YORK CHOCOLATE CAT BREED
In 1983 a farm cat named Blacky had a tryst with the resident male in the area, Smokey, and gave birth to a litter that included one brown kitten, Brownie. What the names of these cats lacked in originality, the kitten herself made up for with her unusual coloring and charming personality.
Brownie had a litter the next summer that included Minky, a longhaired black male. In 1985 Brownie and Minky produced two kittens: Teddy Bear, a solid brown male, and Cocoa, a brown and white female.
The cat’s owner, Janet Chiefari, was not only taken by these cat’s bittersweet color, glossy coats, and consistency of type, but also by their exceptional intelligence and loving temperament.
Chiefari, a goat dairy owner, knew a lot about goats, but little about cat breeding. She started reading every book on cat genetics that she could find and began a breeding program using Brownie, Minky, Teddy Bear, and Cocoa. To Chiefari’s surprise, the cats bred true, producing solid or bicolor browns. By summer 1989 Chiefari had converted her porch into a cattery that included 27 chocolate-brown cats and kittens.
In July 1989 Chiefari’s veterinarian introduced her to Nancy Belser, a cat breeder and a Cat Fancier’s Federation judge. Belser came out to the cattery and confirmed what Chiefari already believed this breed was unlike any other. Belser recommended that Chiefari show her cats in CFF. That September, Chiefari took Prince, a brown six-month-old male, to a CFF cat show and registered him in the household pet category. At that first show, Prince won four rosettes and took a first place trophy.
She started the process of bringing the York Chocolate into the cat fancy limelight by applying for new breed status with CFF and ACFA. The breed still didn’t have a name, so after much thought Chiefari chose York Chocolate, York for her home state of New York and “Chocolate” for the breed’s characteristic coloring. With the help of the registries, she wrote the breed standard. In March 1990 the York Chocolate was accepted as an experimental breed in CFF and ACFA. Only two years later, the breed was granted CFF Championship status, and in March 1995 the breed achieved Championship status in the Canadian Cat Association as well.
York Chocolates strike a nice balance between high energy and loving devotion. They love to snuggle into the lap of their favorite human and adore being held, loved, and cuddled. Although they are generally quiet, Yorks are enthusiastic purrers and also make a characteristic “purrrt” sound when announcing their arrival.
Yorks are also active and inquisitive and insist on “helping” their favorite humans. Whether you’re reading the paper, folding clothes, or working at your desk, Yorks want to keep on top of things literally. Yorks also have a fascination with water and take every opportunity to leap into the sink or tub, even when you’re trying to wash dishes or take a bath. Yorks tend to bond with one person or family and are cautious of strangers.
Because of this breed’s background, Yorks are hardy and healthy and enjoy practicing their hunting skills whenever the chance presents itself. Therefore, Yorks are fond of toys that move, or in which you take an active role, and become quickly bored with playthings that just sit there.
although the bone structure is similar to that of the Siamese, the York Chocolate is bigger and heftier, with substantial boning and firm musculature. Male York Chocolates tip the scales at 14 to 16 pounds, while the females weigh in at 10 to 12 pounds. The body style is closer to that of the Traditional rather than the Extreme Siamese.
The rich chocolate color is slow to develop. Kittens (up to 12 months) are lighter in color than mature adults and may have some barring and tipping. Currently, outcrossing is allowed with domestics only no purebreds need apply. Until the gene pool increases, outcrossing will continue to preserve the breed’s farm-cat vigor and hardiness.
- N/A Activity
- N/A Playfulness
- N/A Need for Attention
- N/A Affection
- N/A Need to Vocalize
- N/A Docility
- N/A Intelligence
- N/A Independence
- N/A Healthiness and Hardiness
- N/A Grooming needs
- N/A Good with children
- N/A Good with other pets
General: (CFF standard)
The ideal York Chocolate is a strikingly rich chocolate brown or lustrous lavender with a coat that has a glossy sheen and flows over body lines accentuating graceful, flexible body movement.
Body: Medium to large; oblong, lengthy type with smooth flowing body lines; chest full and rounded; sturdy boning, musculature firm; rump slightly higher than shoulders.
Head: Medium size in proportion to body; longer than wide; modified wedge shape; muzzle moderately rounded; nose has slight dip; slight whisker break; chin gently contoured.
Ears: Large, pointed, tufted, tilting forward; broad at base; set well apart.
Eyes: Medium size; almond-shaped; slanted slightly toward nose; at least one eye length apart. Color gold, green, or hazel.
Tail: Medium to long, length comparable to length of body; wide at base tapering to rounded end.
Coat: Medium-long, smooth and glossy, following body lines; texture soft and silky to the roots; no wooly undercoat; hair shorter on face, belly, and lower legs, longer on back, sides, and upper legs; slight frontal ruff; ears and toes tufted; tail plume.
Color: Solid chocolate, chocolate and white bicolor, solid lavender, and lavender and white bicolor. Bicolors often have white on the muzzle and tip of the tail, and white blaze markings on the face. White locket or white toes acceptable.
Disqualify: Tail kinks; eye color outside the standard; crossed eyes.
Allowable outcrosses: None.