Chantilly (or Tiffany)

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 30, 2008

Physical Characteristics 

As any chocolate lover will tell you, "a chocolate bar is better than a gold bar," so will a devotee of the Tiffany tell you, "a chocolate Tiffany is better than...well, any other cat." The original chocolate brown color of the Tiffany is still the most popular, and leads many to describe their great love for their chocolate coated cats with terms reserved for the edible treat.

Since Tiffany breeders began to focus on the vigor of the breed by outcrossing, the Tiffany has developed a more varied color pallet, including black, blue, cinnamon, fawn and lilac. It has also developed various patterns of coats, with agouti/ticked, mackerel and other tabby patterns being some of the born traits. The coat is described as semi-long. The Tiffany is so soft and decadently plush, that you will want to hold it on your lap, nuzzling for hours. And, since this breed has only one coat of fur (which has minimal shedding, incidentally), you can indulge in this sweet treat of a cat without needing a work out with the lint brush later. The full coat grows in slowly, reaching its full potential by the time the Tiffany is about 24 months of age. Through that time, the coat gradually forms a full, contrasting ruff (the fur around the neck and under the chin), and full fur inside the ears (also called furnishings, or streamers) that is lighter in shade than the body. The coat will thicken considerably on the hind legs as the cat matures (the full growth on the hind leg is referred to as a petticoat), and the tail will grow into a full plume.

The Tiffany has captivating oval eyes which can run from deep yellow to rich amber. Some may have a greenish halo around the iris, and the contrast will sometimes make the eyes appear gold in color.

Personality and Temperament

The Tiffany combines a healthy, balanced dose of docility with activity. It can stay still for extended periods, happily lounging in the lap of its loved one. This quality makes the Tiffany an ideal traveling companion, and an ideal house companion for senior citizens and the physically handicapped. The Tiffany bonds extremely well with humans, selecting one or two members of the household and showering them with attention and love. It speaks to its loved ones in its characteristically soft, sweet chirping voice, and responds well to being spoken to as well. Recognized as a gentle, loyal, and devoted companion, it enjoys snuggling and following its people around the house, but in an undemanding and nonharassing manner. The Tiffany does best when it can receive the same attention it gives. They do not like to be alone for long periods of time, and will become melancholy if they are alone too often. For people who are gone for most of every day, this is not the best choice for a house mate. It is a great family cat, getting along well with children, and though it can be reserved with strangers, it is not skittish or fearful. Its ability to stay calm and unruffled also makes it a good addition to a home that already has animals.

Health and Care

This is one of the easiest to groom semi-longhairs, owing to their lack of a downy undercoat that would tangle with the top coat. The fur is silky-soft, making it much less likely to tangle within itself, so that a light weekly brushing is all that is needed to stave away matted fur. There is very little shedding, and again, with a weekly brushing, there will be that much less. The one point of attention is the ears. The Tiffany has full hair in their ears, and wax build-up is one of the conditions that go with this trait. Checking the ears once a week, as part of a regular routine that includes brushing, and tooth care, should be sufficient to keep the ear canals clear.

Other issues, which are not detrimental but should be kept in mind, are reports that the Tiffany has delicate digestion. Avoidance of corn products , and a regular and predictable diet will keep that in check. For owners who intend to breed, expect a prolonged labor for the queen, and an extended nursing period with her kittens. At the very least, the queen should be allowed the full eight weeks to nurse her kittens.

Although there is no cat that is allergen free (even the Sphynx, which is all but completely hairless), because the Tiffany sheds so little, people with mild allergies would do well with this breed.

History and Background

This cat was fraught with many obstacles before it was able to receive championship status. In 1967, Jennie Robinson purchased two chocolate brown cats with amber eyes, an 18-month-old male and a 6-month-old female. By some accounts the cats were sold as part of an estate sale, by others, that the cats were found in a pet shop in White Plains, New York. Whichever it was, the cats were a natural find, and had bred naturally. Robinson began her breeding program in 1969 with these two cats, and the natural result was a litter of six kittens identical to them. The parent cats, named Thomas and Shirley of Neotype (the name of the cattery), were registered by the American Cat Association as Sable Foreign Longhairs, and were referred to for some time as foreign longhairs until it was decided that this category was too general, and the breed was given its own name. Thomas and Shirley went on to produce 60 kittens in seven years, and Robinson exhibited many of them in the New York metropolitan area. Others who had purchased some of the Neotype offspring brought them into Long Island and Connecticut.

A Florida breeder became involved in the breeding program after buying some of Robinson's kittens. Sigyn Lund, of the Sig Tim Hil Cattery, was a breeder of Burmese, and because this new breed of longhair was similar to the Burmese, people naturally assumed that the cat was the result of outcrossing a Burmese with another breed. The only true similarity the two breeds shared, however, was the full coat. The defining traits, like points on the fur, and pink paw pads, were not present in the new breed. Lund settled on a breed name to differentiate her breed from the Burmese, and any other. Inspired by a posh theatre in L.A., the Tiffany, Lund felt it an elegant name that would conjure images of a bygone time of glamour and luxuriousness. Still, the rumor of the Tiffany being of Burmese descent led to suppositions that the breed had been the product of a cross between the Burmese and Himalayan, and that it has originated In England. There had been crossings of foreign longhairs with Angora's, Havana's, and Abyssinian's in the UK, and it is surmised that the Robinson cats were descended from those efforts, but the fact was that at that time, Lund was still breeding from the original two, and that no such crossing had been done with the Burmese and Himalayan, or with any other breed. Lund was misunderstood for some time still, because she had already built her reputation on the Burmese breed, and because the Tiffany was still so new, and there were so few of them, she had trouble having this breed accepted in its own right.

Canadian breeders joined the program in the 1970s, and with these further efforts, the gene pool was widened for the Tiffany, and more color variations were brought in to the class, in addition to making the line genetically more sound. Meanwhile, breeders In England were inspired by the possibilities of creating a new breed , and in the late 1970s crossed the Burmese with the Silver Chinchilla Persian. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy decided on Tiffanie for the breed name, and this same but slightly differently spelled name muddled the breed differentiating situation even more. Canadian and U.S. breeder forsook Lund's preferred breed name for another that was not in use: the Chantilly. The Tiffany name is still in use with some cat fancies, but is typically combined as Chantilly/Tiffany.

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