California Spangled Cat

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  • History

    One of the rarest cats in the cat fancy, the California Spangled resembles a miniature leopard. 

    Hollywood scriptwriter and playwright Paul Casey decided to create to publicise the plight of spotted wildcats cats after a visit to Africa where he was told of the death of the last remaining breeding leopard in the area. Encouraged by the anthropologist Louis Leakey, he wanted to create a breed that looked like a small leopard but was domesticated.

    When he arrived back home, he drew up an 11 generation breeding plan. Unlike the Bengal, no wild cats were used to create the California Spangled. Several breeds were used in the breeding programme including Abyssinians, Siamese, Persians, American, a feral Egyptian cat, a house cat from Malaysia, domestic shorthairs, a spotted Manx and British Shorthairs.

    The breed famously made its debut in the 1986 Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue where kittens were offered for sale at $1,400.00. This created quite a stir among cat fanciers and humane societies.

    TICA accepted the breed for registration however numbers are few as the Bengal is more popular. 


    The California Spangled is a semi-foreign, medium-sized cat with a long, lean and muscular body that is cylindrical. The legs are long with round feet.

    The head is a moderate wedge, medium-sized with broad cheekbones. There is a stop between the forehead and nose. The muzzle is well developed and the chin firm. Ears are medium-sized with rounded tips and are set high on the head. The eyes are almond-shaped and amber to brown. Whisker pads are prominent.

    The coat is short and smooth, it is close-lying to the body, but may be slightly longer on the tail and abdomen.  It has the spotted appearance of a leopard and comes in several colours including Black, Silver, Charcoal, Bronze, Red, White, Gold and Brown.


    The California Spangled is an affectionate, intelligent, curious, lively and active breed of cat. They love to run and climb so a tall, scratching post is a must.

    They get along well with people, including children and make a great family pet. But due to their high activity levels, they do need a lot of playtime.  The California Spangled does not do well left on their own for long periods of time.


    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio