types of cats

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Abyssinian

Abyssinian

A wild looking cat, the Abyssinian is thought to be one of the oldest breeds in the world. Though paintings of them have been found in ancient Egyptian art, their exact origins are unclear. Some believe they came from Ethiopia (formerly called Abyssinia) and others believe they originated from areas near the coast of India. Whatever the origins, Abyssinians were imported to England where they were refined by breeders. Abyssinians are average sized cats of a medium build, weighing about eight to ten pounds and living anywhere from thirteen to twenty years. Described as resembling a Puma or a Cougar, Abyssinians have medium length coats that are dense and have markings similar to a tabby cat. The coats can come in several colors, ruddy (burnt sienna), red, sorrel (burnt orange), blue (soft blue and apricot), and fawn (pinkish beige and oatmeal) with even ticking. Abyssinians are described as very independent and intelligent. They are not considered lap cats and hate being confined, but Abyssinians are sociable creatures that will get along well with humans and other pets. 


Though they purr when content, Abyssinians are not 'talkative cats' and have a soft purr. Abyssinians are high-energy cats and enjoy running and jumping to high places. They also enjoy playing with water and will entertain themselves with nothing more than a running faucet. This breed does tolerate human handling, but is probably not the best choice for children, due to their independent nature. Children may enjoy the activity level of the Abyssinian but will be disappointed when it does not want to play with them. Abyssinians are generally healthy; however, they do have some genetic health concerns. They can develop patellar luxation, renal amyloidosis (a kidney disorder), and retinal atrophy. Some Abyssinian may also have sensitive stomachs making them more likely to vomit but this can be controlled through diet. They are also prone to gingivitis, but brushing their teeth can help prevent this. 


American Bobtail

American Bobtail

The American Bobtail has grown in popularity in recent years. Originally bred in the 1960s, John and Brenda Sanders found a male brown tabby cat with a bobbed tail while vacationing in Arizona and bred it with a Siamese female. The resulting litter was born with bobtails, but this feral looking cat is most likely not part Bobtail. American Bobtails are medium to large cats that have a naturally short tail (hence the name 'Bobtail') that is usually straight. The American Bobtail's hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs. Females will reach and average weight of seven to twelve pounds and males can average over fifteen pounds. American Bobtails are not considered fully matured until they are about three years old and will live an average of twelve to twenty-one years. Originally only a longhaired breed, American Bobtails are now both long and short haired. The longhaired Bobtails have slightly shaggy medium-long hair that does not mat. Shorthaired Bobtails have a medium length, semi-dense double coat that is also mat resistant. 

American Bobtail coats come in all colors, though white and brown is the most popular color. Many allergy suffers find themselves more comfortable around American Bobtails, they are not considered hypoallergenic. This breed of cat makes an excellent family pet and does very well with children and other household pets. They do not mind much of the rough and tumble play children are fond of. American Bobtails are described as friendly, talkative and social. They enjoy climbing so an indoor cat tree or cat condo is a must. American Bobtails love to play games and have been known to initiate playtime with their families. They are also considered extremely intelligent and loyal. American Bobtails adapt easily to new environments, whether busy and loud or quite and serene and bond closely with their family. This breed is also sometimes used in therapy, as American Bobtails can be quite sensitive to the needs of humans. In general, American Bobcats are a healthy breed of cat; however, some are born without tails, which can cause some medical problems due to their shortened spines. torsion (bloat) and if they do not get enough exercise will quickly become obese, leading to other health problems. 


Birman

Birman

The history of the Birman cat is steeped in mystery. According to legend, the people of Asia built a temple to worship a golden goddess with sapphire-blue eyes. A priest often knelt in meditation with a white temple cat. One night the temple was attacked at the priest killed. As the priest died, the cat placed his feet upon the priest and faced the golden goddess. As he did, the hairs of his white body turned golden, and his yellow eyes to sapphire-blue, his four white legs turned brown, but where his paws rested, they remained white. Where this legend ends, history begins. The temple was raided at the beginning of the 20th century. Two westerners, Auguste Pavie and Major Gordon Russell, came to the aid of the priests. As a gesture of gratitude the priests later sent the two men a pair of Birman. The male cat did not survive the trip but the female, who was pregnant, did. The Birman is an average size cat (males generally ranging from eight to twelve pounds, females seven to nine pounds). 

