Recently established as a standardized breed, the China Li Hua (the Dragon Li, or the Chinese Li Hua), is native to China. The cat is believed to have existed in the Asian continent for many centuries, though the exact era has never been traced. The Pinyin: lí huā māo, a widespread landrace of felines in China, is believed to be the origin of the Dragon Li. The ancestral cat is the literal fox flower cat, which we have seen featured in several folklores of Chinese origin.
If you have an interest in knowing facts about the Dragon Li, then you are in the right place! It is possible that you are wondering about what makes the Chinese Li Hua to be unique, or perhaps you wish to get more information regarding the breed’s health, history, and temperament. This article will give you all the details you seek, whether you already own a Dragon Li, or are aspiring to add one to your family.
History of the Chinese Li Hua
In China, the eponymous Chinese Li Hua is believed to be a breed that is naturally self-domesticating by way of the Chinese mountain cat, which is a wildcat subspecies known as Felis silvestris bieti. However, this particular theory of a wildcat subspecies is still looked on as controversial, though; it is yet to be disproved scientifically. Thus, it has been generally accepted as the breed’s origin, and the Chinese recognized breeding sources completely agrees with the theory. There is also a general belief that every other breed of feline seen worldwide were progenies of the African wildcat known as F. s. lybica.
The Chinese Li Hua’s personality analysis is based on a legendary representation as opposed to a fully precise present-day depiction of the lí hua māo, and the resultant effect of this is that the Dragon Li is more often than not, taken to be the wild fox by the people in China. Thanks to this description, the Dragon Li’s character traits have been literally translated as a feline with flower-like coated markings. According to findings, this particular character description by the Chinese came from what they generally considered to be the best analysis before the advent of contemporary Western feline terms, which is currently the standard. In explanation, the modern terminology says that it is a “flower pattern” vs tabby pattern.
For the original Chinese variety of this breed, the established name was Li Hua mau. However, the terms we know today as Dragon Li and Chinese Li Hua are the internationally recognized terminologies for the standardized breed. Talking about the Chinese folklore, they see the dragon as a highly potent symbol which according to them, depicts both good luck and potent power.
January 2004 saw the debut of the Chinese Li Hua as a standardized breed for the experimental class; this took place in Beijing, China. The event was judged by Barb Belanger and Dolores Kennedy, who were members of the all-breed Judges of the ACFA – an acronym used to represent the American Cat Fanciers Association. Both ladies came to the event as guests of the CAA – Cat Aficionado Association, which organized the event. By 2017, a quartet of the pedigreed Chinese Li Hua was already resident in the US.
A male specimen of the Chinese Li Hua called Needy was presented by Da Han (the owner) in 2005, where the Dragon Li proceeded to win 1st position CAA champion in its class. The presiding judge for the event was John Douglas Blackmore, who was sent by the American Cat Fanciers Association. The championship-winning Needy was later married off to a breeding partner, attracting media attention in an elaborate replicate of the customary Chinese marriage ceremony.
The CFA, an international Cat Fanciers’ Association, based in the United States, accepted the Dragon Li for presentation in the miscellaneous class in February 2010. The breed quickly gained international recognition, and partly because of its insufficient availability, the feline breed has attracted the interest cat fanciers all over the world.
“The Cat for Crown Prince Conspiracy,” which is a literary legend in China, has a fundamental theme as a lí hua māo. This particular legend was recently used as the underlying plot of a TV series of Hong Kong origin popularly known as Justice Pao.
Quick Facts About the Chinese Li Hua
- The Dragon Li is of Chinese origin and is seen as the nation’s unofficial cat
- This beautiful feline is believed to belong to the earliest breeds of domesticated cats; the ground for this belief is that the breed was mentioned a few times in ancient books.
