Last Updated on March 11, 2021 by Julia Wilson
At a glance
The Chinchilla is a large breed of cat with a luxurious long coat that is tipped with silver or gold. Chinchillas were developed to create a silver Persian, and have similar features to the Persian, only softer.
Chinchillas are a laid back breed, whose sweet nature will steal the heart of their family.
The Chinchilla is essentially a silver Persian although some claim cat councils class it is a separate breed. Either way, it is a cat with Persian-like qualities, although less extreme in the face. The breed came about in an attempt to create a silver-coloured Persian cat.
It is one of the oldest man-made breeds beginning in 1882 with a cat called Chinnie. Chinnie was the result of a chance mating between a blue Persian and a stray tom of unknown origins. The litter produced a smoke-coloured kitten that was sold to Mrs Vallence, who named her Chinnie. Chinnie was mated to a silver tabby, and one of the kittens from this litter gave birth to the first Chinchilla male (Chinnie’s grandson), who was named Silver Lambkin.
The CFA and TICA group the chinchilla as part of the Persian breed. Other councils consider the Chinchilla a separate breed to the Persian.
The Chinchilla is a large cobby cat with a round head and small ears. Overall, they have softer features than Persian cats.
Chinchillas have a cobby body type with a broad and deep chest and large shoulder, the rump is equally large. The legs are short and strong, which end with large and round paws with black paw pads. The tail is short and in proportion to the body.
The eyes are either green or blue-green (aqua) and highlighted with black eyeliner. The nose is less extreme than on the Persian with a slight break, finishing with a brick red tip which is outlined with darker pencilling of black.
The coat is long and luxurious with a pure white undercoat. Tipping occurs at the end of each hair strand. Accepted coat colours include silver, gold and blue.
Buying a Chinchilla cat
Kittens should not leave the breeder until they are at least 12 weeks old. It is always a good idea to meet the kitten and his littermates/parents if possible. They should have had at least two of their vaccinations.
Most cat breeders also prefer to have kittens desexed (spayed or neutered) before them going to their new home to prevent accidental litters and ensure entire cats do not end up in the hands of a backyard breeder or a kitten farm.
Placid, quiet and gentle are three words to describe the Chinchilla. They are sweet-natured and loving cats who bond closely with one member of the family. Chinchillas are more outgoing than their Persian cousins but are quieter than other breeds of cat.
The Chinchilla is suited to a quiet household with retirees or homes with older children. They can become lonely if left alone for extended periods.
Overall the Chinchilla is a healthy breed, polycystic kidney disease is an inherited condition from the Persian lines, but can be screened for.
Hairballs can be a problem if the fur is not maintained and blocked tear ducts can occur, but they are not as prevalent as with Persian cats.
Wipe down the eyes with a damp cotton ball to remove residue.
Oral health is a must for all cats to prevent gum disease, feed raw chicken necks or human-grade chunks of raw beef twice a week. Alternately, brush the teeth daily with a toothpaste made for cats (never use human toothpaste on a cat).
The chinchilla cat sheds year-round like most cats and has a heavier moult twice a year. The Chinchilla cat’s coat requires daily grooming to prevent mats from forming, which only takes 5 minutes. Clip the front claws every 4-6 weeks.
The most common protocol recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners as well as the Australian Veterinary Association is that kittens should receive the three core vaccines, known as F3, feline enteritis (panleukopenia), feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus) three times as a kitten. Spaced at eight weeks, 12 weeks and the final vaccine at 16 weeks followed by a booster vaccine at 12 months. After this, it is recommended that boosters be every three years. Some local states or councils may make it compulsory to administer certain vaccines (notably rabies) yearly.
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) believes that in most cases, core vaccines need not be administered any more frequently than triennially and that even less frequent vaccination may be considered appropriate if an individual animal’s circumstances warrant it. However, local factors may dictate more frequent vaccination scheduling. These recommendations may be off-label for some vaccines.
The Chinchilla makes a great companion in homes with older children or retirees.
Chinchilla cat FAQ
How long do Chinchilla cats live?
The average lifespan for a Chinchilla cat is 12-14 years. Indoor cats typically have a longer lifespan than cats who are allowed to free roam.
How much does a Chinchilla cat cost?
The price of a Chinchilla cat will depend on several factors which include if it is a pet or show quality cat and if you are buying one to breed with. Show and breeding cats are more expensive than pet quality cats.
What condition does Wilfred the cat have?
According to his owner, Wilfred the Chinchilla cat is in good health. His large and prominent eyes are due to his brachycephalic features, which result in a shortened skull, snub nose and protruding eyes. The same brachycephalic features have also caused an underbite (malocclusion), which is why his lower canines are visible.
Most Chinchilla cats are less extreme than their Persian and Exotic cousins and don’t have these noticeable features that Wilfred has.
Is there a shorthaired Chinchilla?
The Chinchilla is a longhaired cat, Burmillas are closely related and came about when a Burmese cat mated with a Chinchilla. The Burmilla has the same ticked coat and green eyes as the Chinchilla but has a short coat.
Do Chinchillas cats shed?
Yes, the Chinchilla cat sheds. They have two heavy moults twice a year and also lose a small amount of hair throughout the year. Daily brushing can help to reduce the amount of hair in the home.
Are Chinchilla cats hypoallergenic?
The Chinchilla cat is not hypoallergenic.
How did the Chinchilla cat get its name?
The Chinchilla takes its name from the chinchilla a South American rodent with soft grey fur, large ears and a long bushy tail.