Birmans have a medium length coat that requires very little grooming. The coats are usually a light color on the face and darker over the rest of the coat, with golden shades being the most popular. Their eyes are always blue and their paws are white. Birman coats are long but not very dense, so they are not prone to matting. As the third most popular longhaired cat, Birmans are good pets. They tend to enjoy the company of their human families. Birmans are described as 'soft spoken,' but social and friendly. Birmans are considered sweet and because of this, they are able to adapt well to changes and adore their family. They tend to be a healthy breed; Birmans are generally free from any medical concerns, but some are sensitive to anesthetics. Birmans also require relatively little training and will learn to use the litter box on their own. 


Bombay

Bombay

The Bombay was developed by breeder Nikki Horner in Louisville, Kentucky in 1958. She set out to create a 'miniature black panther' by crossing a sable Burmese with a solid black American Shorthair. Though her initial attempts were unsuccessful, she persisted and by 1976, the Bombay was recognized as a distinct breed of cat. Bombays are muscular cats with an all black coat. Some are born with the recessive trait of a sable coat. Though this does not indicate any deficiency in the cat, it is considered undesirable for a Bombay and will only be sold as a family pet and not a show cat. This black coat is short and satiny and does not require any special grooming (though regular petting or brushing will help to get the dead hair off – but a Bombay will usually groom itself). Bombays mature quickly and are considered 'adult' between six and nine months. The average male will weigh eight to ten pounds and the average female will weigh between six and eight pounds. Both will live an average of twelve to twenty years. Bombays are described as 'lap cats.' They truly enjoy the company of its family and will always seek out a lap on which to sit or someone to play with them. 

Bombays crave companionship from family members and will follow them from room to room of the house in order to be part of the action. This is not a shy cat. Unlike many other breeds, a Bombay will enthusiastically greet visitors and want to see what is happening. They make excellent family pets for this reason. Bombays will do all right with other family pets, but need to be socialized properly. They have a tendency to dominate other pets in the household, which can lead to trouble if not attended to. Bombays are also loud cats with a purr that can be heard up to fifteen feet away. Though an active breed, Bombays prefer calmer environments without many loud, startling noises. Too much exposure to this and they will develop a nervous disorder in which they loose hair from their stomachs and tails. Some Bombays are prone to Burmese Craniofacial Defect, a genetic disorder that affects the development of the skull in the fetus. Occasionally, kittens from lines that carry this defect will be born with severely deformed heads. This genetic disorder is a result of some crossbreeding with Burmese cats. The diet of a Bombay should be monitored easily as they are prone to obesity. 


Burmese

Burmese

The modern Burmese breed has roots muddled in history. It is generally believed that Burmese are a man made breed descending from the crossbreeding of a Siamese and an ancient version of a pure Burmese (that later died out). This Burmese breed had almost died out until a breeder named Dr. J. Thompson brought one of these remaining cats, Wong Mau (who may have actually been a Tonkinese), to America in the 1930s because of his interest in Wong Mau's markings. The doctor wanted to study these markings and bred Wong Mau to a seal point Siamese. The resulting liter was the first Burmese kittens. Burmese cats tend to be of average height and weight and live approximately thirteen years. Their coats come in a variety of colors: brown (seal brown), blue (soft blue-gray with a silver sheen), chocolate (milk chocolate), lilac (dove gray with a pinkish cast), red (tangerine), cream, brown tortie (brown with shades of red), blue tortie (blue with shades of cream), chocolate tortie (chocolate with shades of red), and lilac tortie (lilac with shades of cream). The coats are shorthaired and tend to shed very little. 

