1001 amazing facts of cat breeds – Which cats is your favorite?


cat breeds

This is the article about 1001 amazing facts of cat breeds. That shows, we need to explore in whole world where there are numbers of cat breeds. We’ll learn about How They Behave, and Why.  All About Breeds as well as their Wild Ancestors and Wild Cousins.

The Habits We Like

The purr-fact sound of contentment 

To a cat lover, it is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world: the con- tented vibration that we know as purring. Why do they do it? Scientists think it is a kind of “homing device” used by a mother cat to help her new-born kittens (whose sight, hearing and sense of smell are all underdeveloped) locate her when it’s time to nurse. Purring is a kind of “dinner bell” to young kittens. A mother cat purrs, the kittens fasten on, and the purring stops. We can’t be sure, but it appears that from kittenhood on they associate purring with pleasure. 

Share the purr 

Your contented cat may purr in your lap or lying near you, but you won’t hear (or feel) him purr as he lies contented in the sun. Purring is never a solitary act; cats only purr in the close proximity of a human—or another cat. Cat experts think purring indicates not only contentment but also submission. That is, purring is the kitten’s signal to his mother and the adult cat’s signal to his owner that “I’m yours.” No wonder owners take such pleasure in it. 

They knead you 

Kneading refers to a cat’s habit of using its front paws to massage a person’s chest or stomach. It goes back to kittenhood, when a nursing kitten uses its tiny paws to massage its mother’s udder while sucking. Kneading is inevitably accompanied by purring, and both adults and kittens are clearly in cat heaven while kneading. Some cat owners love this evidence that cats can pet their owners as well as be petted. On the other hand, kneading can be downright painful to people, because a cat’s claws are definitely out while kneading. Owners of de- clawed cats (including the author) find kneading to be a perfectly painless and delightful aspect of cat ownership.  

There’s a name for it: 

“bunting” There’s a fabric called “bunting,” and you can “bunt” a baseball. Likewise, your cat will “bunt” you and your furniture as part of a familiar habit: rubbing the side of his head against a person or an object. This isn’t just affection; the cat is actually leaving behind some glandular secretions from his face as a kind of “I was here” signal to himself and other cats. We can be thankful that this form of scent marking is practiced on us instead of the much more obnoxious spraying of urine.  

Mad dashes 

It amuses us as much as it mystifies us: for no apparent reason a cat suddenly makes a mad dash through the house. Many cat owners claim cats do so after using the litter box, perhaps to express a sense of relief and release. Conversely, some do it right after eating. But often the cat’s mad dash is connected to no other event. Experts in animal behaviour suggest that running fits might relieve tension, but tension doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for many cats. Per- haps the best and most satisfying explanation is that it just feels really good to run and frolic, even if it’s just for a few seconds.  

The “I see you” call 

Cats vary greatly in their “talkativeness,” but most of them will give an “acknowledgment” call to people with whom they are familiar. This is a very short, soft “meow” uttered when, for example, you walk through a room where the cat is sit- ting. The acknowledgment call isn’t urgent or pleading, and you won’t hear it if you’ve just walked into the house after being gone for two weeks. Cat owners find it to be a pleasant part of owning a cat, for it seems to be the cat’s way of communicating, “Yes, I see you,” rather than ignoring the person.  

All grooming and auto grooming 

Yes, we all know that cats are fanatical groomers (that is, lickers) of themselves, but every cat owner also knows that a cat will also groom his owner, and other cats as well. Naturally there are technical terms to employ here: autogrooming refers (of course) to the cat’s grooming of himself, while all grooming refers to licking other cats or humans. The cat spends less time and attention on you than on himself for the obvious reason: he assumes (correctly or not) that you are re- sponsible for keeping yourself clean.  

So much primp time 

If a human spent one-third of his waking hours on grooming, you would call that person vain and self-obsessed (unless the person was you, of course). But it is estimated that cats do indeed spend about one-third of their waking hours in grooming, and no cat owner would argue with that.  

