A close-up of a Chinese Li Hua Cat, also known as Dragon Li, with bright green eyes.
(Photo Credit: Amlcar Arroyo Graniela / 500px | Getty Images)

Chinese Li Hua

The Chinese Li Hua cat, also known as the Li Hua Mau or Dragon Li, is a distinctive and ancient feline breed. The Li Hua holds a special place in Chinese culture and history.

Characterized by a striking spotted coat, almond-shaped eyes, and a robust yet elegant build, the Li Hua cat has been a part of Chinese folklore and art for centuries. This breed originated in China and has been depicted in traditional Chinese paintings and writings, showcasing its cultural significance.

When considering a Chinese Li Hua, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a cat in need. However, if you decide to purchase, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the breeder follows ethical practices and prioritizes the well-being of their cats. Reputable Chinese Li Hua breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their cats, conduct necessary health screenings, and provide a nurturing environment for the kitties. This active approach ensures that you bring home a healthy and happy kitty while discouraging unethical breeding practices.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: China, with a lineage dating back centuries.
  • Size: Medium (8-12 pounds)
  • Breed Group: Landrace (natural breed)
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Coat: Short, dense, and can come in various colors and patterns like solid black, tabby (including mackerel, striped, and spotted), bi-color, and tortoiseshell.
  • Temperament: Intelligent, playful, affectionate, independent, curious, adaptable, low-maintenance.
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate – enjoys playtime but can also be content lounging.
  • Training: Can be trained with patience and positive reinforcement.
  • Grooming: Weekly brushing.
  • Health: Generally healthy, but some potential for genetic health conditions.
  • The Chinese Li Hua is also known as Li Hua and Li Hua Mao.
  • The name Li Hua Mao means fox flower, referencing its fox-like head and flower-like tabby pattern.
  • There are black marks at the corner of the Li Hua’s mouth, which makes it seem like it is always smiling.
  • The Li Hua’s ability to catch vermin is so distinct, it is a breed standard.

Chinese Li Hua Pictures

Chinese Li Hua History

The unofficial cat of China, the Li Hua (pronounced “lee-wah”) is thought to be one of the earliest known domestic cats. Based on their mention in old books, they have probably existed throughout China for centuries, but it is only recently that they have been developed as a breed.

This is a natural breed, meaning it was not developed through crosses of other breeds. The Chinese Li Hua was accepted into the Cat Fanciers Association’s Miscellaneous Class in February 2010. The Chinese Li Hua cat is also known as China Li Hua, Dragon Li, Li Hua, Lu Hua Mao, Li Hua Mau, and Li Mao.

Chinese Li Hua Size

The Li Hua typically weighs between 9 and 12 pounds.

Chinese Li Hua Personality

Smart, loyal and lively, the Li Hua is gentle with people but has a reputation as a talented hunter of rats and other vermin. His retrieval skills extend beyond rodents. One Li Hua is said to have learned to fetch the morning paper.

Chinese Li Hua Health

There isn’t a specific and well-documented list of health issues that are particularly associated with the Chinese Li Hua cat breed. However, it’s essential to note that all cats, regardless of breed, can be prone to certain health problems. Genetic factors, environment, diet, and general care play significant roles in a cat’s overall health.

To ensure the well-being of a Chinese Li Hua cat or any cat, regular veterinary check-ups are crucial. It’s also essential to provide a balanced diet, engage in regular play and exercise, and maintain good dental hygiene.

Chinese Li Hua Care

The Chinese Li Hua’s short, smooth coat is simple to groom with weekly brushing or combing to remove dead hairs. A bath is rarely necessary. Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails weekly. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.

Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene. It’s a good idea to keep a Chinese Li Hua as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Li Hua who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a rare cat without paying for it.

Chinese Li Hua Coat Color And Grooming

The Chinese Li Hua is large and sturdy with a striking brown mackerel tabby coat that is short and thick. The ticked hairs are black at the root, light yellow in the middle and brown at the tip. It’s sometimes described as a “mouse coat.” The lower belly is a brownish yellow with two vertical and four horizontal leopard spots. Black rings encircle the legs and tail, and the tip of the tail is black.

On the face, a small black mark at the upper corner of the mouth gives the Li Hua the appearance of a smile. The head is shaped somewhat like a hexagonal diamond, longer than it is wide and rounded between the ears. Large bright eyes are green, yellow or brown, but green is favored. Medium-size ears have sharply pointed tips and may be tufted.

The wide, strong, body, carried on muscular legs, is longer than it is tall. The tail is slightly shorter than the length of the body. Chinese Li Hua mature slowly and may not reach their full size until they are 3 years old.

Children And Other Pets

This active but mild-mannered cat is well suited to life with families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He can learn tricks, enjoys interactive toys, and loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect. Supervise young children and show them how to pet the cat nicely. Instead of holding or carrying the cat, have them sit on the floor and pet him. Always introduce any pets, even other cats, slowly and in a controlled setting.

Chinese Li Hua Rescue Groups


Life Span
9 to 16 years
Medium to large
9 to 12 pounds
Country Of Origin


No content yet. Check back later!
monitoring_string = "44e5bb901650ec61e9e0af1ff1bef5fe"