Blue tabby point Birman kitten
A ginger cat looking around while eating his food

Cat Breeds


Cats are one of the most popular domesticated animals and range widely in appearance and characteristics. Random breeding has resulted in millions of domestic cats of unknown heritage, but the origins of selective breeding can be traced back to the first Official Cat Show held in London's Crystal Palace in 1871. Most of the cats in this show were considered short-haired and included tortoiseshells, Siamese, Manx, and Persians. Many of today's pedigree and non-pedigree cats show some resemblance to one of these breeds.

Pedigree cat breeds are most commonly subdivided into "long-haired" and "short-haired" varieties. (Further division is sometimes made between "long-haired" and "medium long-haired", but these varieties actually fall under the same umbrella because there is only one gene that causes long hair in cats.) Long-haired breeds have been selectively bred for coat characteristics and personality traits and include the Persian, the Maine Coon, and the Angora. Short-haired breeds present with a variety of coat lengths and include the Bengal, the British Shorthair, and the Russian Blue.

It is important to note that the subdivision of pedigree cats into "long-haired" and "short-haired" can often be misleading because certain breeds can be found with both long and short hair. Breeds can more accurately be classified by overall appearance including body type and shape of the head, or by breed origin.

Established cat breeds are those which have existed since before the start of the twentieth century and include the Siamese and Persian Longhair. Original breeds, also referred to as natural breeds, are cat breeds that have not been deliberately created or selectively bred. Breeders seek to maintain the integrity of original breeds and avoid introducing new traits. The Japanese Bobtail and the Norwegian Forest Cat are examples of original breeds that have experienced very little modernization. Combination breeds refer to cat breeds that have no region of origin and have not been in existence for long. Combination breeds develop from a combination of one or more existing breeds or non-pedigree cats and include the Ocicat and the Exotic. Mutation breeds are cat breeds that have been selectively bred based on a striking hereditary characteristic. Some examples of mutation breeds are the Cornish Rex and the Sphynx.

Cats vary widely in body size, coat characteristics, and eye shape and color, but one thing is clear. We love cats. It is estimated that there are almost 87 million domesticated cats living in households throughout the U.S., providing their owners with love and companionship no matter what their breed.

Cat Breeds Directory


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