Covering their traces 

The fact that cats use their litter boxes (usually) is one of their finer traits. Own- ears assume that covering up their wastes is another sign of cats fabled clean- lines. It is, in part, but it’s also part of their wild genes: by covering up their traces they are acting in the role of wild animals who do not want to leave any- thing behind that will lead to their being trailed.  

High as a cat 

If you’ve ever given your cat the herb known as catnip, you know how much plea- sure it gives. The cat rubs his face in it, licks it, then stretches, rolls around on the floor and in general gives the impression of being in extreme ecstasy. If 

you’ve ever seen a female cat in heat, you know that a “catnip high” appears very similar to a “heat high.” However, these two highs aren’t quite the same; plus, male cats respond to catnip exactly as females do. Catnip is available in stores everywhere, and lots of people grow their own. As with drugs and alcohol for hu- mans, catnip can lose its zip if given too often to your cat.  

The urine-catnip common bond 

To the human nose, catnip has only a faint smell, but obviously cats respond to it in a flamboyant way. Curiously, cats can also get a high by sniffing a concentrated extract of tomcat urine, which humans respond to in quite a different way. It appears that the chemical compound nepetalactone, which is the pleasure- inducing ingredient in catnip, is similar to something found in tomcat urine. (Here’s a hint: If you want to please your cat—and yourself—stick with catnip and avoid the urine extract.)  

Privacy, please 

Dogs are notoriously “public” animals, perfectly willing to urinate and defecate in a busy area with lots of people observing. Cats are more reserved, and while they don’t object to being watched, they do object to having their litter box placed in a high-traffic area. One way they show their displeasure with this situation is that they cease to use the box and find their own spot somewhere else in the home. A litter box, to satisfy both the cat and the owner, ought to be in a quiet, low-traffic zone in the home.  

Love your smell 

Whether cats can truly love in the human sense has been endlessly debated. Those of us who truly love cats look at it this way: they probably love as much as they are capable, which is all we can expect of any being. At any rate, they do seem fond of the smell of those they know well, which explains why a cat can be found sleeping on something that has your smell on it—not only the bed, but a sock, shirt, sweater, etc. Some, in fact, like sleeping on a pile of the owner’s dirty laundry. You might not be aware of your distinctive scent on the object, but your pet certainly is.  

The “leave no traces” phenomenon 

Dogs are lovable but klutzily, and a dog doesn’t give a thought to what he might be knocking over with a wagging tail. Not so the cat. Your cat may occasionally knock over a vase or other household item, but such events are rare because cats are fastidious about not disturbing their environments. (This doesn’t apply to prey or potential prey, obviously.) A cat walking across a desk, for example, plants his feet carefully, so as to leave things much the way he found them. This is unnecessary behaviour for house pets, of course, but it’s the instinct of them 

wild ancestors, always trying to keep themselves hidden from both potential prey and potential aggressors.  

Mice aren’t stupid 

It has been estimated that a young healthy cat could easily kill a thousand mice in a year. Most homeowners will be happy to know that their own houses are un- likely to have a thousand mice in a year, or in ten years. So, in short, if you do own a cat, you probably won’t have mice around, or not for long. Rodents are not stupid, and they will tend to avoid a house where a cat lives. Unlike the car- toons, where the wily mice always get the better of the cat, in real life rodents either get eaten or move on to a coatless home.  

All-natural extermination 

Here in the sanitized twenty-first century, we like to think that the household woes of bygone days—including rodents—no longer bother us. But it isn’t so, as proved by the thriving business of pest control companies, plus the huge sales of traps and poisons. Rodents were around before humans were, and though we live in a high-tech world, low-tech rodents are still a serious problem. Homes and businesses too might be wise to “go natural” and fall back on the original pest-control system, cats. In fact, factories and other businesses find that traps and poisons aren’t always the best solutions, since rodents can learn to avoid them.  

