The Kurilian Bobtail can be found in both long-haired and short-haired form. They are named after the archipelago from which they originate, the Kurilian Islands. Here they have started to cross in isolation with the Japanese Bobtail. Besides being excellent hunters, they are also a very loving breed. Would you like to know more about this rare cat? Are you curious how they originated and got a fluke? Then read on!
The origin: natural origin on an archipelago
The part ‘Kurilen’ comes from the Kurilen archipelago on which the Kurilian Bobtai originated. This used to be Japanese territory but has been in Russian hands since 1875. This archipelago consists of 56 volcanic islands. Cats with short tails, often referred to with their English term ‘bobtail’, have been naturally present on these islands for about two centuries. This is where the second part of the name Kurilian Bobtail comes from.
Because the breed originated so long ago, it is difficult to find out what the real origin was. By nature the Kurilian Bobtail cat already existed on the islands. Only the variety as we know it probably originated from a natural cross with the Japanese fluke cat.
Both the Kurilian Bobtail and the Japanese Bobtail are known to be very good hunters. They were therefore taken by fishermen and travellers on the water to catch rats on board. When the islands were still in Japanese hands these fishermen and travellers came to these islands. That is how the Japanese Bobtail ended up on the island. When the islands fell into Russian hands, this area was used for military purposes and was much more difficult to reach. In this isolation, these Kurilian Bobtail started to cross with the Japanese Bobtail. It was only after the Soviet Union fell apart that the archipelago became accessible again. From that moment on, around 1950, they were taken to the mainland by Russian scientists and tourists.
The character: a friendly hunter
Because of the wild nature of the Kurilian Bobtail it is a real hunter. They are known for their first-class ability to catch rats, for example. These hunting abilities have taken these animals from their ancestors. On the Kuril Islands, the Kurilian Bobtail also hunted snakes, hares and squirrels. But they did not only hunt on land, they also have excellent fishing skills.
This hunting character also has a completely different side. The Kurilian Bobtail is also a very friendly breed. They can get very attached to their owners and like to sit on their laps. They are also real family animals that can cope well with a busy household and other animals. This affectionate character requires a lot of attention, but the Kurilian Bobtail will never impose itself. They are also very quiet and not very vocal.
The appearance: powerful and affectionate
The appearance of the Kurilian Bobtail is compact and muscular. The weight of the cat differs between males and females. Males usually weigh between 5 and 7.5 kilograms, while females are lighter between 3.5 and 5 kilograms.
The body of the Kurilian Bobtail is compact but gives a strong appearance. The hind legs are longer than the front legs, giving the Kurilen a powerful leap for its small appearance. The head is wedge shaped and fairly large with convex cheeks. His ears are high on his head and are of medium size. Also, the nose is of medium size with a slight curve. The eyes are large and almond-shaped.
The most striking thing about the Kurilian Bobtail is of course its tail. In contrast to most cat breeds it is much shorter and in a graceful curl or spiral. It seems that each tail is unique, as it were a kind of fingerprint. Some tails rotate a lot, which creates a kind of spiral. Others are less curly and form for example a hook or a short bend. Not every tail is the same length. They vary between 3 and 8 vertebrae.
The coat comes in two varieties, short-haired and long-haired. The short-haired variant has a coat between 3 and 8 centimetres. For the long-haired variant this is between 8 and 10 centimetres. There are no further requirements on the coat for this breed.
The coat colour and coat patterns that occur
The Kurilian Bobtail has no strict requirements with regard to coat patterns or colour. The tail is therefore really the determining factor for this breed to see if it is a Kurilen fluke cat or not. However, there are a number of patterns and colours that are most common. Below are all the patterns that are possible with a cat’s coat. The last one, colourpoint, hardly occurs in this breed.
Even: In this case the entire coat has one colour.
- Even: In this case the entire coat has one colour.
- Two-toned: A variation on the solid, because with this coat type there are two colours to be found.
- Three-colour: Another variant in which there are three colours in total.
- Tabby or Cypers: This is a pattern in which different colours but also colour combinations are possible. There is not much white in these patterns. The Tabby pattern contains certain sub patterns, namely: speckled, classic, mackerel and mottled. Each sub pattern is characterized by a certain kind of stripes and dots.
- Tortie or Turtle: This pattern consists of a mix of two colours that occur as the pattern on a turtle shell. It is not the same as the bicolour because this pattern is caused by a genetic anomaly.
- Colourpoint: The colourpoint is a pattern in which the coat is darker in certain areas. The darker spots are formed by the amount of heat coming from the cat itself. The limbs, i.e. the legs and tail, are often cooler than the belly and neck. Here a darker colour of the coat is formed.
- These patterns can all occur with the Kurilian Bobtail. There are no requirements for the colours either, but it is mainly the primary colours that are common:
- Black: One of the most common colours in cats.
- Red: Also one of the most common colours in cats
- Chocolate/brown: This is a diluted version of the black colour, which can be seen as dark brown.
- Cinnamon: This is another variation on the chocolate colour, where the black colour is even more diluted.
- White: No pigment is present in this hair colour.
The upbringing: make sure your kitten is socialized
With kittens it is important that they get used to people. It is important that kittens get used to human touch so they can take care of themselves. Once your kitten is used to human touch it will be possible to cut your kitten’s nails, not unimportant!
It’s also important that your kitten gets used to other animals and unfamiliar sounds. If your kitten doesn’t get used to this, there may be symptoms of anxiety and stress in the kitten. This can lead to several problems. For example, problems with the kitten’s skin or the immune system. Behavioural problems can also occur. For example, the kitten may start to behave very aggressively. Absolutely not what you want!
