York Chocolate cat (2022)
Introduction (Jan 10, 2022): Please read everything that follows in the light of this introduction. The information is now of historical interest. As at 2022, we have to refer to the York Chocolate cat in the past tense because it appears to have entirely fizzled out as a cat breed and is no longer in existence. Although, you will, today, still see non-purebred cats which look very similar to the York Chocolate. Perhaps this was a reason why this cat breed never took off. It was not distinct enough. It was too difficult to distinguish it from other breeds. That is certainly an issue when creating a new cat breed.
The breed was named after New York state where it was established in 1983. It was not recognised by the major cat associations such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA), both of which are in North America and neither in the European Fédération Internationale Féline.
By 2016 no registry accepted or registered the breed and there were no breeder websites. In Italy it became quite well known but once again it appears to have faded away. The International York Chocolate Federation website is now archived. Please read on…
Click here to see visitors’ submissions
|Anxiety - reduce it|
|FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages|
|Children and cats - important|
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).
- 2009 – second attempt at page;
- June 7, 2017: The history of this cat breed needs to be updated. 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;
- Jan 10, 2022 – checked, refreshed and republished. First published about 14 years ago.
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.
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.
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:
|1983||Brownie is born of two non-purebred cats in NY state, one the neighbour of the other – see chart|
|1985||Teddy Bear and Cocoa are born of Brownie and Minky. This was, I presume, to fix the chocolate colour.|
|1985 onwards||Brownie, 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.|
|1989||Things 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 she was advised and success came.|
|1990||The 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.|
|1995||Gained 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|
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 its 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.
- 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 stand 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:
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,…
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 …
I am thrilled to have stumbled across this amazing group of humans speaking about the most amazing cats in the world! I currently have what I believe are York Chocolate Cats! The founding father was dropped of at an Amish farm i happened to be visiting at the time. I scooped him up as a 5 month old black cat i thiught to be a female. I dewormed her and watched her grow into a cery large male chocolte colored loving affectionate and FULL OF EMOTION longhaired best friend ever! He was name Emoji and we called him Mojo for short .
Mojo became the father of some small litters of wonderful half Mojo and half Persian kittens . When i finally found some info on what breed of cat he most definately was i couldnt believe the discription and how exact the personality coat and characteriatics were to his!
So now i have 3 generations of Mojo and persian kittens who are looking for wonderful homes. Im in Pa. they are stunning lil beings! Sweet and loving and loyal! Id love to hear from anyone and everyone concerning this breed! My hope is to make these babies i am currently in possesion of a CFA WONDER! Id like to call them the York Peppermint Patty Cat
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.
That was a speedy reply! Any help on your side would be awesome, thanks a lot!
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for the comment. I am pleased you shared, Jana. They are quite rare cats. But everything I hear about them is good. The coloring is special.
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!
Shane sounds gorgeous. His character sounds as if he is like my late Charlie. Thanks for sharing Phyllis.
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
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:
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 😉
We still breed York chocolate. I want to said we are the last people to breed them. de******@ao*.com
Really, you are the last breeder anywhere to breed the York Chocolate? Thanks for visiting.