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Are you looking for a new cat but are unsure of which breed best suits your lifestyle? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Simply search the breeds you are interested in and see all the important details you need to know before buying your new feline friend. Once you have decided, take a look at our listings HERE.

 

Abyssinian cats

Abyssinian Cats

 KEY FACTS

The Abyssinian coat is their most striking feature, with its nuanced, complex ticking, which is a genetic variant of the tabby pattern. Their dense, close-laying fur starts lighter-coloured at their bodies, then alternates between bands of lighter and darker shades out to the tip of their tail. A warm, reddish-brown base with black ticking is the breed’s original colour.

Outside of their beautiful colouration, the Abys’ next most striking feature is their ears, which are large relative to their body, forward-facing, and well cupped. They sit atop a wedge-shaped head with large, alert, almond eyes.

An Aby’s body is long and slender, giving them a particularly sleek and graceful look. Their paws are small, and the Abys’ natural stance makes them appear to be standing on their tip-toes. Their tails taper and are nearly as long as their bodies.

Lifespan: 10 – 14 years

Height: 20-25cm (3-5 inches)

Weight: 3-5Kg (8-12 pounds)

Energy: Active

Usual, Sorrel, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Fawn, Red, Cream, Usual Silver, Sorrel Silver,Blue Silver, Chocolate Silver, Lilac Silver, Fawn Silver, Red Silver, Cream Silver, Tortie Abyssinian, Usual Tortie, Sorrel Tortie, Blue Tortie, Chocolate Tortie, Lilac Tortie, Fawn Tortie, Tortie Silver, Sorrel Tortie Silver, Blue Tortie Silver, Chocolate, Tortie Silver, Lilac Tortie Silver, Fawn Tortie Silver

Abyssinians are incredibly smart and curious. This makes them natural explorers, and you can expect to find your Aby in every corner of your home, on every possible surface, regardless of accessibility.

They are also renowned for their social abilities, and Abys enjoy playtime with their people. They are a breed that is always on the move, so don’t expect a lot of lap-time from them, but do expect to have your every move followed and observed. Abys are remarkably good at training their human companions to do their bidding, so expect to find yourself manipulated into doing what they want. They are also keenly observant, so any treats or toys you secret away in the same place every time will soon be discovered.

A strong companion cat, if not always a lap cat, Abys enjoy the company of their human companions and will often converse with them in soft, pleasant chirrups, rather than something akin to the traditional meow.

Abyssinian cats also do well in households with other animals, thanks to their naturally social disposition. They’re also able to entertain themselves for extended periods of time with something as simple as a bottle cap or piece of rolled-up paper.

Though the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, their exact origins have always carried an air of mystery. For a number of years, it was widely assumed they originated along the Nile river basin, and it’s easy to see why: One look at an Aby in a seated position is enough to see the easy parallels between the breed and the statues and depictions of cats in ancient Egypt. However, more recent genetic studies have shown the most convincing argument for their origins to be Southeast Asia and the coast of the Indian Ocean.

The oldest example of the cat that would become known as the Abyssinian is from the Leiden Zoological Museum in Holland, which has a taxidermy example that was purchased for the museum around 1834. That specimen is labelled “Patrie, domestica India”, giving further credence to the cat’s Southeast Asian origins.

The name “Abyssinian” comes from Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia). These cats who gave birth to the breed were brought to England after the Abyssinian War in the 1860s. Those first cats featured the trademark ticked coats but were otherwise markedly different from today’s Abys, with stockier bodies and shorter ears. Once they were settled in the U.K., cross-breeding with local cats eventually gave birth to the Abyssinian cat we know and love today.

The breed has had some problems with blindness caused by a hereditary retinal degeneration due to mutations in the rdAc gene, but with the advent of easily accessible rdAc testing, these concerns have been greatly reduced.

Abys are prone to gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss if not monitored. You can get into the habit of brushing your cat’s teeth yourself, but results may be mixed and it may not even be possible. Annual dental checks at your local veterinarian may be the answer.

Abyssinians don’t tend to be huge shedders outside of their regular shedding seasons, so daily grooming should be relatively straightforward.

Weekly brushing is all they’re probably going to need. However, they enjoy a nice hand-rubbing with a chamois, so a daily pat-down can be a nice way of bonding with your Aby and keeping her coat in good shape as well. Additionally, a bath once a month is helpful and can be a pretty easy experience if they are introduced to it as kittens.

Asian Cats

Asian Cats

KEYFACTS

The Asian cat, sometimes also known as the Malayan cat, is a more recent breed with a very unique personality. While they may appear quite similar to other shorthair breeds out there, these cats are highly sociable, talkative and may be even seen as demanding.

Lifespan: 12 – 18 years

Height: 20-25cm (3-5 inches)

Weight: 2-5Kg (6-13 pounds)

Energy: Average

Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Cinnamon, Fawn, Caramel, the tortie versions of all these colours, and Red, Cream and Apricot, in both full expression and Burmese Colour Restriction.

If you want a cat that is definitely going to want your attention, then the Malayan cat is worth considering. These cats are talkative, affectionate and very fond of their human family members.

Exploring, cuddling and meowing are some of their favorite pastimes. Their unique personalities can certainly make them a favorite with many.

The Asian Cat or also known as the Malayan cat is a breed that was developed by accident in Britain in 1981 by the Baroness Miranda von Kirchberg. The breed originated through the mis-mating of a Lilac Burmese and a Chinchilla Persian. The four kittens that were born resulted in the development of a new breed.

Generally speaking, the Malayan cat is one that is decently healthy. That said, it’s worth keeping an eye out for renal issues as well as problems with snoring in this breed.

Regular check-ups with your vet should help to ensure that any issues are addressed as early as possible.

Hopefully you don’t mind a pet that may snore a little. The structure of their face can result in higher chances of snoring in this breed.

There may be a bit of a risk for renal issues in this breed, but often that is something that can be taken care of with efficient, early care.

Because these are cats with a shorter coat, they don’t require a lot in the way of grooming. Brushing on a weekly basis is often more than enough to help with shedding.

You can also opt to use something like a glove or cloth just to help with removing stray hairs.

Australian Mist cats

Australian Mist

KEYFACTS

Australian Mists are medium-sized short-haired cats, with a round head and large eyes. The coat is very short and lacks an undercoat. Australian Mists do not require much brushing because they lose little hair. The coat patterns have three aspects: the ground colour, which is paler than the pattern; the pattern; and the appearance of wearing a misted veil, caused by random ticking in the solid colour areas. The legs and tail are ringed or barred, and the face and neck also have lines of colour.

Lifespan: 15 – 18 years

Height: 17-22cm (7-9 inches)

Weight: 3-6Kg (8-15 pounds)

Energy: Average

This shorthaired breed’s Burmese ancestors handed down their brown, blue, chocolate and lilac colouring, whereas gold and peach were Abyssinian contributions. A seventh colour, caramel, is currently going through the recognition process with GCCF.

These cats have a calm and loving personality. They are attention-loving and always enjoy attention from their owners.

ot haphazard, allowing them to be rather patient with younger and older members of the family. They constantly fixate on the people around them, preferring to stay near their home where they can be loved by their families. Their social personality makes them incredibly welcoming to visitors in their home, playing and interacting with anyone who will spend time petting them.

The Australian Mist cat does have pretty interesting origins. As you can probably tell, this is a cat that was bred in Australia by a Dr. Truda Straede.

The idea to breed the Australian Mist cat was first introduced in 1970, and by 1977, the breeding process was completed, thus resulting in this wonderful looking cat. The Australian Mist is actually a mix of over 30 different cat breeds.

There are a few main cats whose characteristics stand out here. The Australian Mist is half Burmese, one-quarter Abyssinian cat, and one-quarter Australian Moggy.

From the Burmese cat came the colours, the laid back attitude, and some of the patterns. The Abyssinian side contributed some colouring and a good dose of intelligence, and the Moggies seem to have contributed not only some of their spots and patterns, but their fairly good health as well.

They are considered to be a healthy cat, and while all breeds can develop health problems such as renal failure, hyperthyroidism and diabetes, Australian Mists are known to have very few genetic health issues.

Right now there are no health issues specific to this cat breed, but some breeders have reported that lighter coloured Australian mist cats have shown a tendency to develop skin allergies. 

As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice.

Because these are cats with a shorter coat, they don’t require a lot in the way of grooming. Brushing on a weekly basis is often more than enough to help with shedding.

You can also opt to use something like a glove or cloth just to help with removing stray hairs.

Aztec (Ocicat Classic) Cats

Aztec (Ocicat Classic)

KEYFACTS

Thanks to their eye-catching coats, Aztec (also known as) Ocicats are certainly not hard to … spot. (sorry.) These cats are blessed with brown or gold, thumb-shaped spots all over their torsos. In rare instances, ocicat kittens will manifest with solid colours, pointed coats, or even classic tabby patterns, but by and large, this breed features those unique spots.

Lifespan: 12 – 18 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 2-6Kg (6-15 pounds)

Energy: Active

Tawny, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Blue, Lilac and Fawn and then the same 6 colours but on a silver background. The rich darker coloured cats most resemble wild cats, with the more subtle colours and silver varieties offering some beautiful and striking alternatives. In all colours the coat should be short and close lying with a satin sheen to express the wonderful classic pattern.

The ocicat is highly social and engaging with human companions. While they’re accepting of virtually all family members and strangers, these cats are likely to form particularly strong bonds with one specific person in their households and follow them around the most.

 

Ocicats can very easily be trained to perform a number of tasks and tricks, such as walking on a lead and coming when their names are called, as well as sit, stay, and fetch. They are smart enough to understand not only meaning but context, so they’ll pick up on your commands and desires relatively quickly.

 

Ocicats do well in households with other animals including dogs, especially if they’ve been socialized with them as kittens. However, because of their highly social nature, ocicats in single-pet households can develop some separation anxiety if left alone for more than a couple hours at a time.

In 1964, an American named Virginia Daly was challenged by a friend to try and create an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese. Daly took the challenge and succeeded in breeding an Abyssinian and a Siamese for the desired, pointed Siamese result. However, her second litter of this particular hybrid produced a single kitten with unique spots. Since the kitten resembled a wild ocelot, Daly’s daughter dubbed it “Ocicat.”

That first ocicat, named Tonga, was neutered and given as a pet. But when subsequent Aby-pointed Siamese litters continued to produce spotted kittens, Daly began breeding them back to Siamese parents and producing wholly spotted litters. Soon, other breeders began doing the same, and the Ocicat breed officially began.

Ocicats are a fairly healthy breed and have relatively long lifespans. Still, there are some common ailments to be aware of, most notably liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle, is the most common form of heart disease in cats and is seen in some ocicats. An echocardiogram can confirm whether your cat has HCM.

Amyloidosis, meanwhile, is a disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid, an insoluble protein, is deposited in organs such as the kidneys or liver. It results in lesions, dysfunction, and, eventually, organ failure. Pyruvate kinase is a regulatory enzyme in red blood cells, and cats deficient in this enzyme can develop anaemia.

Because these are cats with a shorter coat, they don’t require a lot in the way of grooming. Brushing on a weekly basis is often more than enough to help with shedding.

You can also opt to use something like a glove or cloth just to help with removing stray hairs.

Balinese cats

Balinese

KEYFACTS

The ideal cat of this breed group is a svelte, graceful, refined cat of medium size with long tapering lines. It is in excellent physical condition, very strong, lithe and muscular giving the sensation of solid weight without excess bulk. While the breed is considered “medium” in size, balance and proportion are to be considered of greater consequence. If it is extreme in one part, all parts should be extreme to retain balance.

Lifespan: 9 – 15 years

Height: 20-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 3-6Kg (8-15 pounds)

Energy: Active

Seal point, blue point, chocolate point, lilac point, caramel, apricot cinnamon, fawn, red and cream point, besides tortoiseshell and tabby points in all of these colours.

Balinese cats are extremely fond of their owners and don’t mind getting underfoot. They are intelligent, agile, athletic, and loving.

While they are like a Siamese, the Balinese isn’t quite as outspoken. However, this does not mean that they aren’t vocal; a Balinese will let you know exactly what they are thinking. If you do not like a chatty kitty then this is not the cat for you because before you know it, he or she will “tell all.” They also have a tendency to be slightly heavier boned than a Siamese with larger feet. Being gregarious by nature, they don’t like being left on their own for long periods of time.

The Balinese cat loves to play so toys are something that is needed to entertain your cat. They will play with you for hours but during your time away, have plenty of outlets for their brain to stay active. Being a smart cat, they crave activities and play.

The Balinese cat does not actually originate from Bali or Indonesia, it is instead a cat breed that comes from the United States. It is a medium-length cat which is also referred to as the purebred long-haired Siamese.

No one is entirely sure of the origins of the Balinese cat. Some legends say that the ancestors of this cat were sacred temple cats and others say that they were bred under the supervision of the Siamese king in Thailand. Other legends would also state that Siamese were presented to the English as sacred cats to prevent the theft of the real lucky cats, the Khao Manee.

The breed was imported to Europe by the English in the late nineteenth century. Between 1930 and 1954, the colour of Siamese cats became considerably more diverse. Some were seal point or chocolate point, among others.

It wasn’t until 1928 that the long-haired Siamese breed was discovered. This particular characteristic was due to a spontaneous genetic mutation. As they did not correspond to the Siamese standard, they were excluded from the breeding network. The breed arrived in the United States after the Second World War where it quickly gained popularity. It is then that two American breeders decided to launch the breeding of the “Long-haired Siamese”. They had named them Balinese because of their appearance comparable to that of the Bali dancers. Many breeders then worked on the recognition of the breed through cat shows.

In 1970, the TICA and CFA recognized the Balinese as a cat breed. Other federations such as the FIFe and LOOF also accepted the cat as a breed in 1970 and 1983. To refine the silhouette of the cat, the breeders resorted to breeding between the Balinese and Siamese. The popularity of the Balinese declined with the appearance of new cat breeds. The cat was still rare (0.08% of all pedigree cats) in France in 2008. Since 1997, the GCCF has recorded an average of 172 Balinese births in England.

The Balinese are a relatively healthy breed. They are, however, a relatively restricted gene pool which may make them more prone to some genetic health concerns.

One potential issue for Balinese is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which is a degeneration of the retina in the eye. Cats with PRA can become near- or far-sighted over time, or even blind.

Dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease that enlarges the heart muscles and decreases heart function, is another potential issue. There is also some concern that they are at a low risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

DCM  is due the weakening of the heart muscle  (the failure of the left ventricle which is why the circulation is affected – you see it in humans where the ankles fill with fluid due to poor venous return.), whereas HCM is due  to thickening of the heart muscle and that is why it is known as an enlarged heart.

Finally, the breed can be at increased risk for liver amyloidosis, which eventually leads to liver failure.

Though not an actual health concern, the Balinese sometimes develop a rare inheritance that makes them appear cross-eyed. The condition, called Strabismus, is common in Siamese cat breeds.

Because the Balinese doesn’t have much an undercoat, the likelihood of matting or tangling is low, however they do tend to shed.

Brush your Balinese a few times a week to remove dead hair, prevent mats and keep the coat healthy. Brushing keeps it to the minimum and allows the top coat to lay correctly

The quality time you spend brushing your cat will only help strengthen your bond together.

In addition to brushing, keep the claws trimmed, the ears cleaned and the teeth brushed. This last point is especially important — a Balinese cat is susceptible to periodontal disease.

Bengal Cats

Bengal

KEYFACTS

The Bengal could never be called delicate. They’re athletes: agile and graceful with a strong, muscular body, as befits a cat who looks as if they belong in the jungle.

