Not Just a Cat: Your Guide to Discovering Your Cat’s Breed
Have you ever been curious about your cat’s breed? If you asked your cat, he might say that he is quite unique and unlike any other feline. Only 41 pedigreed breeds are recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association, however. Therefore, your cat shares some traits with other felines around the world. Just don’t tell him that.
Is It Important to Know Your Cat’s Breed?
Unless you’re hoping to raise and sell pedigreed cats or enter your pet in shows, it’s not necessary to know the breed. Your cat is part of your family, though. Understanding its ancestry is like meeting a long-lost great aunt. It may help you better appreciate your pet’s quirks. You might identify some behavioral patterns that are breed-specific. Knowing your cat’s breed may even help you forgive her antisocial behavior around your own great aunt.
According to the Cat Fancier’s Glossary, a pedigree is a document verifying a cat’s ancestors. If all of the ancestors belong to the same breed, the cat is a purebred. A pedigreed cat will come with papers that are formally issued by a cat-registering association. Unless some very unfortunate soul’s purebred cat ran away and ended up on your doorstep, chances are your cat doesn’t have a pedigree.
To enter a feline in cat shows, you need official papers for the animal. Even if a purebred cat did end up in a shelter, it wouldn’t regain pedigreed status unless there were a proven way to identify the breeder. Therefore, you may not be able to show the cat under a specific breed category. You still might be able to enter the cat under another category, though.
But My Cat Has Very Striking Features!
We all know that your cat is gorgeous. It may have some features that resemble those of a specific breed, such as the following:
- Siamese – Siamese cats have very short hair and blue eyes. Modern Siamese cats have long, lanky bodies, elongated faces, and large ears. They’re very loyal and vocal when they’re left alone.
- Maine Coon – Maine Coon cats have tufts at the top of the ears and bushy tails. They tend to be very vocal and “talk” with their owners.
- Persian – Persian cats have boxy faces with short noses. They typically have long hair and stocky bodies. Persians tend to have gentle, easygoing personalities.
- Himalayan – Himalayan cats look like Persians, but they have a pointed color pattern. That means that their bodies are a pale, uniform color, and their legs, noses, and ears are darker.
- Burmese – Burmese cats like attention. They’re very loving, but they’ll tell you if they feel like they’re not getting enough love in return. They will often fetch toys, and they can be as loyal as man’s best friend.
Identifying cat breeds can be tricky. The particular qualities of one breed could be covered in a single encyclopedia volume. Just because your cat has similar characteristics as a particular breed, it’s not necessarily part of that breed. It could be a mix. It could also have been cross-bred so many times that its coloring and temperament are random.
The primary identifiers are the cat’s coloring, markings, and coat length. You can weed out some breeds just by determining whether your cat has long or short hair. Nevertheless, some breeds do include short and long-haired versions.
Your Cat Is Most Likely to Be One Of These Breeds
The two most popular and common cat breeds are Domestic Shorthair or Domestic Longhair breeds. They can’t be pedigreed or registered with a cat association. Then again, these American cat breeds account for more than 95 percent of feline pets in the U.S. Many cat shows have Domestic Shorthair and Longhair categories.
These popular cat types shouldn’t be confused with the American Shorthair, or ASH, and the British Shorthair, or BSH. These are pedigreed breeds that come in many different colors and may look just like any housecat.
ASH cats came to the U.S. on European ships. Many of them ended up living in barns in New England. They’re highly adaptable, strong, and hardy.
How to Describe Your Cat’s Appearance
Even if your cat is the feline version of a mutt, you can use accepted terminology to describe its colors and patterns. According to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, eye colors can be brown, hazel, gold, green, and blue. Solid coat colors come in the following tones:
- Red – An amber, orange or rust color
- Cream – Off-white with a warm beige hue
- Chocolate – Deep brown
- Lilac – Pinkish-gray
- Black – Midnight tone
- Blue – Dark gray/silver
- Fawn – A cool light gray/tan
- Cinnamon – A warm, light brown
- Smoke – A blend of gray and black
- White – Snow-colored fur
If you have a striped cat, you can describe its markings as tabby. A randomly patched cat is a tortoiseshell. A calico has large tortoiseshell areas. Torbies are tortoiseshell cats with tabby stripes. They may also be called patched tabbies.
Does your cat have white patterns that contrast with its other fur? Mitted cats have white paws. Tuxedo cats have white chests, paws, and bellies. The white color may extend up the nose. A harlequin is mostly white with large color patches on the head, body, and tail. Does your cat have a splash of white on the chest? This is called a locket.
What Kind of Cat Do You Have?
After reading this article, you might have some ideas about your cat’s lineage. Maybe that sweet meowing when you leave the room seems typical of a Siamese. However, your cat may have a tabby pattern. Unless you’re dead set on a certain pedigree, you will find it easier to buy or adopt a Domestic Shorthair or Domestic Longhair. Random-bred cats are just as intelligent as purebred or pedigreed cats. Plus, they generally have fewer genetic problems. Whatever type of cat you have, give it plenty of loving cat care, and tell him how handsome he is.