History of the Breed

The Kurilian Bobtail is a native Russian and natural breed of cat, whose origins can be traced to the Russian Island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, an archipelago of more than 56 volcanic islands, located in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean.  It is documented in Russia that cats with short tails have been on the islands for at least 200 years and were brought back to central Russia in the middle of the 20th century by members of the military or scientists. Because of their natural instinct for hunting they are popular as a domesticated feline in Russia for their mousing abilities.  In the wild the Kurilian Bobtail cat in known to run in packs, similar to the wolf.  They are exceptional hunters as well as excellent swimmers and fisherman.  Islanders report that it is not a problem for the Kurilian Bobtail to catch a an eleven pound fish or hare in the wild.

The Kuril or Kurile Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands numbering 56 islands and many minor rocks; that stretch approximately 700 miles [1,300 kilometers] from the Kamchatka Peninsula of Western Russia to Hokkaido in Northern Japan; separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean.  All of the islands are under Russian jurisdiction, however, Japan claims the two southernmost large islands (Iturup and Kunashir) as part of its territory, as well as Shikotan and the Habomai islets, which has led to an ongoing Kuril Islands dispute.

Climate on the islands is severe, with long, cold, stormy winters and short foggy summers, temperatures can range from temperate to sub-Arctic.  Precipitation, which usually falls as snow, can be as high as 30-40 inches annually.  The highest elevation is Alaid volcano at 7,674 feet on the Atlasov Island on the northern end of the archipelago.

Occupied by ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Tatars, Koreans, Nivkhs, Oroch, and Ainu, there are roughly 30,000 peoples inhabiting the Kuril Islands today; about half live below the poverty level. Fishing is the primary occupation but the islands also have some strategic mineral deposits of pyrite, sulfur, and various polymetallic ores.

From north to south, the main islands are (alternative names given in parentheses are mainly Japanese):

North Kuril Islands

  • Shumshu (Shimushu)
  • Atlasov Island (Oyakoba, Alaid or Araito)
  • Paramushir (Paramushiro or Poromushiri)
  • Antsiferov Island (Shirinki)
  • Makanrushi (Makanrushiri)
  • Onekotan (Onnekotan)
  • Kharimkotan (Kharimukotan, Harumokotan)
  • Ekarma (Ekaruma)
  • Chirinkotan
  • Shiashkotan (Shashukotan)
  • Raikoke (Raykoke)
  • Matua (Matsuwa)
  • Rasshua (Rasuwa)
  • Ushishir (Ushishiri or Ushichi)
  • Ketoy (Ketoe or Ketoi)
  • Simushir (Shimushiro or Shinshiru)
  • Broutona (Buroton or Makanruru)
  • Chirpoy (Chirinhoi)
  • Brat Chirpoyev (Burato-Chiripoi)
  • Urup (Uruppu)

South Kuril Islands

  • Iturup (Etorofu)
  • Kunashir (Kunashiri)
  • Shikotan

Khabomai Rocks (Habomai Shoto), including: Polonskogo (Taraku), Zelyonyi (Shibotsu), Yuri, Anuchina (Akiyuri), Kharkar (Harukaru), Tanfilyeva (Suisho), Signalny (Kaigara)

From Wikipedia see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuril_Islands.


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