ExcitedCats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Kurilian Bobtail Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Traits & Facts

Height: 9-12 inches
Weight: 11-15 pounds
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Colors: Any traditional color, including tabby, tortoiseshell, and tri-color
Suitable for: Active families looking for an outgoing and friendly cat
Temperament: Energetic, friendly, and adaptable. Clever, trainable, and fun-loving

Perhaps you’ve been searching for a wild-looking cat breed with a friendly and outgoing personality? You might have found your match in the fun-loving and energetic Kurilian Bobtail. These adorable cats are one of only a few natural breeds to be accepted by The International Cat Association, making them pretty special.

While they might look like they belong out in the wild — and that’s because they do — they also have a soft and loving personality that is totally at odds to their wild cat looks. One swish of that cute little bobtail, and you’ll be smitten with these characterful cats.

This breed was only accepted into The International Cat Association in 2012, meaning they’re still exceptionally rare in the United States. As a result, you might not even have heard much about these charismatic cats. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got you covered! From little-known facts to the price of a kitten, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this fluffy, friendly breed.Cat ball divider 1

Kurilian Bobtail Kittens — Before You Bring One Home…

You might find yourself smitten as soon as you catch sight of a litter of Kurilian kittens with their tiny pom-pom tails. Despite their off-the-scale levels of cuteness, there’s much more to find out about them before you sign on the dotted line and commit yourself to that fluffy bundle of kitten cuteness.

While they might be incredibly friendly and people-oriented, these cats haven’t completely abandoned their wild roots. They love to hunt (if allowed) and are prized in Russia for their mice-catching abilities. They’re a high-energy breed that requires plenty of enrichment and exercise to stay satisfied.

On the plus side, as a natural breed, their genetic heritage is robust. As a result, they’re a vigorous cat breed, with few health issues.

Kurilian Bobtail Cat Breed Info
Photo credit: aksarah by Pixabay

3 cat face divider

Three Little-Known Facts About the Kurilian Bobtail

1. The Kurilian Bobtail comes from an island archipelago

Off the Russian coast of Kamchatka lies the Kuril archipelago of islands that stretch almost 700 miles to Hokkaido, a Japanese island. Wild cats have been reported living on these islands for at least 200 years. In the mid-20th century, some of these wild cats were finally captured by scientists and members of the military. The cats were Kurilian Bobtails, who is one of only 20 natural breeds recognized by TICA, who accepted them into their books in 2012.

Kurilian Bobtails have been prized in Russia due to their hunting prowess and have become popular in Europe due to their gregarious and people-loving natures. Their winning personalities and friendly natures are just starting to become better known in the U.S.A.

thematic break

2. Kurilian Bobtails love heights and swimming

These cats just love sitting up high! Kurilian Bobtails are excellent jumpers, thanks to their long hind legs and muscular bodies. In fact, they will usually find a high spot from which to survey their kingdom, a definite throwback to their heritage of living on forested islands.

As well as being prolific hunters and enjoying heights, the Kurilian Bobtail loves to swim. Of course, this is another trait from their island ancestors. Their coat is water-resistant, and most Kurilians won’t hesitate to jump into a pond or river. Your neighborhood goldfish have been warned!

thematic break

3. Kurilian’s tails are naturally bobbed

The cute pom-pom bobtail is one of the most defining features of this breed. There’s a great deal of variation within the breed, though, with Kurilian tails being described in the breed standard as having three distinct types: snag, spiral, or whisk. Any of these tail types should consist of at least two vertebrae and be anywhere from 1.5-8cm in length.

Kurilian Bobtail Cat Breed Info
Photo credit: aksarah by Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Kurilian Bobtail

Kurilian Bobtails are ready to go whenever! While they’re perfectly capable of relaxing for a nap or cuddle, they’ve always got one eye open for the next adventure. Their outgoing and curious personalities mean they love exploring, playing, and generally being involved in practically anything that your family does! Despite loving to hunt, they have a playful and non-aggressive nature toward people.

Kurilian Bobtails are extremely intelligent cats. They love games that require them to stretch their brain cells, and they excel at being trained. Kurilians will soon know if they’re allowed on the kitchen surfaces — or not. You’ll only need to tell them once for them to remember the rules. As truly independent-minded cats, though, they have to choose to obey you!

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Kurilian Bobtails make excellent family cats. Their combination of charismatic energy and the ability to switch off and enjoy quiet downtime means they’re loved by all members of the family, young and old.