The sound of the sack 

Almost all cats are fascinated by the sound of a paper bag, and every cat owner has probably witnessed the familiar scene of bringing home something from the store and watching the cat turn the bag into a toy. The featherweight plastic sacks that have now largely replaced paper bags don’t seem to be quite as much fun for cats, but, whether paper or plastic, bags that make some kind of rustling or crackling noise do hold some fascination. (Aside from the sound, bags are fun places to hide in.) For owners who want to keep their pet supplied with a noisy sack at all times, there is the Crinkle Sack, a machine-washable item that provides the right sound and lasts much longer than the usual throwaway store sack.  

Snow as prey 

Kittens do it, and so do some adult cats: swat or bite at falling snowflakes. To a cat, each falling snowflake is a potential toy—or to be more accurate, a potential prey to play with before “killing.” Most cats seem to like snow (or at least a few minutes of it), and as long as it isn’t too terribly cold an outdoor cat will go about its normal business with snow on the ground. Some find their usual out- door “latrines” covered with snow, forcing them to go elsewhere temporarily, but 

some cats will forge right on through snow, insisting on using the same old spot even if it does have an inch of snow over it.

cat breeds

All About Breeds and Shows

The root of “breed” 

Since there is much discussion about breeds of cats and other animals, let’s pause here for a quick history of the word breed. It comes from the Old English bredan, meaning “to nourish, to keep warm.” (The word brood is rooted in the same word, by the way.) In times past an individual offspring in a litter could be called a breed. As farmers and animal experts became more aware of animal heredity and how to control it, the term breed took on its current meaning. 

That is, “a specific type within a species, having distinctive traits that are passed on through genetics.” In addition to cats, there are breeds of dogs, horses, cattle, hogs and so on.  

Sizing up cats 

Dogs range in size from tiny Chihuahuas to bulky Great Danes, even though they are technically the same species. There is no such size difference among the many breeds of Felis cantus, the common house cat. Humans have been breeding and crossbreeding dogs for centuries, which is why we have tiny breeds, huge breeds and every size and shape in between, all so different that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude that these dogs are different species. Not so for cats, which have never lent themselves to the same kind of genetic manipulation. So, the largest breed of cats (the Maine Coon) isn’t that much bigger than the smaller breeds, and frankly there isn’t much variation of the basic body shape of cats. The differences are mostly matters of hair colour, hair length and texture, eye colour and head shape.  

Tabby, the “default” setting 

If domestic cats were left to breed on their own, with zero interference from hu- mans, there would be very few longhaired cats and very few solid-coloured ones. Genetically, the “normal” cat would be a tabby, with a mostly greyish-brown coat and the familiar striping. That is also the typical coat of many of the world’s smaller wildcats (see 405 for more about wildcats). Most of the larger cats, such as leopards and tigers, have spots or stripes to help conceal them when they stalk prey. Even solid-coloured cats—lions and cougars—have coats of muted colours that serve as camouflage. For a predator in the wild, a Gray-brown coat with irregular stripes is the perfect camouflage, so the Gray-brown tabby is, because of the coat, the perfect stalking machine.  

Melanism, the original mutation 

While the tabby’s camouflaging coat is the “default” pattern for Felis catus, the most common mutation is melanism, or blackness. You might say that a solid black cat is nature’s first variation on the tabby pattern, occurring without any human involvement in the breeding. Melanism occurs not only among domestic cats but also among thirteen species of wild cats. Genetically, tabby is dominant over black, and as a result there are far more tabby cats than black ones in the world.  

Don’t say “mongrel” 

Many dog owners are perfectly content with their “mutt” or “mongrel” dogs, and that is certainly true for cat owners as well. It is safe to say there are a lot more “mutt” cats around than purebred ones. However, you seldom hear a cat owner speak about owning a “mutt” or “mongrel,” and there is no generally accepted slang term for such cats. Some owners refer to their pets as “alley cats,” and some say the pet is “just cat.” The proper term is “mixed-breed.” There are signs that the British term mog may slowly be catching on in America.  

The back-crossing phenomenon 

In human terms, this would be considered incest and would be frowned upon universally, but it’s a regular occurrence among cats, particularly when there is a desire to reproduce a trait in a particular breed. The idea is: a kitten is born with a physical trait that a cat breeder likes and then tries to reproduce in kittens. This is done by crossing the kitten who has the desirable trait (when he or she matures, obviously) with the parent. 

