About the breed
The Australian Mist Cat
This carefully developed breed of delicately spotted or marbled cats is tops for temperament, full of love and fun, clever yet relaxed and friendly. Increasingly popular with first time pedigree cat buyers, its well bred but not extreme appearance appeals as essentially CAT.
The Australian Mist was "Made in Australia" - the first locally bred pedigree cat. Burmese, Abyssinian and Australian Domestic shorthair cats were combined to create them. They mix the loving personality of the Burmese with the lively intelligence of the Abyssinians and the genetic vigour of Domestic tabbies, reflecting the best of its ancestry while having its own character. They are recognised Australia-wide, and increasingly overseas, as a Championship quality pedigreed cat.
There is nothing extreme about Australian Mists (other than their affectionate, playful nature). They are of moderate size, have large expressive eyes in a range of greens and a glossy, short coat on a warm cream background, which is easy to care for. The patterns are seen through a misted veil. The nose, chin and whisker pads are broad giving the face a generous, open look with delicate tabby markings.
They make perfect pets for children of all ages, even very young ones, as they are tolerant of handling, and are not inclined to scratch. As kittens they are lively, but sober up a little on maturity. Their life expectancy is in the mid to late teens. Australian Mists thrive on human contact, making them happy to remain indoors between dusk and dawn or to be wholly indoor pets, an advantage as most people now prefer to keep their pets indoors. This also protects native wildlife. Some Mists can be trained to go for walks on a lead.
Their tendency to crawl into the nearest lap with or without invitation and to constantly hang around to see what people are up to, makes them excellent companions for home workers and invalids. Desexed cats and kittens fit in easily with all sorts of cats and dogs. Selective breeding has further enhanced these qualities, creating a truly companionable pet, which quickly becomes a member of the family.
The Australian Mist Cat is perfect for the great indoors!
Showing and competition
Australian Mists are easy to show, as they enjoy all the attention. They frequently win Best in Show and Top 10 in Show awards and the breed has a number of Diamond Double Grand Champions and quite a few Nationally Titled Cats. In recent years they have won the coveted All Breeds Supreme in Show awards many times.
In August, 2004 the Australian Mist was accepted by the World Cat Federation for registration and competition as a Champion Breed. This is the first major overseas recognition of Australia's wonderful home-grown breed.
From January, 2007 the United Feline Organisation in the USA has agreed to accept the Australian Mist for registration at Championship status.
Coat pattern and colour
It became obvious that Marbled Spotted Mist was an awkward name. It was felt we should change it and the name Australian Mist sprang to mind as many breeds are named with a geographical component and at the time it was the only home-grown cat breed.
The Australian Mist cat is available in two patterns - spotted or marbled, and seven colours - brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, caramel, gold and peach.
The Marble (or the Classic Tabby) pattern was always in the breed but only appeared if two cats carrying the genes were mated. However, as time went by it was noticed that they still occasionally appeared. The masked classic gene often produced better spotting so it was finally decided to actually breed to produce them and as they appeared as broken classic pattern the pattern was called "marbled" from the same broken pattern which appeared in the Bengal Cat.
The Spotted Mist became officially known as the "Australian Mist" with two patterns: Spotted and Marbled.
Pictures courtesy Simon Cuthbert
History of the breed
There have been many attempts to breed a cat that could be regarded as an Australian cat, starting as far back as early settlement of Sydney, NSW in the 1890s. (1)
In 1977 Dr. Truda Straede, the originator of the Australian Mist breed, submitted an idea to the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Cat Control (this body was replaced with Cat Fanciers' Association of NSW, a member body of the Coordinating Cat Council of Australia) to develop a breed of cat that would be truly unique to Australia. She submitted an experimental plan which called for using Burmese to obtain the colours brown, blue, chocolate and lilac; using Abyssinians to obtain the ticking (agouti) gene to develop the tabby pattern with the tabby (spotted) pattern to come from: (a) ghost spotted Burmese and (b) well spotted domestics. (2)
The first generation of the breed was accepted into the RASCC Experimental Register in May 1980. In April 1986 the first fourth-generation litter was born and subsequently accepted for registration as “Spotted Mists”; as the breed was known at that time. At this time the RASCC also accepted the Spotted Mist Breed as eligible to compete for Championship status. (2)
In June 1997 the marbled pattern was accepted by both the RASCC and the Waratah State Cat Alliance and it was added to the allowable patterns in the breed and from the 1st January 1998 marbled Mists were eligible to compete for Championship status in both bodies. (2)
(1) Barbara Walcott. Complete Book of Cats of Australia. Reed Publishers Pty. Ltd. Revised edition 1983/1987.
(2) Cats in the Mist, 1998 Edited by Anne Burrows and Truda Straede, Australian Mist Breeders, 1998, ISBN 0 958 6036 0 X
Name of the breed
On the same weekend in June 1998 both of the then current co-ordinating cat bodies in Australia (CCCA and ACF) accepted the need to change the name of the breed brought about by the inclusion of the marbled pattern. The rationale was to avoid the awkward Marbled Spotted Mists or Spotted Mists (Marbled). The name was unanimously changed to Australian Mists.
When Waratah State Cat Alliance withdrew from the Australian Cat Federation and became the Waratah National Cat Alliance it accepted the Australian Mist breed along with all other current cat breeds, in fact, it had been the member body which had proposed the name change to ACF. On the 1st January 1999 the breed was accepted for Championship status by the New Zealand Cat Fancy. In August 2004 the Australian Mist was accepted as a Championship breed by the World Cat Federation.
The Australian Mist is one of the few breeds for which a detailed breeding history and relatively accurate records have been kept. All foundation cats (and some pre-foundation cats) are known and recorded and all current breeding cats can be traced back to those foundation cats. That way ANCATS (then Waratah) breeders can be assured that they have the complete gene pool for the breed and are now in the process of expanding that gene pool with three new lines currently under experimental breeding license.