Written by Dr. Truda M Straede
This carefully crafted breed of delicately spotted and marbled cats is tops for temperament, full of love and fun, bright but relaxed. Very popular with first time pedigree cat buyers, it's well bred but not extreme appearance appeals as essentially cat.
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
There is nothing extreme about Australian Mist, they are of moderate size, medium boned, rounded of head, with large eyes and ears. The coat is short, but resilient, the tail is plumply furred. The colours are warm brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, gold and peach; the pattern is of delicate spots or intricate marbled swirls against a misty ground, with legs and tail ringed and barred, and the face lined. Eyes are large and expressive in a range of greens. The nose, chin and whiskerpads are broad giving the face a generous expression.
WHAT BREEDS WERE THEY MADE FROM?
Developed over more than twenty years, Australian Mist have a large gene pool, derived from over 30 foundation cats, half Burmese, and a quarter each Abyssinian and Domestic. Burmese contributed the dilution for the colours, the "laid back" nature, four of the colours and some of the pattern, as well as general size and conformation. From the Abyssinian came the beautiful ticking to develop the pattern, two colours, and a touch of lively
intelligence. Domestics contributed to the best spots, but primarily to vigour, with a dose of "uncosseted" cat genes improving teeth, kidneys, mothering qualities, and helping to stabilise litter sizes around the feline average of four. The exciting marbled pattern, accepted as part of the breed in 1997 has “popped up” throughout the development of the breed and is growing in popularity.
UNLIKE ASIANS AND BENGALS.....
Australian Mists were planned and crafted over many years from an idea developed by Dr Straede and have been in existence for longer than Asian cats which were the result of an accidental mating as recently as as 1981 and Bengal cats which were also first bred in the early eighties. The first Bengal registered with TICA was in 1983 by Jean Mill.
Permission was granted by the RASCC Consultative Comittee in 1977 and the first true litter of Mists was born in January 1980.
WHAT ARE THEY LIKE AS CATS?
Australian Mist are excellent mothers, moderate breeders, and superlative studs. Desexed cats, females and kittens fit in easily with all sorts of other pets. Their conviction that no person or animal could do anything but love them leads to ease of integration with any but the extremely aggressive. Temperament is such that even many males are able to live in small groups with other males.. To further increase the pleasure of the small breeder, later maturation of both males and females is being selected for.
The people centredness of Australian Mist contributes to their ability to be wholly indoor pets, and their willingness to remain indoors between dusk and dawn. While it is not possible to alter the inherent behaviours which enable the cat to hunt, these characteristics can be redirected towards interacting with people. Selection is continuing to enhance further these qualities, creating a truly companionable pet, which quickly becomes a
member of the family
WHAT WAS THE ORIGIN OF THE BREED?
These delectable short-haired cats were the brain-child of Dr. Truda Straede (Nintu Cattery) and were developed from the idea to full register over nine years from 1977. This wholly AUSTRALIAN breed of cat has been created under the very strict regulations of the NSW Cat Fanciers Association Inc, and is now recognised by governing councils Australia wide. Sound husbandry and selection, combined with genetic insight, and the perseverance of the experimental breeders has led to a pleasingly uniform, but genetically broadly based population of cats, which are now available to any interested cat buyer.
WHAT TYPE OF HOME DO THEY SUIT?
Australian Mist make excellent pets for children, even very young ones, as they are very tolerant of handling, and disinclined to scratch. As kittens they are lively, but sober up somewhat on maturity. Their propensity to crawl into the nearest lap with or without invitation, and to constantly hang around to see what people are up to makes them an excellent companion for the home worker, and the invalid. Older cats in need of rehoming are available at times. These cats settle in well, and are often preferred by older, or working buyers.
Australian Mist are easy cats to Show, enjoying the outing and attention. Best in Show awards are frequent, and several cats, including both entire and desexed, have reached Gold Double Grand Champion status. Both Spotted and Marbled Australian Mist have been awarded the much coveted SUPREME EXHIBIT IN SHOW.
AUSSIE MIST JOTTINGS
by Truda M Straede,
IN THE BEGINNING .....
It seems a long time ago, that day that I rushed into a cat show ( it was the Federal, I recall, I think in 1975), found a litter of Blue Burmese ( they were the flavour of the month, that year), and said 'I will have one of those, a girl, I want to breed and show.' A bit amazing really, as I had only owned moggies previously, my acquaintance with pedigree cats restricted solely to the seal point Siamese that I had bought as a present for my mother. Ah, that I had known where it would lead me!
That first blue girl I did not have long, she died of ?? It took me years to remember her with anything but pain. I ordered a replacement from the next litter, and bought myself a brown girl as well - and then a Tawny (called Usual in those days, and they were!) Abyssinian.
