How can I tell what type of cat I have?


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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra -I have a cat that looks like a bobcat mix with a Maine coon I'm not sure what kind of breed she is but she is tan with stripes on her head and has spots on her belly and green eyes. She has spots and some stripes on her back to. Can you tell me what kind of breed she is? Thank you.

Kaity Walker


Hi Kaity– thanks for your email. You ask a very good and very common question with no good or easy answer. Most cats in the United States are mixed breed cats – we common refer to as Domestic Short-haired (DSH) cats or Domestic Long-haired (DLH) cats.

It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to tell what breed a cat is unless they really look like a pure bred. We will try to guess sometimes, such as we see a big cat with long beautiful hair and think – I wonder if he has some Maine Coon in him? Some cats will be quite "chatty" and we may comment – wonder if he has some Siamese in him? But mostly if a cat looks like an ordinary cat – it is impossible to tell.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.