Cyprus cats, also known as Cypriot cats, Saint Helen cats, and Saint Nicholas cats, are a landrace of domestic cat found across the island of Cyprus. A standardized breed is being developed from them; among cat fancier and breeder organizations, it is presently fully recognized by the World Cat Federation (WCF), with breeding regulated by the World Cat Congress (WCC), under the name Aphrodite's Giant; and provisionally by The International Cat Association (TICA) as the Aphrodite. All three organizations permit shorthaired and semi-longhaired versions and no out-crossing to other breeds. The earliest known written record of cats on Cyprus refers to a story of Saint Helen of Constantinople sending two boatloads of cats to a monastery on the island from Egypt or Palestine in the 4th century A.D. to deal with an infestation of snakes. Cats on Cyprus have been able to breed for centuries with comparatively little outside influence; this has resulted in a distinct, locally adapted variety of cat which appears to have developed as a feral population in the inner highlands, though is found throughout the island in modern times. While wildcats in association with humans on Cyprus date to at least 7500 B.C. – the earliest proven association of cats with humans – there is no known connection between those ancient tamed-wild specimens and modern domesticated Cyprus cats, despite breeder claims to the contrary.
Also known as
This breed is also called Agios Nikolaos Ton Gaton, Aphrodite's Giant, Aphrodite's Giant Cat, Cypriot Cat, Cyprus, Cyprus Cat, Cyprus Shorthair, Saint Helen Cat, Saint Nicholas Cat, Saint Nicholas of the Cats, St Nicholas of the Cats, St. Nicholas of the Cats as well as Ágios Nikólaos ton Gatón.
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