Burmese enjoy the company of humans, make a good family pet, and adapt well to any environment. They get along with children and other family pets. Burmese are loyal to their human companions and will move with them from room to room of the house. They enjoy the affection they give and receive in this relationship. Burmese are lap cats and enjoy being pet and stroked. They are also very loving and accepting of strangers – a characteristic that is a plus for an indoor cat but quite dangerous if the cat is allowed to roam the outdoors. Burmese are quite trusting of everyone and everything and have no instinct to fight or defend itself. Adult Burmese are very nimble cats (despite their stocky looking build) but this may not be apparent when they are kittens. Burmese kittens, attempting new feats, tend to be clumsy. They grow into their agility and age gracefully. Burmese do have some health concerns. They are prone to cherry eye, and corneal dermoids (a surgically correctable attachment of skin or hair to the cornea). 


Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex breed began as a happy accident of nature. A genetic mutation in a liter of kittens born in the 1950s in Cornwall, United Kingdom, resulted in kittens that had extremely fine and curly down for hair, not the typical thick coat like most breeds of cat. Even the whiskers were curly! Breeders were struck by this, and decided to selective breed this trait through inbreeding and crossbreeding. Many other breeds of cat were used during this period so the 'coat' on a Cornish Rex comes in many colors and patterns. They are small to medium sized cats with a very slender appearance and live roughly thirteen years. Though they may feel heavier than they look, Cornish Rexes are very thin boned and have lean muscles. A Cornish Rex may also have a peculiar odor that some describe as 'cheesy', this odor is produced from scent glands in the paws. 

Many people think a Cornish Rex makes a good pet for those with allergies, but they do shed somewhat (though far less compared to most other breeds) and will groom themselves regularly. Cornish Rexes make excellent pets as they enjoy being with humans and are social, playful, curious and affectionate. Though very active at times, they do enjoy taking breaks and a Cornish Rex can often be found curled up on the couch or in a lap. Though they like being pet and groomed, due to the nature of the coat, Cornish Rexes should not be brushed too roughly, as this can damage the hairs. They get cold easily and should be kept indoors. Additionally, Cornish Rexes can be prone to baldness, a disorder known as hypotrichosis. 


Devon Rex

Devon Rex

In the 1950s in England, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of kittens with a curly coat. Through crossbreeding and inbreeding, this interesting trait was maintained, resulting in today's Devon Rex. It was once thought that the same mutation caused this and the Cornish Rex mutation (the fine, curly coat), but genetic testing has shown that this is not the case, making the Devon Rex a separate and distinct breed of cat. Due to crossbreeding, Devon Rexes come a wide variety of colors including black, white, blue, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, and caramel. They can also have various markings and patterns such as smoke, tabby, tortie, bi-color, tri-color and pointed. The Devon Rex coat can also come in a variety of coverings. Some Devon Rexes are completed covered in the soft fur and others only have the occasional tuft. Some coats are curlier than others but all are soft and thin. Though Devon Rexes do not shed nearly as much as other breeds that are more densely coated, they do have some hair on them and will, therefore, shed. This makes them more suitable for those with allergies, but they are not a hypoallergenic cat. 

Devon Rexes, on average, will weigh about six to nine pounds and are muscular. They will live about thirteen years. This outgoing cat is a performer. Devon Rexes like being the center of attention and will engage in many antics including jumping to high places, riding on the shoulders of their human companions and stealing food. Despite their antics, Devon Rexes are good family pets and adaptable to most situations. Though active, they do well in apartment settings. Due to the delicate nature of their hair, a Devon Rex should be kept indoors. The sparse coat is insufficient to protect it from sunburn or cold. Grooming is done infrequently but when done, must be done carefully as the hair will break easily. Although very healthy, Devon Rexes can inherit genetic problems, such as cardiomyopathy, luxating patella, hip dysplasia, and spasticity. 


