Yet I cannot find a picture of this cat breed nor a website for the Brazilian Cat Federation (update Feb 2011: they don't have a website). There is a Clube Brazilero do Gato (Brazilian Cat Club) that is an affiliated member of FIFe. Yet I cannot see any reference to the Brazilian Shorthair cat on a translation of the club's website (although I may have missed it - there were no pictures of cats that I could see). Clubs normally illustrate their website with some pictures of the various cat breeds. Anyway, the point is - no pictures (update Feb 2011 see below). I have taken the liberty of publishing the picture below without first asking permission. I hope that is OK. In exchange I provide a link to the source page: From Alley Cat to Pure Breed.
|Brazilian Shorthair Cat|
Photo: Gatil Syarte
But, the Clube Brazilero do Gato being a member of FIFe are making proposals (not sure how advanced these are) to FIFe for the cats acceptance by FIFe. In addition the Brazilian Cat Federation is seeking WCF's recognition of this cat breed. The WCF appears to have named the cat "Keltic Shorthair" as they felt the phenotype was similar to ancient European cats; the Brazilian Shorthair having evolved from the European cats imported by European settlers.
This cat is a naturally occurring feral cat of Brazil that has been turned into a purebred and pedigree cat. This is relatively commonly encountered in the world cat fancy. It has to be the case as about 150 years ago there were no cat breeds. Breeds that come to mind that are not hybrids of other purebred cats (i.e. created) are:
- American Keudo (a utilitarian cat, created from barn cats)
- Nebelung - one of the grey cat breeds and created from "ordinary" non purebred cats
- Ragdoll - created from mixed breed cats
- Maine Coon - originally a barn cat
- Egyptian Mau - this is still a feral cat in Egypt but was refined by cat breeders.
|Brazilian cat from the Wikimedia files|
So, the Brazilian Shorthair cat follows in the footsteps of many a distinguished and well known purebred cat. If we cannot find pictures (Feb 2011: picture now found - see above), I will show a mixed breed Brazilian cat that I think is typical of the kind of cat found in Brazil. In my travels over the Internet it seems to me that the feral cats of Brazil are typically well balanced normal looking cats with coat colors that cover, solid and white, calico, tabby and tabby and white. I would expect therefore that the Brazilian Shorthair has a wide range of allowable coat types (is there a breed standard? - there would seem to be, see below) which encompass the coat types mentioned.
|A Brazilian cat, Rio de Janeiro|
photo by HelenaN
The cat above is a calico cat, tortoiseshell and white. It is probably a street cat or semi-domestic cat. These seem to be typical of Brazil and the head conformation perfectly matches the description below. So, I'd think that this is not far off what a Brazilian Shorthair purebred cat would look like. Update Feb 2011: As you can see the cat in the picture above that I have just added is similar and also a calico cat, so I happen to have got this correct!
Sarah Hartwell describes the cat as having a head conformation between the European Shorthair (a cobby cat -see British Shorthair) and the Oriental Shorthair (a slender cat). On that basis this cat is on the slender side of average if the body conformation follows the head shape which is the case usually.
Carmen Olivieri (www.petbrazil.com.br) provides the best information it seems. Although I am a little disturbed by the picture of a tricolor hamster or guinea pig illustrating the article! Anyway, press on...........(Update Feb 2011: the picture has been changed). The breed standard (I have not seen the actual breed standard) states that the Brazilian Shorthair cat is neither compact nor elegant (normal/average looking therefore). The head should be slightly longer than wide (the picture of the Brazilian cat above illustrates this I believe). All colors are accepted and the coat should be short and dense and tight to skin.
It would seem that this cat is at an early stage of development with the objective of preserving the classic Brazilian feral/domestic cat, which possibly has particular characteristics unique to the area.
The Briazilian Shorthair cat is considered healthy, lively and intelligent. Update: I have just noticed that the well known author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a book called "The Brazilian cat". Has anyone read the book and what is it about?
Updates February 2011: I am able to present some more information on the Brazilian Shorthair.
The founder of this breed is Ruschi Paul. He is an engineer by trade and an avid cat lover!. Obviously. Amongst other positions he is president and founder the BSICS - Brazilian Shorthair Cat Society International located in New York, I believe. He has also been (still is?) the president of the Brazilian Cat Federation, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
There is a breed standard of sorts but in truth it describes a good healthy mixed breed or random bred cat, which is essentially what this cat is. And I like that! This is a well balanced medium non-extreme cat in terms of it body conformation. A good number of purebred cats are, it could be argued, over developed and have become too extreme. See Cat Body Types for a look at the various body shapes. The Brazilian Shorthair is accepted in all colors and divisions.
I suspect that one difficulty with this breed is developing it into something other than a moggie! That has always been the problem when you take a street cat and turn it into a distinct and distinguisable purebred cat. Good examples are the British and American Shorthairs that now look different but come from the same cats: British street cats. See History of the American Shorthair and The History of the British Shorthair.
At the current time (Feb 2011) this cat has not yet been developed into a distinguishable breed it seems to me. Resistance to development may come from the fact that the cat fancy has probably reached saturation point in respect of the number of cat breeds - well over 100 and all created from one cat, the wildcat - see African Wildcat.
A point worth making is this. The American and Brazilian Shorthair cats originate in the European Shorthairs, the same cats. It is said that over the time since South America was colonised (the European cats came with the colonisers) the South American shorthairs diverged from the North American shorthaired cats and European Shorthairs.
The South American Shorthairs became "lighter, thinner, with a head longer than wide" (src: Carmen Olivieri) than the European Shorthairs. This sounds plausible because in warm climates cats evolve into more slender body conformations. The American Shorthair started life in Maine.
|Non-registered, non-pedigree Brazilian|
Shorthair see comment below.
Brazilian Shorthair cat to mixed breed cats
Photo: published under a creative commons license - Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.