- There is no record of the exact date of their migration into China, but general belief points to the fact that they have existed in China for hundreds of years. However, the kitty’s development as a breed is a recent achievement,
- The dragon Li belongs to the class of natural breeds of feline since the cat is not the progeny of any known cross breeding
- The breed is known by several names; the Chinese Li Hua, Li Hua Mao, and Li Hua. There are still those who call the kitty Lu Hua Mao, Li Mao as well as Dragon Li.
- The cat’s name Li Hua Mao in its native China means fox flower cat, thanks to its flower-patterned coat, as well as the appearance which can be best described as wild.
- Appearance-wise, the Dragon Li is quite beautiful, with its coat pattern realized in different forms. We have seen so many in a golden-brown color that is quite unique; others have their coat color realized as broken-striped, which is also referred to as broken-mackerel. We still have several others coming in the tabby pattern. As for the nature of the cat’s coat, it is quite thick populated with short hairs. In fact, the breed’s appearance is best described as mousey, especially as its hair comes with black roots and brown tips, it is also important to note that the middle, between the dark root and brown tip, comes in light yellow color.
- Other character traits of the Dragon Li include; its unique ears, the eyes which are shaped like an almond, and with regards to color, they come in a luminescent green/yellow hue. However, the most common eye color for this breed is green, brown, and yellow coming closely behind.
- Typically, the bodyweight of a full-grown Dragon Li ranges from nine to 12 pounds on average, with a full-bodied stature that comes across as sturdy, suggestive of the feline’s wild nature. As expected, the Chinese Li Hua comes with hind limbs which are longer in length than the forelimb; important to note that the limbs are also distinguished with rings around them.
- The lower part of the breed’s belly comes in a brownish color, sporting a couple of vertical as well as a quartet of horizontal leopard markings. The tail is black-tipped, while the face is marked with a small pattern in black. This mark is found at the upper corner of the cat’s mouth, giving it the appearance of a smile.
- The shape of the kitty’s head is comparable to a hexagonal diamond, a bit on the long side relative to wide. And between both ears, it comes across as rounded. The ear, which may likely appear as tufted, comes in medium size. The legs that bear the burden of its body is quite muscular, and the cat’s tail is a bit shorter relative to its body length.
- Maturity in the breed is rather slow, and it may take them as much as three years to get to full size.
- The same rings that are found on the tail of the Dragon Li are also evident on its tail.
- The Cat is renowned for its hunting prowess as it is quite popular in hunting down vermin, which it consumes as whole prey.
- The kitty’s reputation as a remarkable hunter emanates from its incredible retrieval skills, as well as astonishing quick reflexes. In fact, a Dragon Li in hot pursuit of a mouse is a show worth watching.
- Stories have it that a particular Dragon Li was so intelligent and quick to imbibe skills that it actually mastered the act of fetching the morning papers.
- Just the same as most feline breeds, a few things need to be taken into consideration before adopting a Dragon Li. With the kitty’s higher requirement for playtime and attention, it is only recommended for those who have enough energy as well as time to devote to this lively and engaging feline.
- The breed’s acceptance by the feline authorities is relatively recent, despite the fact that it has a history as one of the earliest cats. It was only in February 2010 that the Cat Fanciers Association deemed the cat fit to be given a place in the Miscellaneous Class.
- Other feline associations that have acknowledged the kitty include; The CAA known as Cat Aficionado Association of China, the CFA, or the Cat Fanciers Association, which is based in the United States of America.
- The kitty is reputed to be devoted, smart, as well as energetic; the Chinese Li Hua is quite gentle in relating with its human family and is known to be equally gentle with kids who reciprocate the gentleness.
Things You Should Know About the Chinese Li Hua
Talking about health, the Dragon Li is generally a healthy breed as it has survived for thousands of centuries, and is still going strong. Any disease witnessed in the breed may well be genetic; thus, potential pet parents should endeavor to request for a clean health certificate of any cat they wish to adopt.
