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Cats - Domestic Breeds

Whether cats are completely domesticated is questionable, but it is believed that humans have bred cats for specific characteristics for the past 2,000 years. These profiles explore some of those breeds and their unique traits. Each profile covers three specific areas: history, personality and conformation (the physical appearance of the cat). Check out your cat's illustrious history and description, or browse around for your perfect pet.




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Cats - Senses
Measuring the senses of any animal can be difficult because there is usually no explicit communication (e.g., reading aloud the letters of a Snellen chart) between the subject and the tester. While a cat's senses of smell and hearing may not be as keen as, say, those of a mouse, they are superior in many ways to those of humans. These along with the cat's highly advanced eyesight, taste, and touch receptors make the cat extremely sensitive among mammals.
Rate:  (2.9)
Singapura
Singapore, an island spanning 226 square miles (585 sq. km) perched off the tip of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia, has scores of feral felines, as do many seaports. These cats make their livings off the leavings of the fishing trade, and in the past were not paid much attention unless they became nuisances, and then they were picked up by the cat police and summarily dealt with. It is a hard life for these nomads and, far from being praised as pedigrees, they were disparagingly known as “drain” or “sewer” cats by the denizens of the island.
Rate:  (2.7)
Scottish Fold
In 1961 Scottish shepherd William Ross noticed a white cat with strange, folded ears at a neighbor’s farm near Coupar Angus in the Tayside Region of Scotland. Realizing the uniqueness of this cat’s “lop” ears, he asked around and found that the feline was a barn cat of no particular pedigree. Named Suzie, the cat belonged to Ross’s neighbors, the McRaes.
Rate:  (2.6)
Selkirk Rex
The Selkirk is the newest Rex breed to be recognized by the U.S. cat associations and has been around only a short time compared with the Devon Rex and the Cornish Rex. The Selkirk’s development and promotion were due primarily to the efforts of breeder Jeri Newman of Livington, Montana, although other dedicated breeders have lent a hand in furthering the breed.
Rate:  (2)
Siberian
This breed may be new to the United States, but it’s far from new to the Asian continent and to Europe. Exactly when and how the Siberian made its way to Siberia (and subsequently to Moscow and St. Petersburg) is not known, but it is theorized that the breed arrived with Russian emigrants. The cats survived and developed into a hardy, longhaired breed able to withstand the unforgiving conditions of the region. The breed then spread throughout Europe, and the Siberian was noted in Harrison Weir’s late nineteenth century book, Our Cats and All About Them, as one of the three longhairs represente...
Rate:  (3.2)
Russian Blue
The most commonly held theory regarding this breed’s origin is that Russian Blues were brought to Great Britain in 1860 by British sailors from the White Sea port town of Archangel (Arkhangelsk) in northern Russia. Whether this story is true—and if true, whether the cats really originated in that area—is anyone’s guess. Their thick coats give credence to the theory that they developed in a cold climate, and, according to accounts, blue shorthairs still exist in Russia.
Rate:  (2.4)
Snowshoe
In the late 1960s Siamese breeder Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty of Philadelphia produced a litter that included three Siamese kittens with the pointed pattern and pure white mittens and boots. Intrigued by the unique pattern, she worked for a few years at turning this variety into a breed, and then passed the torch to breeder Vikki Olander of Norfolk, Virginia. Siamese and American Shorthairs were used in creating the breed.
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Somali
No one knows for sure when and where the first Somali appeared; some proponents think that the long coat was a spontaneous natural mutation in the Abyssinian. Genetic studies indicate, however, that the Somali probably originated around the turn of the century in England when breeders, low on breeding stock, used longhaired cats in their Abyssinian breeding programs. In the late 1910s and in the late 1940s, during the aftermath of World Wars I and II, when so many breeds had dwindled to near extinction, breeders were forced to mix other breeds into their Abyssinian bloodlines to keep the breed...
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Tiffany / Chantilly
The Chantilly’s long road to acceptance started in 1967. The breed’s originator, Jennie Robinson, bought two cats, an 18-month-old male and a 6-month-old female, from a pet shop in White Plains, New York. She was told the cats had belonged to someone who had recently died. Several years later, ACA registered the cats, Thomas and Shirley of Neotype, as “Sable Foreign Longhairs.”
