Australian Mist: The Very Definition of “Lap Cats”

Close-up image of an austalian mist cat
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

Did you know that indoor cats on average have a much longer life expectancy than cats that are allowed to wander outdoors? We all want to be able to spend more time in the company of our beloved furry friends, so we are often tempted to keep our feline companion as indoor-only cats. Unfortunately, not all cat breeds are able to thrive indoors. Only a select few—such as the specially-developed Australian Mist— can truly enjoy an indoor-only lifestyle without being struck with an overpowering urge to escape and explore the outside world.

Although their origins are in Australia, this cat is now being bred in most parts of the world such as the United Kingdom and parts of North America. The Australian Mist is rapidly gaining popularity due to their widespread reputation as one of the most affectionate cat breeds. Are you looking for a perfect playmate for your kids? Or maybe a therapy cat that will keep the elderly occupied? They will thrive in any of the above conditions.

Close-up image of an austalian mist cat

With that being said, this guide will proceed to give you everything you need to know about the Australian Mist. Take a look at the breed’s interesting history, their personality and character, and be sure to pay close attention to the care features that you need to provide for these cats in order to determine whether this is the right feline companion for you or not.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: Average

  • Grooming: Low Maintenance

  • Health: Good

  • All Around Friendliness: High

  • Exercise Needs: Average

Cat Breed GroupShort-Haired, Crossbreed
WeightMale: 8 - 15 pounds

Female: 7 - 13 pounds
Lifespan12 - 15 years

The Australian Mist is a shorthaired feline that is half Burmese and a quarter each of the Moggy and Abyssinian breeds. Recognized as the national cat of Australia, the Australian Mist is actually counted amongst the ranks of newcomers in the worldwide setting. Developed by Dr. Truda Straede in 1976, this cat was initially introduced in Australia with the idea of developing a friendly, loving, and affectionate indoor cat that possesses mixed characteristics of both the Burmese and the Abyssinian breeds.

After crossbreeding a variety of different cats, Dr. Truda Straede—with the endorsement of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Cat Control—managed to mix three different cat breeds to produce a shorthaired cat that’s blessed with the affectionate disposition and loving personality of the Burmese, the intelligence of the Abyssinians, and the resilience of the Moggy.

austalian mist cat lying on a bed

Although this cat was first bred in Australia, more and more dedicated breeders have emerged in other parts of the world—making the Australian Mist a common breed in the United Kingdom and North America. This cat was formerly known as the Spotted Mist due to the spotted parts of their fur. However, the name was later dropped in 1998 due to an increased variety of coat patterns detected among the breed.

This moderately-sized feline has a compact, rounded head, large eyes, and a short coat featuring colorful shades of gold, brown, chocolate, peach, or lilac. In most cases, the eyes are primarily green or blue in color while the ears may be large or medium with a wide base. The legs and the tail are designed with rounded rings while the broad chins and nose give them an attractive facial expression.

These felines are energetic, muscular, and light-skinned—making them highly attractive to pet lovers. The Australian Mist is considered to be a generally healthy and robust cat with few health issues. According to most breeders, this cat is potentially resistant to common feline illnesses such as renal failure and hyperthyroidism. Although this might be the case, the Australian Mist is not without their fair share of issues. Their light-colored coat makes them prone to skin infections and allergies which may later develop into skin cancer.

Image showing an australian mist male cat

Australian Mists have an appetite that makes them prone to developing obesity. To keep them playful, active, and fit, pet parents are advised to buy attractive toys such as cat trees, box castles, and puzzle feeders to stimulate the cats. Australian Mists are also vulnerable to gingivitis and dental issues—something which requires you to brush and check their teeth more frequently.

Australian Mists are widely regarded as loving, extremely tolerant, and not inclined to sharpen their claws on your precious furniture. This feline is even-tempered and extremely charming. They enjoy hanging out with their pet parents, and their tolerance makes them friendly felines for children. Australian Mists love hanging around with others, getting involved in everyday activities, as well as playing with the available indoor toys. The Australian Mist also enjoys treats such as ham, beef, and cooked chicken.

Main Highlights

  • This cat was formerly known as the Spotted Mist, but the name was changed to Australian Mist in 1998 after some kittens of this breed were born with marbled coats instead of spotted coats.

  • The Australian Mist was developed in Australia in 1976 and was bred from a variety of different cats such as the Burmese, Abyssinian, and the Moggy.

  • This feline derived their spotted patterns and laid-back nature from the Burmese while their intelligent and witty characteristic was acquired from the Abyssinian side of their ancestry.

