The Chinese Li Hua, pronounced as “lee-wah”, is a recently established Chinese breed of domestic cat. It is also known as the Dragon Li or China Li Hua. It is a smart cat that typically forms a strong attachment to people. This breed was developed from a common landrace of cats in China which were known as Pinyin or fox flower cat, and they were featured in some Chinese folklore stories. Let us know more about the history and characteristics of the Chinese Li Hua cat breed.
The Chinese Li Hua is thought in China to be a natural self-domesticating breed by way of a wildcat subspecies which was the Chinese mountain cat. This theory is still somewhat controversial and it has not been scientifically disproven but it has been widely accepted as the origin of the breed within established breeding sources in China.
There was also a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where a study of cats living 5,300 years ago in the Chinese village of Quanhucun provides the earliest known evidence of a relationship between cats and people which mean they lived together compatibly. These early cats were also possibly the ancestors of the Li Hua. They were also found throughout China and have been mentioned in old books and documents. They were used to hunt for rats and as well as protect crops and grain.
The Chinese Li Hua is a natural breed and it is not a result of hybridization between two or more breeds. Its name Li Hua translates to fox flower cat, in reference to its flower-patterned coat and wild appearance.
Although this breed’s origins may be ancient, the Chinese Li Hua as a pedigreed cat is relatively young. It was in 2003 when it was first exhibited as an experimental breed at a Cat Aficionado Association show in Beijing. In February 2010, the Cat Fanciers’ Association officially recognized it as a breed and it was shown in the miscellaneous class. However, the breed did not catch on and it is no longer accepted by the CFA for championship status.
Characteristics of a Chinese Li Hua Cat
Average weight: 9 – 12 pounds
Life span: 9 – 16 years
The Chinese Li Hua is a large and sturdy cat with a striking brown mackerel tabby coat that is short and thick. It has ticked hairs that are black at the roots, light yellow in the middle, and brown at the tips which are sometimes described as a “mouse coat”. Its lower belly is a brownish yellow with two vertical and four horizontal leopard spots. Its legs and tail are encircled with black rings and the tip of its tail is black as well. Its face has a small black mark at the upper corners of the mouth which gives it the appearance of a smile.
Its head is shaped like a hexagonal diamond that is longer than it is wide and rounded between the ears. It has large bright eyes in colors green, yellow, or brown but green is the most common. Its medium-sized ears have sharply pointed tips and may be tufted. Its wide and strong body is carried by its muscular legs that are shorter than its body length. The Chinese Li Hua cat breed matures slowly compared to other breeds and it may not reach their full size until they are 3 years old.
Chinese Li Hua cats are known to be intelligent, loyal, and playful. They are gentle with people but also has a reputation as a talented hunter of rats and other vermin. Their retrieval skills can extend beyond rodents because one Li Hua is said to have learned to fetch the morning paper. They are known to have a great memory and an analytical nature. This means that they can figure things out.
The Chinese Li Hua is well suited in households with children and with cat-friendly dogs as well. It is able to learn tricks and enjoys interactive toys. It also loves the attention it gets from children who treat it politely and with respect.
Caring for a Chinese Li Hua Cat
The short and smooth coat of a Chinese Li Hua is simple to groom with weekly brushing or combing to remove dead hairs. A bath is also rarely needed. The rest of its grooming needs are basic care. Brush its teeth daily to prevent periodontal disease. Trim its nails every week. If it has any discharge on its eyes, use a soft, damp cloth to remove it. You should also check your pet’s ears weekly for any dirt or infection. To clean the ears, use a cotton ball or a soft damp cloth. Also, remember to keep its litter box spotlessly clean to keep your pet’s coat clean as well.
When it comes to feeding your Chinese Li Hua, you can choose a food that your pet likes but make sure that they are healthy cat foods. Li Hua cats are generally free of health problems but as they grow, just like other house cats, they become prone to obesity. It’s important to carefully watch your pet’s weight as well. It’s better to consult with your local veterinarian to know more about what kinds of foods and types of diet you can give your cat.
To keep your pet safe, it’s a good idea to keep it as an indoor-only cat. Letting them go outside can put them at risk of getting attacked by dogs and other animals and they can also get hit by a car. Since Chinese Li Hua cats are energetic and playful, building a place in your yard where they can play is a great idea, but also make sure that it is safe and secured.
The Chinese Li Hua is indeed a people-loving cat with a great disposition. If you’re looking for a pet that your whole family and even the children will love, this is probably the best choice for you.