A Chinese Li Hua cat, with its distinct marking and tufted ear

The Rare and True-hearted and Chinese Li-Hua

One of the oldest native Chinese feline breeds, the Chinese Li Hua is an intelligent, devoted, and lively cat known for their incredible rat and vermin hunting skills. Also known as the Dragon Li and the “fox flower cat,” it’s history is uncertain, but was featured in some folktales from China. What’s beyond doubt is the strong attachment that it has with its human families and its happy-go-lucky demeanor with children, making these kitties an adorable addition to any loving home.

Origin of the Chinese Li-Hua

The Chinese Li Hua cat’s root is uncertain. Based on old books, they are deemed to have existed in the wild for many centuries before becoming one of the country’s earliest domesticated feline breeds. This cat is a purebred furball, which means it did not originate from crossing two different cat breeds and believed to possibly evolved from the Chinese Mountain Cat. Today, it is unofficially considered China’s national cat and is still very infrequent outside its home country. In 2010, the Cat Fanciers’ Association accepted the breed into its Miscellaneous classification.

A Chinese Li-Hua cat stretching

Physical Characteristics of the Chinese Li-Hua

Length: Medium to Large

Weight: 9 to 12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 9 to 16 years

Coat Color: Brown mackerel tabby

Type of Coat: Short

Eye Color: Green, yellow

The Chinese Li-Hua cat is a fairish-sized cat, with a powerful body supported by sturdy legs and large paws. It has a diamond-shaped head, atop are medium-sized ears that often ends with a small fur tuft. Meanwhile, eyes are almond-shaped, occurring in green or yellow. Its coat shows a brown mackerel tabby color, accentuated by a remarkable pattern. Each strand of fur is ticked, with a black root base, light yellow middle part, and brown edging, giving it its rugged appearance.

A curious-looking Chinese Li-Hua cat

Chinese Li-Hua Personality

Chinese Li Hua cats’ are renowned for their gentle and truehearted personality. While they are not “lap cats,” they are devoted to their family, acting as their caretaker. Add their incredible hunting skills, they are ready to keep any pests away from their humans’ homes. As a pretty pleasant, they won’t have any issues living with dogs, other felines, and cat-friendly pets, as long as they are introduced politely.

With their wild ancestry, these cats are active and energetic. They are not the type of furballs that would spend much of their day warming up or lazing up on the couch. Playtime is their favorite, and they have enough vigor to play for extended periods.

Blessed with intelligence, Chinese Li Hua cats will learn tricks, the game of fetch, or how to walk on a leash pretty quickly. They are also easy to housetrain and will squash any puzzle or interactive toys in a breeze. However, they need an ample amount of space and will be happiest to have an enclosed outdoor area, where they can climb, run, bask in the sun or engage in sporting activities with their owners.

As an independent and a not very vocal breed, these cats won’t talk to their owners unless they have something important to impart or when their stomach is already rumbling.

A sleeping Chinese Li-Hua cat

Caring for the Chinese Li-Hua

Chinese Li Hua cats are a relatively low maintenance breed in terms of grooming. They have a short, smooth coat that only needs weekly brushing to keep it in its tip-top condition. Bathing is rarely necessary and will only become a necessity should they become dirty or smelly.

Other parts of their grooming routine include basic care. Providing a scratching post and trimming their nails every 10 to 14 days will keep their paws healthy. Brushing their teeth weekly using vet-approved toothpaste will help them avoid periodontal disease. Meanwhile, weekly eye and ear cleaning will ensure that they are free from dirt build-up and infection.

With their wild cat lineage, Chinese Li Hua cats are naturally sturdy and do not face much breed-related health concerns. Typical issues they face are also prevalent in other feline breeds, such as hip dysplasia, gingivitis, and ringworms. Regular consultations with the vet can help detect and prevent any potential issue before they go out of hand.

It is best to provide them an enclosed outdoor area or keep them as an indoor-only cat to protect them. Allowing them to go outside puts them at risk of being stolen, getting attacked by other animals, getting into accidents, or acquiring diseases from other cats. As active and playful cats, giving them ample, safe, and secure space can help them flourish.

Despite their rarity and wild ancestry, Chinese Li Hua cats boast a loving and gentle disposition. They are loyal to their families and will do great with children and pets, making them an excellent choice for many types of homes.