Despite their wild appearance, Bengal cats are actually quite affectionate with their human families. That said, they also have high energy and a fun-loving, playful side. They want to stay active and need a home that can match their energy.

If you can fulfil the Bengal’s need for exercise, you’ll have a smart, loving cat who can keep you on your toes.

Lifespan: 9 – 15 years

Height: 20-25cm (8-10 inches)

Weight: 3-6Kg (8-15 pounds)

Energy: Active

Both spotted and marbled Bengals come in a variety of colours: Brown, Snow, Silver and Blue are the most common though newer colours such as chocolate, charcoal and cinnamon are also becoming more popular.

Despite how wild a Bengal looks on the outside, he’s soft and sweet on the inside. These affectionate cats are gregarious, although they might christen a particular family member as their favourite. Bengals do great with children, other cats, and with family dogs. The key, however, is early socialization and exposure to household members at a young age. If you try to introduce a new pet to older Bengals already set in their ways, you might have a challenge on your hands.

Because Bengals are an intelligent and curious breed, they need constant stimulation to keep their big brains engaged. They love playing with toys and are also known to love water and enjoy a shallow tub. Bengals can be taught tricks and even how to walk on a leash for outdoor adventures.

Bengal cats love to climb. It’s important to have at least one cat tree in your home so he can scratch, stretch, and stalk the birds outside your window.

Bengal cats are also known to be a bit chatty with their owners. They won’t meow excessively, but they’re pros at telling you exactly what they need, especially if it’s “my food bowl is almost empty,” or “I want to play.” A Bengal also won’t sit idly by after you come home from a long day at work. You can expect a royal greeting, complete with a serenade.

Although crosses between Asian leopard cats and domestic cats occurred as early as the 1800s, the breed didn’t really come into its own until the mid-20th century. Breeder and conservationist Jean Mill first crossed a domestic cat with an Asian leopard cat in 1963, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association. By 1996, Bengals were registered by the CFA. The accepted animals come from the F6 generation or higher.

Of course, when you consider their warm, intelligent personalities and coat colours and patterns, it’s no surprise that they have quickly become one of the most popular breeds in the world, outpacing cats that have been around for generations.

They’re a relatively healthy breed. However, as with all cats, they do have a few health issues you need to keep in mind before you purchase a new pet. Most serious breeders are careful to breed animals without genetic health problems, but three of the most common among Bengals are:

Heart disease in Bengal cats is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can cause the heart muscle to thicken, particularly in older animals. This can result in blood clots or congestive heart failure and a shorter lifespan.

Bengals can also get an eye condition called progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause deterioration of the retina and eventual blindness.

Aesthetic allergies: Bengals can be extremely sensitive to anaesthetics and should be watched carefully during any surgeries—including neutering and spaying. An allergic reaction to anaesthetics can result in cardiac arrest

The Bengal cat’s short glossy coat does not require excessive grooming but they will enjoy the attention gained from being groomed. As with most shorthair breeds, Bengal cats look after their coat very well. As with all cats, this breed needs regular vaccinations, parasite control and annual health checks.

Birman Cats

Birman Cats

 KEY FACTS

You won’t forget the first time you see a Birman cat. That’s because these fantastic felines sport a lush cream-colour coat with contrasting points (colour on the lower legs, ears, face, and tail) topped with snow white gloves on all four feet and bright blue eyes. Their luxurious coats are remarkably easy to care for because there’s no undercoat to get tangled and matted.

Lifespan: 13 – 15 years

Height: 20-25cm (8-10 inches)

Weight: 3-4Kg (8-10 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Accepted point colours include: seal, blue, cream, chocolate, lilac, blue tortie, lilac tortie, seal tortie, chocolate tortie, and blue cream. All Birman cats are born white and develop their colour as they mature.

Sweet and affectionate! That’s the best way to describe a Birman cat’s personality. These beautiful animals have been bred to be social with everyone in the family (including other cats or dogs if introduced properly). Birmans are also super fun and playful. But they definitely have an “off” switch, so you won’t find them pacing about the house at all hours of the night. Instead, you’re more likely to find them curled up on your lap or at the foot of your bed. Their laid-back attitude makes them an almost perfect family pet.

Birmans are a social breed that enjoy attention, but they aren’t loud and demanding about it. After all, when you look as glamorous as a Birman, you don’t need to make a scene to get what you want. Younger Birmans will love a good game of “chase the laser,” but as your cat ages she will be happy just wandering around the house making sure everything is in order. They are a very curious breed that’s easily trainable.

Birman cats are an ancient breed, thought to have originated in Burma-which is why it’s occasionally called the Sacred Cat of Burma. It’s believed they were temple cats who were companions of Kittah priests.

They first appeared in France around 1919, brought there by two Englishmen, Major Gordon Russell and August Pavie, who tried to import a male and female. Unfortunately,  the male cat died on the trip, but the pregnant female, named Sita, survived and ultimately became the mother of the Birman breed in the West.

By 1925, Birmans were recognized by the Federation of Feline Francaise. But World War ll was devastating to the breed, with only two Birman cats remaining when hostilities ended. Over time, however, the breed was reborn and by 1967 the Birman breed was recognized once more. Today, the Birman breed remains popular, deservedly so because of its beauty and sweet nature.

Luckily, Birman cats don’t have a lot of health problems to worry about. Like a number of other breeds, they are susceptible to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a disease of the heart, as well as kidney disease called polycystic kidney disease (PKD). But, overall Birmans are a quite healthy breed. Also, like other felines, Birmans need regular dental and nail care. Because of their laid-back attitude, Birmans are a lot easier to take to the vet than some other cats.

Let’s face it, long-haired cats take a bit more grooming to keep them looking good than their short-haired cousins. However, you may be surprised to find out how easy Birmans’ coats truly are to groom. That’s because Birmans don’t have a dense undercoat like other long-haired breeds, so their coat isn’t as likely to mat or tangle. A simple brushing or combing once a week is really all a Birman needs to keep it looking great.

British Shorthair Cats

British Shorthair Cats

 KEY FACTS

Besides being treasured for their easy-going attitude about life, British shorthairs are beloved for their thick, dense coats that come in almost any colour or pattern. Blue-grey cats, often called British blues, are probably the most popular colour choice of British shorthair fanciers.

But aside from their common blue coat, this breed is easy to recognize because of their thick legs, broad chests, rounded heads, and chubby cheeks that are totally pinchable. British shorthairs with blue coats have bold orange-amber eyes, but individuals with other coat colours can have green, copper, amber, or blue eyes.

Lifespan: 15 – 20 years

Height: 30-35cm (12-14 inches)

Weight: 3-7Kg (7-17 pounds)

Energy: Calm

All

When it comes to temperament, British shorthairs are hard to beat: They’re active without being boisterous, they’re affectionate without being cloying, and they’re smart but don’t feel the need to show off by figuring out how to open your refrigerator. British shorthair cats are easygoing and will treat everyone in the family (including dogs and other cats) like a good friend, especially if socialized as kittens.

This happy breed loves a good romp as much as a night stretched out in front of the television. British shorthairs are ambiverts: They thrive on attention, but also value personal space and may turn up their noses at being held or hugged too much.

An ancient breed, British shorthairs are believed to be the direct descendants of the cats brought to England by the invading Romans, according to The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. They were used for vermin control and quickly spread throughout the country as street and farm cats. Soon, their calm and confident personalities prompted people to welcome them into their homes (and onto their laps). Over the years, they developed round faces with short, thick coats of all colours.

In the late 1800s, a determined cat breeder named Harrison Weir began developing the British shorthair officially by crossing different individual felines. At the first organized cat show, held at London’s Crystal Palace in 1871, a blue tabby British shorthair owned by Weir won Best in Show.

After World War I, the British shorthair we know today was finessed by adding Persian, Russian blue, French Chartreux, and domestic shorthair cats into the mix. Eventually, in the 1970s, the British shorthair was given formal recognition around the globe.

British shorthairs are a large, healthy breed that can live up to 20 years. However, they are susceptible to certain health problems, as all breeds are.

These kitties can be prone to a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a thickening of the muscular walls of the cat’s heart; this causes difficulty breathing, lethargy, and loss of appetite in older animals. And, similar to other breeds, British shorthairs can develop urinary tract and kidney issues.

To help prevent health problems from developing, start by getting your British shorthair kitten from a reputable breeder who uses healthy adults. And always take your cat to your vet once a year for a check-up.

In addition to regular health check-ups, exercise should play an important role in your British shorthair’s life.

These cats have energy but aren’t that active, so they can gain too much weight (especially in their later years) unless you develop strategies that keep them moving when they’re young.

Interactive toys, fishing wands, balls, lasers, and climbing structures like cat trees and cat shelves will all help keep your British shorthair fit and trim, physically and mentally.

Unlike long-haired cats, British shorthairs don’t need to be fussed over to look good. Their short, soft, dense coat only requires weekly brushing to remove dead hair and skin cells. But for the most part, they do a good job keeping themselves clean and tidy.

Like other breeds, British shorthairs need frequent nail trims and dental care, as well as regular trips to the vets. Be sure to spay or neuter your pet and keep their vaccinations up to date, as instructed by your vet. Check their ears regularly for wax build-up or possible ear mites as well. It’s also important to keep their litter boxes clean so they don’t turn their nose up at it.

Burmese Cats

Burmese Cats

 KEY FACTS

So this is going to differ slightly, depending on where you live. There are, in point of fact, two Burmese cats. Though they originated from the same stock and most cat registries don’t consider them to be genetically different breeds, there are still distinct differences between the American and European Burmese.

The European (sometimes called “traditional”) Burmese is the more slender of the two, with a wedge-shaped head, small, pointed ears, and almond-shaped eyes. Meanwhile, the American (or “contemporary”) Burmese is notably stockier with a wider head, ears that are slightly wider at the base than the European, and with eyes that are much rounder and more expressive.

Regardless of standard, all Burmese cats come with very short, silky coats, traditionally of a single, solid colour.

Lifespan: 10 – 17 years

Height: 22-23cm (9-13 inches)

Weight: 3-6Kg (8-15 pounds)

Energy: Active

Originally, all Burmese were Brown, but throughout the middle of the 20th century, Burmese cats were seen in colours such as fawn, blue, and lilac. Currently, the British standard recognizes solid brown, chocolate, blue, lilac, red, and cream, as well as the tortoiseshell pattern on a base of brown, chocolate, blue, or lilac, while the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s (CFA) standard still recognises the Burmese only in solid sable, blue, champagne (chocolate), and platinum (lilac).

Burmese cats are loving, playful, and highly social. Expressing a number of tendencies that have been described as “dog-like,” Burmese tend to develop strong loyalty bonds with their humans and have been described as a “Velcro cat,” wanting to spend as much time as possible around their people. As such, Burmese aren’t as well suited to isolation as some other breeds, and may develop stress behaviours such as aggressive grooming if left alone for extended periods of time.

Burmese revel in the company of humans, be they seniors, children, or somewhere in between. They also do extremely well in multi-cat households and can even fairly quickly learn to (at very least) tolerate the family dog.

Burmese are very bright cats and enjoy performing for their people. Owners have reported having their Burmese stop in the middle of some spirited play to look back and see if their humans are watching them before continuing. Additionally, they are more heavily disposed to playing games with their people than many other breeds, quickly picking up the nuances of fetch, tag, hide and seek, and other games.

Additionally, if cat shows are your thing, Burmese cats are well recognized for their willingness to be shown. They enjoy being the centre of attention and like performing for a crowd.

One potential caveat for owners: the Burmese is not a quiet cat. True to the Siamese traces in their lineage, the Burmese is always more than happy to talk you through their day, though they have a softer, less intense voice than their Siamese cousins.

The Burmese as we know and love it today can trace its entire lineage back to a single cat: a brown female named Wong Mau who was imported to San Francisco from Burma in 1930. Wong Mau was bred with Tai Mau, a seal point Siamese, then bred back to the males of that litter, and the Burmese breed was off and running.

The CFA recognized the breed in 1936 but, in a rare move, actually suspended the breed’s recognition in 1946 due to extensive outcrossing with Siamese in an effort to increase the breed’s numbers. After breeders were able to report three successive generations of pure Burmese litters, the breed’s recognition was restored in 1954.

Meanwhile, the European Burmese was being developed throughout the 1940s, mostly through crossbreeding Tonkinese, Siamese and a few American Burmese who had been imported. By 1952 the breed had been sufficiently established to gain recognition from the United Kingdom’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, and today most European and Commonwealth countries raise Burmese to the British standard.

Burmese are a fairly healthy breed. European Burmese tend to have a higher propensity of diabetes mellitus than most breeds, and both standards of Burmese can be susceptible to hypokalemia, which is a condition connected to a low potassium level in the blood serum. In many cases, these conditions and several others can be helped through diet.

Their super short coats and relative lack of shedding make the Burmese a breeze to groom. Brushing and bathing should be virtually non-existent, except for a little combing during traditional shedding seasons, but even those times should be fairly light.

While no cat breed is technically hypoallergenic, Burmese are one of the more hypoallergenic breeds you can find, thanks to their clean nature and low amount of shedding, both of which contribute to the cat needing to clean itself less, which reduces the amount of saliva and dander they produce.

Chartreux Cats

Chartreux Cats

 KEY FACTS

Chartreux cats feature short grey coats, sweet, round faces, and glimmering copper-colour eyes. These cats have large, muscular bodies with short, slight limbs, and they’ve been lovingly referred to as a “potato on toothpicks.”

The Chartreux’s solid blue-grey coats are a defining trait of the breed—although kittens can have light tabby markings or spots that go away with age. As these pets grow older, their silky, water-repelling coats also become more woolly in texture. Not a fan of shedding? Be forewarned, Chartreux do leave behind their fair share of loose hairs—especially in the spring.

The Chartreux has been compared in appearance to British shorthairs and Russian blues. Russian blues have more silver-looking hair and more dense and plush coats than the Chartreux, while British shorthairs have wider heads and are generally a larger breed.

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 2-5Kg (6-12 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Blue / Grey

These cool cats are independent and somewhat aloof. They do love you, but they’re smart enough to entertain themselves. Following you from room to room or sleeping in your bed are little ways they show their love without being too intimate. The Chartreux will never demand your affection, but they will always appreciate your attention. They’re also incredibly observant and prefer to watch silently from the side-lines.

In fact, this quiet breed barely makes a peep. When the Chartreux does pipe up, it’s more of a small chirp than a real meow. Chartreux cats appear to use body language at times rather than sounds, giving the impression of a mime. Yet while these stone-cold kitties may seem serious, they can actually be quite silly—and they’re smart enough to know when they’re being funny. Some Chartreux owners swear these cats have a real sense of humour.

These gorgeous grey companions also have super-fast reflexes and are excellent mousers, thanks to their silent and observant nature.

The Chartreux is similar in name to the Carthusian order of monks, from the Valley of Chartreuse in France. Some legends say these French kitties may have been companions to the monks, but there’s no way to know for sure. Perhaps it was the Chartreux’s monk-like silence or soft grey cloaks that inspired the comparison.

Regardless of their relation to the Carthusian brothers, the Chartreux’s existence has been recorded back to the 1700s. These cats were on rat duty in the homes, shops, and stables of France and unfortunately, sometimes prized by furriers for their lush blue-grey coats. This breed ran free in packs until the 1900s, and began being shown in European breed shows around the 1930s.

After World War II, the wild Chartreux was no longer found roaming in groups through France. Luckily, the work of breeders in the early 20th century helped preserve the Chartreux, although the breed remains rather uncommon today.

