Extinct cat breeds

From Supercurioso.com, as we are animal lovers, we wanted to contribute our little bit of sand to Cats Stuff.

Let’s discover four extinct cat breeds! Some of these animals are so strange that it is not known whether they were real or the product of legends. Do you see these cat breeds that no longer exist? This is the Aztec cat, the Oregon Rex, the Eskimo cat, and the Sumxu.

The Mexican hairless Mexican cat or Aztec cat

This supposed breed of extinct cat native to Mexico is documented for the first time in 1902. The person who recorded the existence of these cats was EJ Shinick, who shared his life with two Aztec cats. Later, throughout the first decades of the twentieth century, this kind of cat is mentioned more often.

What were Aztec cats or Mexican hairless cats like?

As the name suggests, they had no hair for most of the year, except in winter when a light coat of light hair grew on their tail and back. Surely to protect yourself from the cold. They were light gray with flesh-colored dyes. They highlighted eyebrows and very long mustaches.

Regarding their size, records suggest that they were 25% smaller than shorthair cats.

Mr. Shinick (the human of this allegedly unique pair of cats since, when a Jesuit gave them to them from New Mexico, he said they were the last of an ancestral breed of Aztec cats) he wrote about their appearance and character. Their descriptions say that:

  • They were intelligent and affectionate companions. More than the cats he had related to until then
  • They liked to enjoy baths with warm water
  • They slept under the covers with their little daughter
  • They enjoyed the pampering
  • They were very playful, carefully climbing people
  • They had a good relationship with the house dog, an Irish water dog

Unfortunately, the male of the couple – who were brothers, and that is why their owner did not want them to raise – died.

The Smithsonian Institution became interested in the specimens, but when Mr. Shinick’s daughter moved to Washington to exhibit them, the surviving female died. This coincidence suggested that it was not the last of its kind, but another standard class bathed in the romanticism of a legend. Who knows if it will be accurate or not, we have to wait until someday there are remains of a specimen of this breed that shows that they existed. In case it does not appear, we can be sure that although they were not the last of an ancient cat class, by the descriptions, they were extraordinary creatures!

Oregon Rex cat

This breed of a cat appeared in the 70s and was first documented in the mid-twentieth century. The Oregon Rex was the result of a casual genetic mutation.

In 1955 the birth of a kitten different from the rest of his litter, which had curly fur, was recorded. This kind of cat was crossed with the first Cornish Rex arrived in the USA. UU. from the United Kingdom and the first generation of Oregon Rex was born.

What was the Oregon Rex like?

The fur, as we said, had curly, short and thick, but soft. His ears were large rounded at the ends. His eyes were oval and of medium size.

The body was small but elongated and culminated in a long, pointed tail. His legs, like the rest of his anatomy, were long and graceful with round claws.

The character of the Oregon Rex

  • They were affectionate and sought attention
  • Fun and playful
  • A bit temperamental
  • A bit arrogant
  • Dominant, which made a living with them a bit difficult

While it was genetically different from the rest of Rex cat breeds, the Oregon Rex was mixing with other classes until it disappeared forever.

Eskimo cat

This is one of those supposed breeds of the extinct cat so rare that it is considered today an urban legend.

The history of the Eskimo cat dates back to the 19th century. The idea is that these cats developed in Pittsburgh (USA) from the need to eradicate rat pests in refrigeration plants. The legend says that so many generations were raised in the environment of a “big fridge” that the cats developed a very dense fur, thick tails; and that his ears had become similar to those of the lynx. Also, they felt more comfortable in the dark and cold than in broad daylight and a warmer climate.

An article was even written about this new breed of cat in the New York Times, in 1894, and soon the story ran like wildfire, also being published in other newspapers. Even a respectable naturalist like Richard Lydekke considered the testimony he received and developed a whole theory about the ability of cats to adapt genetically to the conditions of the environment they inhabited.

Finally, in the 40s, a cat expert named Ida M. Mellen showed that all this theory of the breed of “Eskimo cats” had no apparent basis, as the original testimony was not reliable. Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald, a famous naturalist, agreed with Mellen that the history of Eskimo cats, although exciting, was not real, and he did so in his book “Cats” (1958).

The Sumxu

This time we moved to China to meet another breed of extinct cat, which some consider a myth. It is the Sumxu, and the last record of its existence dates from 1938.

The first time this breed of cat is mentioned is in the book “Flora Sinensis” (1656), written by Michael Boym. According to this Jesuit missionary born in Poland, the Sumxu was a white cat with very short ears. The description he made is considered to be more suited to the appearance of a yellow-throated marten than to a cat breed.

Other mentions of Sumxu were made throughout history and in different records, but perhaps the most striking is that made by Georges Louis Leclerc in the 4th volume of his Histoire Naturelle (about 1767). In it, summarizing a bit, it says the following:

  • The Sumxu lived in houses, like a domestic cat
  • It was a cat with hanging ears
  • Had long hair

However, he stressed that it seemed that it could be of another species, not a cat.

  • Later, Jean Bungartz wrote in his work “Die Hauskatze, Ihre Rassen und Varietäten” (1896) that:
  • The Sumxu was a cat with droopy ears because he did not use this organ to survive. The disuse had resulted in a mutation of its appearance.
  • He also stressed that in China, they fed on cats and that Sumxu was raised to be consumed.

Later, other authors pointed out that there was insufficient evidence of the existence of Sumxu. Thus, some believe that this breed of cat was just that, a type of marten, but others think it may have been an extraordinary mutation, similar to the Scottish Fold.

Anyway, we may never know if Sumxu existed or was the result of multiple confusions with other animals that look similar to cats.

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