California spangled cats are engineered cats bred to resemble leopards. The cats were created through the teamwork of Louis Leakey, a renowned anthropologist and animal activist, and Hollywood writer Paul Casey. They bred the cats to create public awareness and concern for leopard poaching. The cats were introduced to the public in 1986 on the cover of the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog.
California spangled cats have long, lean, muscular bodies; almond-shaped eyes; ears set back from the face; and sculpted cheekbones. This gives them their traditional wild appearance. Coat colors include charcoal, black, silver, bronze, gold, brown, red, blue or white. The spots are well-defined circles, ovals, squares or triangles.
The California spangled cat is very sociable, thriving on human companionship. It loves to show off its acrobatic skills, perching in high locations and jumping. It should not be left alone for long periods of time.
The California spangled cat, though bred to resemble a wild animal, has only domestic genes. It was bred by crossing Abyssinian, Siamese, Angora, American and British shorthair cats. Breeding attempts began in 1971, and the present version was perfected in 1985. The presentation of the cat to the public created controversy among cat lovers, animal rights activists and the Neiman Marcus company because, while the cats were bred in an attempt to discourage people from wearing leopard coats and to raise money to help endangered large cats, Neiman Marcus was simultaneously selling fur coats in its catalog.