The Australian Mist was developed over 40 years by Dr Truda Straede, who kindly answered our questions.
Q: You are the person who knows Australian Mists best. What is their personality? What people or families would feel comfortable with Australian Mist? What people (e.g. singles, active, etc.) should consider other breeds?
A: The intention and selection of the breed was to develop a people centred pet cat, happy to stay indoors, and to love people above all else ( though I suspect would love food just a little bit more!!) This is exactly what they are like, loving friendly people centred. Suitable for all ages and stages of life. They are excellent as indoor pets, indeed, we won’t sell them unless they are to be contained at all times – though of course they do love an outdoor enclosure!! Unless you want a cat that just sits around and doesn’t interact, or you particularly fancy grooming a longhair cat, there really isn’t anyone they wouldn’t suit.
Q: Are there any particular requirements Australian Mist owner should be aware of? E.g. diet, playing, care, etc.
A: They are easy to care for and easy to feed, but DON’T ignore them!
Q: Why did you want to create a new breed?
A: As an ecologist I value the wildlife, and was well aware of what devastation feral cats wreak on small mammals and birds, and also how unwilling general moggies are to remain contained at all times – so I saw a necessity to create a people and house friendly pet to suit Australian families. I also wanted to create a cat which is attractive to look at, but not in any way extreme, without potential problems due to extreme conformation, or odd genetic traits.
Q: How difficult is it to create a new breed?
A: Apparently not very hard at all – nowadays!! Just have a look at all the new and obscure ones that now exist. But 45 years ago it was a much different matter – at least here in Australia!!
Q: What advice would you give to people (breeders) who want to create a new breed?
A: Don’t try. The Australian Mist were created with a particular temperament and behaviour in mind, and are in essence very different in motivation from most other new breeds. There are many breeds that are new, generally based on some new discovery in hair type, conformation or colour. Many of them simply will not last, as they are too restricted genetically, but if they have something to offer that the public likes, it would be worthwhile contributing to increase their viability if experimental breeding was your desire. The costs are prohibitive, the time is long, there are too many heartbreaks, and these days, in Australia Government Regulations make it largely impossible.
Q: What are your dreams?
A: That the few Australian Mist breeders that currently exist worldwide would increase – there is much more demand for kittens than can be filled, and that the breeders would all get on with each other!!
Q: How can a future cat owner know they are buying/adopting a healthy Australian Mist kitten?
A: All the usual precautions when buying a pedigree kitten of any sort apply. Is the Breeder registered with a governing body, do they supply all the requisite paperwork with their kittens, are the kittens desexed vaccinated, microchipped and registered prior to sale and accompanied by a quality assurance certificate. More here
Q: How can cat owners know they chose a good Australian Mist breeder?
A: By visiting their cattery and meeting their breeding stock before placing their order and by the level of knowledge displayed by the breeder about the breed, cat development in general, and animal husbandry.
Q: If someone wants to be a breeder of Australian mist, what recommendations will you give to them?
A: To find a current breeder to mentor them. It is important to start gradually, as there is a great deal to learn about breeding anything – including cats.
Q: How many cats do you have?
A: I currently have 35 cats of 2 breeds. I also breed Maine Coons, of which I have 3 studs and 5 queens, and a couple of youngsters growing up. In Aussie Mists, I have 15 entire males, 10 entire females. I also have 4 desexed Mists, one of which is my house cat, and one is the ‘publicity agent’- he rolls around on everyone’s feet as they approach the door. More about NINTU CATTERY
Q: Can you tell us more about them and reveal the secret how can someone organize a happy multi-cat (or multi-pet) household?
A: My cats live in small groups – boys live in groups of 1, 2 3 or 4, with breeds mixed. They have a huge old hayshed, called the Boybarn, in which their big houses open onto outdoor runs. You can see some pictures at here
The ladies live all round my house in capacious sections of veranda, in groups of up to 8 at times. This is a fluctuating feast, as pregnant ladies and their litters are indoors, in my kitten room and work room, in custom made pens, or their own small rooms as they grow older. I usually have my house pet, Yum Yum and a small to medium mob of youngsters milling around in the house with me, as they grow up to the age where boys and girls need to be separated.
I would suggest that the number of cats which can live in one house is very varied, and depends on the temperament of the individual cats as much as the space available, and the strength of character of the owner with intelligent cats. They aren’t above running rings around a vacillating owner!! I have written quite a lot about this in my manual Breeding Cats …….. a practical guide’ revised edition
Q: What do you like most about Australian Mists?
A: Their generally good nature, friendly, but not demanding, intelligent and easy care ( Unlike those Maine Coons!!)