Domestic Long Hair

Domestic Long hair

The Domestic Long Hair is the same breed of cat as the Domestic Short Hair, but with longer fur. It is descended from cats that were brought to America aboard ships to hunt rats and was selectively bred in America into today’s Domestic Long Hair. The name Domestic Long Hair is given to cats whose parentage is in question; otherwise, it is referred to as an American Long Hair and only American Long Hairs can be show cats. This long haired cat does require regular grooming if it does not like to groom itself and must be bathed every one to two weeks as part of the grooming process. For this reason, and many others, Domestic Long Hair cats do not make good outdoor cats – their coats are prone to matting which, if not attended to properly, can lead to infections. 

Domestic Long Hair coats can come in a wide range of colors and patterns – there is no standard or predictability in color. This breed of cat also has almost as many different personalities so it is relatively easy to find a suitable cat for any environment and family. There is no average weight for this breed, but Domestic Long Hairs tend to be a medium sized cat. On average, they will live for twelve to twenty years. Domestic Long Hairs are a hearty breed of cat (as part of their 'working cat' heritage) and do not have any specific medical problems or concerns, but they can be prone to obesity so it is important to monitor their diet. 


Domestic Short Hair

Domestic Short hair


Descended from 'working cats' that came to America on ships like the Mayflower to hunt rats, selective breeding resulted in today’s Domestic Short Hair. The Domestic Short Hair cat was renamed the American Short Hair in 1966 to better reflect this breed’s heritage. Today, the name 'Domestic Short Hair' is given to cats whose parentage is in question. Adult male Domestic Short Hairs will reach an average weight of 11 to 15 pounds, but females will only weigh 8 to 12 pounds. They are considered fully mature at 3 to 4 years of age and can live 15 to 20 years. The American Short Hair coat can come in many colors in patterns. In fact, almost 80 different patterns of colors are recognized in this breed. It is an all weather coat that is dense but won’t mat. It should be brushed regularly to remove the dead hairs if the cat will not groom itself. 


There are also as many different personality characteristics in Domestic Short Hairs from the stereotypical aloofness to the surprisingly friendly and social. This is a fairly healthy breed (part of its working cat parentage), so it is a relatively low maintenance breed, requiring nothing more than routine health care. However, some Domestic Short Hairs are prone to overeating, so it is important to give them plenty of opportunity to exercise and play. Those that cannot (or will not) engage in exercise will need to have its diet monitored closely to avoid potential problems with obesity. 




Egyptian Mau


Egyptian Mau


A breed of cat as old as recorded history, the Egyptian Mau ('Mau' means 'cat' in Egyptian) can be seen in the artwork of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that Egyptian Maus are descended from species of the African Wild Cat. In that culture, the cats were worshiped, protected by laws and mummified. The Egyptian Mau is the only breed of cat that has naturally occurring spots on its short coat. Found in a random pattern on the fur, these spots can also be found on the skin. The coat can be silver, bronze or smoke colored with variations occurring between these three colors. Egyptian Maus have striking green eyes and an unusual flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, which allows for agility. It is the fastest breed of cat, able to reach speeds of more than thirty miles per hour. Average adult male Egyptian Maus will reach weights between ten to fourteen pounds. Females will average six to ten pounds. 


Egyptian Maus are described as talkative – almost musical – and have very distinct vocalizations. They are curious cats and like to explore, but they can also be lap cats, preferring the relative comfort and safety of a warm and friendly lap. Egyptian Maus are very friendly with their families and enjoy their company immensely, but are wary of strangers. They are also known to wag their tails like a dog when happy. Egyptian Maus have some important differences from other domesticated cats. They are more sensitive to temperatures and prefer very warms climates. Egyptian Maus are also more sensitive to medicines and anesthesia. They have a longer than average gestational period. The normal period for cats is sixty-nine days but seventy-three days is still considered normal for an Egyptian Mau. This breed is also prone to food allergies, hot spots, cardiomyopothy and feline asthma. 