It is therefore important that the cat is properly socialised. This is especially important when the kitten is between 2 and 7 weeks old. In addition to this first socialisation period, there is also talk of a second socialisation period. This stops as soon as the kitten is 14 weeks old. If you want to get your kitten from a breeder who is a member of a cat club, you will only get your kitten when she is at least 13 weeks old. The kitten will then have spent almost the entire socialisation period with the breeder. It is wise to check whether the breeder has paid enough attention to this socialisation process.
The care: not too complicated
The care of the Kurilian Bobtail is not very complicated. This is mainly due to its sweet character, which makes them often willing to be groomed. For the short-haired variant of the breed, combing once a week is sufficient. This combing mainly serves to remove dead hairs, dirt and any bugs that have nested in the coat. For the long-haired variety, combing is recommended at least two to three times a week. When the cats are in the moulting period, daily combing is recommended for both hair lengths. This way the cat will go through this period faster and easier and they will suffer less from hairballs.
Seize this moment of grooming to control the cat’s skin as well. Combing the hair makes the skin more visible. When the Kuril’s Downy Tail Cat comes out a lot and hunts a lot, they come into contact with all kinds of other animals. Because of this they could get fleas for example, or they can get ticks when they are in nature a lot. By hunting, the Kurilian Bobtail might get into a short fight and maybe get bitten or scratched. If during combing these kinds of problems come up, it is wise to react immediately. For fleas there is certain medication and a tick can be removed with a pair of drawing pliers. A wound can heal on its own, but keep an eye on this, because it can also start to inflame. If the problems do not get better quickly, always go to the vet to be sure.
The nutrition: ensure sufficient protein
Nutrition is, of course, very important for cats. No special kind of food is needed for the Kurilian Bobtail. However, it is advisable to come with a food with a somewhat higher protein content. The Kurilian Bobtail is a real hunter and a muscular cat. These extra proteins will help him to maintain this lifestyle. Don’t economise on cheap food, but always go for quality.
Diseases that are common with this cat
In the Kurilian Bobtail there are no hereditary diseases, and the cat is not easily susceptible to diseases. This is mainly due to the origin in the natural and hunter character of the breed. Of course, hunting can also cause health problems and they can get diseases from other animals. So, make sure that the Kurilian Bobtail gets the recommended vaccinations from the vet and always keep a close eye on its health!
How old can the Kurilian Bobtail get?
On average, the fluke cat is between 15 and 20 years old. In general, the Kurilian Bobtail is a very healthy breed. This is mainly due to their evolution in nature and hunting. Because of this, this breed doesn’t get sick easily and they can take good care of themselves, should this be necessary. Of course, the health of a cat can always be improved by taking good care of the owners.
What you need to know before you take this cat into your home
The Kurilian Bobtail is an easy to maintain cat, which does not require specific experience. The Kurilian Bobtail may not be the best cat to start with. This is mainly because this cat is not so easy to obtain in Europe. The breed is mainly found in Japan and Russia, which are both close to the Kuril archipelago. Because the breed mainly maintains itself on the island, they are not exported much to for example Europe. Therefore, be careful with crooks who say they sell a Kurilian Bobtail, but probably offer an equal cat.
The Kurilian Bobtail is a real hunter. That is why it would be nice for the animal to be able to go outside a lot. That is why the Kurilan Bobtail is not very suitable for owners who live in a flat or flat without a garden, or in the middle of a city with little nature. A lot of greenery in the area that is inhabited by all kinds of other animals is very nice for the Kurilian Bobtail. Of course, this hunting instinct could also be detrimental if the fluke cat is hunting too much. If the cat catches too many animals, it could cause a nuisance. An environment where other animals mainly cause nuisance would be better, such as a farm where many rats live. If there is not the option to let the Kurilian Bobtail outside a lot, at least make sure there are enough toys that can still fulfill the needs of these hunters.
If you are interested in a litter of the Kurilian Bobtail cat, please check if this is allowed. The original Kurilian Bobtail that comes from the archipelago is often not allowed to be crossed with another breed. Only with another Kurilian Bobtail is allowed. Often this is quite difficult to achieve, because the females in this breed are rarer than the males. The litters are often quite small with about two or three kittens, most of which are always males.
If your interest in the Kurilian Bobtail has grown very big, make sure you buy it in a good and safe way. One of the big clubs is Felikat. Felikat is one of the two clubs that exist in the Netherlands at the time of writing and that are affiliated with FIFe, the Fédération Internationale Féline. Mundikat is the other association. The Fédération Internationale Féline is active in 40 countries.1
After approximately 13 weeks, breeders give the kitten to its new owner. Moreover, the cat associations all make extra demands. For example, the breeding animals have to be tested for certain hereditary diseases and blindness.2
What price do you have to think of?
For a Kurilian Bobtail, you soon pay around $950. They are quite rare, so prices can vary a lot from breeder to breeder. If you do manage to get a kitten out of a litter, assume that the price is at least $900. In addition to these purchase costs, if you take the Kurilian Bobtail into your home, you also have to take other costs into account. For example, you will have to buy a litter box, a cat basket, but also toys for the cat.
Do you also choose the Kurilian Bobtail?
Do you already have a Kurilian Bobtail in your house or are you planning to have one? Then let us hear from you! We are very curious why you choose this cat breed and what you think makes this cat so special. You can let us know by leaving a comment on this article!
 More information can be found at http://fifeweb.org/index.php, the website of the Fédération Internationale Féline.
 The FNK standards 2014 for the recognised cat breeds can be found at: http://www.f-n-k.nl/index.html.