The Chartreux is generally a healthy pet with an expected lifespan of 12–15 years. That said, these cats are prone to some health problems like urinary tract issues and kidney disease. Responsible breeders will test kittens for genetic health issues, but it’s important to keep regularly scheduled vet appointments and take the advice of your cat’s vet. Health issues can pop up later in life for all cats.

The Chartreux’s short, thick coat is typically easy to care for. Weekly brushing will usually do the trick, but these cats are known to shed more in the spring and require more brushing during that time to help rid them of loose hairs. Bathing needs are infrequent, but when you do give them baths, remember their water-repellent coat needs some work to get fully wet.

Cornish Rex Cats

Cornish Rex Cats

 KEY FACTS

Cornish rex bodies are extremely slender, giving these cats the appearance of being fragile. This is all a ruse, since everything under the skin is hard muscle and bone, making them surprisingly sturdy cats who often weigh considerably more than they would appear.

Their bodies are topped by a smallish, egg-shaped head which carries high cheekbones, large, round eyes, a long nose and giant ears situated at the top of the skull. They have been compared to whippets or greyhounds because of their athletic build and fast movements. The breed also has a tendency to arch their back as they walk, in a similar fashion to those dog breeds as well.

The main hallmark of the Cornish rex is their coat. Indeed, it’s the characteristic that makes the breed. Where most breeds have three different types of hair-the long, outer guard hairs, a middle layer of awn hair, and the undercoat of down-Cornish rex cats only have the third, giving them a soft, wavy appearance.

Looking a bit like cut velvet or lambswool, the down coat of the Cornish rex is incredibly soft and has been described by owners as feeling completely unlike anything else.

Lifespan: 11 – 15 years

Height: 20-30cm (8-12 inches)

Weight: 2-4Kg (6-10 pounds)

Energy: High

Cornish Rex are now bred in all colours and pattern combinations from pointed to self coloureds and tabbies with and without white, including the more recently introduced cinnamon, fawn and caramel.  

The Cornish rex is an incredibly curious, bright, high-energy breed. The majority of the instances when a Cornish rex doesn’t work out with an owner occur because the owner is not fully prepared for how active these cats can be.

True explorers, the Cornish rex will find her way up into places you previously thought to be inaccessible. Cat-proofing your home is going to be a necessity to keep the rex out of places you don’t want her to go-like the food cupboard.

As one might expect from a cat with a seemingly tireless motor and a strong, athletic body, the Cornish rex can be a voracious eater. Many owners will keep food constantly stocked and allow the rex to free feed, as the breed is active enough to burn off calories almost as fast as they take them in, and there are no common issues with weight gain.

One of the drawbacks to their soft, short coats, is that the breed does not do well in colder settings (although did you really need a reason to buy more cat shirts?). For this reason, when they DO settle down, they’re always going to try and find the warmest place in the room to sit, be it your laptop, your shoulders, or the nearest vent grate. People who like their living quarters to be on the cooler side, or those who live in colder climates, may want to look elsewhere. On the flip side of that coin, because their coats don’t have the layers that other cats do, the Cornish rex doesn’t have a lot of protection from direct sunlight, which can lead to sunburn if exposure is prolonged. These little guys are definitely indoor cats.

Cornish rex is a breed that is extremely social that does well with other animals and is a bit of a velcro cat that will stick herself by your side as you move around the home. Although, she also can play independently, meaning that she can do well on her own for extended periods if she’s made use to it at an early age.

Be they dogs or cats, for most breeds it can be difficult to pin down a breed origin. While in most cases a country of origin and perhaps a century are about as close as you can get, the Cornish rex has an actual birthday: July 21, 1950.

That was the day that Serena, a tortoise shell cat on a farm in Cornwall, England, gave birth to a litter of kittens that included one male kitten who was cream-colored and covered in tight, soft curls. As he grew, that kitten (eventually named Kallibunker) became even more dramatically different from his littermates with a slender body, long, thin legs, huge bat ears, and a whippy tail.

Farm owner Nina Ennismore took Kallibunker to the vet for an examination and neutering but was discouraged against the latter by her vet, who identified Kallibunker as a wholly unique genetic mutation. Instead, Ennismore took him home, bred him back to his mother and two more of the little mutants were born in Serena’s following litter. The Cornish rex was off and running.

In 1957, two Cornish rexes were imported to the US and breeding began here in earnest. It was a good thing because Ennismore was having financial problems that resulted in her having a number of her own cats, including Kallibunker and Serena put to sleep. She left herself with two breeding males, which was reduced to one in 1958 when one of her males was taken to the vet and accidentally castrated. Every Cornish rex alive today can trace their lineage directly back to either Nina Ennismore’s lone surviving UK male, or one of those original two US males.

In 1960, Beryl Cox of Devonshire, England, found a stray cat with a small, round face and short, curly coat. Originally thought to be another Cornish rex, attempts were made to breed that cat (named Kirlee) with other Cornish rex cats, but the litters produced straight-haired kittens. Kirlee was found to possess a similar but distinct gene mutation, which became the foundation for the Devon rex breed. While the two look very similar, and were, in fact, shown together for a number of years, they are genetically distinct and cross breeding them is discouraged. 

Cornish rex cats are rock solid. An extremely long-lived cat (15 years is the norm, but 20 years is a not uncommon mark), the breed has virtually no hereditary or genetic health problems. The only issue that the breed is prone to is hair loss which, while non-life threatening, can be severe enough to render some cats almost completely hairless.

While being free of any breed-specific health concerns, Cornish rex cats are prone to many of the same general maladies that can befall virtually every cat breed.

These cats require extremely little in the way of regular care. Their short, curly coats are about as low-maintenance as you can get, while still having hair. Using a rubber brush once a week or so can help remove any dead hair, but care should be taken not to brush too hard or too vigorously. That can lead to skin damage or hair loss.

Devon Rex Cats

Devon Rex Cats

 KEY FACTS

The Devon rex has an elven, almost alien-like appearance. They’re a medium-size cat. Their large ears, big eyes, high cheekbones, long neck, and slender body are some of the breed’s most obvious traits—aside from their wavy coats, of course.

These curly cuties have fine, dense, and wavy coats of hair. Their coats are short all over, but especially short and less dense near the head, ears, neck, paws, chest, and abdomen.

This breed isn’t technically hypoallergenic, but their wavy coat tends to be less triggering to allergies. This isn’t to say the Devon rex doesn’t shed—they do, but their waved hair does help to lessen the amount of loose hairs left behind on furniture and fabric.

The Devon rex is often compared to the Cornish rex, and they have similar looks, though the curly coats they have in common are caused by different genes. The Cornish rex also tends to have a somewhat longer coat.

Lifespan: 9 – 15 years

Height: 25-30cm (10-12 inches)

Weight: 2-4Kg (6-9 pounds)

Energy: High

Their coats come in nearly every available colour, including black, blue, chocolate, cinnamon, lilac, and white. Devon rex cats can also have tortoise shell, calico, tabby, pointed, and shaded patterns amongst others.

Devon rex cats are intelligent, friendly, and outgoing. These super sociable animals are great with kids and love to be around pets and other people. They’re not aggressive and prefer to walk away rather than engaging in being rough with playmates. Cuddling and goofing around with her pet parents is a Devon rex’s favourite thing to do.

The highly active Devon rex is clownish in character and loves to entertain her people, sometimes to the point of being demanding—this breed isn’t afraid to do what it takes to get your attention. These cats also remain playful into old age, retaining a kittenish energy well into their senior years.

Although her personality can be a bit demanding, the Devon rex isn’t a particularly loud cat. They’re not totally silent, however, and will give a little meow here and there to communicate with you.

These cats love to climb and will use their fifth toes to hold things and help them scale furniture and cat trees.

This unique breed began in the 1950s, when a wavy-coated kitten was born in Buckfastleigh, a town in Devon, England. The owner of the kitten was a woman named Beryl Cox, who also owned the stray tortie mother. The father of this eye-catching breed was a local feral cat with a curly coat.

Cox named the kitten Kirlee. Because she knew of the effort to preserve the already discovered Cornish rex cat’s curly-coated gene, Cox reached out to the conservation program offering Kirlee to help preserve the breed. During this process, it was discovered that Kirlee actually had a different wavy-haired gene than the Cornish rex—and the Devon rex was discovered.

All Devon rex cats today can have their genealogy traced back to Kirlee, who died in the ‘70s.

Devon rex cats have a lifespan of 9–15 years and are typically healthy pets. The breed’s greatest health risks include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), dislocating joints, hereditary myopathy (a muscle condition) and hereditary baldness. Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it’s important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

Prioritize your Devon rex cat’s health by scheduling frequent vet visits and taking the advice of your cat’s vet.

Caring for a Devon rex is fairly simple. They require a little more care than some cat breeds, but nothing overwhelming in the way of grooming. Their short coats can get greasy easily, so your Devon rex will need regular bathing with a mild pet shampoo and warm water. You’ll also need to do periodic nail trimming and ear cleaning.

Egyptian Mau Cats

Egyptian Mau Cats

 KEY FACTS

Much like the ocicat, the Egyptian Mau cats are noteworthy for their spotted coats. Unlike the ocicat, however, the Mau wasn’t created by a breeder. Instead, the Egyptian Mau came about its spots naturally.

These long, lean, muscular cats have a true athlete’s build. Their hind legs are slightly longer than their front legs, giving them the appearance of standing on tiptoes when they’re standing straight up. Those long hind legs, coupled with an additional flap of skin that runs from their flank to their back knees, make them incredible jumpers and the fastest of the domestic cat breeds.

In lieu of traditional tabby markings, the Mau is blessed with those famous spots as well as a dark dorsal stripe running from the top of his head to the tip of his tail.

Their heads are slightly oblong and traditionally feature either a “scarab beetle” marking on their forehead or an “M” shape—the latter is more common among North American Maus. Their ears are broad based and set fairly wide apart, and their slightly almond-shape eyes are a stunning bright green.

Lifespan: 9 – 13 years

Height: 17-27cm (7-11 inches)

Weight: 3-5Kg (8-12 pounds)

Energy: Active

Mau coats come in six colours: silver, bronze, smoke, black, caramel, and blue/pewter, with the last three being the rarest.

The Egyptian Mau is a regal, intelligent cat. They are very loyal to their people, often choosing to bond most strongly with one particular person, but being affectionate and loving with everyone in their family unit. They can be a little standoffish to strangers at first, but will usually warm up quickly.

They enjoy being above the action, surveying things from height. So if they aren’t provided with a high cat perch somewhere, they’re likely to make their own on top of a refrigerator or bookshelf.

Egyptian Maus get along well with other cats and are independent enough to do well on their own if you need to be out of the house for extended periods of time. They enjoy playing with toys and may become protective of their favourites, so care should be taken when they’re playing with children.

Maus, while not overly vocal, tend to talk in a stunning variety of ways. Meows, chirps, whistles, and chortles are all common Egyptian mau vocalizations.

Maus also have a peculiar act when they are excited. Colloquially referred to as “wiggle tale,” they shake their extended tails in a way that resembles spraying or marking territory, though—rest assured—not a drop is being expelled.

Genetic analysis points to the mau being a long-standing Egyptian breed. Much of the ancient Egyptian artwork featuring spotted cats is thought to portray ancestors of today’s Egyptian mau. While it’s impossible to pinpoint where the Egyptian mau came from—theories postulate everywhere from the Nile basin to western Europe—there’s no denying that cats strongly resembling the mau have been depicted in art for at least 3,000 years.

The cat first came to more widespread attention when exiled Russian princess Nathalie Troubetskoy brought three Egyptian maus with her, first to Italy, then to New York City in 1956. From there, the breed’s international reputation grew steadily and Egyptian Maus were carefully outcrossed with Maine coons and Abyssinians to help the breed with temperament issues and to bolster their overall health and hardiness.

While Egyptian Maus continue to be popular among show owners and breeders because of their beauty and grace, they remain a rare breed.

The crossbreeding done with the Egyptian mau since the 1950s has done a great job of pushing most common cat ailments to the background. While still prone to things like patellar luxation or periodontal disease as they age, none of them are high-percentage concerns for this breed.

The breed is also more sensitive to anaesthesia than most, so care should be taken to make your vet aware before any procedures like surgery or dental cleanings that require sedation.

Egyptian Maus shed enough to be excluded from the “hypoallergenic” list, but they are also fastidious enough that you don’t have to do much in the way of grooming. They are a breed that enjoys being brushed, however. So doing this once or twice a week is a good way to both stay on top of their shedding and orchestrate some special bonding time.

Exotic Shorthair Cats

Exotic Shorthair Cats

 KEY FACTS

Exotic shorthair cats are a medium-sized breed with beautiful round heads, eyes, and bodies. Exotic shorthairs are a quiet and curious breed that is a bit more active than their long-haired cousins.

You won’t have to turn your living room into a kitty hair salon when you own one of these cats. Although they are close cousins to Persian cats, exotic shorthairs are noted for their plush, dense coats. Yet, they have the same flat faces and round heads as Persians do.

Exotic shorthairs are available in a wide range of colours and patterns.

Their eyes can be blue, blue-green, or copper, depending on the animal’s coat colour. Like Persians, exotic shorthair cats have a short, solid appearance with large paws and short, thick tails.

Lifespan: 8 – 15 years

Height: 25-30cm (10-12 inches)

Weight: 4-5Kg (10-12 pounds)

Energy: Moderate

White, red, cream, black, blue, chocolate, lilac, silver, golden, tortoiseshell, blue-cream, brown, calico, and seal.

Exotic Shorthairs also appear in a variety of patterns, including tortoiseshell, bicolour, tricolour, tabby, smoke, shaded, and Himalayan (a light coloured body with darker points, and blue eyes).

Living with an exotic shorthair is a real joy. These warm, loving felines make an easy-to-please pet that’s fun to be around.

Exotic shorthairs are active and love a good game of “chase the ball.” But when the activities end, they’re equally content to join you on the couch for movie night.

Exotic shorthairs are quiet cats with soft voices they use only when they need to (like at dinner time).

With early training, exotic shorthairs are fine sharing their space with other cats or dogs. They are a loyal breed that may lavish all its attention on its family and turn up its nose if a stranger stops by. The exotic shorthair’s personality makes them especially good pets for families with older children and seniors.

The exotic shorthair is a relatively new breed, developed in the 1950s by crossing Persian cats with American shorthairs as well as some Russian blue and Burmese animals. The goal was to create a silver-coated American Shorthair cat that resembled a Persian.

By the mid-60s, breeder Jane Martinke saw the potential of the new breed and petitioned the American Cat Fanciers’ Association to recognize it in1967. The International Cat Association did the same in 1979.

As more Persian cats were used to create the breed, additional coat colours began to appear, such as tabby and orange exotic shorthairs. This type of cat is now one of the most popular breeds of short-haired cats in the world.

Overall, exotic shorthairs are a healthy breed, but because they share so much of their DNA with Persian cats, they can have some of the same medical issues. These include heart disease or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Most of these problems can be avoided to some extent by purchasing your kitten from a reputable breeder.

Like Persian cats, exotic shorthairs can also suffer severe breathing issues due to their flat noses. This is especially a problem in cats that have been exclusively bred to have super flat faces. It’s important to talk to the breeder before buying a kitten to make sure your new kitten will be able to breathe normally through its life. Obesity can also be an issue with exotic shorthairs, which is why it’s important to keep track of your cat’s diet.

