet and gentle nature and they make great pets for a wide variety of people. They don’t tolerate small children very well. These cats love to form close relationships with their owners and they become very attached to them. They love laying around the house looking beautiful. These cats so enjoy company so if you are going to be gone for most of the day it’s best to get them a friend. The Chinchilla is an inside cat who will thrive with a set routine and a calm family home.
Chinchillas require a fair amount of grooming and they are heavy shedders so they require daily brushing so their coat doesn’t become matted. Chinchillas can also be bathed but cats must be introduced to watch form a young age. If the coat is not maintained the cat may require clipping under general anaesthetic. The Chinchilla weighs between 3.5 and 5.5 kg and the average lifespan of Chinchilla Longhair Persian Cat is 12 to 15 years.