There have been many attempts to breed a cat that could be regarded as an Australian cat, starting as far back as early settlement of Sydney, NSW in the 1890s. (1)
In 1977 Dr. Truda Straede, the originator of the Australian Mist breed, submitted an idea to the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Cat Control (this body was replaced with Cat Fanciers’ Association of NSW, a member body of the Coordinating Cat Council of Australia) to develop a breed of cat that would be truly unique to Australia. She submitted an experimental plan which called for using Burmese to obtain the colours brown, blue, chocolate and lilac; using Abyssinians to obtain the ticking (agouti) gene to develop the tabby pattern with the tabby (spotted) pattern to come from: (a) ghost spotted Burmese and (b) well spotted domestics. (2)
The first generation of the breed was accepted into the RASCC Experimental Register in May 1980. In April 1986 the first fourth-generation litter was born and subsequently accepted for registration as “Spotted Mists”; as the breed was known at that time. At this time the RASCC also accepted the Spotted Mist Breed as eligible to compete for Championship status. (2)
In June 1997 the marbled pattern was accepted by both the RASCC and the Waratah State Cat Alliance and it was added to the allowable patterns in the breed and from the 1st January 1998 marbled Mists were eligible to compete for Championship status in both bodies. (2)
The Name of the Breed
On the same weekend in June 1998 both of the then current co-ordinating cat bodies in Australia (CCCA and ACF) accepted the need to change the name of the breed brought about by the inclusion of the marbled pattern. The rationale was to avoid the awkward naming such as Marbled Spotted Mists or Spotted Mists (Marbled). The name was unanimously changed to Australian Mists.
When Waratah State Cat Alliance withdrew from the Australian Cat Federation and became the Waratah National Cat Alliance it accepted the Australian Mist breed along with all other current cat breeds, in fact, it had been the member body which had proposed the name change to ACF. On the 1st January 1999 the breed was accepted for Championship status by the New Zealand Cat Fancy. In August 2004 the Australian Mist was accepted as a Championship breed by the World Cat Federation. It is also accepted for Championship status by the United Feline Organisation in the USA.
The Australian Mist is one of the few breeds for which a detailed breeding history and relatively accurate records have been kept. All foundation cats (and some pre-foundation cats) are known and recorded and all current breeding cats can be traced back to those foundation cats. That way Waratah breeders can be assured that they have the complete gene pool for the breed and are now in the process of expanding that gene pool with three new lines currently under experimental breeding license.
(1) Barbara Walcott. Complete Book of Cats of Australia. Reed Publishers Pty. Ltd. Revised edition 1983/1987.
(2) Cats in the Mist, 1998 Edited by Anne Burrows and Truda Straede, Australian Mist Breeders, 1998, ISBN 0 958 6036 0 X