Chinese Li Hua cat a.k.a. China Li Hua and Dragon Li
The China Li Hua cat has the appearance of a standard tabby cat. It is indistinguishable from a mixed-breed tabby which makes the breed untenable. It is hardly mentioned in the world of cats online. It is a uniquely Chinese cat breed. But I doubt that this cat breed is genuine. It could all be fiction. Please convince me otherwise. It was developed from a landrace of cats in China. The word “landrace” is rarely used. It means an animal that has developed in a location over many years to have certain characteristics and features. In this instance this encouraged somebody in China to create a cat breed from what was a random bred. Who is the person? ?.
There is no detailed history that I have found. Usually with the cat breeds there will be an individual person who decided to develop the breed. Sometimes this can happen by selective breeding from a moggy found in a certain location. But we normally know the name of that person who becomes the founder of the breed. This isn’t the case in this instance.
The name of this cat is more specifically stated as líhuā māo in Hanyu Pinyin (the official romanisation system for Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China). It means “fox flower cat” in English.
The breed is mentioned in some of China’s folklore stories. And is recognised by China’s Cat Aficionado Association (CAA). China does not have a well-developed cat fancy; hardly a cat fancy at all. I have hardly heard of this cat Association. The Wikipedia authors state that the CFA in America recognise this breed but they don’t. It is not listed on their website as at the date of this post. I suspect that someone wants to validate the breed by linking it with the world’s best-known cat association.
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This is a shame because I would like to get a really good description of this cat and see a breed standard but I don’t think one exists. The Cat Aficionado Association does not have a website which is informative in that it tells us that this is not a well-established cat association. Does it really exist? Wikipedia tells us that it is China’s largest registry of pedigree cats. They say it is recognised internationally. Its headquarters are in Beijing. It was established in March 2001. They say it organises cat shows and is involved in cat rescue and TNR programs. That’s unusual for a cat Association.
As we don’t have a breed standard that I can find for the Chinese Li Hua, I have to rely on less reliable sources. It is described as a “unique golden-brown, broken-mackerel tabby”. The authors on Wikipedia describe this cat as having “distinctive ear tipping”. Ear tipping normally refers to the removal of the top 10 mm of the left ear of a feral cat to denote that they have been through a TNR program and are sterilised. They can’t mean that in this instance. I don’t know therefore what it means.
The Chinese Li Hua was registered as an experimental breed in January 2004 with, I presume, the CAA. Two American judges from the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) were guests at a CAA show where they judged Chinese Li Hua cats. Apparently, there were 4 of these cats in the US as at 2017.
A website which appears to be written by a Chinese person states that this cat breed is mentioned in historical texts and artworks. They are recognised as one of the earliest domesticated breeds in China.
A male Chinese Li Hua won first in class at a CAA event. His name is Needy and his owner is Da Han. I have doubts about the veracity of available information on this cat breed. Sorry.
Postscript: I have written this on February 1, 2022 which is the beginning of a major Chinese holiday festival, the Chinese New Year. Appropriately, it is the year of the tiger.