The Australian Mist is the only cat breed from the Australian continent. Bred from the Burmese, Abyssinian and domestic cats, this gentle and trusting cat breed is ideally suited as a domestic cat. The name of these Australian felines is inspired by their typical fur markings, which look as if the cat had been covered by a light fog.
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Faced with the choice of going outside to hunt mice or staying inside with its family, the Australian Mist would always choose the latter. That's what said of these Australian domestic cats at least. Indeed, these sociable and people-focused felines are very well suited to being kept indoors, because the company of humans or other cats is very important to them. So important that they would even give up their freedom for it. However, this doesn't mean that the Australian Mist would lie around lazily in its basket all day. On the contrary, these strong and muscular cats love exercise and are playful. If they are solely to be kept indoors, it's essential to have a climbing and scratching tree, as well as enough space indoors.
Sociable domestic cats with a child-like nature
These alert and curious cats definitely need space to play and explore. Even when they become slightly more tranquil of nature in old age, Australian Mists maintain their child-like nature throughout their lives. They love exploring every nook and cranny, frolicking around, climbing and playing. They are obviously very well suited to households with children, though they also feel happy with pensioners living alone or with couples. Thanks to their sociable and easy-going nature, they are very adaptable and fit in well everywhere following a normal adaptation period. However, they are less keen on being alone, since they are much too sociable for this. If you're out of the house a lot with work, you would be better off getting several cats, because this breed loves playing with fellow cats just as much as activities with its human family and would certainly be distracted from its boredom during your absence.
You can see from the Australian Mist's physique that it loves exercise and has a lively nature. It examines its counterparts with an attentive, expectant look from large, expressive eyes. Its strong, muscular body with a broad chest and slightly stocky legs always seem prepared for little active games. Their medium-length legs are slightly longer at the rear than the front and appear strong and athletic. These medium-sized domestic cats weigh 3-6kg, whilst males are mostly bigger and heavier than females.
Typical feature: the fur covered by mist
In keeping with its overall image, the Australian Mist has a wide, round head with well-defined whisker pads and a prominent chin. With its large eyes and wide-set, medium-sized ears that are slightly tilted forwards and end in a rounded tip, these cats slightly resemble ocelots. This is not least because of their attractive fur markings, which give the cat its name. The Australian's short, shiny silky fur is made up of three different colour layers: firstly, the base colour, secondly, a gentle darker marking and thirdly, what is known as the veil, which makes the markings underneath appear slightly blurred due to the ticking pattern. The name “Australian Mist” relates to the typical fur colouring of this cat breed.
The Australian Mist comes in seven different colour tones:
- Brown (black markings)
- Gold (cinnamon markings)
- Peach (fawn markings)
The breed was called “Spotted Mist” until 1998. With the admission of tabby and mottled fur markings, it was ultimately renamed the Australian Mist.
The attractive appearance and even-tempered nature of the Australian Mist certainly didn't come about by chance. When the Australian breeder Dr. Truda M. Straede began to pair the Burmese, Abyssinian and domestic cats in 1976, she had a clear goal in mind of wanting to create a new short-haired, spotted cat breed with a calm nature and suitable for being kept indoors. With the help of the Burmese, Abyssinian and spotted domestic cats, Straede hoped to achieve this goal. Indeed, the characteristics of all three breeds can be recognised in the present-day Australian Mist: the Burma's physique and focus on people, the Abyssinian's temperament and ticking pattern and the tabby pattern of spotted domestic cats.
Targeted cross-breeding of the three breeds with the ratio 50% Burmese, 25% Abyssinian and 25% spotted domestic cat proved very successful. Ten years later in 1986, the resulting new Spotted Mist breed was officially recognised in all Australian states.
Breed and population
Up to this day, breeding of this relatively young cat breed has been focused on Australia and New Zealand. Although the Australian Mist is increasingly making a name for itself outside of its homeland in Europe and the US, there has not yet been recognition from further feline associations and nor have larger breeding sites been developed in Europe or the Americas. Hence, it's not easy to find a pedigree Australian Mist outside of Australia. It's most likely that those interested will strike lucky in Britain, where the cats in most cases have been imported from Australia to Europe.
Health and diseases typical of the breed
Having been bred solely in Australia thus far, the Australian Mist doesn't suffer from any specific diseases in contrast to some excessively bred cat breeds. It is considered very healthy and robust and it's not uncommon for Australian Mists to reach an age of 15 years or more. Obviously it isn't immune to typical feline diseases though, and upper respiratory disorders or bacterial infections in the stomach and intestine cannot be ruled out. In addition, there is an increased risk of cats with outdoor access suffering from parasite infestations. Hence, vaccinations against cat colds, cat flu, rabies and leucosis are absolutely recommended for cats allowed outdoors. Discuss with your vet what vaccinations are important for your cat and when they have to be carried out.
Grooming and diet
Not just vaccinations but species-appropriate grooming and diet also make a significant contribution to the health of cats. If you know your stuff, you will be aware that this doesn't have to be a lot of work. Grooming these short-haired Australian cats thankfully almost takes care of itself. However, you should occasionally remove dead hairs with a cloth or soft brush.
A healthy diet plays a big part in your cat's wellbeing. A high-quality cat food with a high proportion of meat is the right choice for your Australian Mist. You should avoid too much grain and carbohydrates, because cats can't utilise them well. Never give your cat any of your own food, as this is generally too fatty and seasoned for the sensitive gastrointestinal system of four-legged felines.
Also make sure to arrange annual preventive check-ups with your vet. Cats often only show signs of possible complaints very late and suffer in silence initially. In order to be sure that your Australian Mist is in good health, you should get it regularly checked over by an expert.
Owning an Australian Mist
The Australian Mist is low-maintenance in many senses – not just regarding its food or fur, but its housing requirements too. It doesn't need a huge garden or to spend many hours outdoors and instead manages very well with purely living indoors. However, the requirement is that it's allowed to spend plenty of time with its family or even a fellow cat that acts as a playmate. Australian Mists are very sociable animals and need contact with other living creatures more than a big house or oversized climbing tree. If you're out a lot and are looking for an independent cat that spends most of its time strolling through the local area during the day, you would be poorly advised to take on a cat of this breed.
Who is the Australian Mist suitable for?
These Australian cats are undoubtedly easy-going and very sociable pets that can adapt well to their family's life. At their cost though, they are mostly found with cat lovers who have the time and inclination to take care of them and value the time spent together just as much as they do. They will be happy to have one or several fellow cats in the home to play with as they wish and to go exploring together. Although they value contact with humans beyond all measure, Australian Mists are far from couch potatoes. These curious cats love discovering new things and working away at a scratching or climbing tree. Hence, make sure they also get enough variety in the form of cat toys and movement games. This is particularly important with cats that are kept a lot of the time or even solely indoors. You can of course also get your Australian Mist used to daily outdoor access, although these people-focused felines will probably spend most of their time within the four walls of their home in close proximity to their caregivers.
Where can I buy an Australian Mist?
A gentle, trusting, people-focused and attractive cat that can potentially be kept indoors understandably has many fans. However, only few of them will be able to fulfil their wish of obtaining a pedigree Australian Mist, unless they live in Australia or New Zealand. Although the increasing popularity of this special breed indicates that there will soon be breeders in Europe too, you should first look at another breed if necessary if you wish to get a cat sooner rather than later. Maybe you'll be lucky and will find a cat that is at least “proportionately” an Australian Mist. Talk to cat breeders and look in animal shelters to see if you find a cat that comes close to meeting your expectations.