Monday 14 April 2008

Chinchilla Persian Cats

Chinchilla Persian Cats are Persian cats with chinchilla coats (I guess that sounds obvious but it might not if you are not part of the cat fancy). So, what is a Chinchilla coat like? Chinchilla is one of a range of tipped coloration of the hair of a cat. Tipped coloration means that the tip or top of the each individual hair shaft is a different color to the rest of the hair strand. The color near the top of the hair strand is called the "top color" and the different color below the top extending to the base of the hair strand is called the "under color".

China the greedy Chinchilla Persian who loves Coco Pops. Picture: Kennedy News.

The hair shaft is then made up of two colors. In tabby cats the hair shaft is also more than one color but the shaft is banded all the way down. The Chinchilla though is genetically a tabby cat despite the "banding" of the hair being very different. In Chinchilla Persian Cats the tipping is very light. This is because the very tip of the hair shaft is colored and the rest of the hair shaft is colored silver giving a light sparkly appearance. 

Chinchilla Persian cats are probably the most well known and desirable of all cats with this type of coat. The Silver Chinchilla has fur with a black tip and white under color. A short haired cat with the same markings is the Burmilla. The degree of tipping can vary. When the top color extends about half way down the shaft of hair the tipping is called "shaded". When the top color almost reaches the bottom of the hair the tipping is called "smoke". 

 Persians are the obvious choice of cat to show of this kind of coat pattern because their fur is the longest in the cat fancy (as far as I am aware - sometimes, it could be argued, too long). This allows the tipping of the hair to take on a very interesting, fine and exotic appearance.

A rescued Chinchilla Persian shaved for health reasons. Photo: Rex/Shutterstock.

Tipping, shading and smoked coats in Persian cats go back a long way to the earliest moments of the cat fancy. Apparently, the origin is in a female named Chinnie in 1882. The word "chinchilla" also describes a type of cloth or fabric. I am not sure if the name for the cat coat came from this or the other way around. The name of the tabby cat comes from a type of silk found originally in a particular area of Baghdad in Iraq so I am guessing that the cat coat called Chinchilla followed the name of the cloth - wrong? please tell me.

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