Exotic


Exotic


In the 1960s a Persian was crossed with a Domestic Shorthair in an attempt to create a Persian with only short hair. The result was today's Exotic, a breed that looks strikingly similar to the Persian, but with less maintenance involved, hence the nickname, 'the lazy man's Persian.' There are long- and shorthaired varieties of Exotic. The coat of a Longhaired is very similar to a Persian. It is very thick and dense, and requires daily grooming, along with regular bathing. The Shorthaired Exotic coat is, well, short. However, that does not mean it does not require some maintenance from the owner. Though Shorthaired Exotics tend to be able to keep themselves clean via regular grooming, the occasional brushing is recommended to lower the occurrence of fur balls. Both Long- and Shorthaired Exotics are seen in a wide array of colors and both will shed, though not nearly as much as a Persian. Both tend to be of an average size and weight and tend to live around twelve years, though they are not considered mature until approximately two years of age and enter puberty later than other breeds. 


Exotics, though loving towards their human families, tend to be aloof. They do not demand much attention or interaction, but, from time to time, will want to enjoy their company. This is accomplished not by tricks or antics but by sitting and waiting patiently while staring to get their point across. This does not mean that Exotics are not playful. They do enjoy the occasional romp around the house and do not like being left alone for long periods of time. They do well with children and other pets but some children may not like their independent nature. The Exotic does have some health concerns. Since it was bred with a Persian, Exotics have flat faces, making their tears prone to overflowing and staining the face. They can also suffer from constricted nostrils (causing them to breathe loudly), dental malocclusions, seborrhea oleosa (itchy, dry skin or hair loss), and polcystic kidney disease. Exotics are also prone to ringworm. 




Maine Coon


Maine Coon


Like many older breeds, the origin of the Maine Coon is unclear and steeped in rumor. Some believe Maine Coons, also known as American Longhair, American Shag, American Forest Cat, American Snughead and Maine Trick Cat, are a cross between semi-domestic wild cats and raccoons (doubtful if not impossible). Others believe that Marie Antoinette sent her beloved Angoras to America for safety. They escaped and inbred with wild cats. Still others believe a cat was brought to Maine by Captain Coon and the cat escaped to live in the wilds of Maine. Whatever the origins, it is generally agreed that the Maine Coon is the one of the oldest Native American breed of cat and they were an established domestic and hunting cat by the 1800s, but were not recognized as an actual breed of cat until 1967. Maine Coons are a hearty breed due to the New England winters they endured early on. This has resulted in a semi-long shaggy coat in almost all colors that makes it look like a wild Lynx. This coat does require regular grooming, which is enjoyed by the cat. Maine Coons males will reach an average weight of thirteen to eighteen pounds and females of nine to twelve pounds, though with their thick coats, they may look larger. They mature slowly and are not considered adult until somewhere between ages three and five (when they stop growing) and will live approximately twelve years. 


Maine Coons do enjoy their human companions, but do not need their attention. They prefer instead, to spend time with them in the same room, but not necessarily to interact. They are not a lap cap, and can be quiet independent, but will follow people into other rooms to be near them. Unlike many breeds, Maine Coons do not like to jump or perch in high places, instead preferring to chase things on the ground. Some Maine Coons can be trained to play fetch and generally do well with children, thanks to their loving nature. This breed is generally healthy but can be prone to hip dysplasia and cardiomyopathy. Some Maine Coons are born with an extra toe, though this does not mean anything for them medically, it will only disqualify them from being shown. 




Norwegian Forest Cat


Norwegian Forest Cat


Thought to date back to the time of the Vikings, the Norwegian Forest Cat is an old breed. References to this type of cat can be found in Norse mythology and Norwegian fairytales, but the true origins of his breed are unknown. Domestic breeding of the Norwegian Forest Cat, known as 'skogkatt' in Scandinavia, began in the 1930 by farmers, but it was not recognized as a breed until the 1970s, when breeding of 'Wegies' (a nickname derived from the word 'Norwegian') became popular. Norwegian Forest Cats lived in a harsh and cold climate for most of the year, so their coats are adapted to this environment. It is long and thick to protect them from the hash winters and virtually waterproof. They get a summer coat in spring, resulting in shedding that needs to be attended to. Some say that grooming so not necessary, regular grooming of a Norwegian Forest Cat is a useful tool in combating shedding, though they shed far less than other longhairs. They require regular brushing to help deal with tangles and matting and may require a bath at times if they get too oily (the oil is what makes the coat water resistant). The coats themselves appear in many colors and patterns. 


