As varied as their multicolored and furred exteriors, domestic longhairs come in all types of temperaments. Since the ancestry of domestic longhair kittens is generally not known and (as a rule) domestic longhairs don’t breed true as purebreds do, it’s difficult to predict what the cat will be like as an adult. It may be quiet or vocal, large or small, outgoing or withdrawn. While purebreds do have their own unique personalities, they are more likely to follow the pattern of their breed and therefore produce predictable offspring. With the random-bred domestic longhair, anything is possible. As a rule, however, longhairs are a bit more sedate than their shorthaired counterparts. If you can see the parents — which is often difficult — their temperaments will give you an idea of what the kitten will be like as an adult. Remember, however, that a cat’s temperament depends greatly on its early socialization and care. You need to spend time with your cat to develop a close, loving relationship.
Grooming a Domestic Longhair
Domestic longhairs require more grooming and care than shorthairs. If you accustom your cat early to a grooming routine, the time you spend grooming your cat can be a special bonding time that both you and your pet will enjoy. How much grooming a domestic longhair needs depends greatly on the length, texture, and fullness of the coat. Cats with elegant tail plumes need grooming once a week or less. Cats with semi-long fur need grooming twice a week. Others with ultra-long fur often require daily grooming. The texture and thickness of the undercoat are also considerations. Cats with a fine downy or cottony undercoat, even if their hair is not terribly long, require grooming two to three times a week to prevent matting. Fur standing out from the body indicates a downy undercoat.
All domestic longhairs can benefit from regular grooming, however, even if their hair is not long and their undercoat not thick. Grooming removes dead hair that can form hair balls in a cat’s stomach (as well as forming a furry covering on your couch), rids the body of dead skin and dander, stimulates the skin, tones muscles, and encourages blood circulation. It is also a good opportunity to examine your cat for developing health problems and attend to them in their early stages.
Longhaired cats (and shorthairs, too) generally go through two periods of shedding, particularly if they are allowed outside. In the fall they shed their summer coat in preparation for their heavier winter coat, and in the spring they shed their winter coat in preparation for their lighter summer coat. Additional grooming may be needed during these times. Longhaired cats, by the way, don’t shed more than do shorthaired cats. The longer hair is just more noticeable.
For more information on the domestic shorthair breed, please see the article Selecting and Showing Your Domestic Longhair.