York Chocolate Cat

Sept. 2009 – This is my second attempt at the York Chocolate cat. I called the breed the York cat at first, which is strictly speaking incorrect. Also at that time, I could not find out much about the cat but now an anonymous person has put me straight and pointed me in the right direction – thank you very much.

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york chocolate cat

Above: an adult male York Chocolate cat. My thanks to Wikipedia® (specifically Wikimedia) for this picture. There are other pictures but at Sept. 2009, I don’t have permission to use them. If you have pictures please upload using the form at the base of this page – thanks.

It seems that the York Chocolate cat is more popular and well established than I had thought and I am sorry for that initial wayward assessment. There are some “fringe breeds” that are very much on the fringes but that is not the case with this breed.

The York Chocolate is an accidental cat. Immediately, the Ocicat (Accicat) and Burmilla (new window) come to mind as accidental cats. I am trying to think of others; there are others. This means that the starting point for the breed was neither planned nor deliberate and neither was it the result of a genetic mutation (e.g. the rex cats – LaPerm, for example).


The history of this Breed needs to be updated. This update is dated June 7, 2017. At this date, the International York Chocolate Federation appears to be defunct. Their website is closed. The two breeding catteries of this breed no longer appear to be in existence. Neither does the single American breeder (Debbie Reber) appear to be in existence. I tried to find a breeder online and failed today. It appears that this popular cat breed no longer exists although at one time it was popular. I would very much appreciate any information that a visitor can provide me in a comment.

The chart below sets out the origin of the breed. This York Chocolate cat was so named because of the cat’s chocolate colour and because its place of origin is the state of New York in the United States.

York Chocolate breed orgins chart

The York Chocolate cat was founded by Janet Chiefari. I don’t know if she is still breeding (can someone leave a note below?).

To continue with the breed history in a time line….here it is in a table:

1983Brownie is born of two non-purebred cats in NY state, one the neighbour of the other – see chart
1985Teddy Bear and Cocoa are born of Brownie and Minky. This was, I presume, to fix the chocolate colour.
1985 onwardsBrownie, Minky, Teddy Bear and Cocoa where used to found the breed producing solid and bicolor brown kittens, with the objective of producing a consistent head shape, body and fur type.
1989Things hotted up and by this date there were 27 chocolate brown kittens in a custom made cattery at the home of Janet Chiefari. At this point Janet meet Nancy Belser, a cat breeder and a Cat Fanciers’ Federation, Inc. (CFF)  judge who recommended that she show the cats at a CFF show. The CFF is a feline registry with clubs and judges in northeastern portions of the United States. She did as advised and success came.
1990The York Chocolate breed standard (in outline below) was written paving the way for registration with the CFF and ACFA (American Cat Fanciers Association) as an experimental breed.
1995Gained championship status at the CCA (Canadian Cat Association). The breed standard for the CCA was amended slightly so is different to that of the CFF and outcrossing controlled.
2009 – current
  • Championship status with CFF and CCA
  • New Breed status and Color in ACFA
  • Championship status in WCF (World Cat Federation)

There is a desire by the breeders of the York Chocolate cat for wider recognition of the breed and, as I understand it, for recognition by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA).



The breed standard of the York Chocolate cat is probably the best source of information on a purebred cat’s appearance. The immediate impression that one gets when reading the CFF breed standard is that this is a natural and well balanced cat of moderate proportions and bravo for that. It is not an extreme cat, which is what we would expect judging from it origins. I am pleased personally because cats should look like cats.

In fact, while in no way detracting from this cat breed, just the opposite actually, this cat looks like a normal moggy. I consider that a compliment. The coat is medium long in length and there are four allowable coat types under the standard: solid chocolate, solid lavender, chocolate and white bicolor, lavender and white bicolor. I would have thought that the solid chocolate would have a similar appearance to the Tiffany.