  • The Australian Mist is medium-sized with short hair—meaning they require less grooming.

  • These cats are available in different coat colors such as gold, blue, and lilac. Their coats are covered with small specks called mists while their life expectancy can go up to 15 years if taken care of properly.

  • Australian Mists are friendly, intelligent, and affectionate felines that thrive on human companionship. They’re devoted, patient, and very tolerant—making them the best pets for small children.

  • Since they enjoy eating a lot, you’ll have to watch out for obesity. They are not very active, so you should proactively prompt them to play with you in order to fulfill their daily exercise needs.

Breed History

The Australian Mist is a completely new cat breed that was developed by Dr. Truda Straede in 1976. There were several reasons that pushed Dr. Truda to develop this charming cat breed. First, there was a need to develop a new cat that was 100% bred in Australia. Second, there was a high demand for a cat breed that could thrive in an indoor-only lifestyle so as to lower the friction/conflict between domestic animals and wildlife in Australia.

Image showing an australian mist kitten

This cat breed was developed very carefully. Dr. Truda Straede worked closely with the Royal Agricultural Society of Cat Fanciers (currently known as the NSW Cat Fanciers Association). 30 different cat breeds were then mixed together to develop the Australian Mist. Among them, the breeds that ended up contributing the most to the Australian Mist’s gene pool were the Burmese, the Abyssinian, and the Moggy. Formerly known as the Spotted Mist, this feline was later renamed the Australian Mist in 1998 in order to accommodate the birth of kittens sporting new coat patterns.


The Australian Mist is regarded as a medium-sized cat with a compact body. With a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, this cat can go from medium to large with a maximum height of 24 inches. Their weight greatly varies depending on the gender. In most cases, females have an average weight of 7 to 13 pounds while the males have an average weight of 8 to 15 pounds. Since these cats are prone to obesity, proper care must be exercised to ensure that they maintain their ideal body shape.

Personality and Character

The Australian Mist is a playful, affectionate cat with a friendly personality. Developed from a combination of different cat breeds, this feline has proven to be extremely tolerant, loving, and highly affectionate. They will fit seamlessly into families of all categories.

Lovely australian mist cat looking at something

Developed to thrive indoors, Australian Mists enjoy getting in touch with their owners and are happiest when involved in daily activities. There are plenty of benefits you can expect from keeping an indoor-only cat—namely, you don’t have to worry about frequent pregnancies, infectious illnesses, or friction between your domestic pets and wildlife.

Since Australian Mists are extremely alert and attentive, they enjoy hanging around most of the time to learn what’s happening. These cats have a tendency of resting in your lap. This characteristic makes them the best felines for people with disability, the sick, or the aged. If you treat them well and feed them properly, you are well on your way to acquiring a lifetime companion in these cats.

Health and Potential Problems

The Australian Mist is considered to be a healthy and robust breed with no records of hereditary or genetic issues. These cats are said to be less prone to contracting common ailments suffered by most felines, but it doesn’t change the fact that you should keep up to date with their vaccinations just to be on the safe side.

Australian Mist cat near a door looking at his owner

Although they are said to be resistant to some illnesses, they are in turn vulnerable to certain others. The health issues that you need to watch out for include:

  • Skin allergies: Australian Mists are light-coated. Now, due to the nature of their coats, these cats are prone to developing skin allergies which may later become skin cancer. Pet parents are advised to take their cats to the local vet for regular checkups.

  • Eye problems: Australian Mists are also prone to developing eye problems especially when suffering from other infections. What happens is that the eyes become irritated, red, dry, and quite inflamed. When your cat is suffering from eye problems, you’ll notice excess discharge around the eyes, excessive blinking, and regular rubbing of the eyes with her paws.

  • Urinary tract infection: another common illness that can affect your feline is the urinary tract disease or infection. Cats afflicted with this condition will be unable to empty their bladder properly. Common symptoms of this infection include bloody urine, extreme pain when urinating, and frequent leaking of the urinary opening. Common causes of this condition include stress, cancer, bladder inflammation (cystitis), spinal cord problem, kidney stones, or urethral plug.

  • Tapeworms: tapeworms are some of the most common intestinal parasites that can affect cats. These worms are transmitted when cats feed on infected rodents, milk, or feces from infected fellow cats. Although your cat might fail to show any outward symptoms, among the most common signs to watch out for include vomiting, tapeworm segments on the fur, as well as sudden weight loss.

