Breed Profiles
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Get to Know the Australian Mist: The House Leopard From Down Under

This breed is rare in the United States but gaining popularity for his good nature and natural beauty.

JaneA Kelley  |  Jan 30th 2015


If you saw an Australian Mist walking out of a foggy forest, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a creature from the faerie realm. Australia’s only native breed has fur like clouds and comes in a range of otherworldly colors.

Origins

More than 30 years ago, Dr. Truda Straede was inspired to develop a cat breed unique to Australia. In 1977, she introduced her idea to the Royal Agricultural Society Cat Control: Her plan was to use the Burmese to get blue, brown, chocolate, and lilac colors; Abyssinians for the ticked (agouti) gene; and domestic shorthair tabby cats to produce stripes and ensure natural good health.

In 1980, Straede presented her first Australian Mist litter to the RASCC and it was accepted into the organization’s experimental breed register. In 1986, after four generations of breeding, the Australian Mist became eligible to compete for championship status in the RASCC.

It wasn’t until recently that the Australian Mist was accepted by cat fancy organizations outside Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA, not to be confused with the Cat Fanciers’ Association) and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in the UK accepted the breed for championship status.

Appearance

The Australian Mist comes in seven colors — brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, caramel, gold, and peach — and in marbled and spotted tabby patterns. It is a medium-sized cat with no extreme features, and his large, expressive eyes come in a range of greens.

Health and longevity

The Australian Mist is not known to be prone to any genetic or hereditary illnesses, in large part because the foundation stock was bred with domestic cats as well as purebred in order to ensure "hybrid vigor."

With that in mind, a well-cared-for indoor-only Australian Mist can live 15 years or more.

What it’s like to live with an Australian Mist

Your Australian Mist loves people and gets along well with everyone, from toddlers to senior citizens. Her relaxed and easygoing temperament makes her a good choice for showing and even walking on a harness and lead. Her Abyssinian ancestors have lent her a sharp intellect, curiosity, and a clownish disposition. As a kitten, she’ll be a natural goof-off, but as she matures she’ll calm down and develop into her full-fledged "lap fungus" personality.

Because your Australian Mist is such a people-oriented cat, she may suffer if left alone for long periods of time, so if you’re going to be away from home a lot, get her a furry friend. Australian Mists get along well with other animals, including dogs, and with proper introductions, your Mist can be buddies with just about any critter.

Australian Mist trivia bits

  • The breed was originally called the Spotted Mist, but in 1998, both of the cat breed coordinating bodies agreed to change the name of the breed when they began accepting marbled tabby patterns into the Australian Mist breed standard.
  • It takes about two years for Australian Mists to reach their full adult coloration.

Do you have an Australian Mist in your home? What’s it like to live with her? Please share your thoughts and photos of your Australian Mist in the comments.

Photos courtesy of Aacarmar Australian Mists; used by permission.

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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.