Feeding for the Dragon Li is very important, but then, cat parents should try not to overdo it in order to prevent overweight. Feeding time may come twice a day, or as you deem necessary, besides, if your pet happens to be a high activity cat, then it might need to consume more. If you are feeding your feline friend with already made cat formula, ensure that it is rich in animal protein, which is necessary for the feline’s general health. However, the Dragon Li may well take care of its own nutritional needs as the kitty is renowned as a skilled hunter, constantly on the prowl, going after mice and rats which it consumes as whole prey.
Bath for the Dragon Li is not usually necessary since it is a short-haired feline. Cleanliness in the feline population will enhance their chances of maintaining a healthy life, especially with oral hygiene, which, if not properly taken care of, is likely to result in periodontal disease. Thus recommendations are that cat parents maintain dental hygiene on a daily basis. However, those pet adopters who happen to be too busy for daily care can still brush their fury companion’s teeth once a week, which is better than not doing it at all.
Hygiene for the Dragon Li does not end with the body and the teeth; you should also keep your kitty’s paws clean. Conduct weekly checks on the nails of both the fore and hind limb, and when they are grown, trim them down with a cat nail clipper.
You should also scrutinize the cat’s ear from time to time. Whenever they are dirty, clean them with cotton buds, which are the safest, but in the absence of cotton buds, you can make use of a clean, soft cloth, but first, you have to moisten it with warm water and cider vinegar in equal portion. Cotton swabs are not recommended as they can cause harm to the inner ear.
The cat’s eyes often emit some form of discharge, and you need to get rid of this. The best advice is to dampen a soft cloth and use it to wipe the discharge away. However, you should make use of a separate part of the cloth for each eye in order to prevent the spread of any infection that might be lurking around.
The Dragon Li’s bathroom hygiene is of utmost importance as the cat is no different from other members of the feline population. Thus, the litter box should be kept spotlessly clean. The cleaning is best done on a daily basis, and besides, if your furry friend’s litter box is always clean, then you don’t have to bother too much about keeping the coat clean as clean litter box makes a clean coat.
Always protect the cat by keeping it indoors regularly; besides, the Dragon Li is naturally an indoor kitty, and does not always wander outside. Keeping the cat indoors will keep her away from any disease making the rounds. Also, cats that often wander outside are exposed to the risk of being hit by oncoming vehicles; they may even have to contend with attacks by other animals like coyotes and dogs, as well as other risks faced by outdoor cats.
Again, allowing the Dragon Li to move far away from home will also expose it to the risk of being snatched by people who would love to have it as a pet without spending money.
It is a known fact that cats with short coats are quite easy to groom as they rarely experience matting, which is prevalent in long-haired breeds of feline. Besides, shedding is reduced to the barest minimum and is likely to happen only during the shading season.
Thus grooming may well be a weekly activity when you whisk out the brush to get rid of dead hairs. Since the cat doesn’t have many hairs, the weekly brushing may well be for the purpose of bonding.
The Dragon Li is popular for its loyalty, intelligence, as well as playfulness. Potential cat parents who are on the lookout for a kitty that is family-friendly wouldn’t make a mistake with the Chinese Li Hua. The cat acclimatizes quite easily to family life, and when it comes to children, the Dragon Li is known to be great with the kids, thanks to its lively nature that mirrors that of children.
Talking about other house pets, the dragon Li is not lacking in that direction as it is known to blend quite well with dogs, especially the ones that are cat-friendly. However, pet parents should endeavor to introduce any other house pet slowly, and care should be taken to monitor their progress until they become used to each other’s company. The same should be done with other members of the household, including the humans who just joined the family.
The Dragon Li is known to be quite fast in learning new tricks and enjoys the time it spends with toys, especially the interactive toys. Though the cat takes pleasure in the time it spends in the company of children; recommendations are that playtime with kids should be supervised by an adult. Again, it is also recommended that you desist from always carrying or holding the Dragon Li; rather, pet parents are advised to allow then to sit on the ground during bonding time.