Exotic shorthairs also need to be spayed and neutered, kept indoors at all times, and given regular dental and nail care. The typical exotic shorthair lifespan is about 15 years.

Keeping your exotic shorthair in top form is easy. Their short, dense coats only require a weekly brushing to remove dirt and shedding hair. Recommendations:

A dematting comb (also called a shedding comb) with wide teeth of varied length to remove undercoat.

A slicker brush, which is a wide bristled brush that removes dirt and dander.

A flea comb or FURminator which strips away the flyaway hairs.

Start out grooming when they are kittens. Pleasure brushing teaches a cat to learn to love grooming. Plus, since they like to spend a lot of time in your lap, you can brush them as you watch TV. You also should wipe their faces regularly to minimize staining from the build-up of tears.

Korat Cats

Korat Cats

 KEY FACTS

Korats come in just one colour: a beautiful blue with silver-tipped fur that gives them a shimmery, halo-like appearance. They are a small-to-medium breed with a low amount of body fat, large, forward-facing ears and round, beautiful, peridot green eyes.

 

The Korat is sometimes referred to as “the cat with five hearts” because, in addition to the one beating in their chests, their heads create a distinctive, valentine’s heart shape when viewed from the front, as well as from the top. Their noses are also heart-shaped, with a fourth heart shape being recognizable in the musculature in their chests, right between their front shoulders.

Lifespan: 10 – 15 years

Height: 22-33cm (9-13 inches)

Weight: 2-4Kg (6-10 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Blue

A deeply intelligent cat, the Korat is also a very thoughtful family member. Korats are more laidback than most cats. They’ll find time to play and be active, but they’re every bit as happy to cuddle in their owner’s lap.

 

They form deep bonds with their families, most strongly with the person or two that they spend the most time with. They can be skittish or aloof around strangers, but they will always seek out their family for safety and watch the proceedings from there.

 

Korats can do well in multi-family homes, but tend to do their best with other Korats. They are a cat who requires a hierarchy system in multi-pet homes and other animals don’t always fall in line with that thinking. However, thanks to their social, laid-back nature, Korats can and do learn to get along with other cats as well as dogs, as long as socialization is handled patiently. Regardless of what kind of other animals are in the house, make sure there are enough toys to go around. The Korat isn’t particularly fond of sharing, and fights can break out over a mutually cherished ball or toy.

 

Because they are so social, the Korat is not a cat who will be happy spending long periods of time alone. If you work from home or have multiple pets, everything should be ok, but a Korat left alone can develop separation anxiety and some destructive behaviours as a result.

The first documented mention of the Korat comes from the “Treatise on Cats”, composed sometime around 1350. The book outlines 17 “good luck cats,” including the Korat. While not greatly detailed, the illustration given in the book depicts a cat that is remarkably similar to the Korat we see today, indicating the breed has changed very little over nearly eight centuries.

Named for the Korat province in Thailand, the Korat is a traditional gift among the Thai people and thought to be a symbol of prosperity for newlyweds. Until the mid-20th century, Korats were never sold, only given as gifts.

As you might expect from a naturally occurring breed that’s nearly 800 years old, the Korat has a pretty clean bill of health. GM1 and GM2 gangliosides can occur in rare instances, but there are tests that can identify it in kittens and it’s not a common condition.

Additionally, because the Korat is so low in body fat, they tend to be more sensitive to anaesthesia; talk to your vet about your Korat’s reaction to the drug before any medical procedures.

Korats don’t need a lot of grooming. Their shimmery coat is a very low-shedding single coat of fur, so brushing them lightly once a week will keep them looking great. Giving some attention each week to their ears and teeth will help keep them healthy in the long run, but that’s going to be about as far as your Korat grooming will ever have to go.

La Perm LaPerm Cats

La Perm Cats

 KEY FACTS

La Perm cats are known for their curly coats, which are typically a blend of soft waves and springy curls, resembling the human perm hairstyle. Most La Perms have tight ringlets of hair near the stomach, neck, and ears and relaxed waves on the rest of the body. Their unique coats are the result of the genetic mutation found in rex breeds, though the LaPerm isn’t actually related to any other rex cat varieties.

Because their breed standard is the result of a mutated gene, this breed’s mixed-texture coats can be short or long and come in every available colour and pattern, including tortoiseshell, tabby, red, calico, or black LaPerm cats. While you would think LaPerm cats shed a lot, this curly cat is usually easy to groom, thanks to their low-shedding and mat-resistant undercoat.

Some claim that LaPerm cats are hypoallergenic, but actually, no cat is truly hypoallergenic. However, because LaPerm cats don’t shed very much at a time, they’re a good breed for potential cat parents with allergies.

These curly cuties are medium-sized cats. La Perms have long legs, large ears, and long, plumed tails. Their almond-shaped eyes can come in any colour and have an alert, lively expression. LaPerm kittens generally take about 2-3 years to reach physical maturity, with female cats maturing slightly slower.

Lifespan: 10 – 15 years

Height: 15-25cm (6-10 inches)

Weight: 3-4Kg (8-10 pounds)

Energy: Active

All

The affectionate, gentle La Perm is definitely a lap cat who loves human attention. This breed will look for any opportunity to join you for a snuggle on the couch, and they’ll purr loudly to express their contentment. These loving kitties will often reach out to touch your face with their paws and nuzzle their head against yours to show love.

When they’re not soaking up your attention, the active La Perm loves to play. They’re curious cats who are incredibly intelligent. They get along with almost any possible playmate, including children, other cats, and dogs.

The La Perm is a mostly quiet breed-and rodents would probably describe them as silent, but deadly. La Perm cats were bred from barn cats, so they have a high prey drive and love a good mouse hunt.

The basis of the breed La Perm is a genetic mutation that appeared in a litter of six kittens born in Oregon in the early 1980s. One of the six kittens was born hairless, with large ears and a tabby pattern in pigment on the skin, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association. At around 2 months old, the kitten started to grow soft, curly hair and was affectionately named “Curly.” The owner of the kittens kept them as barn cats and was unfamiliar with breed types and mutations, so Curly wasn’t immediately recognized as the beginning of a new breed.

It wasn’t until a decade had passed with the unique, bald-then-curly gene showing up in more litters of barn kittens that the farm’s owner started looking for information about the breed. As the owner noticed the curly-haired cats showing up more, she began to isolate, breed and show the cats. Other breeders took notice quickly, and the breed took off. The farm owner and unknowing breeder gave this breed their name-“LaPerm”, a sophisticated-sounding nod to their curly coats, which resemble a perm hairstyle.

LaPerm cats are generally healthy pets and are not especially prone to any genetic diseases or illnesses. This breed has an expected lifespan of 10-15 years.

Responsible breeders will test kittens for genetic health issues, but it’s important to keep regularly scheduled vet appointments and take the advice of your cat’s veterinarian. Health issues can develop later in life and should be routinely monitored for.

Despite their curly (and sometimes long) locks, La Perm cats are actually pretty easy to groom. Weekly combing should be enough to keep their coats free of matting and tangles. Though they rarely shed, La Perm cats can sometimes moult, shedding clumps of hair before growing in a new coat.

LaPerm cats tend to be very active, so you won’t need to do a lot to motivate them to move. Owners should still encourage exercise and play often because LaPerms love to follow the lead of their humans. Interactive cat games are one of this breed’s favourite ways to work off energy.

Because they’re so intelligent, these cats are typically easy to train and love a mental challenge. Training for simple tasks like using a litter box or a scratching post should be a breeze. Once they’ve mastered the basics, they’re happy to learn more challenging tricks.

Socialization should be simple with this easy-going breed. LaPerm cats introduced to people and pets early are usually easy to get along with and welcoming of unfamiliar faces.

The La Perm should be fed a diet of high-quality cat food recommended by your vet. Though La Perms are incredibly active, you should still monitor your cat’s food intake to prevent obesity.

Lykoi Cats

Lykoi Cats

 KEY FACTS

This werewolf-like cat is generally medium sized with a slender, toned body and wedge-shaped head that features a hairless “mask” of skin around its eyes, nose, muzzle and backs of the ears. Some Lykois are even completely hairless. This often gets them confused with Sphynx cats, though the two share no genetic connection.

What coat the Lykoi does have is fine, short and has a coarse appearance, despite being relatively soft. Black roan Lykoi cats are the standard colour, with a slightly silvery appearance. The Lykoi has no undercoat, leaving him with just the thin top hairs. Their eyes are nearly round and amber or green in colour.

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Height: 20-25cm (8-10 inches)

Weight: 2-5Kg (6-12 pounds)

Energy: Active

Black roan

This breed is an affable, easy-going cat. The Lykoi cat’s personality allows it to get along well with humans, cats, and dogs with equal ease. Lykoi cat behaviour is generally pretty playful, but they also wander off on their own for periods of time.

They’re open to strangers, but may remain somewhat aloof, as they prefer the company of their regular human companions and may stick to them when company is over.

The mutation that gives the Lykoi its distinct coat and appearance has been a randomly occurring phenomena in feral cats for years. In 2011, breeders Patti Thomas and Johnny Gobble founded the breed, producing the first litter of werewolf-kittens.

According to The International Cat Association (TICA), the breeders matched a pair of unrelated Lykois to prove the breed specifically came from the cats’ genes. Some Lykoi cats are still born to feral cat colonies.

TICA granted the Lykoi registration status in 2012. TICA has additionally approved the breed for championship status.

The name Lykoi is a variation of the Greek word for wolf, Lycos.

The Lykoi is such a new breed, it’s really still too early to have a good grasp on their genetic makeup and potential issues. Getting them checked for all of your standard cat issues, including Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) and heart issues is your best bet. From there, engage in a healthy dialog with your vet about how your Lykoi is aging and keep an eye out for any potential issues at home.

They are fairly regular shedders and, a couple times a year, Lykois can shed their entire coat, before growing it back for the next season. Brushing two to three times a week will keep you ahead of most of the regular shedding, but the cats will also need bathing once a month or so to keep their exposed skin clean and free of oil build-up.

Maine Coon Cats

Maine Coon Cats

 KEY FACTS

The Maine coon is the largest domestic cat breed, and largeness is certainly one of its defining physical characteristics. The size of a typical Maine coon comes in at 25-40cm tall and up to an impressive 100cm in length. These sturdily built felines usually weigh 3-8kg and have muscular bodies with wide chests and solid legs.

As if their big-boned build wasn’t enough, the ample fur in the Main coone’s coat makes these majestic animals look even bigger. Their long coat is silky and smooth and grows shorter near the shoulders. Maine coons come in a variety of colours and patterns. You can find solid white, cream, red, blue, and black Maine coons, as well as tabby, bi-colour, particolour, tortoiseshell, shaded, and calico Maine coons.

Other defining physical features are large pointed ears often topped with wisps of hair, expressive oval-shaped eyes, and a long, bushy tail.

Lifespan: 10 – 13 years

Height: 25-40cm (10-16 inches)

Weight: 3-8Kg (8-18 pounds)

Energy: Active

Black, blue, red, crème, black tortie, blue tortie, silver, white, golden

Pattern: Van, Harlequin, Bicolour, Shaded, Agouti (unspecified tabby pattern), blotched tabby (classic tabby), mackerel tabby, spotted tabby, ticked tabby

Don’t let their imposing size fool you-deep down, Maine coons are soft, gentle giants who love to spend time with their humans. They very much expect to be part of the family and aren’t big on personal space or privacy. These cats are delighted at the thought of following you from room to room as you go about your day.

Though Maine coons are definitely affectionate and social, they’re not usually lap cats. This breed typically prefers to hang out beside you rather than on top of you-which can be a good thing, considering their size.

Maine coons are incredibly intelligent, fun-loving, and will keep their kittenish playfulness well into old age. The Maine Coon Cat Club calls them the “clowns of the cat world.” They’re not an aggressive breed, and will tolerate being picked up, held, and cuddled. These animals are friendly, kind, and patient with children.

Most experts speculate that the Maine coon is descended from foreign long-haired cats brought ashore by early American explorers in Maine. Those ship cats then mated with the native short-haired breeds, creating the U.S.’s only native long-haired cat. There are multiple theories as to how the Maine coon got its name, including one that traces the breed’s ancestors to a sailor named Charles Coon and another that links the name to the cat’s bushy tail, which resembles that of a raccoon.

The New England native breed enjoyed some popularity in 19th century cat shows but was later overshadowed by more exotic breeds until a resurgence in popularity in the 1950s. Because the Maine coon breed was left to develop naturally from the 1800s to the middle of the 20th century, it’s typically a strong and healthy breed. The modern Maine coon retains many of the characteristics of the breed’s earliest form-from the cold-weather tolerant coats that helped them survive harsh New England winters to the high prey drive that makes these sweet house cats excellent mousers

Maine coons have a lifespan of 10-13 years and are typically healthy pets. But, as with all breeds, there are some health issues to be aware of.

Maine coons can develop joint disease such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. They are also predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and dental disease can be quite common in this breed.

Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it’s important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

Your Maine coon will need regular, dedicated grooming and will require anywhere from weekly to monthly bathing. Their long coats are usually silky smooth, but when they start to look greasy or stringy, it’s time for a bath. They also require weekly brushing to keep their long hair and undercoat from getting tangled and matted. These cats do shed quite a bit, and regular brushing will also help get rid of loose hairs. Don’t worry-the Maine coon loves any sort of attention it can get, so grooming is usually a pleasant task.

Manx Cats

Manx Cats

 KEY FACTS

The Manx head is round; their eyes are round; their ears have a rounded shape, and their hind legs are noticeably longer than their front, so their rumps rest above their front shoulders, giving them a rounded shape when they stand or move.

The Manx has been described as “rabbit-like” in its movements and general appearance. This cat breed often walks by moving both hind legs in unison, giving it a kind of bunny-hopping gait.

Manx fur is thick and double-coated, making them healthy shedders, but also highly tolerant of colder weather and water.

Though known to be short-haired, long-haired cats of the same genetic makeup do exist. How they are treated is a matter of some debate. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) says the Manx can be both long- or short-haired, but exhibits them all as short hairs, regardless of actual coat length. Other governing bodies in Europe and Asia list the long-haired cats as a separate breed, called the Cymric.

The Manx’s lack of tail is the result of a naturally occurring genetic mutation. This, coupled with the Isle of Man’s small size and geographic isolation, allowed the dominant-gene trait to run rampant among the Isle’s cat population.

Despite their reputation for taillessness, Manx cats can actually manifest in one of five categories:

Rumpy (or rumpie): These cats have no tail at all, though a tuft of hair where the tail would have grown is not uncommon.

Riser or rumpy riser: Cats that have a bump of cartilage under the fur. When the cat is happy or their rumps are petted, this bump will often rise.

Stumpy (stumpie): Cats that are born with a partial tail of vestigial, fused vertebrae, usually around an inch in length.

Stubby (stubbie), shorty, or short-tailed: A Manx with a short tail of non-fused bones, up to about half an average cat tail. Aside from their length, these tails can move and operate exactly like a regular tail.

Longy (longie) or taily (tailie): Manx with a half to normal-length tail.

In competition, only rumpies to stumpies are eligible to show under the Manx category. In the CFA, Stubbies and longies are still eligible to show, but under the “any other” category. They are both, however, important in breeding stock, as mating two rumpies together can cause health problems. 

Lifespan: 9 – 13 years

Height: 17-27cm (7-11 inches)

Weight: 3-5Kg (8-12 pounds)

Energy: Active

Manx cats have been found in virtually every colour and pattern combination, with all-white or colour-pointed Manx being the rarest, and orange, tabby, and tortoiseshell being the most common.

