There are tons of wonderful cats from all over the world. According to a study sponsored by the Pet Food Institute, the number of pet cats in America reached a new high in the year 2000, and Americans owned more than 75 million pet cats.
But what better day than the 4th of July to celebrate the AMERICAN cat breeds – that is those originating in the United States.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Domestic Shorthair. While the domestic shorthair is not considered a breed as such by the cat associations, it always will be best of breed in American homes and hearts. And since an estimated 95 percent of all domestic cats in North America are random-bred, our “ordinary” everyday short-coated kitty.
- Domestic Longhair. The longhaired cat is one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creations. As colorful and diverse as their shorthaired kin, these luxuriously furred cats come in every shape, size, color and pattern. These are a long-haired version of the domestic mutt of cats. Their beautiful looks and wonderful personalities have captured the hearts and homes Americans.
- American Shorthair. The American shorthair is a made-in-America breed that has been in this country for hundreds of years. A popular breed, the American shorthair – or ASH – looks comfortably familiar to the average cat lover with his sturdy body style and good looks. Of all the purebreds, the ASH looks the most like the random-bred domestics that can be found on almost any American street. However, the ASH is a pedigree with as long a history of selective breeding as any of the cat fancy’s exclusive purebreds.
- American Wirehair. At first sight, these scruffy-looking, bright-eyed kitties might look like American shorthairs whose coats have been shamefully neglected. Look again. The American wirehair is supposed to look like that – frizzy, kinky, wild hair standing up in springy ringlets or coarse clumps. Look closely and you’ll see that each hair looks like it’s been crimped with a miniature curling iron. It’s the distinctive coat that sets this rare breed apart. The first American wirehairs were born in 1966 to ordinary barn cat parents on small farm in Verona, N.Y. The parents, Fluffy and Bootsie, were ordinary domestic cats with no special traits, but somewhere along the bloodline Mother Nature worked her magic and all five of their kittens in that special litter had peculiar wiry fur.
- American Bobtail. The American bobtail may be short of tail, but she’s long on personality and charm. With her untamed appearance, tractable temperament, and cute bobbed tail, fanciers say this breed is the cat’s meow. Currently rare, the American bobtail is nevertheless gaining fans as word spreads about the bob. And if you fancy a made-in-America breed, the bobtail is as American as the Fourth of July. The breed was first discovered in the 1960s when Yodie, a stubby-tailed stray, was found in Arizona by vacationers John and Brenda Sanders. Yodie’s parentage is unknown, but rumor had it that he was part bobcat because of his feral look and abbreviated tail.
- American Curl. Like the Scottish fold, the American curl is characterized by its unique aural arrangement. In the curl’s case, however, the ears curl backward in a smooth arc rather than fold down. In 1981, two stray cats with unusual curled ears arrived on the doorstep of Grace and Joe Ruga in Lakewood, California. Eventually, the Rugas and fellow cat fancier Nancy Kiester did some research and discovered that curls were unknown in the cat fancy. Additional genetic research revealed that the curled ears are governed by a dominant gene. The breed was first exhibited on October 1983 at the Cat Fanciers’ Association show in Palm Springs, California, and the curl rapidly purred its way into the hearts of cat fanciers. Only four years later, in 1987, the International Cat Association granted championship status to the American curl longhair, amazingly fast for a new breed.
- Maine Coon. One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine coon is second only to the Persian in popularity. This made-in-America breed is prized for his large size, sweet personality and silky all-weather coat. Considering the breed’s intelligence and clown-like antics, it’s no wonder that this cat ranks No. 2 among America’s top favorites. Maine coons have been on this continent since colonial days. They probably came over from Europe with the first settlers of the New World, since cats were often kept on sailing ships to control rodent populations. While there exists no actual evidence of where and when they arrived, some entertaining myths surround the breed’s arrival. However they arrived, Maine coons carved their place in the New England countryside alongside the early colonists. Given Maine’s severe winters, those initial years were hard on both felines and humans. Only the strongest and most adaptable cats survived. Through natural selection, the Maine coon developed into a large, rugged cat with his water-resistant coat and hardy constitution.