Wild Cat with Kitten's Temper

​Photo of: Kiara, owned by Yulia Drus

The Kurilian Bobtail is an aboriginal breed which is deemed a pride of Russia without any exaggeration. The appearance and the character of these animals possess everything the Russian soul needs. A muscular large-sized body, a variety of natural aboriginal colours, two types of hair – short and semi-long ones, a high level of intelligence, friendliness, and devotion...

Just five years ago there were heated arguments among breeders of these cats, and it seemed they would never find a common language. How should a Kurilian cat look like, what should its weight, size and colour be? The variety of types of the animals horrified, and disputes on professional forums led to serious disagreement between breeders. However, time sorts everything out. Now, many years later, it becomes clear that all these hot discussions have done only good to the breed. Even such a relatively short period for stock breeding led to the present situation, when the Kurilian Bobtail is recognized not by the short tail, or more exactly, not only only by it, but by recognizable appearance. The head shape has become a typical sign of the breed; the body has fit into the standard requirements prescribing that the hind legs should be significantly longer than fore legs. Perhaps, the only echo of former disagreements is recognition of point colours in the breed. The majority of breeders strongly object them, arguing that, for instance, there is the Mekong Bobtail, and that is enough. Another smaller part insists on recognition of this colour. No decision has been made yet, but I as the author of this article hope it will never be positive.

A few words about the origin and the history of recognition of the breed

The Kuril Islands, and namely the Kunashir and the Iturup are considered to be the motherland of this breed. It was these islands, where the Kurilian Bobtail was brought from to the continent at the end of the XXth century. The first step in the development of the breed, which received a working title "the Kurilian Bobtail", was creation of a preliminary standard by the Soviet Felinological Federation (SFF). The results of the first matings showed that the type of Kurilian cats and the short tail are consistently inherited, and at the same time "the pompom tail" is not connected with any anomalies harmful to cats' health. On October 21, 1991 the SFF adopted the first standard of the Kurilian Bobtail. At a seminar of feline experts held on December 4, 1994 Russia proposed WCF (the World Cat Federation) to improve the aboriginal breeds standard of the SFF and prepare materials for approval of a new breed. This organization was the first of the world systems to recognize the breed; today the Kurilian Bobtail is also recognized by FIFe, TICA, Assolux, ICU, Farus, and the International Felinological Association.

Photo of: Gorynych BLUE BlOOD , owned by Olesya Korenevskaya

An ideal Kurilian Bobtail: breed standard

Head: The head is triangle-shaped with equal sides and rounded contours; adult animals have a head in the form of a turned trapezium because of prominent whisker pads and round cheeks of mature male cats. The muzzle is round and rather broad, with gentle contours. The forehead is flat, there is a slight stop between the forehead and the nose. The cheekbones are wide, but not as low as those of Siberian cats. The chin is not prominent.

Eyes: The eyes are oval, and set at a slight angle. The colour can vary from yellow to green; white-haired and bicoloured Kurilian Bobtails can have blue eyes. There are cats with different eyes. The eyes colour may not correspond to the coat colour.

Ears: The ears are medium-sized, straight, widely and highly set. The distance between the ears is about one ear width. The ear tips are rounded; long-hair cats have a little bit tufted ears.

Neck: The neck is not long, muscular, and seems thick because of the long thick hair.

Photo of: W.Ch. Ratibor Hunter from Islands, owned by Anna Ibragimova

Body: The body is medium-sized, relatively short and compact. The back is slightly arched. The rump is slightly raised. The muscular system is well-developed.

Legs: The legs are medium-sized, solid, powerful, muscular.

Paws: The paws are round and compact.

Tail: The tail is short, with length of 3-8 cm, twisted, kinked and/or curved. The direction of the curves may vary. It may be flexible or movable. It is raised above the back level. The shape and the mobility of the bob are not evaluated. The pompom is of any shape, and preferably raised above the back level; grooming is welcomed. Tail length and shape should correspond to the general look of the cat.
Coat: Semi-longhair variation: the hair is long or semi-long and thin. The undercoat is thick and visible. The length of the hair is increasing in the lower and the back parts of the body. There is excellent decorative hair forming a collar, trousers, and tufts on ears. Shorthair variation: the hair is short, thin; the undercoat is thick and visible. The length of the hair is increasing in the lower and the back parts of the body, as well as on the pompom.

Colours: The colour may be solid, smoke, tabby or biclolour. Any colour is permitted except for the chocolate, lilac, abyssinian and Burmese ones.

