Categories: Cat Breeds

Sterling Cat

by Michael
(London, UK)

The sterling cat must have been named after its silvery appearance (“sterling silver”). The coat colour is impressively luxurious. It is described by the cat fancy as chinchilla, silver or golden shaded. The cat itself is a “traditional type Persian”. Is this rare breed a traditional chinchilla Persian cat and if so why is it described as a Sterling cat? Here are some Sterling cat facts.


Apparently the breed originates in the UK being a created breed as opposed to being “discovered”. It was known as the Chinchilla Longhair in the UK.This cat breed is said1 to be a product of the selective breeding of “Colorbred Persians from the USA and Colorbred Chinchilla Longhairs from the UK, which go back to the late 1800s and before.

The eye color is green or blue-green, which is the ideal.

Cat Association Recognition

In the early 1990’s The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Sterling as a new breed and for championship status by International Cat Exhibitors (ICE). I have not heard of ICE before and as far as I can see they don’t have a website.

At TICA 1993 Annual Board Meeting, this cat breed was discussed. At the meeting the breed was referred to as “silver persians”. It was agreed that the silver and golden classes from the Persian cat breed be “transferred” to establish a new breed called “STERLING”. The idea behind hiving off a segment of the Persian cat breed to create a new cat breed was to “allow the silvers and goldens back into the show ring to compete”. A new Sterling breed standard was to be drafted. I don’t understand that. Perhaps a breeder can assist by leaving a comment.

Traditional Persian

It seem though that the underlying motivator behind the artificial creation of this breed was to recreate an old breed or cat type from the UK, the Chinchilla Longhair. But that is a guess. The Sterling has the traditional Persian appearance and is positively not flat faced.

TICA also make a passing reference to this cat breed on their Exotic Shorthair page. The Exotic Shorthair is a contemporary (flat faced) Persian cat with shorthair.

Transitional Breed

They say that the Sterling was a transitional or proposed (my terminology) breed in the creation of the Exotic Shorthair.

American Shorthair cats were cross bred with Persians to create the silver colored coat and green eyes in the American Shorthair. This produced the coat but the type (the body shape) was not American Shorthair anymore. Jane Martinke proposed that this new cat be called the Sterling. They looked like Persians with a plush, dense and short coat. They were intended to have one colour: silver. But the decision was to have all colors and the name was changed to “Exotic Shorthair”. That story is a little different to the one recited by Jeannie Johnson of Ivyleague Sterlings.

In TICA 1993 Annual Board Meeting reference was made to the Sterling Breed Committee. The breed therefore existed at that time.


1. Jeannie Johnson, Ivyleague Sterlings who created the breed.

Sterling Cat to Persian Cats

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • I am an old friend of Jeannie Johnson from when she lived on Cape Cod Mass, I believe I read elsewhere on the internet that she passed away. The text below if from Wikipedia.

    "Despite this set-back, Jeannie Johnson continued by getting the "Sterling" accepted by the International Cat Exhibitors (ICE) for championship status in 1998. The breed had its own registry under the International Sterling Society. However, not many breeders of chinchilla Persian elected to switch over from the existing Persian standard to the new Sterling standard. Mrs Johnson died in 2006 before she could get wider buy-in for the breed. Due to lack of support, this Sterling breed does not exist anymore."

    She was my first girlfriend and a very nice person

  • I knew Jeannie Johnson when I lived in Florida. I had a Shaded silver persian female at the time and I took her down to Jeannie's cattery two times to breed her to her stud cat. We had four kittens the first time and two the second time. Silvers have very small litters four is considered a large litter. Jeannie belived that the breed should stay true ot the british show standard with a short but not pugged nose. I beleive this is why the cat associations alowed them to be a class by themselves. Although I still don't see much of a change in that practice of breeding for pug faces in the show rings to this day. I still have a chincilla persian and a shaded silver persian. I have often wondered what ever happened to Jeannies cattery. I still have her business card.

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