It’s The Rio Thing
Over the centuries, these feline emigrants thrived and prospered without any direct human assistance, becoming the street cats of Brazil. Natural selection reinforced beneficial traits while weeding out others detrimental to their generally semi-feral lifestyle. To most Brazilians, these cats were, well, nothing special though a non-Brazilian might quickly note their distinct common traits. It took a prescient Brazilian, Paolo Samuel Ruschi, to finally connect the dots, as it were, and present a case for Brazil’s street and feral cats to be considered a distinct breed. Ruschi’s hard work and perseverance were rewarded in 1998 when the World Cat Federation bestowed the status of an Official Breed upon the Brazilian Shorthair, and since then cat breeders have swung into action refining these cats’ very special characteristics.
The Brazilian Shorthair’s most salient feature is their glossy coat – basically an undercoat that sheds much less than that of most other cats. many people who have allergies to cats state their symptoms are much less noticeable around a Brazilian Shorthair. Other characteristics highlighted by the World Cat Federation include large and pointed ears, large and expressive eyes, heads longer than their width and muscular bodies. It’s their personalities, however, that have endeared so many owners to these cats. Brazilian Shorthair cats can be very affectionate to the point of being clingy – if you give love to a Brazilian Shorthair, you’ll get it back in spades! They’re also famed for getting along well with other family members, other pets and are especially fond of children.
Jean Grey, whose images accompany this article, is a Brazilian Shorthair cat who was born in Canada after her mother left Brazil with her human owner. Jean Grey is an ideal ambassador for the Brazilian Shorthair breed – agile and athletic, she displays affection to those who are kind to her and remembers those who have befriended her. Jean Grey’s jade green eyes brim with expression and indicate a high level of intelligence – for a cat, at least. Living in Canada, Jean Grey stays indoors through the winter but once the weather warms, the outdoors are her playground.
Ask your local registered breeder about Brazilian Shorthair cats; as the word spreads of their exceptional qualities, more North American breeders are working to meet rising demand. Even better, you may stumble on a Brazilian Shorthair at a local animal shelter. It’s likely a rescued Brazilian Shorthair will quickly bond with their rescuer and will reward your kindness many times over as time goes by. (all images copyright © 2014 Steve Levenstein)