The Manx is a sweet-tempered, easy-going cat. While possessing a strong independent streak, they are loyal to their family units, often following their favourite humans around the house. They can be wary of strangers and may not always take to children.

Manx are renowned hunters, having been used commonly as ratters on ships of all sizes and prized by farmers for their prey drive and ability to hunt larger prey like rats and voles.

The Manx will get along well with other cats, especially if properly socialized as kittens. Dogs can be a tough sell, but your mileage may vary, depending on individual personalities.

The Manx has existed for centuries on the Isle of Man. While their exact origin is a matter of some debate, they were almost certainly created when a cat with a spontaneous short-tailed mutation was introduced to the island, most likely by either Nordic or Spanish sailors. Due to the island’s small size and relative isolation from the mainland, combined with the mutation’s high degree of penetration, the Manx gene became the dominant trait among the island’s cat population.

The Manx is not the only short-tailed cat in the world, nor are all non-tailed cats automatically Manx. Breeds like the Japanese bobtail are thought to have been created in a similar fashion (genetic mutation meets geographic isolation) but developed independently. Visually comparing a Manx with one of these other tailless breeds shows several physical differences that make the Manx immediately recognizable.

Manx have existed for at least three centuries, having been first recorded in 1807 and written about as a well-established breed.

By and large, the Manx is a fairly healthy breed. However, there are issues tied specifically to its taillessness that should be kept in mind.

For starters, some partial tails are prone to a form of arthritis that can result in severe pain. Similarly, Manx-bred kittens are, in rare cases, born with kinked short tails because of incomplete growth of the tail during development.

“Manx syndrome” or “Manxness” is a colloquial name for a condition that results when the tailless gene shortens the spine too much. This can result in seriously damaged spinal cord nerves, causing a form of spina bifida, as well as problems with the bowels, bladder, and digestion. One indication of the disease is an overly small bladder, which can often be difficult to diagnose. The condition is a virtual certainty to result in sudden, premature death. Some Manx with the condition live for only 3–4 years, while the oldest recorded was 5 years when affected with the disease.

Such problems can be avoided by breeding rumpy Manx with stumpies, and this breeding practice is responsible for a decline in spinal problems among modern, professionally bred Manx.

The breed is also predisposed to intertrigo in their rump-folds, and to corneal dystrophy, neither of which are fatal, but both can cause complications and discomfort.

Finally, some tailless cats such as the Manx may develop megacolon, which is a recurring condition causing constipation that can be life-threatening to the cat if not properly monitored.

The Manx’s double coat tends to require fairly constant care. Brushing daily is the most effective way of keeping loose hair to a minimum and keeping coats looking smooth and free of tangles. Expect the shedding seasons to be especially fun, as both coats drop a bit of mass.

Nebelung Cats

Nebelung Cats

 KEY FACTS

Nebelungs have long, graceful necks and torsos, with a modified wedge-shaped head and medium-sized ears. Their almond-shaped eyes are almost always a vivid green, though some examples of yellow-green eyes exist as well.

The Nebelung’s coat is medium-long and very soft. Coming in a single colour, blue, the coat is usually silver-tipped, especially around the head and neck, giving them a slightly shimmery appearance. Nebelungs have a thicker tuft of hair ringing their necks, which is more pronounced in males. The fur on their tails is longer than that on their bodies, and males and females both have tufted fur between their toes.

Lifespan: 11 – 18 years

Height: 22-33cm (9-13 inches)

Weight: 3-6Kg (7-15 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Blue

The Nebelung can be an excellent pet for seniors, thanks in large part to their relatively subdued, easy-going personalities. They are quite capable of entertaining themselves and will engage in play throughout the day, but these are cats that are more than happy to sit quietly near their favourite humans or on an available lap.

Nebelungs are not highly social cats, and visitors to the house may not ever see them, depending on how they’re feeling on a given day, but they bond strongly with their family units and are happy to follow their human companions around the house or even ride on a shoulder as you walk.

They do best with adults and older humans and will tend to shy away from smaller children. Similarly, Nebelungs get along well with other cats, particularly other reserved breeds, but dogs will be a harder sell and will require more patient introduction and socialization.

The Nebelung is a breed that thrives on routine. They appreciate having things in the same place, at the same time each day, particularly feedings. Any changes to their environment or living situation can cause some short-term stress as they take their time to adapt.

Because of their quiet nature, the breed does well on their own, if living in a single pet household or left on their own for extended periods of time. Separation anxiety is rarely an issue for Nebelungs, especially if their mealtime structure is adhered to and they have ready access to favourite toys and the litter box.

In 1984, a long-haired blue kitten was born in a litter raised by breeder Cora Cobb of Colorado. The litter parents were a female domestic shorthair and a male long-hair that resembled a black Angora. The kitten, named Siegfried, was the only blue longhair in the litter. The following year, that same pairing produced a second blue longhair: a female Cobb named Brunhilde. It was those two kittens who became the basis for the Nebelung breed.

With a breed standard that was originally written with the Russian blue in mind, Cobb set out to create a breed that had a similar coat.

Because the Nebelung is such a new, rare breed, little is known about potential breed-specific health concerns. They have shown a propensity for obesity as they age, so keeping track of their calorie intake and being judicious with treats will be important. Otherwise, keeping an eye out for common feline issues like Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), as well as kidney and heart disease, will be the safest course of action as these cats age.

The Nebelung’s longer coat will require fairly frequent brushings, probably two to three times a week, to stay looking neat and clean. They are fairly regular shedders, so folks with dander allergies are going to opt for a different breed.

Norwegian Forest Cats

Norwegian Forest Cats

 KEY FACTS

Norwegian forest cats are athletic, muscular cats with large bodies. These cats typically weigh between 5 and 7 kg —with males typically being larger than females—and have a long, bushy tail and full coat of fur that makes them appear even larger.

Their long coats are shiny and water-resistant, adapted for the harsh Norwegian winters. Wegies have a dense undercoat to help keep them warm—this means they require regular brushing and upkeep. Their coats do shed—in fact, the winter undercoat will moult in the spring. Because of their high-shedding coat, the Norwegian forest cat is not considered hypoallergenic, though some owners with allergies do find they have fewer allergic reactions to this breed.

Wegies are often compared in appearance to the Maine coon, but Norwegian forest cats are slightly smaller with a more slender frame. Norwegian forest cats also have almond-shaped eyes, whereas the Maine coon has rounder eyes.

Lifespan: 14 – 16 years

Height: 22-30cm (9-12 inches)

Weight: 5-7Kg (12-16 pounds)

Energy: Active

The Norwegian forest cat coat comes in an array of colours and patterns. Coat colours include white, black, blue, red, cream, silver, and golden. This fluffy cat’s coat can also have solid, bicolour, tortoiseshell, calico, and tabby fur patterns. Their eyes are shades of green, gold, or copper—or sometimes a combination of the three.

This breed is typically described as friendly, calm, and gentle. Norwegian forest cats are adaptable to different families and lifestyles and are generally good with children and other animals.

These cats are intelligent and alert and love human connection and affection. Though they crave attention, they’re undemanding and prefer to let you come to them. In keeping with their undemanding nature, Wegies are a quiet breed and don’t meow a lot.

The Norwegian forest cat personality is extremely family-oriented. They’re playful, sweet, and generally accepting of their surroundings. This outgoing breed wants to be friends with everybody and loves to cuddle, but they’re not really lap cats. Wegies prefer to lay beside you, especially during warm weather when these winterized cats need space to cool off.

The Norwegian forest cat is a natural breed, meaning it’s not a mix of others. Some experts even speculate the Norwegian forest cat has been around for centuries. Norse oral histories tell of large, long-haired cats adept at climbing, and these kitties certainly fit the bill. Because the dates are estimated through oral histories, it’s hard to confirm exact time frames—but if the tales are true, it’s possible the Norwegian forest cat has been around for thousands of years.

It’s possible early Wegies were the companions of Vikings and were used on their ships to keep rodents at bay. There is also a theory the Norwegian forest cat may be any early ancestor of the Maine coon, and Wegies could have been first introduced to North America from the ships of early Viking explorers like Leif Erickson.

It wasn’t until the 1930s the Norwegian forest cat was first introduced as consideration for a breed—but they came close to extinction in the 1940s. After Wegie fans took efforts to protect the breed, they became mainstream in the 1970s.

Norwegian forest cats have a lifespan of 14 to 16 years and are typically healthy pets.

The Norwegian forest cat’s greatest health risks include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), hip dysplasia, and the inherited metabolic condition known as glycogen storage disease type IV. Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it’s important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

Take good care of your Norwegian forest cat’s health by scheduling regular vet visits and taking the advice of your cat’s vet.

Because of their long water-shedding coats and dense undercoats, Norwegian forest cats need a lot of brushing. Brush at least two times a week; you’ll need to brush even more during times of heavy shedding.

Ocicat cat breed

Ocicat Cats

 KEY FACTS

Thanks to their eye-catching coats, ocicats are certainly not hard to … spot. These cats are blessed with brown or gold, thumb-shaped spots all over their torsos. In rare instances, ocicat kittens will manifest with solid colours, pointed coats, or even classic tabby patterns, but by and large, this breed features those unique spots.

Ocicats are well muscled, athletes. The breed is normally a little larger than the typical house cat, with males getting up to 6kg. They have wedge-shaped heads, large oval paws, and triangle-shaped ears set at a 45-degree angle.

Lifespan: 12 – 18 years

Height: 27-30cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 2-6Kg (6-15 pounds)

Energy: Active

Ocicats come in a dozen colour variations: tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lilac, and fawn, plus silver variants of all the above except tawny, and black silver.

The ocicat is highly social and engaging with human companions. While they’re accepting of virtually all family members and strangers, these cats are likely to form particularly strong bonds with one specific person in their households and follow them around the most.

Ocicats can very easily be trained to perform a number of tasks and tricks, such as walking on a lead and coming when their names are called, as well as sit, stay, and fetch. They are smart enough to understand not only meaning but context, so they’ll pick up on your commands and desires relatively quickly.

Ocicats do well in households with other animals including dogs, especially if they’ve been socialized with them as kittens. However, because of their highly social nature, ocicats in single-pet households can develop some separation anxiety if left alone for more than a couple hours at a time.

The ocicat was created by mistake in the midst of a dare.

In 1964, an American named Virginia Daly was challenged by a friend to try and create an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese. Daly took the challenge and succeeded in breeding an Abyssinian and a Siamese for the desired, pointed Siamese result. However, her second litter of this particular hybrid produced a single kitten with unique spots. Since the kitten resembled a wild ocelot, Daly’s daughter dubbed it “Ocicat.”

That first ocicat, named Tonga, was neutered and given as a pet. But when subsequent Aby-pointed Siamese litters continued to produce spotted kittens, Daly began breeding them back to Siamese parents and producing wholly spotted litters. Soon, other breeders began doing the same, and the Ocicat breed officially began.

Ocicats are a fairly healthy breed and have relatively long lifespans. Still, there are some common ailments to be aware of, most notably liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle, is the most common form of heart disease in cats and is seen in some ocicats. An echocardiogram can confirm whether your cat has HCM.

Amyloidosis, meanwhile, is a disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid, an insoluble protein, is deposited in organs such as the kidneys or liver. It results in lesions, dysfunction, and, eventually, organ failure. Pyruvate kinase is a regulatory enzyme in red blood cells, and cats deficient in this enzyme can develop anaemia.

This breed sheds enough to keep it off the “hypoallergenic” list, but a weekly brushing should be all you need to do. Ocicats appreciate being wiped down with a chamois now and again, which has the added benefit of shining up their coats.

Ocicats don’t need baths unless you’re planning on showing them, in which case, opt for a shampoo that enhances their natural coat colours: bronze-tone for brown, chocolate, and cinnamon spotted ocicats; pearl-tone for blue, lilac, and fawn kitties; and a whitening shampoo for silver pets.

Oriental shorthair and longhair cats

Oriental (Shorthair & Longhair)

 KEY FACTS

While the Oriental shorthairs and longhairs are technically a medium-sized cat at 3–5kg, their long, narrow frame gives them a much taller presence—and it also gives a hint about their history.

All Orientals should have green eyes … except for those with white fur. It’s common to see these with deep blue eyes or even odd-eyes.

The Oriental has one of the most unforgettable faces you’ll see. Their wedge-shaped head creates an interesting distribution of facial features, with a long nose, almond eyes, and prominent cheekbones. Large, upright ears reminiscent of a Chihuahua … or Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter.

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 3-5Kg (8-12 pounds)

Energy: Active

Both longhair and shorthair Orientals come in virtually every hue from blue and lilac to black and with patterns including tortoiseshell and smoke. Their coat can be one of more than 300 colours and colour combos, from calico to black and everything in between.

The coat of the shorthair should be sleek and shiny when brushed regularly. That of the longhair should also be sleek with very little or no undercoat, making grooming a breeze. It should also be relatively vertically placed, unlike the Persian or Ragdoll for example.

While a completely hypoallergenic cat isn’t exactly a reality, the Oriental has little of the D-gene Dander and can therefore be a good choice for some allergy sufferers, alleviating sneezing and sniffles.

Up for a chat? An Oriental is always in talkative mood, with an unusual cry that’s commonly referred to as a honk. They talk when they want something, want to know what’s going on, what you’re doing, or where you are.

As you can probably guess, these cats are very social animals. Intelligent and affectionate, Oriental cats love to be around their families and other pets, particularly fellow felines. They’re total “Velcro kitties,” and often act as your second shadow.

With his big eyes and even bigger ears, the intelligent Oriental is always curious and alert.

They’ll get very attached to you, so that even if you walk to any part of your home, they may follow you unconditionally.

While their moderate energy levels don’t make them the kind of lap cat that spends the day watching the world go by, they’ll definitely seek out that lap when the mood hits. These kitties are equal parts snuggly and on-the-go.

While it’s easy to imagine these regal, statuesque cats hanging out with Cleopatra, the Oriental is actually a relatively new breed. They came about in the 1950s, when English breeders began crossing Siamese/Balinese with other house cats (due to the decline of Siamese cats after World War II).

It’s believed that the first Oriental cats can be traced to black hybrids (a solid black cat with both Siamese and non-Siamese ancestry) and Russian blues, according to the CFA Oriental Breed Council. Siamese cats continued to be paired with different breeds, producing so many interesting colours and patterns that each considered their own unique breed. However, there soon became so many unique colours and patterns that the cats were grouped into one single breed: The Oriental.

The Oriental’s lifespan is typically 12–15 years, but some can live well past that milestone. However, as with all breeds, there are some specific health issues to watch out for.

Like the Abyssinian, Siamese, and Balinese breeds, Orientals can be susceptible to Amyloidosis. According to the Oriental Cat Association, this is a serious condition where amyloid (an abnormal protein) forms deposits in tissues and organs. The deposits then lead to organ failure or death. Symptoms tend to develop before a cat is 5 years old, and it’s believed to be an inherited condition. Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any non-invasive or genetic tests to detect amyloidosis.

Another inherited condition that affects Orientals is progressive retinal atrophy, a gradual form of vision loss that results in blindness. Cats who have this condition won’t have any vision problems at birth but will begin showing signs of vision loss at seven months and lose their sight completely between the ages 3–5. Though genetic tests are available, there’s no treatment.

Routine brushing will show off that sleek fur and help ease shedding, which happens year-round. An occasional cat bath or wipe-down also brings out the best in their coats.

Their biggest grooming need isn’t their short fur, but their big ears. You’ll want to do a weekly check for wax and anything unusual. Your veterinarian can walk you through the task of preferred ear cleaning methods, but generally, a few drops of warm water on a cotton ball can be enough to gently swab those bat-like ears clean.

