Kurilian Bobtail

Kurilian Bobtail cat

Breed: Kurilian Bobtail | Size: Medium | Average lifespan: 10 to 15 years | Temperament: Easy-going, intelligent, and friendly | Coat: Short and long | Origin: Russia.

The Kurilian Bobtail is a very sociable and friendly cat. Nevertheless, this cat has kept its fishing and adventurous instincts.

The origins of the Kurilian Bobtail

A curious cat from the Russian Far East

As this breed’s name suggests, this cat comes from the Kuril Islands. These islands are a long archipelago located between Russia (the Kamchatka Peninsula) and Japan. This cat had been known there for two centuries and it seems that the Kurilian Bobtail and the Japanese Bobtail share common origins. But how closely are they related? No one knows.

How did the Kurilian Bobtail come to us?

This breed was discovered by Russian scientists and military personnel in the Kuril Islands, as well as on Sakhalin. In the middle of the 20th century, they were brought to dry land and the Russians took a liking to these strange cats with a spiral tail. The Kurilian Bobtails progressively came to Europe. With that being said, this breed is very new. Across the Atlantic, in North America, there are only a hundred or so of them. If you are searching for a rare gem, you have found one!

The Kurilian Bobtail’s character

Are you dreaming of a cat that does not act “like a cat”? This cat is perfect for you!

The ideal playmate for families

Despite its distant island origins and the particularly harsh climate that the ancestors of this breed lived through, the Kurilian Bobtail is an angel. This cat is just as intelligent as it is friendly. When they arrive in a home, they become friends with everyone and are particularly receptive to contact with others.

As this cat is curious and playful, they are just as dynamic as they are calm. In addition, the Kurilian Bobtail particularly appreciates children. A huge advantage of this breed is their easy-going personality. Aggressive behavior is rather rare. They are also friendly with other pets. The Kurilian Bobtail can accept living with other cats or even dogs without any difficulty.

With that being said, you should not forget that they are hunters and that this breed developed naturally.

Bonus: the Kurilian Bobtail is so gentle and curious that it is even possible for them to learn tricks!

A true hunter

As mentioned earlier, the Kurilian Bobtail is a true hunter. While they would never hurt children, they are a danger for small pets, such as hamsters, rabbits, birds, and fish. When left outside, they will voluntarily search for prey. Therefore, check with your neighbors before adopting a Kurilian Bobtail.

This cat is not for everyone. If you are looking for a cat that does not need a lot of attention, it is best to adopt a different cat breed. These cats can become unhappy if they do not get enough attention. The Kurilian Bobtail likes to be in contact with people and needs to be mentally stimulated, for example, by learning tricks or through training (they are rather easy to train). In addition, they need to be out in the open air and need some time outside to develop correctly.

Kurilian bobtail kitten
The Kurilian Bobtail is known for its spiral tail, which looks like a pom pom ball.

The physical characteristics of the Kurilian Bobtail


The Kurilian Bobtail is a medium cat. It is known for its spiral tail, which looks like a pom pom ball.


Like the rest of the body, the muzzle is powerful, with a straight and large nose. This breed’s prominent cheekbones give their head the shape of a trapezoid. Their eyes are large and round. There is no specific color that is characteristic of this breed. The ears are rather medium-sized.


Their body is rather compact and the back is curved. They look relatively large, which matches their muscular legs.

Coat, colors, and care


There are two main varieties of the Kurilian Bobtail:

  • Long-haired: this cat has a silky coat, with a ruff around the stomach and breeches around the thighs.
  • Short-haired: this variety has an undercoat that is rather developed, while the topcoat is short and close to the body.


This natural breed does not have any specific colors, whether it be for their coat or their eyes. We can find these cats with patterns such as tabby or tortoiseshell. All we can specify is the absence of certain colors such as fawn, lilac, or agouti.

Caring for a Kurilian Bobtail

With robust health, the Kurilian Bobtail does not need a specific type of grooming. If you have a long-haired variety, it is best to brush them every week and to keep an eye out for parasites if they spend a lot of time in the nature. You should also verify their eyes and their ears, and do not hesitate to clean them regularly. As this cat likes water, it is not difficult to give these cats a bath.

In the winter, you can let them stroll in the garden without any fear. As this cat comes from an inhospitable region, this breed handles cold temperatures very well.

The Kurilian Bobtail needs to be physically and mentally stimulated. They appreciate taking the time to discover new things and observing their owners take part in their daily activities (this cat loves perching high up to survey their territory), but also learning tricks. They are very intelligent and friendly, so they can adapt easily.

Did you know?

While the Kurilian Bobtail’s short pom pom ball tail is characteristic of the breed, there are no two Kurilian Bobtails with the same tail. Every tail is unique. For example, the amount of bones that make up their tail is different. For instance, a tail can be made up of ten vertebrae…or only two!

The Kurilian Bobtail is not a breed in the same extent as a Persian or Siamese cat. They are simply a variety of alley cat that developed naturally on distant islands, and the short pom pom ball tail was a genetic mutation that appeared spontaneously. Breeding the Kurilian Bobtail has simply refined the characteristic, but in the end, it is a natural cat. This is rather surprising judging by this cat’s sociable character.

The Kurilian Bobtail at a glance

Size: up to 40 cm.

Ideal weight: 3 to 5 kg (≈ 6.6 to 11 lb), or 7 kg (≈ 15.4 lb) for male Kurilian Bobtails.

Health: This cat is considered to be very resistant to diseases. Nevertheless, as these cats are rare, statistical information about the breed is not very reliable.

Is the Kurilian Bobtail good with children? As these cats are curious, playful, sociable, and friendly, they have all the qualities that make them the perfect playmates for children.