Kurilian Bobtail Cat Breed Information And Pictures

Russell Cargill

Depositphotos 234995216 xl 2015

The Kurilian Bobtail is a unique breed of cat with its wild appearance and outgoing personality. Although this breed is affectionate and playful, they are also great hunters and should be kept away from any smaller pets. In fact, when owning a Kurilian Bobtail, the chances of finding hunted rodents around the house are fairly high!

The breed is incredibly unique in that they mature and grow very slowly. They often don’t reach their full adult size until around five years old.

Kurilian Bobtail Breed Overview
Height10-14 inches
Weight8-12 lbs
Lifespan15-20 years
ColorsTraditional colors include: solid, tortoiseshell, tabby
Suitable forFamilies with children or larger pets like dogs
TemperamentIndependent, smart, playful
Breed Traits Overview

History Of The Kurilian Bobtail Cat Breed

Obtaining the original name, Kuril Bobtail, from the Kuril island, this cat breed originated in Russia on the Sakhalin Island and the Kuril island. The breed has been known for over 200 years as a wild cat species and even has ties to the Japanese Bobtail as the Kuril archipelago stretches to the Japanese island, Hokkaido.

However, now the two bobtail breeds have very different appearances. This breed became more widely known after several members of the Russian military and other remote scientists brought a few members of the Kurilian Bobtail wild population home in the 20th century.

At this point, the cat sparked an interest with Russian cat breeders who began breeding the Kurilian Bobtail as a domestic cat species. Without any crossbreeding, the Kurilian Bobtail remained a natural breed with all pairs being a single breed.

Starting in 2002 the breed began competing in shows around the world. The breed is now recognized in North America by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Canadian Cat Association, the Cat Fanciers Federation, and The International Cat Association (TICA). The breed was then accepted to Championship status by TICA in 2012.

Today, the natural cat breed is more widely acknowledged in Europe as their population in North America is around only 100 individuals, making them extremely hard to come by.

How Much Does The Kurilian Bobtail Cost?

The average cost of a Kurilian Bobtail cat is between $700 and $3,000. While this is the average range in areas where these cats are more commonly found, it may range much higher in regions without many breeders. For example, in North America, there are hardly any Kurilian Bobtails and because of this, could wind up being significantly more expensive due to the demand.

If you are looking to buy one of these cats, your best option is to look within Europe as the vast majority of breeders are located there. In Europe, you should expect to pay between €590 and €2,500. If you’re shopping in the United Kingdom, the estimated cost will be between £500 and £2200.

While there’s no report of this breed existing widely in other regions of the world, like Australia, there’s likely a small population of breeders similar to North America. In this case, your budget should be between A$940 and A$4020.

Personality Traits Of The Kurilian Bobtail

As a recently domesticated breed, the Kurilian Bobtail still carries many of its wilder personality traits. They are incredibly high energy with a knack for jumping, perching as high as possible, and hunting. However, don’t mistake their high energy levels for a lack of personability.

This breed will still very much enjoy being a lap cat when it’s time to wind down and take a nap. Because of this, you’ll find that your cat is gentle and affectionate, but only on its terms.

They’re suitable for smaller children as they’re very independent cats and happy to play on their own then approach their human family when it’s time to settle. 

The Kurilian Bobtail will only do well with a pet that’s larger than it, like another cat or a dog. If you have smaller pets like hamsters, ferrets, or rabbits, there’s potential for your Kurilian Bobtail to kill them.

If you have any fish (either inside in a tank or outside in a pond) your cat will likely disturb them. Being that they originated on an island, they enjoy the water and are excellent swimmers. This makes them very apt to jump in and hunt any fish that are in the area.

One way to cut back on the number of smaller creatures your cat hunts is to be sure to give them a lot of entertainment. They should have at least one sturdy cat tree, a scratching post, and plenty of perches. Since they are predators they enjoy sitting up higher to get a better view of the home, they will especially like a window perch and will get great enrichment with a bird feeder placed just on the other side of that window.

You’ll also need to provide them with plenty of toys that they can chase around the house and play with both independently and with their human family. If you choose to allow your Kurilian Bobtail outdoor access, be aware that they will hunt and bring back small animals that they have killed to your home.

They have great instincts and are not a breed you’ll need to worry about getting lost or injured outside. If you are going to allow outdoor access, it’s recommended to get a cat door for easy come and go. To eliminate them hunting wildlife It’s also recommended to install a cat run where possible.

How To Take Care Of A Kurilian Bobtail

Kurilian Bobtail

You’ll find that taking care of this cat breed is easy as long as you can give them the exercise they require so they can release the energy they have. 

Since the breed is genetically unaltered from its wild counterparts, they have great genes and are very capable of caring for themselves. This is one of the reasons for their impressive 20-year lifespan.