Persian Cat Breed

Persian Cats

 KEY FACTS

There’s no mistaking a Persian cat when you see one. These iconic felines are well-known for their thick fur coats, large eyes, and stocky bodies. But there’s one characteristic that immediately comes to mind when you think about a Persian’s appearance: Their cute faces.

Over the years, two forms of Persian cat have emerged-the show and the traditional, also known as the doll-face. Show Persians (also called “Peke-face,” because they resemble Pekingese dogs) generally have flatter faces, smaller ears, thicker coats, and larger eyes than the traditional. Doll-face Persian cats have less pronounced features and more closely resemble the first recorded images of the breed. But whether your kitty is a Peke-face or doll-face, both share the same sweet demeanour and require daily brushing to keep their long coats from matting.

Lifespan: 10 – 15 years

Height: 25-38cm (10-15 inches)

Weight: 4-5Kg (9-13 pounds)

Energy: Calm

That long, lustrous Persian coat comes in a host of colours, including orange, grey, and cream, and their eyes are typically a brilliant copper, green, hazel, or blue

Persians are as sweet as they are stylish! These quiet, elegant beauties are walking love sponges whose main purpose in life is to adore you and be adored in return.

Persians are happy and curious cats, but they won’t drive you crazy nosing around your home looking for cups of water to knock over. Plus, Persian cats are solidly built, so they’re unlikely to attempt climbing the curtains. You’re most likely to find them napping on the comfiest cushion they can find.

They also get along with everyone, including dogs, as long as they are socialized when young. Persians are energetic enough to enjoy cat toys and games, but don’t need constant entertainment to keep them happy.

No one knows exactly when or where the very first Persian cat turned up, but in the 1600s, these long-haired beauties were being brought to Europe from modern-day Iran, which was then Persia. By the 1800s, they were introduced into Britain, where early versions were exhibited at the Crystal Palace cat show. Queen Victoria took particular interest in the breed and owned several during her lifetime, including one she named White Heather, who remained in Buckingham Palace after the Queen herself had died. The Queen’s attachment to these loving animals helped make them popular with the British public.

Austrian artist Carl Kahler’s painting, “My Wife’s Lovers,” features oil portraits of Persian and Turkish Angora cats. The 6ft by 8.5ft piece of art is reportedly the world’s largest cat painting and sold at auction for more than $820,000.|

Because of their regal bearing and ancient lineage, Persian cats have played starring roles in art, advertising, and photography through the decades. In fact, the largest painting of cats ever sold, titled My Wife’s Lovers, depicted both Persian and Turkish Angora cats. 

The typical Persian lifespan is 10-15 years. As with any breed, Persian cats are susceptible to certain health problems, and they do have a number of potential genetic health issues that potential owners need to be aware of.

Two common ailments in Persian cats include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). PKD is an inherited disorder that causes small, liquid-filled sacs in the kidney tissue that grow and multiply over time, eventually leading to kidney failure. PRA is a genetic eye disease in cats where the cells of the retina deteriorate over time and eventually lead to blindness.

Eye and dental problems are also an issue for Persian cats, according to the American Animal Hospital Association, especially those with flatter faces and short jaws. Regular attention to these areas will keep your cat in better health.

In order for their luxurious coats to stay in top form, Persian cats require daily brushing to prevent tangles and mats. Brushing and combing will also remove excess dirt, dead hair, and even cat litter that might stick to their fur. Bathing is essential to keep your Persian’s coat and skin in good shape. Pro tip: If you start bathing your cat when she’s a kitten, she won’t think twice about being placed in a tub of warm water when she’s an adult. If you’ve adopted an adult Persian, she might not be so willing to take a bath, so you might need to resort to spot cleaning with a warm, moist cloth.

Though they’re known for their laid-back, snuggly personalities, Persian cats still show their playful side-especially in kittenhood. She’ll be happiest when given toys to bat around and scratchers to stretch on.

Some cat breeds require more fuss than others, and a Persian is definitely a more high-maintenance feline. Before deciding to adopt a specific breed, you need to understand the specific care that your preferred cat may need. The ideal Persian cat owner is someone who has the necessary time to spend maintaining their coat. The coat should be brushed daily otherwise their fur gets tangled up. If the fur gets matted, it’s painful for the cat.

Excessive tears can also be an issue, particularly for those cats with a flatter face, so wipe your cat’s big eyes daily to prevent staining. And, like other cat breeds, Persians require regular dental care, nail trims, and visits to your veterinarian for vaccinations and health examinations. And don’t forget to keep your cat’s litter box clean-Persians can be picky and may refuse to use it if it doesn’t meet their expectations.

Krieger stresses doing research on any breed before bringing it into your home. Before you adopt, “new cat owners should understand everything that goes along with having a cat,” she says. 

Ragamuffin cat breeds

Ragamuffin Cats

 KEY FACTS

Everything about the ragamuffin gives off a feeling of substance. With a squarish, muscled body and medium-long to long hair that tends to be voluminous, the ragamuffin is a soft, luxurious fellow.

The breed is extremely slow to mature, not reaching full size until age 4 or 5. Once they get there, female ragamuffins weigh about 5kg while male cats weigh 9kg. Their heads are a modified wedge, featuring smallish, pointed ears and very large, round eyes that come in either blue or green shades.

The fur is rabbit-soft and very light, giving them a decadent, blown-out look and feel. Hair tends to be bushier around the neck, giving the impression of a collar or mane, as well as on the tail.

Lifespan: 12 – 16 years

Height: 25-38cm (10-15 inches)

Weight: 4-9Kg (10-20 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Coat colours and patterns are extremely varied, including piebald, tortoiseshell, tabby, solid, bi- and tri- colours. Ragamuffin kittens are born white, with their colour coming in over a period of months.

You just are not going to find a more easy-going cat than the ragamuffin. A perfect family cat, these affable fellows love to sit on your lap, sleep nearby on the couch, and just be in the presence of their human companions. They get along well with other cats, especially other ragamuffins, and cat-friendly dogs aren’t that tough of a sell either.

But where the breed truly excels is in their attitudes towards children. Despite being fairly calm cats, they do have the energy and playfulness to chase a ball or laser pointer around, and they are so easy going they tolerate being picked up and carried, attending tea parties, and being pushed in strollers. They also have a breed tendency to go limp in a person’s arms while being carried; the origin of the “rag” portion of their names.

They are also excellent companions for seniors or people with mobility problems, because they are such undemanding cats. They are happy to get their exercise through playing on their own and are otherwise perfectly content being lap cats.

The ragamuffin breed is an offshoot of the ragdoll and cherubim breeds. Those breeds were created in the 1960s from an un-pedigreed, common origin cat named Josephine, who was most likely some mix of Angora, Burmese, or Persian stock.

In terms of a ragamuffin cat versus ragdoll, ragamuffins are most noticeably different from ragdolls thanks to their coat. The latter are colour pointed, while the former can appear in every colour and pattern combination. However, colour-pointed ragamuffins, while able to be registered with the CFA, are forbidden from shows due to their similarity to the ragdoll.

The ragamuffin is a pretty hearty breed that can live up to 18 years. Keeping an eye on standard cat issues, like kidney and heart infections, will be important, and watching for arthritis and patellar luxation as they age will be a good idea, as ragamuffin bodies are substantial and can be rough on joints.

Finally, making sure to monitor their diet throughout their lives is a good idea as well. While the breed isn’t particularly prone to obesity, adding even a couple of extra pounds to that beefy frame can cause larger issues down the line. For this reason, food intake should be carefully monitored

The ragamuffin’s coat is long and thick, and they are fairly regular shedders, so there’s going to be a healthy amount of combing in your future. However, their fur seems to be remarkably resistant to matting and tangling, so the brushing should be a fairly quick, effort-free affair. Hitting them with a slicker brush twice a week should be enough for most cats.

Keeping an eye on their ears, eyes, and teeth are important factors as well, as that long hair can create gunk issues in the corners of eyes or in their ear canals, both of which can lead to infection problems.

Ragdoll cat breed

Ragdoll Cats

 KEY FACTS

These beautiful cats are large and muscular with semi-long hair and a soft, silky coat. Ragdolls are a low-shedding breed, but you may notice heavier seasonal shedding in the spring. The lack of an undercoat is to thank for this breed’s low shedding, but they are not hypoallergenic.

These cats stand between 22 and 27cm and are usually 43 to 53cm in length (excluding the tail). They weigh 4-9kg, with male cats typically weighing more.

The three types of ragdoll coats are colourpoint, bicolour, and mitted. Colourpoint coats are darker around the eyes, ears, tail and limbs. Bicolour ragdoll cats are similar in appearance to colourpoint ragdolls, but these cats will have an inverted-V colouring pattern on the face and light belly and limb colour. Mitted ragdolls look like their colourpoint counterparts but have extra light spots near the paws, giving the appearance of mittens.

Lifespan: 13 – 17 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 4-9Kg (10-20 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Ragdoll colours include black, white, grey, blue, cream, lilac, chocolate, seal, and red. This breed is known to have blue eyes, but it is not an exclusive feature of the ragdoll.

This adorable breed is about as docile as cats come. In fact, the name ragdoll comes from their tendency to go limp when picked up. These cats love to be held and will relax in your arms for as long as you’ll let them.

The ragdoll’s personality is smart, gentle, and super affectionate. These kind kitties love and crave human attention, but they’re rarely demanding. Ragdolls are extremely loyal and devoted to their people, making them wonderful companion pets.

When it comes to noise, you might not hear much from these quiet cats. Ragdolls don’t tend to make a ton of noise unless something is bothering them. When they do speak up, they typically make small, sweet noises to let you know they’re hungry or need some love.

Unlike most cats, the ragdoll doesn’t get a kick out of conquering the highest points in the household. These kitties prefer to stay low to the ground but are more than happy to jump up on a sofa or bed to lounge in your lap.

A breeder named Ann Baker developed the ragdoll in the 1960s in California. The ragdoll breeding process involved careful selection for gentle, non-aggressive traits. As time went on, Baker had increasingly eccentric ideas about the ragdoll breed. At one point, she even claimed the breed was the result of medically altered genetics, although that claim is unfounded.

Breeders who were franchised under Baker eventually distanced themselves due to increasing strain with Baker and continued breeding the adorable, docile cats we know and love today.

Ragdoll cats have a lengthy lifespan of 13–17 years and are typically healthy pets.

The ragdoll’s greatest health risks include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and urinary tract issues. Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it’s important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

The ragdoll’s grooming needs are relatively simple. These are very clean animals who take care of most of their own needs, but they might still require bathing every now and then. When you notice his coat looking greasy and stringy, it’s time to put him in the tub.

Your ragdoll will also need other regular pet upkeep like nail trimming and ear cleaning.

Russian Blue Cat breed

Russian Blue Cats

 KEY FACTS

Russian blues are medium-sized cats with plush, dense short coats of hair that stand out from their bodies and make them appear larger. Their soft, silky coats are a dark, charcoal grey shade tipped with light, shimmering silver. Because these cats shed lightly and have lower levels of known feline allergens, many pet owners consider them hypoallergenic.

One of the most interesting aspects of Russian blues’ appearances is their eyes, which change in hue from yellow to green over time. Russian blue kittens are born with light yellow or golden eyes, which turn to yellow with a green ring around four months old, and finally, turn fully bright green in adulthood.

These cats typically weigh 3-5kg and stand around 10 inches high.

Lifespan: 15 – 18 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 3-5Kg (7-12 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Blue / Grey

Russian blues are sweet and loyal cats who love to follow their owners around and greet them at the door when they arrive. These pets are cautious and shy, but incredibly affectionate once they get acquainted. When Russian blues feel confident and comfortable in their new homes, they become playful, loving pets. They typically get along with kids and other animals—and despite their affectionate nature, they are calm and not at all clingy. That said, while these sensitive lap cats enjoy being with their people, they can become aggravated or withdrawn around strangers.

Russian blues can be very vocal, but are generally soft-spoken and will talk in quiet meows to let you know they need food, water, or attention. This breed is super smart, independent, active, and energetic. Russian blues are also good hunters who love to play, but they get calmer with age.

Russian blues hail from Russia. Some experts speculate that they are a natural breed that developed in the Archangel Isles in Northern Russia, and their signature thick coats were to protect them from those harsh winters.

It’s said the Russian blue cat was a favourite of Russian Czars of the past, and today’s breed is a descendant of those long-ago royal cats.

Russian blues were first exhibited in 1875, and were imported to the UK in the early 20th century. In the 1960s, the Russian blue began picking up in popularity, becoming the popular housecat known and loved today.

Russian blues have a lifespan of 15–18 years. These cats are generally healthy animals, thanks in large part to the fact that they are a naturally occurring breed.

This breed loves to eat and may struggle with obesity. They can develop progressive retinal atrophy (or PRA), which is a degenerative deterioration of the retina or vision centre of the eye. Additionally, they can develop polycystic kidney disease (or PKD), in which the kidneys become full of fluid-filled spaces, obstructing them from working.

Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in kittens, but it’s important to have them screened often into adulthood. Prioritize regular veterinarian visits for your Russian blue and take the advice of your cat’s vet.

Grooming needs for the Russian blue are pretty low maintenance. These cats require few baths and only weekly brushing to help rid them of loose shed hairs. Regular nail trimming, eye, and ear cleaning are necessary as well.

Selkirk Cats

Selkirk Rex Cats

 KEY FACTS

Selkirk Rex cats have occasionally been called “the cat in sheep’s clothing.” That’s because their dense, curly coats could almost be mistaken for wool, especially if they’re white or cream-coloured. You’d think their coats take a lot of work to maintain, but actually, if you brush this pet too often, you might straighten their curls. You do, however, have to comb them at least once a week to prevent any mats. Some Selkirk Rex cats have short hair with tight curls, and others have long, more wavy coats.

Selkirk Rex cats are medium to large in size, can weigh as much as 7kg.  Their rounded heads, large eyes, and pointed ears are hard to resist.

Lifespan: 15 – 18 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 2-7Kg (6-16 pounds)

Energy: Moderate

They come in almost every colour and pattern. All eye colours are acceptable.

Their curly coats aren’t the only thing that makes Selkirk Rex cats special. These fuzzy beauties are also prized for their curious, upbeat, and friendly dispositions.

Selkirk Rex cats are an intelligent breed that loves to play games and/or just hang out with their owners. Their wavy coats make them extra huggable, but don’t expect them to be lazy lap cats, as these felines like to keep busy.

Selkirk cats will also happily share their homes with other cats or dogs with proper introductions. Overall, Selkirk Rex cats have a loving, even keel personality.

Unlike some of the more aristocratic cat breeds, the Selkirk Rex didn’t start out padding around castles and monasteries. Instead, this curly-haired cat breed comes from humble beginnings—an animal shelter in Montana. Yes, that’s right, an animal shelter where a fuzzy little kitten was discovered in 1987. Named Miss DePesto, this little furball was adopted by Jeri Newman and soon became the “mother cat”of the Selkirk Rex breed.

Over the years, other breeds such as Persian, Exotic shorthair, and British shorthair were incorporated into the gene pool to create the amazing breed we have now. Both long- and short-haired versions of Selkirk Rex cats can trace their ancestry back to Miss DePesto.

Selkirk Rex cats have few health issues, but because over time the breed once had infusions of Persian and British shorthair, it does carry their same capacity to develop polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) later in life. But these issues are not particularly common, especially if you buy your kitten or cat from a reputable breeder.