Disqualification at shows: A too long tail of 8 to 12 cm, or a too short tail of less than 3 cm consisting of only one vertebra; the effect of a "delayed bobtail"; a too curved back; a look resembling that of the Japanese or the Thai Bobtail; a long and a weak body; a narrow, a long and a light head; high cheekbones; a straight and a long nose; large, separated or sharp-tipped ears; too short fore legs; dry and short hair without any undercoat; a stocky type; a heavy type; prominent or vice versa low-set eyes. Amputated claws, cryptorchism, deafness.

Crossbreeding with other breeds is not allowed.

The point scale:

Body: 30

Head: 20

Tail: 30

Coat texture: 10

Colour and pattern: 5

Condition: 5

The short-hair and the semi-longhair variations are examined separately.

Photo of: Hamster Gold Paphiaaffect, owned by Larisa Tovtina

Current state of the breed

Today the majority of WCF experts recognize that the breed has significantly changed for the better over the past years, despite the remaining variety of its types. Moreover, breeders have managed to get rid of the so-called "geographical appearance", when the appearence of an animal clearly demonstrated the place of its birth. In other words, the "face" of a Kurilian Bobtail from Siberia has recently differed much from the appearance of a cat of the same breed originating from the Volga region or the Urals. The TICA expert Vlada Benynya points out as follows: "When several years ago I judged in accordance with the WCF system, I learned to exactly determine from what city this or that Kurilian Bobtail had arrived to the show. These cats were bred by enthusiasts, who were mainly poor people and often could not afford another sire, therefore, a local "type" appeared very fast. If we remember, what the breed was started with – these were cats from the Kuril Islands which let take them in hands and had a short tail, and these were the only requirements to their appearence. They were few in number, therefore cats were officially mated with Siberians. A short tail was the major feature, and nobody focused on anything else". Fortunately, there are many sires of this breed today. Thanks to its excellent qualities, the Kurilian Bobtail has managed to win the breeders's love, and the number of cats has significantly increased. The semi-longhair variation has turned to be a bit more popular, and its representatives can be met at shows more often. But fortunately there are breeders who, despite all difficulties, work with the shorthair variation, showing high-quality animals to experts every year.

Photo of: Amagi-Poschveri' F'Dunia, owned by Olga Kvitsaridze

The Kurilian Bobtail today: what features would experts like to see in it?

Irina Matyushina, a WCF expert:
"As an expert, I reckon that the major quality of the Kurilian Bobtail is beauty given to these cats by nature. Beauty of an outdoor cat. And it is very good that people have not started to improve it and create a "sweet-looking" type. There are other breeds for this. As to the Kurilian Bobtail, most of all I admire a surprising combination of the temperament of a tender and devoted kitten living in a powerful and strong body".
Vlada Benynya, a TICA expert:
"I often judge the Kurilian Bobtail based on my intuition and tactile sensations. They never deceive me, but if right at the moment of choice somebody asks me why I choose precisely this cat, but not another one, I will hardly answer. Rules and standards do not contain a concept "beauty". At the same time the concept "harmony" which is used in the phrase "the animal should be harmonious" is rather an excuse of some disadvantages... Although this is very important! First of all, I want these animals not to lose their aboriginal nature. In other words, they must be ready to return back to the wild at any minute. These must be strong, healthy animals so that an expert evaluating a male or a female cat in a ring, would be happy to touch its musculature, to feel its natural strength".
Tatiana Esina, a WCF expert:
"The Kurilian Bobtail must preserve aboriginal features in its appearance! A powerful body, strong legs. At the same time movements of this cat should be light and graceful. There should be no single doubt that the cat will easily catch a prey or, for example, leap to a great height. The appearance of the Bobtail must be unique, so that any person could guess the breed shown in the ring - the Siberian or the Celtic one - without even seeing the tail. Today the breeders have managed to achieve such results, when the animals are recognized by sight.
Several years ago one could only dream about it".

What disadvantages of the Kurilian Bobtail do the experts consider major in the breed? What can significantly influence points of the animal?

Vlada Benynya:
"I consider the predominance of weak chins to be a very bad tendency. And often I am mot understood by breeders and owners. Do not look at the chin, look better at the pompom! Of course, the pompom is important too. But an aboriginal cat can't have a weak chin because it will have to clatter with its teeth suffering from hunger in the wild, if its jaws are not correctly developed!
And the pompom will not affect its satiety".
Irina Matyushina:
"Tail length which is greater or lesser than the standard one. A head not typical for the Kurilian Bobtail, a too narrow or a Siberian-like head. The breed has already taken its shape, the Kurilian "face" should be recognizable and correspond to the standard!"
Tatiana Esina:
"A weak body - a thin, a fine body on high legs. It should not be such. Of course, I pay attention to the animal's head too: the forehead, the chin, and the stop should meet the standard. There must be no features of the Siberian or the Maine Coon! And, of course, the tail. It must meet the standard and must be movable! I very much like intricate tails that are folded on the back".

