May 19, 2015 PetGuide
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California Spangled

  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 8-15 lb
  • Lifespan: 9-16 years
  • Physique: Strong, long body
  • Best Suited For: Families with kids and other pets, anyone who loves cats, those in search of an exotic looking cat
  • Temperament: Loving, active, docile, social
  • Comparable Breeds: Bengal, Ocicat

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The California Spangled breed originated in—you guessed it—California. It was created in the 1980s in order to produce a domestic housecat that would closely resemble the appearance of wild cats, such as the leopard and the ocelot.

Paul Casey and Louis Leakey teamed up in 1971 to create a domesticated cat that would look like a leopard and other spotted wild cats. Their goal was genuine, though, because it was to raise awareness about the poaching of leopards that was putting their population at risk. They felt that if people were to own cats that looked like leopards and wild cats, they would be less inclined to purchase their furs.

To produce this new breed, Casey and Leakey started by crossing breeds that included the Siamese, Angora, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Manx, and Abyssinian. They also added street cats from Malaysia and Egypt. By 1985, they had produced a cat with the right appearance, and it was introduced in 1986.

As a result of their gorgeous and exotic look, these cats were very expensive early on, especially while they were still very rare. Today, though, there are other breeds, like the Bengal and Ocicat, that are similar to the California Spangled. Also, there are only about 200 cats of this breed left, despite its popularity.

The California Spangled cat breed was intentionally bred to resemble a leopard.

The California Spangled cat breed was intentionally bred to resemble a leopardEven though the California Spangled may look like a miniature leopard in your home, these cats do not have wild personalities. Instead, they are loyal, affectionate, gentle, sociable, and docile companions who seek human attention and affection. In fact, they don’t do well when they are left alone for extended periods because they will easily get lonely and stressed.

These cats love spending time with their owners, and they are also very energetic, acrobatic, and playful, often moving to the highest locations in the home, just like a wild cat seeks out a place in the trees to look down on everything. Despite being active, though, these cats are also easy to tame and intelligent.

The California Spangled is known for its tubular, strong body, as well as its short and spotted coat, both of which make it look like a miniature wild cat walking stalking your home. Its eyes are typically a deep copper or a pale amber color, and it also features wide, prominent, sculpted cheekbones.

This breed’s spots are well-defined and can be triangular, square, round, or oval. The spots are found along the sides and back of the cat’s body, sometimes in rosetted patterns. The tops of the forelegs are also marked with dark bars.

california-spangled-1The California Spangled comes in a variety of colors, including charcoal, black, white, brown, blue, red, gold, silver, and bronze.

The California Spangled does not require a lot of grooming. Instead, a weekly brushing session should be enough to keep the skin and coat healthy and soft. Plus, this cat will thoroughly enjoy the attention that it gets from a relaxing grooming session with its owners.

Photo credit: dbphotosfile/Flickr; Gatoteria/Flickr

Comparable Breeds

Go to Bengal


  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 15 lb
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
  • Physique: Sleek and muscular
  • Best Suited For: Families with children and high activity levels
  • Temperament: Intelligent, affectionate, friendly, active
  • Comparable Breeds: Tonkinese, Exotic Shorthair
Go to Ocicat


  • Height: 9-11 inches
  • Weight: 6-15 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Physique: Medium to large breed
  • Best Suited For: Families with children and other pets. Does not like to be alone.
  • Temperament: Friendly, sociable, vocal. Very people oriented. Needs lots of attention.
  • Comparable Breeds: Oriental