The first time I showed, at the Blue Mountains Show, I won Best Kitten in Show - with the brown girl. A bit wasted on me, as I really had no idea how rare a win that was. Kebbel Patiki (Nammi), my blue girl, never did particularly well at shows, but bore me lots of lovely kittens - she is not, however, in the family tree of the Aussie Mists. Nor is my brown girl, she had breeding problems, problems that I now know were derived from Feline Leukaemia, at that time only heard of. Yes, I started breeding before there were tests, let alone a vaccine. There wasn't any vaccination except for Feline Infectious Enteritis (Feline Panleucopaenia) available for cats. Flu vaccination became available a few years after I started breeding, and what a revelation that was!
My first Abyssinian is in the breed ancestry - she was the mother of Nintu Nepenthys, a cinnamon abyssinian, and the first source of the cinnamon (light brown, bl) gene, from which gold and peach are derived. My first stud, Kempala Leo, a nut brown lad of melting temperament, and my lilac boy, Kingsmead Lilac Beren (the first true lilac Burmese to be brought into NSW) the bearer of the prominent whisker pads which form part of our breed standard were both very important --- but I run ahead of myself.
Beren (aged 14 yrs) Note the whisker pads
Initially I was unable to get my Abyssinian into kitten, she went off call the minute she was put in a car to go to stud. So eventually I walked her around the corner to a friend's Burmese stud - it worked, lovely kittens. The next time I managed to take her to a stud of the right sort - hence the advent of Nepenthys. Meanwhile, the hybrid daughter, living with her new owner had made her own arrangements, and produced a superb litter of various tabbies - wildly striped and necklaced ticked tabbies and superbly spotted tabbies. Ideas began to flit through my head. I arranged for the hybrid girl to mate Leo to further my ideas - but she was run over before the kittens were born.
Nepenthys with !large! litter (chocolate ticked) to Beren, including Nintu Narmer.
Undeterred, I created my own Burmese x Abyssinian - and about this time made application to the Royal Agricultural Society Cat Control for an Experimental License - I was told to go away and produce some kittens to support my hypothesis, and that then they might consider my application.... I am quite convinced that they never expected to hear another word from me, not surely that
a) my genetic ideas had been correct
b) that I would actually reach the stage of making a formal application.
In the days when I was the Experimental Breeds Co-ordinator for the New South Wales Cat Fanciers Association (the direct heir of the RASCC), I marvelled that so little thought was given to even countenancing allowing me to embark on an experimental program. I wasn't very experienced as a breeder, had no idea of the time, the cost, the work, the heartbreak that lay ahead. Indeed, it really wasn't ever in my plans to devote the better part of my life to a new breed of cat. These days I use my hard won experience to help hopeful new breed developers to come to grips with the size of the challenge ahead, but at the same time, I do offer as much assistance as possible, particularly on making best use of the stock they do produce to arrive most economically and expeditiously at their goal. There are lots of fabulous ideas out there - indeed, I could design you half a dozen new breeds, complete with foundation stock, coat colour genetics, breed standard and selection criteria just like that ---- Just as well I am not in my 20's again - I would be tempted, though this time I would be sure to be better resourced, both with equipment and cash!
LEO a traditional brown boy
To return to the tale, it took me a couple of years to collect together those kittens to fulfill the 'show us' requirement, including Nintu Horatio ( he held the bridge, you may recall) the very first brown spotted Australian Mist (from a half Burmese tabby, Elf, to Leo), and two scrumptious kittens from Leo x Nepy back cross Burmese (Beren), each one gene wrong : Clovis Brown Spotted Tabby ( missing the homozygous Burmese dilute cbcb) and Naia Chocolate Ticked Mist (with the Ta allele rather than spotted/mackerel alleles).
Clovis (14yrs) displaying all that white
There was a real problem though - Clovis had white toes, white locket, white in the groin, white armpits and white on the chest in the mid line---- I believe I almost missed out on permission to continue because of all this white -- until it was realized that it came from all 'pure bred' Abyssinian and Burmese stock. For what it's worth, the locket certainly came from the Aby - Nepys' mother had one, and the white toes from Beren - a Burmese breeder later had a kitten from him with white toes and tail tip. The white on the
mid line, armpits and groin appeared from time to time in kittens from Leo, and were not uncommon in Burmese in general (and I still see them at times).
So I started, two with lovely type, Clovis and Naia, one with a lovely spotted coat, and excruciating type, Horatio ( he would have been a good candidate to initiate a tabby Oriental program). I soon added a lovely blue spotted tabby boy, Zetes to my foundation stock, and I was off and running.
Oh, and what were we called? Spotted Mist Foreign Shorthairs - as a temporary name. It took us years to be allowed to call the breed Australian Mist - it was known as Spotted Mist for it's first ten years, as I believe it was considered a bit pretentious on my part to want to call them 'Australian'. The introduction of the second pattern, Marbled, created a pressing need to change the name, finally achieved in 1998
The article and jottings above were are written by Dr T . M. Straede. All are reproduced here with her kind permission. Please visit Dr Straede's Nintu website and read more about the history, genetics and progress of the Australian Mist over the last 30 years.