I’ll base this section on the CFF standard taken, by the way,  from the yorkchocolate.org website and not the CFF website, which (at Sept. 2009) has no breed profile for this breed. The comments are my views and probably not those of the CFF.:

  • head: the classic modified wedge of medium size and in proportion to the body. In other words (for me) this describes a normal looking cat head. Although the website: furrycritter.com describes the head as “nearly round”. That would be describing the head of an Ultra Persian so I disagree with that and it doesn’t fit the standard as far as I can tell.
  • ears: these are described as large, pointed and tufted. They are “set well apart”. Well for me, once again, this describes the average cat, I am pleased to say. Looking at the pictures of the York Chocolate personally I would not call the ears large relative to the average. Large compared to say a Persian cat, yes but not a moggy.
  • body: this is a medium to large cat with a longish body. Well muscled and “sturdy” boning.
  • coat: medium long, silky. It should be rich in colour and lustrous in appearance.
  • tail: plumed appearance desirable for adult cat
  • legs: medium long

Dr. Fulvio Bresciani says that this cat has no undercoat and that this is an important characteristic of the appearance (phenotype or observable characteristic or trait) of this cat. However, cats with no undercoat are not uncommon in both purebred and purebred cats.

Dr. Bresciani makes these two points about this characteristic:

  • he has hypothesized that the gene that produces the lack of undercoat is special to this cat and he has assigned a unique genetic code to the gene namely: the wild allele “yuc”, a  recessive allele producing a normal thick under coat plus the mutation allele “Yuc”, which is dominant and which removes the undercoat.
  • the lack of undercoat is an important element in producing a hypoallergenic cat as it is the undercoat that is the main source of human allergies of cats.

I don’t agree with either of these thoughts. Cats with no undercoat (down hairs) are common and not specific to the York Chocolate and the cat allergy is caused by a protein in the saliva of the cat (an allergen) that is licked onto the top coat (guard hairs). See; Fel d 1 (new window) and Cat Hair.


I think once again this is a moderate cat; neither high energy (think wild cat hybrids) nor very laid back (such as the Persian or Ragdoll). Specific characteristics would seem to include:

  • an affinity for water. That is normally the domain of the wild cat hybrids. I would have thought that there would be some variation between individual cats in respect of this characteristic.
  • quiet
  • loving personality (characteristic of most balanced domestic cats that are well treated)
  • sweet temperament


As this is not a mainstream purebred cat there is little or no information on the subject of the underlying health of the breed. Some breeds, due usually to the breeding programs, have a predisposition to certain health problems although these are often contained and well managed. I can’t find any such health issues with respect to the York Chocolate. The York Chocolate cat’s origins (standard moggy) bodes well for health provided breeding is sound and for health as well as appearance.

Breeders and Clubs

Update: November 2013 – all three links are now broken. I presume they have closed their websites….

I had difficulty here. I think there are no clubs but two breeders stands out, both in Italy. The first is Fairies Cattery ( page opens in a new window – this is a one page website and no links I am afraid) of Anna & Francesco Baldi. It would seem that they wrote the website: www.yorkchocolate.org (new window) or could it be Fulvio & Alice (below)?

I would also like to mention Lavender Perfume Cattery (new window) of Fulvio & Alice Bresciani

There is also the International York Chocolate Federation — this link is broken April 2013. The website is in English and Italian. It would seem that Italian breeders have embraced the York Chocolate cat more than breeders in other countries…now where is that bar of chocolate..

Comment from visitors

“I find the York Chocolate breed interesting. However, all the information which I have found, has become outdated. If the breed is still live, what are its prospects? And I ask whether the York Chocolate exists outside of the USA now?”…Dasha (Russia)

York Chocolate cat – Sources:

  • yorkchocolate.org
  • cffinc.org
  • petmd.com
  • furrycritter.com

From York Chocolate Cat to Home Page

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

My local Malaysian stray has the look of a York Choc! 
I stumbled across the York Chocolate breed here while trying to figure out the mix of the local stray kitten I picked up off the street here in Malaysia….