Since this breed is originally from the wild in Russia, they have a high requirement for protein with very little need for additional fillers like carbohydrates. They don’t require any special diets or supplementation; however, you’ll need to find a high-quality cat food for them that has the nutrients this breed needs to maintain their health.

When looking for cat food, it’s vital that the first ingredient is a meat or fish source. Be very cautious of foods that list a meat byproduct as their first ingredient as these are filled with low-quality animal products that won’t provide the level of nutrition your cat needs. If you find a brand of cat food that lists a carbohydrate or anything besides meat as the first ingredient, you are mostly feeding your cat fillers which is going to simply add mass to their body without giving them the vitamins, amino acids, and proteins they need.

If you are not sure how to find high-quality cat food, be sure to consult your veterinarian before making any purchases. And remember that you should be changing your cat food over the course of your Kurilian Bobtails life, the best food for them as kittens won’t be the best food for them as adults.

It’s also crucial to always have a clean fresh bowl of water out for your cat. Although they don’t drink as much as some other species, like dogs, they require a healthy amount of water to keep their digestive systems functioning properly.


Since this breed has spent centuries in the wild, their grooming needs are very minimal. Even if your Kurilian Bobtail has a longer coat, it won’t knot easily and will be water-resistant. This reduces the need for brushing and makes a once-weekly run-through with the brush plenty. The breed also does not shed much making them a good breed for those with mild irritation to pet hair and dander. With that said, they are not hypoallergenic cats.

Since the breed does have fairly large ears, it’s important that you stay up on ear cleanings. You can clean their ears at home once a week to prevent any buildup of dirt or mites. This is especially important if you’re allowing your cat to go outside.

Other than weekly ear cleanings, it’s important to do regular nail trimming. This will help protect your furniture since the breed loves to run, jump, and climb. By starting nail trimming from a young age, you can desensitize them to the clippers, making the process fairly quick and easy.


With such intelligent breeds, training can be quite easy; however, with high-energy breeds, it can be a hard process to get underway. Once you can get the training started, they’ll be very open to the interactive activity that requires more thought. To train your kitten to stay in one spot to begin the process of training is a challenge which is why you must use a lot of treats and positive reinforcement to get your cat to come to you and engage in a training session.

You’ll find that training is made much easier if the first task that you train is for them to come to you, and stay with you. Once you can get your cat to come to you, you can start working on them sticking around without getting distracted and running off to play. After you’ve achieved this, you’ll be able to start with real training.


As formerly wild cats, the breed is very independent when it comes to taking care of their physical needs. Since they adapted so well to their native land, they have strong genetic health and are built for longevity. You won’t have any major health issues to worry about with your Kurilian Bobtail from a disease or injury standpoint as they have excellent health.

With that said, always be very careful to keep up with your cats’ vaccinations and routine checkups. If you fall behind on these, your cat is much more susceptible to common illnesses that could otherwise be avoided very easily.

If your cat is going outdoors a lot and hunting, also be sure to routinely give them deworming as eating wild rodents and birds very commonly have different parasites that your cat can get. Deworming will keep them free of parasites and maximize their already healthy bodies.

Physical Attributes Of The Kurilian Bobtail

The features of this cat are very consistent with small jungle cats or bobcats.

  • Head: They have large heads with rounded features and wide cheekbones. This gives them a very similar look to a bobcat.
  • Body: Their large, muscular body is athletic and proportionally sized to the rest of the cat’s features. With a broad chest, this cat is dense and strong.
  • Ears: With tufts of hair on the tips of the ears, their alert ears have a very large appearance when compared to head size.
  • Eyes: All eye colors can be seen in the breed; however, they consistently have walnut-shaped eyes that are rounded at the bottom but more oval on the top.
  • Legs and Paws: Their legs are medium length but the hind legs are longer than the front legs. Their paws are rounded at the bottom and have tufts of hair between all of their toes.
  • Tail: As their most unique feature, the Kurilian Bobtail has just that, a bobbed tail. While the tail structure may have kinks, it can vary from being quite stiff to very flexible. With their long hair, however, the fluffy tail can often have a pom-pom appearance.
  • Coat: Their coat length varies from short to long depending on the individual. For those with short hair, it’s usually very soft and smooth. For those with longer hair, they often have a ruff at the neckline with an undercoat.
  • Color: All color patterns have been seen in the breed. Ranging from tabby and tortoiseshell to solid colors. Many have white markings while others have more silver highlights.

Conclusion On The Kurilian Bobtail

While the Kurilian Bobtail may look like a wild predator, they are quite affectionate and gentle cats to have around the home. 

With their love for human interaction and their playful nature, you are bound to have a lot of fun while taking care of one of these cats. As long as you can keep up with their energy demands, you won’t have any problems caring for a Kurilian Bobtail.

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