Adult male Norwegian Forest Cats will reach an average weight of thirteen to twenty-two pounds and females will be about half that size. They will live anywhere from fifteen to twenty years. Norwegian Forest Cats are intelligent, kind, and patient, making them a good family pet for those with children. They are also friendly and gentle, so they get along well with other family pets. This breed loves to climb, so a cat condo is a must. If a Norwegian Forest Cat is not allowed to climb on a regular basis, he may become irritable or bored, which can result in destructive behaviors to alleviate the boredom. The meow of a Norwegian Forest Cat is described as not a meow, but as singing a soft melody. This is a hearty breed, though some may be prone to glycogen storage disease.




Oriental Cat


Oriental Cat


The name 'Oriental' does not refer to a specific breed of cat, but a group of cats originating from Southeast Asia. Siamese is the most familiar (specifically, a Siamese without points), but Oriental can also refer to Japanese Bobtail, Burmese, and Balinese to name a few. Oriental cats are either longhaired or shorthaired and come in nearly 300 varieties of colors and markings. Longhairs do not require much brushing of the coat and it does not tend to mat making it one of the lower maintenance longhaired breeds. However, longhair varies are known to have problems with fleas so it is important to introduce baths early on in case a flea bath becomes necessary. Shorthairs have a coat that lies close to the skin and is described as silky. Other than occasional brushings, it is a low maintenance coat. Orientals are small and lean cats (some can be three feet long), living approximately fifteen years. Mature males will weigh between nine and twelve pounds and females, four to eight pounds. They are described as loud and talkative, as well as curious and intelligent. 


Orientals are playful, and have been known to use almost anything – include breakables and valuables – as toys. They enjoy heights and jumping so they would enjoy a cat condo, but do not enjoy the outdoors. They make an excellent family pet and are good with children, provided the children play gently. Orientals are 'people cats' and need lots of love and attention from them. Failure to provide adequate attention will result in boredom, which will result in trouble. Because Orientals have a large gene pool, they are less likely to suffer from genetic problems, but since many of them have Siamese in them, Orientals are more likely to have issues with nystagmus (crossed eyes) which is not serious and will not medically affect the cat. Some Orientals are also prone to heart defects and some have issues with obesity if they do not get adequate exercise. 




Persian


Persian


The origins of the Persian cat are murky, at best. Some claim that the Persian is descended from the Sand cat, but this cannot be proven. It is also thought that somehow Angoras were crossbred with Chinese longhairs or Russian Longhairs, but again, this is uncertain. There is also the suggestion that longhairs came to China as a gift from the king of Persian but there is no proof of this. What is known is that Perisans were recognized as their own distinct breed by the 19th century and came to America at around the same time. This longhaired cat comes in a wide variety of colors that is very thick, making it prone to matting. A Persian’s coat is so thick the hair looks as if it is standing on its end. Regular grooming is an absolute must to avoid this problem – including regular brushing and bathing. Any matting that is not attended to may result in uncomfortable skin infections. 


Described as a sweet cat, Persians are not particularly active. Though they do enjoy running and playing, they will spend a fair portion of the day sleeping. This makes them particularly suitable for apartment life, as they do not require much room to exercise. The sweet nature of the Persian also makes it a good choice for families with children, but they do not always like to play as children do. Persians are also very loyal to their families and like to stick close to them, making them less likely to stray. However, some Persians may be stubborn, making them resistant to litter box training. Persians may be prone to some medical problems including, nostril constriction, cherry eye, tear duct overflow, dental malocclusions, polycystic kidney disease, entropion, and seborrhea oleosa. 




