Cat Breeds

Cat Breeds

Breed Facts

There are many different breeds amongst domestic cats, some of which are very rare. Domestic shorthair and domestic longhair are not actually breeds, these are just the names given to cats which are of no particular pedigree, rather like a mixed breed dog, or mongrel as they used to be called.As with dogs, there are cat breeds that are particular to certain countries, for example the Australian Mist and the Egyptian Mau, whilst other breeds are specific to region: the Devon Rex or the Havana Brown. Some breeds have been around forever whilst others are quite new such as the York Chocolate which was bred in 1983. Personality is also breed specific; for example a Siamese, which is one of the more common breeds, is known to be affectionate, sociable and intelligent whilst the Ocicat is apparently a dog in disguise as the breed is known for its easy training which can result in the cat fetching things or walking on a lead.Of course all cats, whether a distinguished breed or not, share some common characteristics such as having flexible bodies, quick reflexes and retractable claws whilst their hearing and ability to see in the dark give them an advantage in hunting small prey. In this short article we will look at just a few of the many breeds that are available to the cat fancier today and who knows - you may find yourself falling for a Korat or a Maine Coon.Beginning with cats native to the UK we have of course the Manx, together with the rarer Burmilla. The Burmilla was first bred in 1981 and it is a cross between a Chinchilla Persian and a Burmese. Gaining championship status in the 1990's, the Burmilla is medium sized, muscular and beautiful. Its eyes, nose and lips appear to have make up outlining them and it has two different coat lengths, semi long or short hair, with short hair being the breed standard. It comes in many colours although silver is again the breed standard. An independent cat it will also love its owner and is sociable, playful and affectionate.Moving across the channel we find the Chartreux in France. This breed is recognised in many countries around the world as a pedigree although the GCCF in the UK do not recognise it as such. The Chartreux has a blue/grey coat, which is water resistant, and orange or copper coloured eyes. They are quiet and observant creatures, their smile belying their intelligence and playfulness which often gets them into trouble!Travelling further east the Aegean cat, as you may expect, is natural to Greece. Development of the breed started in the 1990's and it is the only native Greek breed of cat. Because it is so new it is sometimes viewed as one of the rarest breeds and its character and intelligence make it a very popular pet. It is semi long haired with a full tail and it is usually bi or tri colour with one of the colours always being white. Its eyes are oriental shaped and come in many shades of green. Much further east you will find the Dragon Li. This cat is a golden brown tabby with large, almond shaped yellow/green eyes. It is extremely intelligent whilst its muscular body is a reminder of its once wild nature. Known as Li Hua Mao in China, it made its debut as a new breed in 2003although it has in fact been around, at least in legend, for a long time. Move northwards and we have the Kurilian Bobtail in Russia which is very distinctive in appearance due to its short and fluffy tail. The Kurilian has been known for about 200 years as a natural breed but its popularity as a selectively bred pet dates from around the middle of the twentieth century. An excellent fisher and hunter, the Kurilian loves playing in water and, whilst it has retained some of its wildness in appearance, it makes a gentle and clever pet.Swinging over to the west and travelling through Canada we may find the Sphynx or the Tonkinese. The Canadian Sphynx is hairless and is distinct from the Russian Sphynx breeds. The breed began in 1966 in Toronto when a hairless kitten was born and there followed a complicated and difficult breeding programme with the result that all modern Sphynx's can be traced back to Canadian and Minnesota cats. The cat is surprisingly warm to the touch although being practically hairless they do like to cuddle up to their owner or another pet. Their skin is the colour that their fur would have been and often comes in broken patterns indicting where it would have had a broken coloured coat. Meanwhile the other Canadian breed, the Tonkinese, is very similar to the Siamese. It is medium sized, lively, friendly, and talkative. The exact history of this breed varies depending on whom you consult, but they are certainly the result of cross breeding Siamese and Burmese cats whilst fans claim that the Tonkinese has inherited the best qualities from both. Heavier than their appearance suggests, they have large ears, oval shaped paws and come in four colours. Finally, back home again in the UK, let's take a look at the Asian Semi-longhair. Very similar to the Asian Shorthair, the longhair obviously has a longer coat and is recognised in any of the Asian shorthair or Burmese colours. It is not yet recognised in the US as a breed but has full recognition in the UK. It is gentle, active, curious and spirited but it doesn't always get along with other cats due to its jealous nature. A very pretty cat, the Asian Semi-longhair can be loud and is not particularly suited to living in small flats or apartments. So whatever your requirements are there is a cat to suit you but don't forget all the poor 'moggies' waiting hopefully in your local shelter - maybe you could give one of them a home as well!

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