(formerly “Foreign Longhair”)
Opurrtune 2nd Debut and kittens
Author: T. Oraas, Opurrtune/Purrfecta Chantilly/Tiffanies
Co-Author: Jennie Robinson, Neotype
Correspondent: T. Oraas // firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 1995 T. Oraas and Jennie Robinson, All Rights Reserved.
The Chantilly/Tiffany is a semi-foreign medium-sized cat of striking appearance. Its rich colour and full, silky semi-long coat, plumed tail, contrasting neck ruff and ear streamers make it distinctive and showy. The medium-sized head has a gently sloped nose and short, broad muzzle that is softly squared with gentle contours and a break. The chin is firm. The cheekbones are broad and high.
The preferred eye colour is gold-yellow-amber. The eyes are a modified oval shape, with an expressive look. The ears are broad at the base and medium sized, with rounded tips tilting forward and outward.
Breeders responsible for the wide re-acceptance of this breed have placed emphasis on retention of traditional conformation, free of health and maintenance concerns, as the breed was during its American breeding of 1967-1987. The body is of medium size and length, neither cobby nor svelte, (semi-foreign). The breed is of medium musculature and boning – females are 6-8 pounds, males are 8-10 pounds. The breed standard requires rich and lustrous colouration in blue, chocolate (which is the most well-known), cinnamon, lilac, and fawn, in both solid and tabby patterns. This, and a silky coat texture of appropriate length, make it a special cat.
Slight variations exist between associations for patterns/colours accepted, but conformation and coat-quality and texture requirements are unilateral. Full beauty develops with maturity; shedding is minimal. White spotting is not allowed.
The Chantilly/Tiffany is a breed of loyalty, and easily becomes a close, affectionate companion that is not overly demanding or mischievous. They are not as placid as Persians, nor as active as Orientals, and are best described as moderate. Usually, they develop particular affinity to one person in the home, with whom they bond, conversing in quiet “chirps” or trills characteristic of the Tiffany. It does not thrive in endless hours of solitude, and may become quite lonely. Persons working full time should plan on a companion pet. Tiffanies integrate well with children and other pets and require little maintenance.
The breed is gentle and easily managed. It will prefer the company of its special person to any other amusement. Some individuals forsake the “four-on-the-floor” reputation of their peers. They are usually friendly, but conservative with strangers. They leave no doubt as to their affection if you are their “person,” follow you constantly and respond well to their name. They are devotion in a silky chocolate (or other-coloured) robe. Pictured: Purrfecta Fax O’ Life
The breed is very healthy, not given to any particular problems. Some manifest “finicky” digestion; they do not tolerate food adjustment or high corn-content foods well. Mothers are prolonged in labour, and not too anxious to wean. Kittens are quite slow to accept solids.
The Chantilly/Tiffany is a breed of minimal care. Its silky little-shedding coat is often well tolerated by the allergic and needs only occasional combing, paying particular attention to the modified ruff and hindquarters. The coat is not given to matting. Ears seem inclined to waxiness and should be swabbed regularly.
The history of this breed is intriguing. It began in 1967 when Jennie Robinson (Neotype Cattery) of New York purchased “Thomas” and “Shirley,” a pair of semi-foreign longhaired chocolate cats with gold eyes and unknown background, which were being sold as part of an estate sale. Ms. Robinson judged Thomas to be a little over a year old and Shirley about six months; they might have come from the same parents, but they were not litter-mates. Nature took its course, and Shirley’s first litter was born in early 1969. Six kittens, all identical, all a beautiful chocolate color, amazed Robinson and her veterinarian. Intrigued, Robinson undertook a breeding program. In the early ’70s, the ACA registered Thomas, Shirley, and many of their progeny as “Foreign-Longhairs.”
Early breeders hypothesized that the cats might be of Burmese descent. However, when the first litter was born in May 1969, kittens were dark self-colours with no points and pinkish paw pads, the opposite of traits that identify Burmese. All the USA cats of this breed descended from Thomas and Shirley; none arose from nor were bred to Burmese.
Some of Ms. Robinson’s kittens were sold to Sigyn Lund (Sig Tim Hil Cattery), a Florida Burmese breeder who assumed the breeding program. The public thought the chocolate cats came from her Burmese, since their unknown New York origin was not publicized. Ms. Lund coined the breed-name “Tiffany,” a name synonymous with elegance and class, after a Los Angeles theatre. She promoted the breed with the “Tiffany” name because judges felt the “Foreign-Longhair” name was too general. They suggested the name “Mahogany” would be more descriptive. Unfortunately, none were ever registered under the Lund name; ACA had dropped the breed from recognition as it was so rare. All breed representatives became unregistered as a result. It continued to be advertised as “Burmese.”
At one point, the Sig Tim Hil cattery informally supplied information (in a phone interview) to “Harper’s Illustrated Handbook of Cats” researcher Joan Bernstein regarding these chocolate cats. This interview led to publication of information continuing to suggest the possibility they were Burmese longhairs, the product of UK crosses between Burmese and Himalayans. No such breedings were done in England. However, there had been crosses between Foreign Longhair/Angora, Havana, and Abyssinian. Later this lineage was used in England in an attempt to re-create a cat like an Angora. The American Tiffany/Chantilly is more likely an offshoot of one of these efforts.
During the same time Robinson and Lund were developing the breed in the USA, a Canadian acreage owner was surprised when, in 1973, a long-haired semi-foreign chocolate, gold-eyed cat with unknown ancestry appeared at his home and gave birth to a litter of kittens with the same appearance as the mother. Offspring of these were rescued by Canadian breeders in order to re-establish the Tiffany breed in North America in a cooperative effort with Robinson and Lund. Thus, the breed that developed primarily in the ’70s that seemed lost, re-emerged in the late ’80s in a greater colour and pattern range and, though still rare, is enjoying ever-increasing popularity.
Canadian breeders were called upon to rename it in 1992, because a different breed in England (Burmilla, 1983) began using the Tiffany name with altered spelling: “Tiffanie.” The former “Foreign-Longhair” is registered in North America as “Chantilly,” “Tiffany,” or “Chantilly/Tiffany,” depending on the association; some registries felt the breed was entitled to use the original “Tiffany” name, so the breed has a dual designation.
If you wish to own one of these lovely cats, consult “Cats” magazine for breeders’ ads; be sure to make a reservation as there is usually a waiting list. For more information, see “Your Purebred Kitten: A Buyer’s Guide” (USA) by Michelle Lowell.
Yes, the Chantilly/Tiffany is the “Chocoholics Delight.”
Breeders of all breeds of cats may be found through the Fanciers breeder listing page
Updated 20 June 1995
Text: T. Oraas // email@example.com
HTML: Orca Starbuck // firstname.lastname@example.org