, April 22, 2024

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That Special Breed Called Puspin


  •   4 min reads
That Special Breed Called Puspin
By Mariana Burgos

Puspin is short for Pusang Pinoy (Filipino Cat). This is what we now call the Filipino cat breed. They used to be called ‘Pusakal” which is short for Pusang Kalye (street cat) but Filipino animal rights and welfare advocates fought to change that coinage because it carried such a negative impression for our beloved furry friends. Lately, Puspins are being sought out by many for their personal animal companions. As to why it is so, let us look closely into this special cat breed.

Cali, short for Calico, is a nine-month old puspin kitten of the author. He is a 1 in 3,000 rarity because he is a male cat with 3 colors. He also has a case of heterochromia: one eye is green while the other is blue. (Photo taken by the author.)

According to the article “Puspin Cat (Pusang Pinoy) Breed Complete Information” of the Cat Breeds FAQ website, Puspins are cats of unknown breed.  They have short coats with any combination of coat colors.  Puspins are also called Domestic Short Hair (DSH), House Cat Shorthair (HCS), Shorthair Household Pet, or lovingly, a moggy.  Puspin's tail might be regular length or it can be shortened, 'stumpy,' or kinked.  This is widespread in many Domestic Short Haired cats in Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and is caused by the cat's genetic make-up.

Historical background of the breed

In the same article, it was noted that cats like Puspins are genetically related to the Japanese Bobtail breed, which is famed for its short tail.  The breed arrived in Japan around 1,000 years ago from either China or Korea.

This is where it is thought that the Bobtail mated with the Puspin overseas, and that the Puspin finally returned to their country, taking this new addition into their genetic makeup.

Aside from bits of evidence tying these cats back to the Bobtail, there is no study or evidence tracing them to any other breed, since their genetics are a jumble of apparently unending crossbreeding over thousands of years.

The puspin character

Puspin cats are recognized for being sociable and versatile. They are gregarious creatures who form strong bonds with their human friends. These cats have a sweet personality and appreciate snuggles, caressing, and interactive play. However, just like any other human, each Puspin cat has its own distinct personality features.

Little Prince is Cali’s brother. (Photo taken by the author.)

While Puspin cats are not recognized for their extraordinary intellect as certain pedigreed breeds, they are fairly intelligent and trainable. Puspin cats may learn simple instructions and play interactive activities that develop their minds with patience and good reinforcement.

Puspin cats are very gregarious creatures with a strong feeling of community. They are known to create intimate ties not just with people, but also with other cats. Puspin cats adapt well to multi-cat families and love the companionship of feline pals.

In the article, it was also noted that puspins have walked the streets of many neighborhoods for millennia, with a sense of street smartness built into their instincts. Their behavior with strangers will be influenced by how they are treated while out and about.

The health and lifespan of Puspins

Puspins, like other mixed-breed animals, may have fewer genetic health issues due to a phenomenon known as "hybrid vigor" due to their genetic variety.  This means that Puspins, like a mixed-breed cat, have many diverse gene pools from which their genetic make-up is composed.  With a gene pool comprising two or more distinct genetic 'sets,’ recessive genes that may 'carry' health concerns are successfully eliminated.  This can result in improved health for your cat, fewer trips to the clinic, and (possibly) a longer life.

This lovely blue-eyed girl is the only sister of Cali and Prince. (Photo taken by the author.)

In other words, as noted in the article,  Puspins have a more robust gene pool, with gaps filled and weak points genetically fortified. This does not occur in purebred cats since their genetics are significantly more streamlined.

Puspin cats have a life expectancy of 13-20 years.

When you have decided to become a furparent and know you are up to the task, try obtaining a Puspin to fill out your family! 

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She has been a solo parent for 16 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard



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