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Chinese Li Hua

Smart, loyal and lively, the Li Hua is gentle with people but has a reputation as a talented hunter of rats and other vermin.

Chinese Li Hua Breed Photo

Vital Stats

Coat
short, thick
Life Span
9 to 16 years

Breed Characteristics

  • Moderately

    Affectionate with family

    Some cat breeds are typically independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since kittenhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; cats who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

  • Moderate

    Amount of shedding

    If you're going to share your home with a cat, you'll need to deal with some level of cat hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary among the breeds. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

  • Very

    Easy to groom

    Some breeds require very little in the way of grooming; others require regular brushing to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a cat that needs daily brushing.

  • Fairly good

    General health

    Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems. This doesn't mean that every cat of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're looking only for purebred cats or kittens, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in.

  • Above average

    Intelligence

    Some cat breeds are reputed smarter than others. But all cats, if deprived the mental stimulation they need, will make their own busy work. Interactive cat toys are a good way to give a cat a brain workout and keep him out of mischief.

  • Usually

    Kid friendly

    Being tolerant of children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a nonchalant attitude toward running, screaming youngsters are all traits that make a kid-friendly cat. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual cat will behave; cats from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences and personality.

  • Usually

    Pet friendly

    Friendliness toward other household animals and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some cats are more likely than others to be accepting of other pets in the home.

  • High

    Potential for playfulness

    Some cats are perpetual kittens — full of energy and mischief — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful kitten sounds endearing, consider how many games of chase the mouse-toy you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other animals who can stand in as playmates.


  • History

    The unofficial cat of China, the Li Hua (pronounced “lee-wah”) is thought to be one of the earliest known domestic cats. Based on their mention in old books, they have probably existed throughout China for centuries, but it is only recently that they have been developed as a breed. This is a natural breed, meaning it was not developed through crosses of other breeds. The Chinese Li Hua was accepted into the Cat Fanciers Association’s Miscellaneous Class in February 2010.

    The Chinese Li Hua cat is also known as China Li Hua, Dragon Li, Li Hua, Lu Hua Mao, Li Hua Mau, and Li Mao.

  • Size

    The Li Hua typically weighs between 9 and 12 pounds.

  • Personality

    Smart, loyal and lively, the Li Hua is gentle with people but has a reputation as a talented hunter of rats and other vermin. His retrieval skills extend beyond rodents. One Li Hua is said to have learned to fetch the morning paper.

  • Care

    The Chinese Li Hua’s short, smooth coat is simple to groom with weekly brushing or combing to remove dead hairs. A bath is rarely necessary.

    Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails weekly. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.

    Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

    Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene.

    It’s a good idea to keep a Chinese Li Hua as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Li Hua who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a rare cat without paying for it.

  • Coat, Color and Grooming

    The Chinese Li Hua is large and sturdy with a striking brown mackerel tabby coat that is short and thick. The ticked hairs are black at the root, light yellow in the middle and brown at the tip. It’s sometimes described as a “mouse coat.” The lower belly is a brownish yellow with two vertical and four horizontal leopard spots. Black rings encircle the legs and tail, and the tip of the tail is black. On the face, a small black mark at the upper corner of the mouth gives the Li Hua the appearance of a smile.

    The head is shaped somewhat like a hexagonal diamond, longer than it is wide and rounded between the ears. Large bright eyes are green, yellow or brown, but green is favored. Medium-size ears have sharply pointed tips and may be tufted. The wide, strong, body, carried on muscular legs, is longer than it is tall. The tail is slightly shorter than the length of the body. Chinese Li Hua mature slowly and may not reach their full size until they are 3 years old.

  • Children and other pets

    This active but mild-mannered cat is well suited to life with families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He can learn tricks, enjoys interactive toys, and loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect. Supervise young children and show them how to pet the cat nicely. Instead of holding or carrying the cat, have them sit on the floor and pet him. Always introduce any pets, even other cats, slowly and in a controlled setting.

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