Ragdoll

Ragdoll

The Ragdoll breed of cat was developed by a breeder in California, Ann Baker, in the 1960s. She bred a white female Persian that carried Siamese markings to a male Birman. She introduced those offspring to a female Burmese, resulting in today's Ragdoll, a medium sized breed with oval blue eyes and a medium length coat with Siamese markings. Mature Ragdolls (considered adult around age three), are heavier than other breeds; males will weigh anywhere from twelve to twenty pounds and females ten to fifteen pounds. They will live an average of twelve to twenty years. Their fur does not tend to mat or shed excessively, all though regular grooming is a must (something this breed does not mind). A Ragdoll's coat will start all white at birth then develop into four colors: seal, which has dark seal brown points with a light tan body; chocolate, which has milk chocolate points with an ivory body; blue, which has dark gray points with a pale gray body; and, lilac, which has pinkish gray points with a frosty white body. In addition to these colors, Ragdolls have three patterns: colorpoint, which has dark points (ears, tail, face, and feet) with a body of a lighter shade and no white markings; mitted, which has dark points and lighter body, but also has white 'mitts' on the front paws, white 'boots' on the back legs and feet, a white chin, a white strip on the stomach, and a white ruff; and, bi-color, which has the dark points (ears and tail), but the mask is interrupted by a 'V' running between the eyes and expanding into the muzzle. 


Ragdolls make good family pets for several reasons. They like their human company and try to be 'considerate' of their family. Ragdolls take care not to scratch children and are gentle around them, and will follow their family around the house to be in their company. They are not noisy and talkative, and tend to keep their purring at a low volume. Ragdolls are also intelligent cats and can be trained easily when given rewards. They are described as docile and laid back almost to a fault. Because of this temperament, Ragdolls are less likely to defend themselves in dangerous situations. For this reason, Ragdolls should be kept indoors at all times and away from more dominant animals (whether cat or another family pet). This is a healthy breed of cat and Ragdolls do not have any unusual medical concerns. 




Russian Blue


Russian Blue


Little is known about the true origins of the Russian Blue cat. Some think Russian Blues are a natural breed originating in the Archangel Isles in northern Russia. It is thought Russian Blues were brought to England and northern Europe in the 1860s. What is known is that Russian Blues were first shown at the Crystal Palace in England in 1875 in competition, but were not recognized as a separate class of cat until 1912. Though Russian Blues were brought to American in the early 1900s, interest in the breed did not develop until after World War II. Russian Blues have striking green eyes and an expression that makes it look as if they are always smiling. They have a solid slivery blue coat that is short and thick and feels silky. In fact, it is this legendary silkiness that caused Russian Blues to be hunted for the fur at one point. Some Russian Blues are born with 'ghost stripes' that fade by adulthood. 


Their coats do not require much grooming, though Russian Blues do enjoy being groomed by their human companions. Described as shy (especially around strangers), Russian Blues are still excellent pets especially for people and families with busy lifestyles. Russian Blues do not require or crave much human contact and are able to entertain themselves for hours at a time. However, they are affectionate and loyal towards their families. In fact, Russian Blues have been described as sensitive to their families and will try to lighten up the mood of the house by entertaining those around if necessary. They are good with children and other family pets, but do startle easily and prefer to be handle gently. Russian Blues are prone to obesity so it is important to monitor their diet. 




Sphynx Cat


Sphynx


In 1966 in Canada, a Domestic Shorthair gave birth to a liter of kittens with a naturally occurring mutation of hairlessness. This liter became the ancestors of today's Sphynx, created through inbreeding and crossbreeding over time. Interestingly, the same genetic mutation that causes hairlessness in a Sphynx is the same mutation that causes the curly and sometimes nearly absent coat in a Devon Rex. Oftentimes, a Devon Rex is inbred to strengthen the gene pool of the Sphynx. A Sphynx, sometimes referred to as a Canadian Hairless, is not always totally hairless; many have a fine downy coating. However, a Sphynx is the color of his skin, not his 'fur'. Contrary to popular belief, a Sphynx is not a truly hypoallergenic cat, particularly if he has a peach fuzz coating. All Sphynx will still produce some amount of dander, the usual culprit for causing allergic reactions. However, most people with cat allergies find they are able to tolerate a Sphynx. This breed of cat is very hearty and healthy, despite its almost sickly appearance. They are muscular and slightly larger than the average cat, but do require special care due to their lack of a coat. 