“Natural” breeds

he various cat associations divide cat breeds into three broad categories: natural, man-made and spontaneous mutation. Among the natural breeds are Persians, Turkish Angoras and Russian Blues. They are natural because the breeds’ distinctive traits (colour, body shape and the like) occurred without any deliberate interference from humans. But take “natural” with a grain of salt: the basic Persian look may have occurred naturally, but the various natural breeds have, over the years, been refined by selective breeding.  

“Man-made” breeds 

Strictly speaking, man can’t make a cat. (Only God—or nature—can do that.) But by mating one type of cat with another, humans can create an entirely new type of cat. A female cat of breed X mates with a male cat of breed Y, and their kittens are the new breed, Z. A “man-made” breed results from this deliberate hybridizing. Once the new breed is established, of course, new litters can be produced by mating the hybrids with other hybrids, instead of reproducing the original mating of breed X with breed Y. As you will see in later entries, many of the newer breeds are man-made.  

“Spontaneous mutation” breeds 

A mutation is any unexpected deviation from the norm. A certain cat is born with an odd trait. By mating that cat with a cat with the same odd trait, an entirely new breed results, all the offspring of which have the same odd trait. The most famous example of this is the Manx, the tailless cat (see 193). A more recent example is the Scottish Fold, with the famous flattened-down ears (see 178). No one knows what causes genetic oddities, and not all of them are attractive enough that humans would want more of them.  

“Foreign” vs. “cabby” 

Serious cat fanciers describe cats’ body types as either “foreign” or “cabby”— essentially, slim or stocky. The quintessential foreign breed is the Siamese: slim and lithe, the cat equivalent of what would be called a swimmer’s build in a human. The cabby body is heavier, shorter in the legs and sits closer to the ground. Persians are the classic example of the cabby body. Naturally some breeds fall somewhere in between, and they are called “moderate” or “modified.” The average mixed-breed house cat is a moderate.  

The pedigree 

A pedigreed cat is a cat with “the papers”—specifically, registration papers listing the cat’s purebred parents, grandparents and great-grandparents (and even further, if that information is available). In other words, it is a family tree that ensures that the cat is not a mixed breed (not that the cat himself gives a hoot). The papers will also list the cat’s ancestors’ titles—awards won in cat shows,

Their countries of origin (not!) 

What’s in a name—specifically, the name of a cat breed that links that breed with a spot on the map? Not much at all. Siamese cats probably did come from Siam (Thailand), and Burmese came (probably) from Burma, but otherwise the geo- graphical names of various cat breeds have little or no connection to where the breed actually originated, as you will see in some of the breeds’ descriptions later in this chapter. Chalk it up to bad guesses, the choice of names that sound exotic or other factors.  

cat breeds

Hair, Fur, Coat  

No hairless cats 

The Mexican hairless dog breed isn’t totally hairless (no dog breed is), and no cat is totally hairless, either. The closest thing to hairless is the stubby-haired Sphynx (see 179), which has received a lot of publicity thanks to the cat Mr. Biggles worth in the Austin Powers movies. A lot of viewers left theatres talking about “that hairless cat,” but Sphynxes do have a coat of suede like fur.  

Double or single coat 

In discussing cats’ hair, the proper term to use is coat, not fur. Shorthaired cats have a double coat or a single coat. A single coat means the hair is very fine and lies close to the body, resulting in a smooth, satiny look, which is especially at- tractive in black cats. A double coat has long guard hairs and a thicker undercoat (see 123). Naturally the double coat looks thicker and plusher than the single coat.  

Don’t call it “mane” 

The mane, the thick hair around the head that gives the male lion its distinctive look, has its counterpart in several longhaired breeds of cats. In house cats, however, this thick growth of hair around the face is not a mane but a rough. (Remember that in the 1500s, a ruff was a very fancy type of lacy starched collar worn by people of the upper classes.) Fans of Persians consider the ruff to be one of this breed’s most attractive features.  