They’ll take well to being trained by younger members of the family and are exceptionally quick to learn new tricks.

This breed will become bonded to their family members, but they’re not overly worried when left alone for reasonable amounts of time during the day. Just make sure you leave plenty of toys to keep them occupied, and expect to be showered with affection when you get home!

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

While Kurilian Bobtails are happy companions with dogs and other cats, smaller pets may not fare so well. As we’ve already mentioned, Kurilians love to hunt, and this will also extend to pet rodents, ferrets, rabbits, and birds. Your Kurilian could develop an unhealthy obsession with any of these if kept in the same household, so we’d recommend against keeping them in a house with small pets such as these.

Even fish in an aquarium can prove tempting to a Kurilian, and they’re not above leaping into the water in search of their prey!

Having another cat in the same household as a Kurilian is a great way to keep them occupied; just make sure the other cat is of a similar energy level and can keep up with a playful Kurilian!3 cat divider

Things to Know When Owning a Kurilian Bobtail:

We know that choosing to add a new cat into your family isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. While Kurilian Bobtail kittens are exceptionally cute, we recommend holding off on placing any deposit until you’re fully aware of all the issues you need to consider before making it all official.

Food & Diet Requirements

In terms of dietary requirements, Kurilian Bobtails are much more low-maintenance than many other breeds. They’ll likely thrive on a high-protein diet designed for active cats. As they are more energetic than many other breeds, you may need to adjust the amount of food you give them accordingly. Kurilians aren’t prone to becoming overweight, as they’re usually busy doing something active to burn off those calories.

Kurilian Bobtail Cat Breed Info
Photo credit: AselesA by Pixabay

Exercise 🐈

Kurilian Bobtails love to exercise, so you’re going to need to set aside plenty of time to make sure they have the opportunity to play. Give them a range of toys designed to provide both mental and physical stimulation. Food puzzles, electronic toys, and ball games that require plenty of running will all keep your Kurilian on their toes.

If you decide to keep your Kurilian Bobtail as an indoor cat, then they’ll need more chances to exercise and burn off steam than if they were going outdoors. Consider adding plenty of enrichment, including cat trees, scratching posts, and even an outdoor cat enclosure where they can watch the world go by from a safe space.

Training 🎾

This clever breed excels at learning new tricks and will always be ready for a training session. Kurilians make excellent training partners for young children, as they’re willing, patient, and gentle. See how much you can teach your Kurilian, and they might just surprise you with their intelligence!

Grooming ✂️

The Kurilian Bobtail can have either a short or semi-longhaired coat, but both are relatively low maintenance. They’re not prone to get tangled or knotted, so a weekly brush is all they’ll need to keep them looking sleek and shiny.

You can easily train a Kurilian to accept having their nails trimmed regularly, as well as having their ears and teeth checked.

Kurilian Bobtail Cat Breed Info
Photo credit: aksarah by Pixabay

Health and Conditions 🏥

While all cat breeds certainly have the possibility of developing health conditions, the Kurilian certainly doesn’t suffer from as many issues as some other cat breeds.

As a robust natural breed, they’re considered extremely healthy. Part of this is, of course, down to their natural heritage, but on the flip side of the coin, we don’t yet know that much about this breed, so there could be issues that haven’t been discovered yet.

Minor Conditions
  • None known
Serious Conditions
  • None known

yarn ball divider

Male vs. Female

So, you’ve decided that the Kurilian Bobtail is the perfect new addition to your family — congratulations! The only thing left to discuss is whether you should get a male or female kitten.

Male Kurilian Bobtails do tend to be heavier than females, but apart from that physical characteristic, there isn’t much to separate the two sexes. It’s probably better to try and meet kittens and allow their personalities to help you make your choice.cat + line divider

Final Thoughts

The Kurilian Bobtail is an unusual and eye-catching rare breed that still maintains plenty of the characteristics from their wild ancestors. While these cats might look fierce and they certainly are skilled hunters, they’re also extremely affectionate and playful.

Make sure you can provide a Kurilian with enough exercise and enrichment to keep them entertained, as these cats aren’t wallflowers! While they love learning new tricks and have enough energy for the whole family, they’re also generally healthy and low maintenance in terms of feeding and grooming.

These smart cats do love spending time with their families, so if you think you’ve got the energy and intelligence to keep up with a Kurilian Bobtail, they could be the perfect breed for you.

thematic break

Featured image credit: Hanka Buchtová, Pixabay / Fish Icon