Hip dysplasia is also possible, but again, Selkirk Rex is considered to be a very healthy breed for the most part.

Like other cats, Selkirk Rex requires regular dental and nail care as well as vaccinations and physical exams with your vet. They should also be spayed and neutered and kept indoors for safety.

Regular grooming is the most important part of caring for a Selkirk Rex. They need regular combing, at least once a week. In order to keep this breed’s coat tangle- and mat-free use a long comb for the body, and a shorter comb for the face and legs. Grooming can be a fun experience for you and your cat. Keep in mind that this cat’s unusual curly coat means that overgrooming may flatten the curls. And under grooming may result in snarls or tangles.

The Selkirk Rex is not hypoallergenic. Most allergies are caused by cat dander, not by the type of fur a cat has. However, because Selkirk Rex has a tendency to shed less than some other breeds, you may be exposed to fewer of the proteins that cause allergies to flare up.

Regular bathing is necessary as well because Selkirk Rex coats can get greasy if left unattended. Both short- and long-haired Selkirk Rex cats need regular grooming.

Siamese Cats

Siamese Cats

 KEY FACTS

Siamese cats have a lean, lengthy frame with slim but muscular bodies. His long, thin limbs and tails, coupled with a high-contrast colourpoint pattern, make him instantly recognizable. His colourpoint coat gives the illusion of mystery, with darkened masquerade-like fur near the face, ears, legs, and tail.

The dog-like Siamese is often described as a “Velcro kitty.” He loves his humans deeply, and will always want to be by their side—if not in their lap!

Because of their genetics, this breed will always have piercing blue eyes (which can sometimes be a little cross-eyed) that adds to their striking, elegant appearance. And because of their short, light coat that doesn’t shed much, Siamese cats can be a good fit for allergy sufferers.

Lifespan: 15 – 20 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 2-7Kg (6-16 pounds)

Energy: Active

The Siamese is bred in an incredible combination of thirty-two colours and patterns; this includes the self-coloured points in seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, cinnamon, caramel and fawn and then all the associated tortie and tabby colours.

The Siamese cat’s personality is friendly, affectionate, outgoing, and social. This beautiful breed is also one of the most intelligent around. The Siamese is loving and trusting with humans, and he thrives with lots of positive human interaction. He’s also deeply sensitive and will take any harsh words to heart.

Siamese cats are incredibly social, so a pair will help make sure your kittens stay loved and entertained.

Because they love their humans so much, it’s a given these cats love to cuddle and be held. And although they need space to do their own thing at times, to a Siamese “doing your own thing” usually means hanging out a few feet away, rather than right on top of you.

Siamese cats also have a reputation as being conversationalists, meowing loudly to their owners. Though, as every cat is an individual, not every one is chatty. Siamese can be very vocal, but it’s not the majority of them. Those that are will talk your ear off,  are maybe 25 percent of the breed. The rest are either moderately talkative, or not talkative at all.

A Siamese might dub one member of the household “his person,” and form a bond tighter with them than anyone else.

Siamese cats are considered one of the oldest existing Asian cat breeds. They originated in Thailand (formerly Siam) and were highly prized by royalty. When they were imported to England in the late 19th century, these “Royal Cats of Siam” took the country by storm, where they appeared in catalogues and were coveted by the wealthy.

Siamese cats are generally healthy pets and have an impressive lifespan of 15–20 years, and some even live past that.

The Siamese cat’s greatest health risks include amyloidosis (disease of the liver), asthma, dental disease (make sure to keep a close eye on your cat’s teeth), and several kinds of cancer. Reputable Siamese breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it’s important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. Some health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

Take care of your Siamese cat’s health and wellbeing by scheduling regular visits to the vet.

Because of their short, non-shedding coat, these cats don’t need a ton of grooming. In fact, weekly combing, regular ear cleaning, and nail trimming are all a typical Siamese cat requires. But feel free to brush your kitty’s coat just for fun—after all, he loves to be doted on.

Siberian Cats

Siberian Cats

 KEY FACTS

These medium-sized cats were certainly built for their environment in the forests of icy Siberia. Siberian cats have long, triple-layered, water-resistant coats and sturdy, muscular bodies that seem heavy compared to their size.

With all that hair, it’s unsurprising these cats do a lot of shedding. Twice a year Siberian cats actually moult. In the spring, this breed sheds their longer, warmer winter coat, and in the autumn they shed a shorter summer coat.

Despite all of that shedding, Siberian cats are considered hypoallergenic, because their skin produces less of the chemical associated with cat allergies (Fel-d1).

Lifespan: 8 – 10 years

Height: 25-30cm (10-12 inches)

Weight: 5-6Kg (12-15 pounds)

Energy: Active

Their thick coat of long hair comes in any colour including solid white, black, red, blue, and silver. They also come in a wide variety of patterns including smoke, point, calico, tabby, tortoiseshell, and bi-colour. Siberian cats typically have golden, green, or copper eyes. White Siberian cats may have blue eyes.

Siberian cats are super affectionate and have playful personalities. These cats mature very slowly, both physically and emotionally. It can take the Siberian as long as five years to reach adulthood, which means they spend a significant portion of their life acting like kittens.

Despite their youthful attitudes, Siberian cats are typically pretty mellow and quiet. When they do make noise, it will likely be a little purr or chirp to express some affection to their favourite people. Speaking of favourite people: The Siberian loves pretty much everyone. You can count on this family pet to get along with children and other pets.

They’re generally not an aggressive breed, but their strong loyalty tendencies can lead them to attack other animals they see as a threat. These cats have a fierce devotion to their humans and a sense of pride that keeps them from being easily pushed around.

These cats love adventure and a challenge. They’re also excellent mousers who love to prowl the premises for pesky rodents. When they’re not playing and hunting, these cuddly lap cats love snuggling and spending one-on-one time with their people.

To say the Siberian breed has endured the test of time is an understatement. The earliest recorded history of these native Russian forest cats dates back to the year 1,000. Some cat experts speculate that the Siberian may even be the distant ancestor of all long-haired breeds we know today.

Over the centuries, these wild, long-haired cats became domesticated, turning to human homes for refuge from the unforgiving Siberian winters. People gladly welcomed these loving cats for their sharp mousing abilities and sweet temperament.

Siberian cats were first mentioned in European culture in early 19th-century cat shows.

Siberian cats have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years. They are typically healthy pets.

The biggest genetic risk with this breed is a slightly higher risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as HCM. This is a condition in which the heart muscle enlarges and becomes less functional.

Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it’s important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

Siberians need to be brushed at least 3 times per week to prevent a matted coat. They rarely need bathing because they have a triple coat that’s water-resistant.

Aside from regular brushing, be sure to trim your Siberian’s nails regularly. You should also regularly clean their ears and eyes.

Singapura cat breed

Singapura (Minimali Bakardi PL)

 KEY FACTS

This breed is known for being especially small, seeming micro-sized in comparison to some common house cats. It takes these pets up to two years to reach their full size, and even adult cats only end up weighing between 1-3kg. Singapuras’ size isn’t their only defining trait, though—these eye-catching felines have big ears and large, round eyes that can be hazel, green, or yellow.

Singapuras’ short coats don’t shed in excess—or much at all—but they’re not hypoallergenic. Their skin has quite a bit of dander, which irritates owners with allergies. Although their short coats don’t help prevent allergens, they are considerably easier to care for than many other breeds.

Lifespan:  9- 15 years

Height: 15-20cm (6-8 inches)

Weight: 1-3Kg (4-8 pounds)

Energy: Active

Singapuras’ coats come in one colour, called sepia agouti. “Sepia agouti” is essentially a fancy name for a ticked tabby pattern, with dark brown spots over light, cream-coloured fur. These cats have short silky hair, darkly tipped blunt tails, and are lighter near their chests, stomachs, and muzzles.

These curious cats are engaging extroverts who love to be the centre of attention. Singapuras thrive on the attention of humans, and they’re not afraid to demand the spotlight. Their personalities are high-energy, assertive, intelligent, and playful.

Singapuras are kittenish in more than just their size. Even after they’ve matured to adulthood at around 2 years of age, this breed stays as active, silly, and needy as a typical kitten. Singapuras are also incredibly chatty and love to meow, often for no real reason at all.

Thankfully, their soft, sweet voices keep this breed’s incessant meowing relatively pleasant.

The history of the Singapura remains a bit controversial. The original story is that two American breeders, Hal and Tommy Meadows, claimed to have found three kittens of this breed roaming the streets of Singapore, and brought them back to the U.S. where they continued breeding them.

Later, when Singapore considered embracing the Singapura as a national mascot, some experts speculated the breed may not actually be a natural one, or native to Singapore. Their petite size, small litter size, and other factors led some to conclude that the Singapura had been bred for size and appearance, rather than simply discovered living naturally in the city of Singapore.

Regardless of the cats’ true origins, Singapore decided to embrace the Singapura as a mascot, cementing the breed as a beloved cultural symbol. Breed registration organizations also largely recognize Singapura as a natural breed.

Singapuras have a life span of 9–15 years and are generally healthy animals.

However, Singapuras can be born with a genetic disease called pyruvate kinase deficiency which causes anaemia and other blood-related problems. Unfortunately, the only treatment for this disease is a bone marrow transplant.

Other common health risks for Singapuras include renal failure, hypothyroidism, and diabetes. Due to their small size and a condition known as uterine inertia, Singapuras often require caesarean sections to deliver their kittens.

This breed is one that lacks a lot of genetic diversity, which means it’s very important to screen for a reputable breeder carefully when purchasing a kitten.

Singapuras shed lightly and require very little grooming. Brushing them once every one to two weeks, regularly trimming their nails, and occasionally cleaning their ears is the extent of Singapuras’ needs. Bathing should be infrequent—these pets do a great job of keeping themselves clean.

Snowshoe cats

Snowshoe Cats

 KEY FACTS

Maintaining much of the body length of the Siamese, but adding a little more of the British shorthair’s heft to it, the snowshoe is a medium-large, moderately built cat. Their heads can be either triangular or apple-shaped, and the best specimens have shorthair markings on their faces, with an upside down “V” marking that is one of the standards for the breed. Ears are wide set and pointed, eyes are walnut shaped and always some shade of blue.

Lifespan:  14- 20 years

Height: 20-33cm (8-13 inches)

Weight: 3-6Kg (7-14 pounds)

Energy: Active

Snowshoe fur is short, single-coated, and colour pointed. Darker colours like fawn, chocolate, and blue are the most common, but black, red, and lilac are possible as well. Paws are white, giving the breed the look from which their name was derived. The white can extend up the legs to varying degrees, though too much or too little white can relegate a purebred snowshoe to pet status rather than show or breeding stock.

Snowshoes can exhibit a number of different personality traits, but whichever temperament your snowshoe ends up having, expect her to commit to it fully. Some are playful show offs, eager to learn tricks and games to hold your attention and keep you laughing. Some become devoted family members, considering themselves equal partners in the family dynamic and expecting to be involved in all activities. Still others will adopt the role of protector, bonding most strongly to one person in the household and often being loath to leave that person’s side.

However your snowshoe’s personality shapes up, they are all deeply social cats, interacting well with children, other cats, and cat-friendly dogs. Conversely, they do not tend to do well on their own, so single-pet snowshoes may develop separation anxiety if they are left home alone for extended periods of time. Consider two!

Snowshoes are highly intelligent cats, can be trained to walk on a lead, appreciate a good game of fetch, and often enjoy splashing around in water or even going for short swims. True to their Siamese blood, they tend to be highly talkative cats, though their voices are often softer and less intense than a Siamese.

As is the case with a great number of cat breeds, the snowshoe exists because a breeder once found a cat with a recessive trait and thought, “Hey. This could be a thing.”

In the case of the snowshoe, that breeder was Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty of Philadelphia and that trait was the white feet on three Siamese cats from a litter in the early 1960s.

Looking to develop a colour-pointed cat with white feet, Hinds-Daugherty bred those cats to an American shorthair, then those cats back to a Siamese. With some effort, the desired effect was indeed produced.

Yet, snowshoes remained a rare, difficult breed to reproduce, because all of their primary breed traits rely on recessive genes. Getting cats to produce the colouration and patterns most desired is still a bit of a “luck of the draw” situation, and even today no two snowshoe cats look exactly alike.

Hinds-Daugherty gave up the breeding program in the 1970s and Vikki Olander picked up the mantle. It was Olander who wrote the first breed standard and worked to have the snowshoe accepted into the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) and The International Cat Fanciers Association (TICA). It was a long road, but the snowshoe was granted champion status by the CFF in 1983, and by TICA in 1993.

The breed has proven to be incredibly hardy, with a lifespan of 20 years or more being fairly common. Outside of the usual cat issues with kidneys and hearts, the snowshoe should be a fairly low-worry breed. Occasionally, snowshoes will manifest Siamese traits like kinked tails or crossed eyes, but these are purely cosmetic issues that don’t affect their health at all.

The short-haired, single coat of your snowshoe is going to be very easy to maintain. They are low-shedders, which makes them good options for people with allergies, and a brushing once a week should be all it takes to keep these little guys shiny, happy, and looking great.

Sokoke Cats

Sokoke Cats

 KEY FACTS

A medium-sized cat with an athletic, lithe body and lean good looks, the Sokoke stands on slender, elegant legs. The hind legs are higher than the front giving them a walk that is described as a “tiptoe gait.” This becomes more pronounced when a Sokoke is excited. Then, he almost seems to prance. The long tail tapers to a point, and the paws are oval shaped. The wedge head looks small in proportion to the body, and the straight nose sits above a firm chin. The medium ears are rounded at the tip and set high back on the head and beautifully erect. The Sokoke’s eyes are arresting shades of amber to green, oval in form, and widely set.

Lifespan:  9- 15 years

Height: 17-20cm (7-8 inches)

Weight: 2-4Kg (6-10 pounds)

Energy: Active

Sokoke cats have thin, short coats with no undercoat. The only colouration is a blotched brown tabby pattern that somewhat resembles tree bark. The pattern obviously evolved as a form of camouflage and can also feature distinct outlining below the spine and over the shoulders.

The Sokoke is one of several cat breeds that are said to have dog-like personalities. Generally this means they will fetch, or can be lead trained. The Sokoke will do both, but it will also rush to the door to greet you enthusiastically at the end of the day, which is very rare in feline personalities. Enthusiastic and intelligent, the Sokoke bonds deeply with his humans and doesn’t like to be far away from them at any time.

They get along well with other pets and children. Since they don’t like to be left alone for long periods, it’s best for these unique and engaging cats to be part of active households.

The Sokoke has a tendency to be territorial, and reputedly has an ability to read human emotions and to talk softly and soothingly when their humans are upset.

They play in short, intense bursts and then will abruptly be “done” until they next game occurs to them.

The Sokoke is an old, but rare breed of domestic cat from the Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Kenya.

DNA testing has proven the cats are not a hybrid cross with wild cats as once believed, but are descended from Asian cats that are themselves the descendants of wild cats from Arabia.

The first Sokokes to leave Kenya were two kittens, a male and a female, taken to Denmark by Gloria Moeldrop in 1978. More were subsequently exported, and in 2001, Jeannie Knocker began researching the breed for a planned documentary. When financing for the film collapsed, Knocker shared the information she had gathered on Sokokes living in Kenya with breeders in Europe and the U.S. who then strengthened their breeding programs with these “new lines.” The International Cat Association accepted the Sokoke for registration in 2004.

