California Spangled
Inspired By the Wild Cats of Africa

So what was the inspiration behind the development of the California Spangled Cat?

cat history

In the 1970's, Paul Arnold Casey Jnr, an author and Hollywood screenwriter, visited the anthropologist Louis Leakey in Africa.

Casey was drawn to the plight of the African wild cats, particularly the Leopard that was being indiscriminately poached for its fur or killed because it was hunting livestock on land that was previously wild-cat territory.

On his return from his trip to Tanzania, Casey, encouraged and inspired by Leakey, initiated a breeding program.

The purpose of this program was threefold:

  • To highlight the plight of the poached leopard in Africa
  • To discourage the fashion-conscious from purchasing fur coats. (Who would want a fur coat that resembled their pet cat?)
  • To fulfill the need of cat lovers for a wild-looking spotted cat - in other words those desiring a leopard look-a-like at home.

creating the spotted cat

The breeding program commenced in earnest in the mid 1970's.

Several cat breeds were used to 'engineer' this cat.

There seems to be some debate on which domestic cats were used, but the commonly held belief is that it included:

  • British and American Shorthairs
  • Abyssinian cats
  • Siamese cats
  • Egyptian Mau or feral cats from the streets of Cairo, Egypt
  • Asians (or a house cat from Malaysia)

and an Angora-like spotted tabby

It took many generations of breeding before the breed type was fixed.

The experimental breeding program finally achieved a domestic cat that resembled the wild spotted cats of Africa.

Unbeknown to Casey, Virginia Daly had already made huge inroads into the development of a wild-looking spotted cat.

Daly launched her beauty, the Ocicat, at a cat show in 1986.

unveiling the california spangled cat

Casey launched his cat in 1986, in an elaborate, campaign!

His 'creation' was showcased to the world in the Nieman Marcus Christmas Catalog at a premium price.

It apparently infuriated anti-fur campaigners who disapproved of a cat being advertised in a catalog selling fur coats.

Cat Breeders were furious as the breeding program was conducted without external observation or the blessing of cat registries.

Nieman Marcus was also angry when they realized that the advertisement was in fact intended to discourage buyers from purchasing fur coats!

Despite the cat's beauty and Casey's good intentions, the launch was a disaster from which the cat never truly recovered.

the end of a breed

Whilst many rumors abound that breeding may be revived, the California Spangled cat has become a 'ghost breed' with almost all breeding abandoned.

This is a very rare cat breed and despite an extensive investigation we were unable to find a single cat breeder.

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