Cat Lovers guide to the Chinchilla Cat

Chinchilla cat, the charming white cat with emerald eyes

The Chinchilla cat is one of the most prized Persian cat varieties and possesses a very calm temperament. This is a rather unusual feline famous for possessing a dense double coat with a soft, luxurious texture and appearance.

Their popularization in Europe is due in part to British royalty, and today they are one of the most valued and sought-after breeds that has also had several appearances and starring roles in movies.

Let's take a look at the fascinating history of chinchillas as domestic pets!


Origin of the Chinchilla cat

Although some consider it to be a type of Persian, others claim that the Chinchilla is a completely different breed.

Their name comes from the chinchilla, a South African rodent, and is one of the oldest cat breeds "created by man."

The breed whose official coat is pure white with only the tips having a black tone, which creates a slight silvery sheen.

Their origin dates back to 1882 when a British breeder Ms. Vallence crossed a blue Persian cat with a stray cat of unknown origin, obtaining what would be the progenitor of the first Persian Chinchilla: Silver Lambkin.

The queen's niece, Princess Victoria, was enchanted with the appearance of this cat, and the breed expanded rapidly, thanks to this, these felines were associated with high social status.

In 1901 the Chinchilla cat was recognized by the British cat breed registry (GCCF).

The Second World War jeopardized the development of the European branch of this breed, they were on the verge of extinction. Today they are highly sought after, but few specimens exist. 

As a curious fact, this breed has had moments of fame in Hollywood.

In 1971, it was the mascot of James Bond's enemy in Diamonds for Eternity, Blofeld, and in Stuart Little's movie, there were five chinchillas that participated to carry out the different scenes that make up the feline character and family mascot.


Physical characteristics of the Chinchilla cat

The Chinchilla cat is very similar to the Persian cat physically speaking, except for a series of features.

Size: females are 22 to 25 cm high and males are 23 to 25 cm high.

Weight: males weigh from 4 to 7 kg while females weigh from 3 to 6 kg.

Eyes: their eyes are larger than those of the Persian and are blue, green, or a combination of both with a characteristic black "eyeliner".

Ears: small, set wide apart, and more elongated than those of the Persian.

Coat: is long, thick, and lush with a white undercoat and very soft to the touch.

There are two subtypes: the Silver Chinchilla whose coat is white with silver tips and the Golden Chinchilla whose coat can be golden, yellow ochre, or light brown with black tail tips.

Body: their bone structure is smaller and finer than that of the Persian. Their robust medium-sized body rests on somewhat short legs, their head is broad and rounded, their nose is less flattened, their muzzle is short and flat, although not as short as that of the Persian, and their tail is short and covered with a very thick coat.

Life span: they can live between 12 and 18 years.


The character of the Chinchilla cat

Chinchilla cats tend to be very sweet but capricious, they love to be the center of attention and will accompany you when they decide to do so.

They enjoy socializing, as they are very extroverted, they are very affectionate with their family members but do not like to be held unless you get them used to it from an early stage, and they do not like to be alone for long periods.

Chinchilla cats like the cold, exploring outdoors and long walks in winter, they are very playful to the point of being mischievous but are quiet by nature.

Although they can get along well with most people, they do not tend to like children, so they are good pets for families without children, couples, or older people.


Chinchilla cat care

Their long hair tangles easily, therefore, it requires daily care by brushing it every day with a brush with long and separate bristles.

  • Baths and haircuts should be regular, to facilitate the maintenance of their coat and keep it in perfect condition.
  • This breed is very demanding concerning cleanliness, so you should always keep its sandbox clean and in good condition.
  • Due to their flattened face, they are prone to eye diseases, so you should pay special attention to the cleanliness of their eyes and keep up to date with their veterinary visits.
  • The hygiene of the ears and mouth should also be regular, in this case, it will be enough to do it once a week.
  • You should not forget the bundles of wool between the paw pads, or cause them discomfort when walking.


Chinchilla cat health

Like many feline breeds, Persians are predisposed to develop certain hereditary diseases:

Among them is the polycystic kidney, cysts that gradually appear in the kidneys, present in approximately 40% of chinchilla Persian cats. Idiopathic cystitis, which is inflammation in the bladder, Ringworm, which causes ulcerated nodules on the back or at the base of the tail.

They can also suffer from urinary lithiasis (or urinary calculi), which usually appears after 7 years old, mainly in neutered males.

And as we mentioned before, due to the shape of their face, they can suffer from diseases such as:

Progressive atrophy of the retina: which can lead to loss of sight in its entirety.

Entropion: malformation that causes folding of the eyelid edge inwards.

Idiopathic epiphora: or alteration in the secretion of tears.


The Chinchilla cats are one of the favorite breeds in Europe.

The chinchilla Persian cat really bears little resemblance to the classic Persian, especially in behavior.

This is a friendly, sociable and exciting breed, much loved both in real life and on the big screen, so it is always a pleasure to learn and delve into their characteristics, care and history.