  • Gingivitis: gingivitis is another highly common health issue with Australian Mist cats. Considered as the earliest stage of the periodontal disease, this infection involves inflammation of the gums and bad breath. Caused by old age, feline leukemia, bad chewing habits, or autoimmune diseases, this condition is a lot more treatable when detected at an early stage. In most cases, treatment of gingivitis involves proper dental care for your feline, buying dental chews, or the removal of crowded baby teeth from your aged cat.

  • Diabetes: another increasingly alarming infection in most cats is diabetes mellitus. This illness involves the inability to produce enough insulin to balance blood sugar levels. If not treated in time, this condition can lead to loss of appetite, depression, dehydration, weight loss, coma, and death eventually.

  • Obesity: finally, Australian Mists are regarded as regular eaters who enjoy feeding on chicken, pork, cheese, and all sort of treats. If not monitored carefully, these felines can easily gain a lot of weight in a short period of time. Fortunately, since they’re extremely intelligent, Australian Mists are easy to train and exercise to ensure that they maintain their overall health.

Care Features

A cat breed that was developed with a penchant for fun, the Australian Mist has a tendency of resting in people’s laps to experience the comfort and affection offered by their pet parents.

Australian mist kitten enjoying his bed

Make sure to involve your Australian Mist in the everyday hustle and bustle of your household and don’t leave them alone for too long since they easily get lonely. If you lead a busy lifestyle and can’t avoid leaving your cat alone for long stretches of time, it is recommended that you adopt another pet that would then keep your kitty company.

Feeding Schedule

The feeding schedule of the Australian Mist should be observed at all times. These felines enjoy being given regular treats such as chicken and ham among others. Although these are considered healthy treats, you have to balance their food intake with frequent exercise and playtimes to avoid cases of weight gain. Since these cats are usually kept completely indoors, pet parents should be very careful to avoid cases of obesity. Pet parents should feed their Australian Mist with high-quality cat foods that will increase muscle mass and energy levels.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

The Australian Mist is available in a variety of different colors such as gold, lilac, blue, peach, chocolate, and warm brown. These colors can either be spotted or marbled with a dark mist on the coat. Speaking of the coat, these felines are short-haired—making it easy to handle their grooming, especially when checking for ticks.

australian mist miotic pupil lying

When it comes to grooming, the Australian Mist doesn’t require frequent brushing as their hair is short. According to most vets, this cat only needs to be brushed once or twice every week. However, since this breed is prone to gingivitis, pet parents are advised to maintain proper dental hygiene by giving them proper dental diets and brushing their teeth more regularly.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The idea behind the development of the Australian Mist was to produce a cat that could enjoy a lifestyle that obliges them to be indoors all the time. The Australian Mist managed to fit the occasion. They are extremely affectionate, energetic, and loving. These cats are widely regarded as one of the most tolerant pets that enjoy the company of young children.

australian mist cat looking at the camera

For pet parents with multiple pets in the house, you’ll discover that this feline enjoys hanging around other animals. Even strangers who visit your home for the first time will notice that this cat is friendly towards them. They won’t hesitate to rest in strangers’ laps as a way of showing comfort, tolerance, and patience.

Wrap Up

The Australian Mist—formerly known as the Spotted Mist—is a delightful feline that wears the label “Proudly Made in Australia.” Hailed for being some of the most lovable and companionable cats by most pet parents, it’s difficult to not fall in love with this breed.

Australian mist cat retching

This cat thrives on all kinds of companionship. They have endless patience for young children and other animals. This cat is perfect for all sorts of households—excepting an exceedingly busy one. These cats shouldn’t be left alone in the house for long periods of time; they will get sad and lonely.

Since the Australian Mist has short hair and glossy coat, they don’t require much grooming. Brushing their hair twice a week will be enough. Australian Mists are generally healthy cats; however, since they’re prone to gingivitis, pet parents should feed them with high-quality dry foods, dental treats, as well as subject them to regular vet checkups.

australian mist cat in a cat tree looking at the camera

Since Australian Mists enjoy snacking and eating a lot, they’re prone to obesity. Therefore, they need regular exercise sessions indoors to maintain their overall health and shape. Another area of concern with this cat breed is that they are prone to suffering from skin allergies and cancer. However, as long as you keep them indoors and away from frequent direct contact with blazing sunlight, they should be fine.

Are you looking for lap cats? If you are, consider adopting an Australian Mist from your local shelter or trusted breeder. Or perhaps instead of indoor-only cats, you prefer felines that are adventurous as you are? Let us know what you think in the comments section below! If you have firsthand experience of living with an Australian Mist, please share your story in the comments section as well.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.