A Sphynx will become colder more easily than the average cat and requires the occasional bath, as they have no hair to absorb naturally occurring oils in the skin. They are also more prone to sunburn and heatstroke since they lack a protective covering. A Sphynx is a very patient and adaptable cat, making them an excellent choice for apartment dwellers and those with children or other pets. They are loyal to their families and enjoy their attention and company, which includes playing with them. Thanks to a careful breeding program, the Sphynx breed does not suffer from any major medical concerns beyond normal health care. 




Siamese


Siamese


Siamese cats hail from Thailand (once known as Siam) and made their way to other parts of the world beginning in the late 1800s. Though considered an ancient breed (possibly the most ancient of all breeds), the exact origins of the Siamese are unknown, but it is considered a natural breed and is one of four Oriental breeds. It is the unique look of the Siamese that made it so popular. The most familiar looking Siamese has seal points - a fawn colored body with seal brown extremities. Other versions include blue points, dark gray points; chocolate points, milk chocolate points; and lilac points, pinkish gray points. The coats are always short and flat. Siamese have bright blue oval shaped eyes. Males will reach an average weight of eleven to fifteen pounds and females of eight to twelve pounds. Siamese are talkative cats with a purr that has been compared to that of a crying baby. When a Siamese wants something, it will use its voice to get its way. Siamese cats are good for families with children and other pets, but they are demanding of attention, active and persistent when they want to get their own way purring loudly until their demands are met. They will give a warning swipe when they are done playing. 


Though this is usually done with the claws sheathed, exercise caution when Siamese and children are playing together. While loyal and trainable (they can be walked on a leash) they have also been known to engage in attention getting antics to make sure they are noticed. As active cats, they enjoy exploring heights and have been known to find their way to the top of a refrigerator or bookcase to get attention or for their own enjoyment. Though they will enjoy being with another cat, it is important that they get a fair amount of human attention each day to be satisfied. Siamese have been crossbred with other cats to result in a multitude of 'cousins' to this cat. Some of those include: Balinese, Burmese, Himalayan, and Tonkinese. Through careful selective breeding, some of the 'undesirable' traits have been bred out of the Siamese; however, they still occur occasionally. This includes a kinked tail and crossed eyes. Neither of these is serious health problems for a family pet but will disqualify it from being shown. 




Tonkinese


Tonkinese


The Tonkinese breed is widely considered a 'newer' breed, a cross between a Burmese and a Siamese, though some dispute this saying the breed existed in the 1800s. The first known Tonkinese was Wong Mau, a descendant of ancient Burmese. Wong Mau was bred with a Siamese and over time, the Tonkinese was bred into its own separate breed but it was not recognized as a distinct breed until 1984. This cat is a medium sized breed with males weighing eight to twelve pounds and females six to eight pounds. Tonkinese (affectionately referred to as 'Tonks') have a short, thick coat that requires no more maintenance than once weekly brushing and come in three colors: pointed, mink and solid. The pointed coat is much like a Siamese and the solid is much like a Burmese. However, the mink is unique to the Tonkinese. It is a combination of a Siamese coat and a Burmese coat but not a blend. Usually, one half (legs only or the body) is one coat and suddenly, it becomes the other. 


The Tonkinese personality is described as 'the best of both worlds'. From their Siamese side, they take curiosity and intelligence. From their Burmese side, they take their easy-going personality. They are active and stubborn but not particularly high strung or stressed out. Tonkinese are social creatures. They enjoy their humans and get along well with other pets and children. Tonkinese do not like being left alone and it is recommended that if they are going to be left alone for long periods of time, there should be two Tonkinese in the home. It is also useful to have a cat condo around for exercise and play, and to keep them out of trouble stemming from boredom. Tonkinese tend to have almost no genetic medical concerns though they are more prone to gingivitis than other breeds. 


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