Longhaired cats are incredibly popular as pets, being soft, silky and strokable, as well as beautiful to look at! Longhaired cats may seem highly appealing to the potential cat owner, but caring for a longhaired cat can be rather more involved than caring for their shorthaired counterparts. The fur of a longhaired cat will generally require daily attention to keep them looking in tiptop condition and to ensure that they remain happy and healthy.
If you are considering buying a longhaired cat, it is important to make sure that you understand that their care requirements are a little different from that of other cats. While all cats are generally fastidious about their grooming, domestic cats kept indoors or on an indoor/outdoor basis will shed their coats seasonally twice a year, which for a longhaired cat, can lead to a significant amount of fur floating loose around the house, something that not every pet owner will be happy with!
The fur of a longhaired cat will also of course be much more prone to matting and knotting than that of shorthaired cats, which is why daily grooming with a brush and a comb is important. As well as this, ingestion of large quantities of fur, something that can occur if a cat is shedding their fur and is not groomed enough, can lead to the formation of hairballs in the digestive tract. Hairballs are often regurgitated within the home, which can of course be rather messy; but this is better than the alternative, a significant ball of hair building up in the stomach, which will eventually harden and potentially cause a serious obstruction that may require surgical removal.
If you are confident that a longhaired cat is a good choice for you and that you have the time and dedication required to care for their coat as well as their other needs, the next step to take is deciding what kind of longhaired cat you might like to own. Read on for our list of ten of the most popular longhaired cat breeds within the UK.
The Persian cat is not only the most popular longhaired cat kept in the UK, but it is also the most popular pedigree cat breed overall! The Persian has a long, silky coat and distinctively squashed face, which in extreme cases may lead to problems with the respiratory system or the eyes, something that the prospective Persian cat owner should be aware of. An alternative variety of Persian cat, the doll face Persian, has the old-style traditional confirmation of the breed, with a less squashed-up face and potentially, less associated health problems.
The Ragdoll cat is a large and very popular cat breed, renowned for their affectionate natures as well as their beautiful coats. Ragdoll cats are often very trusting and not very streetwise, and are sometimes kept as indoor-only cats for this reason. The Ragdoll cat got its name from its tendency to go totally limp and relax in the arms of their carer or in a comfortable lap, taking on the mannerisms of a rag doll !
The British Longhair breed is sometimes known as the ‘Highlander,’ and originated in Great Britain from the crossbreeding of various other popular longhaired breeds. They are medium sized with a fairly stout build, and live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, making them well suited to living in smaller homes and apartments.
The Birman cat has a medium-long coat that is usually white or cream in the body, with colourpoint markings similar to the Siamese cat. The Birman cat is not, as many people often think, a longhaired version of the Burmese cat; the two breeds are in fact totally unrelated!
The Maine Coon hails from Maine in America’s New England region, and is one of the oldest known cat breeds in the world. Maine Coon cats are generally on the large side, and fairly independent and assertive! They are generally good with dogs and other animals, and their coats are easier to care for than many other longhaired breeds.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is another large breed, sometimes weighing in at as much as twice the weight of the average domestic cat! They love the outdoors, are very agile, and are often prolific hunters. They have a calm disposition and are very intelligent, often enjoying interactive play and lots of stimulation.
The Turkish Angora is one of the oldest longhaired cat breed in the world, and they certainly have the softest coats! Many popular modern longhaired cat breeds are thought to have originated from crossbreeding with Turkish Angora cats. They are long legged, elegant and graceful. The Turkish Angora comes in various colour variations, but the most common and popular colour is pure white.
Another beautiful longhaired Turkish cat, the Van originates from around the shores of Lake Van in Turkey, and as well as its large size, distinctive good looks and warm personality, has one distinctive trait that sets them apart from the vast majority of other cat breeds; these cats actually love water and many of them are keen swimmers!
The Balinese cat is thought to be related to the popular shorthaired Siamese, and is generally available in the same colourpoint variations as Siamese cats. They have a single layered silky coat that makes grooming relatively easy, with a long and distinctive plumed tail.
The Siberian or Siberian Forest Cat hails from Russia, where its long coat evolved to protect it from the harsh, cold winters of the Siberian region. It is believed to be one of the main ancestors of most other long haired cat breeds, alongside of the Turkish Angora. The Siberian’s coat grows in three layers, which means that a reasonable amount of attention must be paid to its grooming. However the Siberian cat is often considered to be a good pick for allergy sufferers, as it is thought that their skin produces less of the Fel d1 protein chain than most other cat breeds, which is considered to be one of the main allergen triggers in people.