Calypso was born in a litter of kittens, they all looked exactly alike. Black, soft, nice and cute. We got the cat, and it wasn’t until after a week we …

We got Lily from a rescue centre when she was 7 weeks old. She was with 3 littermates who were black and white, grey and then what I believed were two …

Jack and Jill 
Our York Chocolates are litter mates. They are white and Hershey-chocolate brown, beautiful personalities, docile and affectionate. We love them so much!…

Is Minou a York Chocolate? 
Wow! After doing so much research trying to find out what kind of cat I had I think I may have found it! Minou fits most of the description for a York …

Looking for a female York Chocolate for breeding 
I have met the York Chocolate through an Italian magazine that showed a beautiful cat and described its fabulous character.

I met the breeder in Italy …

Rescued York Chocolate “Indy” 
At about 6 AM on the morning of May 31st I saw some little animal moving down the highway gutter across the street form my home. A pair of binoculars showed …

Max and Misty, possible Yorks 
My mom got these two black kittens from a nearby shelter in March of 09– they were scraggly and underfed at first, but filled out and grew up quickly….

Starlight, A Possible Coco Rescue Kitty 
I believe that I have a York Chocolate. I cannot say with any degree of certainty though, as she is a rescue kitty.

We found her after leaving an …

The Coco Cattitude 
Thank you for showing the previously submitted entry about my cat Coco . She has quite a lot of cattitude and is a joy to live with.

I have taken …

A Strange Birthing, A York Mutation  
When I saw the picture above, I found nearly a close copy of my cat. If my comments can help on strange phenotypes appearing amongst a population of straycats,…

Cocoa Puff 
Ten years ago I spotted a very unusual kitten at my vet’s office. I noticed that she had unusually long arms and legs, a full plumed tail, and her coat …

I have always wanted to have a cat. I visited several animal shelters to find just the right cat. I knew I wanted an adult, calm, pretty, cuddly, cat …

Regis, the York Chocolate 
This is my cat, Regis. The day I picked him up, I was answering an ad in the newspaper for “free long-haired kittens”. Upon seeing him and his litter-…

Luna, My York Chocolate? 
I commented on a story here weeks ago, but why not write my own?! Luna came to live with us at Thanksgiving 2009. I was at my aunt’s in the Albany area …

Cats Without Undercoats Are Not Hypoallergenic 
There are many misconceptions about allergies and cats. Clearly FALSE, and not scientifically validated is the comment by Dr. Fulvio Bresciani on the York …

Fostering A Potential York Chocolate or Chocolate Mix 
I foster many cats and kittens for my local Humane society and one of the funnest things to do is try and figure out what type of cat it is. I have a …

Sammi De Cat 
We are the proud parents of a beautiful York Chocolate. Someone had dropped off a little kitten that was more dead than alive. One day the neighbors saw …

Calcifer our York Chocolate 
I rescued a black kitten and a black and white kitten and they had a litter with all black and black and white short hair cats and Calcifer a long haired …

Nightshade My York Chocolate Cat 
I would like to say thank you for updating your site to better describe this wonderful breed. I was the one who pointed you in the right direction. I did …

My York Chocolate Cat 
I own a york chocolate cat. He is a blue male with a really lovely nature. It was my intention to buy a female and breed yorks in Great Britain. I have …

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Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


York Chocolate Cat — 18 Comments

  1. Hi Michael,
    We have a lovely yong York Chocolate female here in Italy. My in-laws got her as a present, and initially were thinking of sterilising her. But they were told that this breed is rare, and it decided would be such a pity if she would not reproduce. So we decided to find a male York Chocolate cat somewhere (not limited to Italy) to breeding kittens, but it revealed to be a very difficult task to find contacts. We would be interested in going to US even if needed be, but all I find on the internet is generic breed information, and when searching for breeders nothing comes up, as you have also realised yourself. Stumbling at your website was a confirmation of our worries that the breed is becoming rare indeed, and would like to thank you for updating and keep responding to comments on this post 🙂

    • Superb cat. Wow. I am very impressed. Stunning coat. And yes they are rare. It is a rare breed. I am not surprised that you are struggling. You’d have thought that you could find a breeder in America but it appears not. I might do a bit of work on this and if I find a breeder I’ll leave a comment. Thanks for commenting Lidi.

