Chinese Lop-Eared Cat, Droop-Eared Cat, Hanging-Ear Cat
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The Sumxu was a cat-like creature thought to be either mythical or extinct if it ever existed, but was once found in the area around Peking, China.
According to reports, the cat first appeared in 1656. It was later described in early 1700s as a curiosity, and in 1796 when a droop-eared cat was brought back from China. It was mostly described by travelers. Michael Boym, a Polish Jesuit missionary, was the first Westerner to describe the cat in his book Flora Sinensis on his trip to south China. The last report of the cat was in 1938. According to Jean Bungartz, in his work Die Hauskatze, ihre Rassen und Varietäten (Housecats, Their Races and Varieties) from Illustriertes Katzenbuch (An Illustrated Book of Cats) the cat's description turned from a pet to a animal consumed as a delicacy. Only being bred for the purpose of meat production.
As the name implies, it had droopy ears, some believe this is due to a mutation similiar to that found in
the Scottish fold . It was described as a longhaired cat with a glossy black or yellow coat and pendulous ears. The descriptions derive from a series of mistranslations and the confusion of two entirely different animals! The name sumxu ( a Portugese rendering of the word songshu) originally described the yellow-throated marten, but mistranslations caused the name to be applied to the alleged cat. Though Boym's illustration resembles a squirrel, the description indicates that it could've been the yellow-throated marten. Boym wrote that the Sumxu was a pretty yellow-and-black animal that people kept as expensive pets, valued for their ability to hunt mice, was commonly tamed, and wore a silver collar.
- In 1885, writer Gaston Percheron suggested the lop-eared cat might be a hybrid between a cat and a marten.
- In 1926, cat fancier Lillian J. Veley wrote in the magazine Cat Gossip that the Siamese cat (which looked similiar to the Sumxu) was linked to the marten.
- In Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, Charles Darwin refers briefly to a drooping eared race of cats in China.
- In Chinese 松鼠 (songshu, in the modern Pinyin transcription), means "squirrel" (literally, "pine rat").
- Another candidate as to what the Sumxu was, is the binturong which looks similiar to illustrations.
- It was also described as being like longhair Scottish folds.