“Brush,” not “bush” 

We often speak of a cat or dog as having a “bushy” tail, but among cat fanciers, it is proper to speak of the “brush” of a tail, as in “The Turkish Angora’s tail has a full brush.” Obviously, every type of brush has its admirers, from the extremely full brush of Persians and Maine Coons to the practically brushless Siamese. Fans of longhaired cats cite the long, thick fur on the tails as one of the most appealing features.

The true meaning of “tabby”

In times past, “tabby” could refer to any house cat, though this name was more often used to refer to a female (as in “toms and tabbies”). Later it came to mean a cat whose coat showed bands, or stripes, of a darker colour than the base colour. Strictly speaking, there is no cat breed named “tabby,” but, as you will see in the following entries. 

The word tabby is used among cat fanciers to refer to several types of coat patterns.  

 “Classic tabby” 

As you might guess from the name, the tabby cat is so named because of the coat pattern that people associate with the word tabby. The cat’s coat has clearly defined bands on the body. There are also bars of this darker colour on the face, and there is a defined M-shape of the darker colour on the cat’s forehead.  

“Mackerel tabby” 

This is similar to the classic tabby, except that the stripes are narrower. There is the familiar M on the forehead, just as the classic tabby has. In case you’re curious, mackerel comes from the mackerel fish, which is striped. (We can safely assume that a mackerel tabby cat would eagerly eat mackerel, also—as would any other cat.)   

The unicolor 

Some cats are consistently the same colour all over—that is, each hair is the same colour from tip to root, and hairs all over the body are the same colour. Among cat fanciers, this is referred to as the “self-coat” pattern. It is very attractive, but so are the various patterns listed next.   


When a cat has a “tipped” coat, the individual hairs are not the same colour from root to tip. Rather, the tips are of a contrasting colour compared to the rest of the hair. If the tipping is light, the cat is a Chinchilla. If the tipping is medium, the cat is Shaded. And if the tipping is heavy, the cats are Smokes. 


True tortoiseshell (the shell of an actual turtle, that is) is black with attractive highlights of orange or cream. It has been used for centuries in making furniture inlays and ornamental articles, such as hairbrushes. The name has long been ap- plied to cats whose coats resemble tortoiseshells—that is, black cats with high- light patches of orange or cream. These beautiful cats are often referred to as “torties.” People often confuse the terms tortoiseshell and calico, but the two are not the same (see 156).  

“Blue” (but not really) and “ginger” 

You might describe your own cat as Gray, but in the world of breeding and cat shows, there are no gray cats, only blue ones. (As far as that goes, no human or cat is naturally “red,” yet when we refer to a cat or person having “red” hair, peo- ple know exactly what we mean.) Likewise, ginger is applied to orangey-coated cats, even though real ginger (the spice, that is) is brown, not orange.  


“Lilac” and “apricot”

 Here are two other coat colour names that, like blue, aren’t meant to be taken quite literally. Lilac, which has also been called “lavender,” is basically a beige- Gray or a light brown-Gray but is distinctive in having (barely) a hint of pinkish purple. (The colours purple and brown are not that different, as any artist would tell you.) “Apricot” is a cream colour that (again, barely) has a hint of orange-red. Neither lilac nor apricot seems to occur in nature; they are the result of selective breeding.  


As noted above, people often call tortoiseshell cats “calico” and calico cats “tortoiseshell,” and some people assume these words mean the same. The confusion probably arises because both tortoiseshells and calicos have a mix of black and orange. Calico cats, however, also have a lot of white—in fact, a mix of white, black and orange (or cream) in clearly defined patches—whereas tortoise- shells are black all over with the orange appearing as highlights all over. Put an- other way, calicos’ coats give the impression of being stitched together from various large scraps of white, black and orange.  

 “Van” cats 

The breed known as the Turkish Van, which is described elsewhere (see 171), was named for an area around Lake Van in south-eastern Turkey. In recent years, the name Van has been used to describe a cat (of any breed) that has the colouring of the Turkish Van: mostly white, but with a few patches of another colour, usually the entire tail and part of the face.

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