  2. Hello, nine years ago I found a little black cat abandoned. I took him to my house and from then he is my little one. I found him in Spain, in my small town called Javea. Four years ago I moved to London with him and another cat. Two days ago one vet he told me he must be a special cat. My boyfriend made a research and we think he is a York Chocolate one! He looks exactly like in the pictures. He is lovely cat, the best cat ever. I always thought he was very special but now we now he is a very special cat who has stole our hearts forever.

    • He sounds very special. And you have a special relationship. It’s great to hear. He must be very handsome because the York Chocolate is a very attractive cat. Thanks for telling us your story, Lupe.

  3. We live in Ann Arbor michigan and want to purchase two York chocolate kittens. Do they only come from Italy. Do you know s US breeder?

    • Hi Jim. I have a horrible feeling that this cat breed has almost disappeared. It was quite popular but now the indications are that the breed is very rare indeed and I don’t think you’ll find a breeder in the USA. I tried to find one as you did but failed. I am not even sure they are bred in Italy. Sorry that I am of no use to you.

  4. I got my Chocolate at a shelter in central Maine. He is bout 8 now and is a wonderful affectionate cat but tends to be a one person cat. and a lap cat. He is chocolate and white medium long coat, silky like an Angora’s with no undercoat. His head is wedged shaped , with pale green eyes. He is very talkative.
    When I got him I was struck by his unusual coloring and began to search for Chocolate and white cats, the picture brought up on the York chocolate site I found could have been his twin. I feel very fortunate to have the company of this beautiful friend.

  5. My Shane is a York chocolate kitty, I just found out tonight for sure! I found him as a kitten at a shelter and just fell in love with the little guy. He was more active and outgoing than his brother who was totally shy and moved very slowly, maybe he was still recovering from being neutered. But he was still that way even after a few weeks. Anyway, Shane is beautiful, has the softest, silkiest fur ever in the world, a plumed tail with a kink at the end, tufted paws, a small white patch on his belly, is intelligent and sweet and is affectionate with me, though on his terms mostly. He’ll lay his head on my leg, but won’t sit in my lap and doesn’t like to be held for more than a few seconds. He doesn’t get along very well with our other kitties, either, sadly, even after 6 years, and 10 years with Ringo, my big tuxedo kitty (he may be a Maine Coon) who I got to keep Shane company while I was at work. They tolerate each other but there are daily squabbles. Love Shane to pieces!

      • Oh, you’re welcome, Michael! Any chance to talk freely about my kitties with others who like to do the same is a real pleasure! 😀 So glad there are so many opportunities to do just that on the web! ;-D

  6. I found this site as I was browsing for pictures of chocolate-brown cats. I adopted Malcolm from the shelter about two months ago, and he certainly fits the York Chocolate description, both in his physique and personality. He was a staff favorite but had been overlooked at the shelter for a month. I was taken with his unique look, and he seemed like he’d be a good pal for my rambunctious tuxedo cat (and he is). Whether he’s a real York or not doesn’t really matter, he won’t be breeding, but it’s nice to find a breed that looks like him. He’s a wonderful cat with a big personality. Here’s a photo of him hanging out with his new brother.

    • Thanks Sara for commenting and showing us your cats. The York Chocolate was created out of random bred cats so Malcolm could well be the sort of cat from which the breed was created. Lovely cat. Nice photograph too.

      Here is your photo a bit lighter so I can see that gorgeous chocolate coat:

      York Chocolate cat

  7. I just discovered that our rescue cat Kiki was very likely to be a Chocolate! He’s almost 2 years old, great hunter and quite a personality. I was so happy to find so many pics of other Chocs and our boy looked like a sibling to many of them. The same very special way to look at you, very open and confident, like they know you like nobody else. Will be happy to share my pics, just have to resize I guess

    • Hi Maria, I’d love to see your cat. He sounds fantastic. Please resize the photos as instructed or if you want email me and I’ll do for you. This is my email address:

      mjbmeister [at] gmail.com

      Yorkie Chocolates have beautiful coats and nice personalities. There are quite a lot of York Choc fans out there 😉

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