The Australian Mist is an all-Australian short haired cat breed that is sensibly well balanced. In terms of the worldwide history of the cat fancy this is also a fairly recent cat breed originating in 1977 (see cat history time line).
The Australian Mist (formerly called the Spotted Mist) is a cross between the Abyssinian cat (a nicely balanced and a very popular cat), the Burmese and domestic shorthair (mixed breed) cats. This brings together attractive qualities from the Abyssinian and Burmese. The Aby brings a lively character and a ticked coat (a special form of tabby cat coat) and the Burmese a pleasant sweet nature. The domestic shorthairs inject the classic blotched (marbled) and spotted tabby coats and genetic diversity for good health.
1977 – Dr. Truda Straede the originator of the Australian Mist submits proposal to the then Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Cat Control (RASCC) for a cat breed that is exclusively Australian in origin.
1980 – RASCC accept breed to experimental register
1986 – RASCC grant champion status to this breed as Spotted Mists
1998 – RASCC and Waratah State Cat Alliance grant marbled Spotted Mists championship status. The inclusion of the marbled pattern meant the name had to be changed for obvious reasons and the name Australian Mist came about.
1999 – Breed accepted for championship status by the New Zealand Cat Fancy
2004 – World Cat Federation (WCF) grant championship status
2004 – United Feline Organization accept the breed for Championship status.
2008 – Exported to Europe (Portugal) – see below.
A strong aspect of this cat breed is the availability of a complete recorded history of breeding from the foundation cats all the way through to the present. This apparently is quite unusual.
Character and Appearance
The Australian Mist is a shorhaired cat with large expressive eyes and a round head (technically called a “broad blunt wedge”). The spotted or marbled tabby pattern can be veiled as if seen through a mist, hence the name. The breed originates in Australia and has been exported to the UK. Cats not for breeding have been exported to the USA. Ticking (an essential quality in this cat) of the patterned areas produces the veiled appearance. The forehead has the classic tabby “M” pattern albeit ghosted. The legs have a barred pattern. The colors are brown, blue, peach, lilac, caramel, gold and chocolate. The coat has an undercoat and should be glossy. In reference to the World Cat Federation Breed Standard the 3 coat types can be described as:
- ground color (background color) is paler than the pattern
- the pattern, although distinct from the background color, is delicate
- the pattern is a “misted mantle” due to ticking as described above
The Australian Mist is a medium sized solid and muscular cat, heavier than might be imagined. The ears should be large but these are not the excessively large ears of some cats, after all everything should be moderate. I think that this is a very well thought out cat breed, more so than a number of cat breeds that have been developed in the USA. I say this because the emphasis seems to have been on creating a well balanced cat both in character and conformation. It is refreshing to see this. The concept of “normality” (my word), a quality that is, I am sure, favored by the majority of cat fanciers and the public, has been and remains a goal of the breeding program. This is made clear in the description of the breed – there should be nothing extreme about the Australian Mist. This reminds me of the Thai cat a new breed recognized by TICA and really a Traditional Siamese that should have no extreme features under the breed standard.
The most popular cats in the long term are cats such as the Traditional Siamese, Abyssinian and the Maine Coon cat breeds; all well established and quite old fashioned cat breeds with original looking cat conformations.
People prefer the traditional appearance (src: Poll on Traditional and Modern Siamese and Persians on this website). The Australian Mist is a home and people loving cat. This makes the breed suitable to a full time indoor lifestyle. Personally, where possible, I prefer the incorporation of some sort of outdoor life if possible. I think that this is best achieved by the use of a cat enclosure, where possible and appropriate.
In Australia there is, regrettably, a feral cat problem (so we are told – the same applies to America) and cat keepers need to be highly responsible which means neutering and spaying and keeping their cats indoors or in an enclosure, which helps to manage the feral cat problem in a proactive way. This cat breed has, it seems, a really nice mix of characteristics, which makes for the kind of domestic cat we all look for.
Sixty percent of people consider a cat breed’s health very important (src: Survey Poll on this website). Are there any cat health problems associated with this breed? One website says that peach colored cats of this breed may have a propensity to acquire skin allergies – no idea if that is true (see feline allergies). There is nothing to indicate that this breed has any predisposition to specific illnesses. However, the Abyssinian can suffer from two possible conditions: Feline Endocrine Alopecia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (see a post about PRA in the Bengal cat). I don’t know if this is an issue in Australia.
Above: WNCA Opal Double Grand Champion; Waratah Grand National Champion Domna Briony of Hastur – Blue Spotted Female – A cat from the Hastur Cattery
The Burmese cat has got some health issues. These may be confined to the USA – see Burmese Health. In any case I would expect breeders to selectively breed to eliminate the possibility of inheriting a predisposition to these conditions.
Breeders and Associations
Hastur Cattery – link broken at 29th August 2011. Located Wentworth Falls, Blue mountains, N.S.W. Australia. This cattery is run by Terry Goulden and John Greenway. A special thanks to both for letting me use their photographs. I have used both the Hastur website and the website of the Australian Mist Breed Council – link broken at 29th August 2011 (the work of Terry Goulden) for information, including other sources.
The future is deservedly bright, I think, for the Australian Mist. Terry Goulden (Hastur Cattery – see above) informs me that one of his sister catteries is exporting one of his “studs Sapphire Double Grand Champion, Waratah Grand National Champion Dom Rafael II of Hastur (a Lilac Based Caramel Spotted) and Domna Anna Belle of Hastur, a Gold Marbled female kitten, together with Aacarmar Goldwill Koya a Chocolate Spotted female kitten” to Portugal “to add to the breeding progam in Europe.”
These fine cats are going to the cattery of Phillip Wainhouse and his partner Rodrigo who will be seeking recognition of the Australian Mist by Fife – great news. Note there is apparently an Australian Mist Longhair. This is due to a recessive longhair gene being carried by some cats of this breed. The Abyssinian is the same in this regard resulting in the Somali cat.
Sources other than stated:
- WFC breed standard