And now a few words about advantages of the Kurilian Bobtail or what does this breed fascinate with? The following are opinions of the breeders who have been working with the Kurilian Bobtail for many years and have different sires at home.

Yulia Drus, a breeder, an owner of the Supreme Bobs Team cattery:
"We had always dreamed to adopt a dog, but unfortunately it would be very comfortable in a city apartment. We began to look for an alternative among cat breeds, which are maximally close to dogs in terms of their character, and we found it! We had not met a more sociable, a friendlier and more devoted breed of cats! Our pets and graduates take part in all family affairs with pleasure, travel by any kinds of transport, go to nature with us and are very devoted! One can say for sure that the Kurilian Bobtail is a real partner among all cat breeds!"
Larisa Tovtina, the Paphiaaffect cattery:
"A cat's body, a hare's jump, a dog's soul and an angel's heart", – I once found this definition given to the beautiful, independent, strong-willed, strong and amazing Kurilian Bobtail on the Internet. And I agree with it! As to the level of intelligence, devotion to a person and friendly character, these cats can be compared with dogs. The independence and the charm of a wild beast combine in them with amazing devotion of a domestic cat in a unique way. Quick wit, desire for learning and curiosity, constant readiness to communicate... These are the cats that are able to "speak" with their eyes! Representatives of this breed are wonderful parents. One can endlessly confess his love to the Kurilian Bobtail. I want to say one thing: cats of this breed have brought and will bring many happy moments in their owners' lives".

What else do breeders talk about? That the Kurilian Bobtail gets on well with children. You know I always say that there must be children in a family! It seems to me that the Kurilian Bobtail adores children as nobody else. It guards them, and is ready to play, run after a ball or a laser beam until a mature age. In their souls, these cats always remain children!

May be, they always get on well with other animals precisely for this reason. But I would not advise to keep them simultaneously with rodents because their hunting instinct is very developed. Another characteristic feature of these cats is their "language". You will not hear usual mewing: it will clang and squawk and pronounce a lot of other "sound files", a certain one for each case. The vast majority of sires adore purring, and it is not necessary to stroke or take them in arms for this. It is enough for the cat to lie down close to you and you will feel its pleased "vibration". The reason for this is amazing communicability of Kurilians. They will not lie on a sofa. Their purpose is participation in your life to a maximum extent: cleaning of the apartment, washing-up, reading of books, watching TV. Your Kurilian will follow you about the house like a shadow, lie on your keyboard, sit in your chair, lie on your pillow. You will not notice when you will begin to talk to it, excusing to it that you are late after work, that you have forgotten to buy some tasty things, etc. Your telephone will be full of photos of your cat in different poses, and perhaps some time later your colleagues will begin to deem you a madman who has got obsessive with his cat. But how could they know this is not JUST A CAT?

Photo of: Fedor Supreme Bobs Team, owned by Valentina Gareeva

P.S. The uniqueness of this breed has led to creation of lots of myths on the Internet. It's time to reject them.

They say that a group of Kurilian Bobtails is able to win a little bear. It is said so in one of the American documentary films about nature. On the one hand, it is hard to judge: we have never gone hunting with them :). On the other hand, and the common sense confirms it – such a situation can hardly happen. At least for the reason that the Kurilian Bobtail is a cat and prefers to get food which it is able to get.
Photo of: Litter T... of the Ural Great cattery

They say that the Kurilian Bobtail does not spray. Of course, there are lucky owners of not-spraying cats. But, alas, they are few in number. Kurilian Bobtails are dominant animals, and they are aboriginals. In the wild they simply have to spray to designate their territory and give a signal to rivals. They have not lost this habit in home conditions. That is why, selling kittens not for breeding purposes, breeders of the Kurilian Bobtail insist on castration.

They say that there is no allergy to the Kurilian Bobtail. The Kurilian Bobtail is a cat and can lead to allergy, both to the hair and to secretions.

They say that the Kurilian Bobtail does not shed hair. It does. Change of wool of mammals exists as always has! There will be hair both, from a semi-longhair cat, and from a shorthair one.

They say that the Kurilian Bobtail can guard a house. It would be too self-confident to make a cat guard a territory or a flat. This is not a watchdog.

But the Kurilian will necessarily protect comfort, warmth, and happiness in your house. This is not a myth, this is reality!!!

Author: Oxana Makoveyeva, a breeder, the Ural Great cattery