The whole concept of cat 'breeds' is a relatively new one. Two hundred years ago a cat was a cat was a cat - today there are almost a hundred varieties of specially bred show cats, with a list of set physical characteristics for each breed. Only three percent of owned cats are entitled to be called 'purebreds', and an even smaller percentage of those are suitable for showing - the rest may look like a persian cat or a Himalayan cat, but if they don't have a breeding certificate that shows their pedigree back to at least four generations, then they are just a 'fluffy longhaired housecat'. Cat breeders are always trying to extend the list of recognised breeds, and 'refining' the standards for the already established breeds to create ever-tighter competition.
Household cats are grouped into a smaller number of types according to basic physical appearance:
- domestic longhaired cat
- domestic shorthaired cat
- Oriental cat (not a specific breed, but any cat with an elongated slender build, almond-shaped eyes, large ears and very short sleek fur)
- Maltese cat
- Tabby cat
- Tortoiseshell cat (also known as 'calico cat' or 'torty')
- Tuxedo cat or 'Jellicle cat'
|Table of contents|
2 Shorthaired cats
3 Breeds with unusual physical features
4 External links
Longhaired and semi-longhaired cats
Breeds with unusual physical features
See also: List of dog breeds