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Tonkinese
While planned breeding of the Tonkinese didn’t begin until the 1960s, early versions of the breed probably have been around for hundreds of years. Since Burmese cats, originally called “Copper cats” in their native land of Southeast Asia, existed in the same general regions as the Siamese for centuries, unplanned or intentional outcrossings seem likely.
Rate:  (1.7)
Turkish Angora
No one is really sure where or how the Turkish Angora originated. Often recounted is the theory that the Angora developed from the longhaired Pallas cat (Felis manul), an Asian wildcat about the size of the domestic, but this is doubtful. The Pallas has fundamental differences from the domestic feline and, unlike today’s affectionate Angoras, is virtually untamable. It is likely that the Turkish Angora developed from the African wildcat, like all other domestic cats. Possibly some crossbreeding occurred between the two.
Rate:  (3.3)
Turkish Van
When the Ark arrived at Mount Ararat some 5,000 years ago, Noah must have been a bit busy keeping the animals from stampeding in their eagerness to touch dry land. In the hustle and bustle, two white and red cats leaped into the water and swam ashore. When the flood receded, the cats set out for Lake Van, located about 75 miles (121 km) to the south of Mount Ararat, where they have lived ever since.
Rate:  (2.4)
York Chocolate
In 1983 a farm cat named Blacky had a tryst with the resident male in the area, Smokey, and gave birth to a litter that included one brown kitten, Brownie. What the names of these cats lacked in originality, the kitten herself made up for with her unusual coloring and charming personality. Brownie had a litter the next summer that included Minky, a longhaired black male. In 1985 Brownie and Minky produced two kittens: Teddy Bear, a solid brown male, and Cocoa, a brown and white female.
Rate:  (2.2)
Siamese
The Siamese is one of the oldest breeds of domestic cat and has a history as long and colorful as the cat itself. The Siamese is also (arguably) the most recognizable breed on the planet. These sleek cats with the beautiful baby blues and outspoken nature originated in Thailand (formerly Siam, thus the breed’s name), where they were treasured by members of royalty as companions and were thought to inherit the transmigrated souls of royalty en route to the hereafter.
Rate:  (3.5)
Cymric
Presumed by researchers to have been introduced to the Isle of Man by human settlers and explorers, the Manx has existed there for many centuries. The Isle, located in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, has no indigenous domestic cat species, and several theories exist about the introduction of domestic cats. Speculated sources include arrival with the Spanish Armada, Phoenician traders, or Viking settlers who colonized the Isle of Man. Many fanciers believe the British Shorthair was later added to the Manx mix. Given the proximity of the regions and the similarity in body styles, that...
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British Shorthair
The British Shorthair is native to Great Britain in the same way that the American Shorthair is native to America—long ago it was transported there from somewhere else. However, the progenitor of the Brit is probably Great Britain’s oldest natural breed of cat, and was roaming around Great Britain for centuries before its cousin journeyed to the New World.
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Cornish Rex
The first known Cornish was discovered on July 21, 1950, on a farm in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, England, where Serena, a tortoiseshell and white domestic, gave birth to five kittens. The litter contained one curly-coated orange and white male kitten, which Nina Ennismore, Serena’s owner, named Kallibunker.
Rate:  (2.2)
Colorpoint Shorthair
The Colorpoint shares body style, personality, coat length, and color pattern with the Siamese, but in the untraditional colors of red, cream, tortoiseshell, and lynx (tabby) points. Two separate schools of thought exist about the Colorpoint Shorthair: those who think that a breed that walks, talks, and looks like a Siamese should be considered Siamese, and those who deem the Colorpoint a Siamese hybrid.
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Chartreux
As the legend goes, the Chartreux, (pronounced shär-TRUE) breed developed at Le Grand Chartreux monastery in the French Alps just outside Paris. The Carthusian order of monks at the monastery, in their spare time between praying, liqueur-making, and weapon-forging, bred Chartreux cats with the same skill and dedication with which they created their world-famous yellow and green Chartreuse liqueurs.
Rate:  (2.8)
California Spangled Cat
The California Spangled Cat is a new breed with markings similar to the great spotted cats such as the leopard or cheetah, so admired for their beautiful coats. The Spangled Cat’s creator, Paul Casey, a physicist and screenwriter from Los Angeles, developed the Spangled with the wild look in mind. A conversation with the late anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey inspired Casey to create the Spangled Cat.
Rate:  (2.4)