Cat Breeds

Many people think all domestic cats are the same. However, this simply isn”t true. In fact, most registries recognize between 30 and 40 different cat breeds! Interestingly, breeders are always developing more breeds, with one or more being added each year, on average. From longhair to hairless cats, there”s a cat out there to suit everyone.

The Concept of Cat Breeds

Cat BreedsThe concept of breeds began in the mid-19th century, when cat shows became popular. During that time, breeders developed pedigrees, or purebreds, from natural breeds that had been around for centuries. These breeders took cats with favorable traits and bred them with others to reproduce desirable characteristics.

Interestingly, only three percent of all owned cats are pedigrees, meaning that both parents were registered pedigrees. The difference between pedigree and non-pedigree cats is that only a pedigree can consistently produce kittens of the same:

  • coat quality
  • physical form
  • physical structure
  • temperament.

Here”s a partial list of pedigree breeds:

  • American Bobtail
  • American Shorthair
  • Cornish Rex
  • Maine Coon
  • Manx
  • Persian
  • Ragdoll
  • Russian Blue
  • Scottish Fold
  • Siamese.

Common Cat Breeds

Although they aren”t pedigrees, the most popular breeds in America are the domestic shorthair and the domestic longhair cats:

  • Domestic Longhair Cats: A domestic longhaired cat is any cat with medium or long fur (two to six inches in length) that is not a pedigreed member of a recognized breed. Longhaired cats can be any of the standard colors, including tabby (two or more colors in a striped pattern), tortoiseshell (a red-and-black patched coat pattern), bi-colored, etc.Although longhair cats may require extra care, such as daily brushings and weekly baths to prevent their coats from matting, they make excellent family pets.
  • Domestic Shorthair Cats: A domestic shorthaired cat is any with short hair that is not a pedigreed member of a recognized breed. Like longhairs, shorthair cats can be any of the standard cat colors and may have a smooth or denser two-layer coat.

Other Hair Types

Although most cats have either short or long hair, there ones with unique hair or even no hair:

  • Rex: Have you ever heard of a cat with curly hair? Rex cats have curly coats and come in a variety of coat colors and patterns. While all Rex cats have curls, each type (Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and Selkirk Rex) has its own defining characteristics.
  • Sphynx: All cats have fur, right? Not Sphynx cats. While the Sphynx can be totally hairless, it can also have very soft, fine fur on its body. This kitty has an elongated body and no whiskers.

The Hypoallergenic Cat

If you”re allergic to cats but want a feline companion, don”t fret: Some cat breeds produce fewer allergens and may cause fewer allergic symptoms than others. The Siberian cat and Rex cats, for example, are touted as being hypoallergenic.In fact, people allergic to cats aren”t actually allergic to the cat”s hair but rather to a protein in the cat”s saliva. If you have a cat allergy and have a cat in the house, try vacuuming with a vacuum outfitted with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter several times a week to remove cat hair and dander on carpets, rugs and furniture.

You might also consider bathing your cat once a week to help eliminate some of its dander.

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