Sokoke are a fairly healthy breed and have relatively long lifespans. Still, there are some common ailments to be aware of, most notably liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle, is the most common form of heart disease in cats and is seen in some Sokoke. An echocardiogram can confirm whether your cat has HCM.

The Sokoke coat is thin, and with no undercoat, not given to shedding. These cats are very low maintenance, and generally tend to themselves quite nicely.

Somali cat breed

Somali Cats

 KEY FACTS

The Somali’s coat mimics that of the Abyssinian cat, just in long hair rather than short. They both have the same ticking, with individual hairs having between six and 24 bands of alternating colour from root to tip. Most Somalis are found in the ruddy or red colour range which, along with their bushy tails, has caused people to nickname them “fox cats.”

Somalis are medium large cats—the average weight of a Somali cat is usually 2-4kg with large almond eyes, large pointed ears, and bold facial markings that are another hallmark of the breed.

Lifespan:  11- 15 years

Height: 17-27cm (7-11 inches)

Weight: 2-4Kg (6-10 pounds)

Energy: Active

The Somali comes in four recognised colours: red, ruddy, fawn, and blue. Internationally, there are some breeders who trade in Somalis with tortoiseshell ticked or tabby ticked coats, but those are rare and not generally recognized colours by most breeders or breed associations.

The Somali is not for the faint of heart, or for anyone looking for a quiet, docile lap cat. These guys are always on the move and always looking to be the centre of attention. Teach the Somali to fetch at your own peril, because once they understand the game, they are never going to want to stop.

Because they are so rambunctious and so smart, making sure that a Somali’s exercise needs are met is going to be an important part of keeping them happy and motivated. Structured playtime is also an excellent bonding experience.

The Somali can (and probably will) make a toy out of anything light enough to bat around. Ping-pong balls, pieces of paper—it’s all fair game. They are also excellent climbers, explorers, and snoopers. They are dexterous enough to figure out how to open cabinets and doors, and some have even been known to learn to turn on water faucets for a nice splash.

The Somali is a very intelligent cat who learns tricks well, and loves to perform and be the centre of attention. They’re smart enough to avoid toddlers and smaller children, but school-age children are a great match for the Somali’s big energy level and playfulness.

These are also cats who get along with just about anything else you have in the house. Strangers are always welcome, as are other cats (especially Abyssinians or other Somalis), cat-friendly dogs, and even larger rodents like ferrets and rats.

As a recessive gene in the Abyssinian breed, long-haired Abys have been showing up for decades, if not longer. For a long time, the long-haired kittens were disavowed by Aby breeders, quickly shuttled off to be pets and never spoken of again.

How the long-haired gene was first introduced into the Abyssinian bloodline is a matter of much debate and speculation. Similarly, who first started breeding long-haired Abys is a matter largely lost to time. But what is not up for debate is that it was an American named Evelyn Mague who gave the Somali breed its name, and made the first strides at getting the cat recognized as a separate breed by cat fancier clubs; something that was achieved in 1979, when the Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed for champion status.

They’re a pretty sturdy breed, coming from that healthy Abyssinian stock. Periodontal diseases can be issues, so keeping their teeth cleaned—including by a veterinarian every couple of months—can go a long way towards keeping them happy and healthy.

That aside, the gamut of typical cat health issues like arthritis, heart and kidney issues, and patellar luxation are all going to be things you and your vet will want to keep on eye on as your Somali ages.

Brush, brush, brush. That’s going to be the large and small of it when it comes to keeping your Somali happy. Their long, fine hair is a regular shedding problem, and that only gets heavier in the summer months as they lose some of that winter coat bulk. Giving them a brush two or three times a week in the cooler months, and probably daily as the shedding season hits, is going to be your life now. Additionally, thanks to that bushy, bushy tail, every trip to the litter box has the potential to turn your life into a Star Trek episode, as you go exploring for cling-ons.

Sphynx cat breed

Sphynx Cats

 KEY FACTS

The sphynx, while considered a “hairless cat,” isn’t necessarily hairless. These felines are covered in a fine down coat that’s hard to see, but immediately apparent (as in, super soft) to the touch. The Sphynx Cat Club actually refers to this down as “giving the overall feel of soft, warm chamois leather.” A sphynx can also have a few sparse whiskers and eyebrows that give her even more personality, or none at all.

Sphynx are considered a medium-size cat; females can weigh as little as 2kg, while larger males can tip the scales at 6kg. While the defining physical feature of the sphynx cat is the apparent lack of hair, this breed has other distinctive characteristics as well, once you’ve looked past the nudity. Notable traits include piercing lemon-shaped eyes; long, finger-like toes (perfect for biscuit baking); large, bat-esque ears; and a big, rounded belly. Despite this rounded midsection, sphynx cats are actually incredibly active, athletic animals with muscular bodies.

Another sphynx trait is lots of visible wrinkles. These kitties aren’t actually more wrinkly than other cats, but the lack of thick fur highlights this universal feline trait.

Lifespan:  9- 15 years

Height: 20-25cm (8-10 inches)

Weight: 2-4Kg (6-10 pounds)

Energy: Active

The sphynx cat’s skin is often pigmented or patterned, just like a traditional house cat’s coat. And like furrier felines, sphynxes come in a wide variety of colours and markings. From darkly coloured black sphynx cats to patterned tortoiseshell kittens, there’s no shortage of variety.

These beautiful baldies are curious, outgoing, super smart, and aren’t shy about communicating their needs-literally. Sphynxes are noisy, so expect to have a lot of cat chats as your pet follows you from room to room. 

Sphynx cats are silly, fun-loving, natural-born entertainers who will clown around to get your attention. These social, playful cats love to be loved and will spend hours glued to your side. On chilly mornings (or even on not-so-cold days), they won’t turn down an opportunity to snuggle under warm blankets with you. Their needy nature isn’t for every pet parent, but those who love the sphynx will be rewarded with top-notch companionship that’s hard to find anywhere else. These cats are loyal, dedicated pets who will love you endlessly.

If you ever can’t find your sphynx kitty, chances are she’s found a sunny spot to lie in.

They’re really, really adaptive and they’re very intelligent. They’re a very interactive breed and they haven’t met another living thing they haven’t expressed curiosity about.”

Don’t be surprised if your sphynx lets himself into any room, cupboard, or cabinet in the house. These cats are just as curious as the old proverb implies and are incredibly agile, with dexterous, finger-like toes they use to poke, prod, and open doors. You might want to do some light cat-proofing before bringing home a sphynx kitten!

In 1966 in Ontario, Canada, a domestic shorthair cat gave birth to a hairless kitten named Prune. She was recognized as being genetically special and was bred with a Devon rex in an attempt to create a hairless breed.

The result of this breeding was originally referred to as the Canadian Hairless Cat, but was later changed to sphynx because of their resemblance to the cats in Egyptian hieroglyphics. The cats that were the result of some of these early breeding efforts were prone to health issues due to their shallow gene pool, and despite attempts to revive the line, Prune’s line died out in the early ’80s.

The very first sphynx was a hairless domestic shorthair kitten named Prune. Since then, cats with the recessive hairless gene have been bred with the Devon rex to create the modern-day breed.

The sphynx cat of today is actually the result of two naturally occurring, spontaneous mutations of shorthair cats. The first happened in 1975 when a couple of Minnesota farm owners found that a farm cat had given birth to a hairless kitten-a female cat they named Epidermis. The following year, Epidermis was joined by an equally bald sister dubbed Dermis. Both were sold to an Oregon breeder who crossbred the kittens to develop the sphynx line.

In 1978, a Siamese breeder in Toronto found three hairless kittens-dubbed Bambi, Punkie, and Paloma-roaming the streets of her neighbourhood. Those kittens were crossbred with Devon rexes, and the breed was finally off to a strong start! Breeders continued developing the sphynx until the cats became the strong breed known today.

Sphynx cats are generally healthy cats with an expected lifespan of 9-15 years. But, like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health issues.

Common health conditions diagnosed in the sphynx include dental disease, skin problems such as oily or greasy skin, and heart problems. HCM, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease in cats, and sphynx cats can be affected.”

According to the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, sphynx cats are also susceptible to a condition called hereditary myopathy. This causes muscle weakness that can leave a cat unable to exercise or even walk normally.

Reputable sphynx breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten. It’s important to stay on top of your cat’s vet appointments and screenings-HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

If there’s one thing you need to know before bringing home a sphynx, it’s that her lack of hair doesn’t mean less grooming. In reality, she’s going to need plenty of upkeep. Cat fur soaks and separates oil secretions, and without it, your kitty’s skin can get greasy, dirty, and even smelly. Sphynxes need at least weekly bathing, regular ear cleaning, and nail trimming to keep them looking and feeling their best. And take note: This hairless cat is actually just as susceptible to fleas as their furrier counterparts, so you’ll still need to take the regular flea precautions.

Cat owners should ask their veterinarian about what type of soap or shampoo to use for a sphynx. Nothing too drying should be used.

Suffolk cats

Suffolk Cats

 KEY FACTS

They are middle sized cats with stylish glossy hair, mostly in dark brown colour which defined the breed’s name. Rarely, they may have lilac coloured hair, too. They have muscular and balanced body with average sizes. They like to use their paws for examining things and also for communication with others. They have moderate head and ear sizes. Like most of the cat breeds, male Suffolk cats are bigger then the females.

Lifespan:  12- 15 years

Height: 22-27cm (9-11 inches)

Weight: 3-5Kg (8-12 pounds)

Energy: Active

Brown/Chocolate or Lilac

Suffolk Chocolate are chatty, energetic, lively and active cats. They love jumping and climbing, they can play with a cat toy for hours. They will be human oriented pets and asking time to be shared with them. Because of their characteristics, they are called dog-like cats. They are good with other cats or pets. They will be devoted to the family, good companions with kids and be a faithful member in a short time. Thanks to this features, it is obvious that they are ideal house cats, especially houses with a dog.

The breed has been developed over the past decade by Linda and fellow Havana breeder, Pamela Sharp-Popple, in response to the modernisation of the UK Havana. The Havana began life in the 1950s, and was created to be a breed in its own right by a group of breeders, who wanted a self-brown cat of Siamese type.

The lifespan is typically 12–15 years, but some can live well past that milestone. However, as with all breeds, there are some specific health issues to watch out for.

Suffolks can be susceptible to Amyloidosis. According to the Oriental Cat Association, this is a serious condition where amyloid (an abnormal protein) forms deposits in tissues and organs. The deposits then lead to organ failure or death. Symptoms tend to develop before a cat is 5 years old, and it’s believed to be an inherited condition. Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any non-invasive or genetic tests to detect amyloidosis.

Like all glossy haired cats, having some oil based food like fish oil in their diet will help them to stay healthy and to maintain the beauty of their hair. They don’t need detailed care, regularly combing and damping their easy to care hair will be enough.

Thai cats

Thai Cats

 KEY FACTS

Thai cats are of medium build, firm, lithe and muscular.  Famed for their heart-shaped face, they have a body of medium length, with a medium tapering tail.  Females are more dainty in appearance but should not be undersized.  

The Thai Lilac is a unique cat with a lilac coat which is a warm pinky-beige tone tipped with silver, the more silver tipping the better.  When the coat is short, the silver sheen is intensified. 

Thai Lilacs have large, expressive, clear green eyes.  Kittens and adolescents up to two years may have yellow or amber to amber-green eyes.

The Thai Blue Point has a body colour of off-white with some shading allowed on back and sides to tone with the points.  The blue points should be tipped with silver.  Their eyes are a clear blue colour.

Thai cats are Lilac and Blue Point – Thais are said to be Pointed Korats.  Britain is the only country, at present, which acknowledges these variants. The name Korat is only ever given to the blue cat because the word Korat in Thai (Si-sawat) means blue cat, and indeed, the Korat is defined as the blue cat of Thailand.  That means any other coloured cat, regardless of parentage, cannot qualify for this definition.  Therefore, names were coined that described both the colour and origin but also respected tradition.

Lifespan:  10- 15 years

Height: 22-33cm (9-13 inches)

Weight: 2-4Kg (6-10 pounds)

Energy: Calm

Blue point / lilac point

A deeply intelligent cat, the Thai is also a very thoughtful family member. Thais are more laidback than most cats. They’ll find time to play and be active, but they’re every bit as happy to cuddle in their owner’s lap.

They form deep bonds with their families, most strongly with the person or two that they spend the most time with. They can be skittish or aloof around strangers, but they will always seek out their family for safety and watch the proceedings from there.

Thais can do well in multi-family homes, but tend to do their best with other Thais. They are a cat who requires a hierarchy system in multi-pet homes and other animals don’t always fall in line with that thinking. However, thanks to their social, laid-back nature, Thais can and do learn to get along with other cats as well as dogs, as long as socialization is handled patiently. Regardless of what kind of other animals are in the house, make sure there are enough toys to go around. The Thai isn’t particularly fond of sharing, and fights can break out over a mutually cherished ball or toy.

Because they are so social, the Thai is not a cat who will be happy spending long periods of time alone. If you work from home or have multiple pets, everything should be ok, but a Thai left alone can develop separation anxiety and some destructive behaviours as a result.

From the earliest days of recorded Korat breeding in the west (1959), kittens have been born occasionally with a Siamese type pattern i.e. pale body with some shading but the blue colour restricted to the points (face, ears, legs, paws and tail). 

In other parts of the world these have been, and still are, considered Korats with a blemish. 

Therefore, when in 1989 two Korats mated together in the UK gave birth to a ‘pink’ kitten, it was a bit of a surprise, to say the least. 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s other UK-based Korats gave birth to the odd ‘white’ and ‘pink’ kitten. It became clear that these new ‘colours’ (although one is really a restricted coat pattern) were derived from recessive genes which had lain dormant in the Korats for many generations and coming together to either ‘dilute’ the coat colour in the case of the Thai Lilac or restrict the coat colour to a Siamese pointed-type pattern in the case of the Thai Blue Point.

GM1 and GM2 gangliosides can occur in rare instances, but there are tests that can identify it in kittens and it’s not a common condition.

Additionally, because the Thai is so low in body fat, they tend to be more sensitive to anaesthesia; talk to your vet about your Thai’s reaction to the drug before any medical procedures.

Thais don’t need a lot of grooming. Their shimmery coat is a very low-shedding single coat of fur, so brushing them lightly once a week will keep them looking great. Giving some attention each week to their ears and teeth will help keep them healthy in the long run, but that’s going to be about as far as your Thai grooming will ever have to go.

Tonkinese cats

Tonkinese Cats

 KEY FACTS

The Tonkinese is an eye-catching breed known for its mysterious, glamorous appearance. A pointed coat, svelte limbs, and bright eyes all lend to the Tonk’s alluring air.

Tonkinese is a medium-sized breed with muscular, surprisingly heavy bodies. This breed usually weighs somewhere in the 2-5kg range. They have medium-sized ears, almond-shaped eyes, and slim legs and feet. Their coats are made up of short, fine, silky smooth hair and are low-shedding, though not hypoallergenic.

Lifespan:  15- 20 years

Height: 17-25cm (7-10 inches)

Weight: 2-5Kg (6-12 pounds)

Energy: Calm

They come in a variety of colours – brown (the ‘original’ colour, corresponding to seal-point in the Siamese or sable in the Burmese), blue (a dark grey which may have a hint of silver to it), chocolate (a paler version of brown), lilac (a paler version of blue), red (a rich, deep orange) and cream.

Their coats are further divided into three categories of pattern, which are a high-contrast point pattern, medium-contrast or “mink” pattern, and low-contrast or solid pattern.

Eye colour in the Tonkinese is related to coat colour and pattern. Mink Tonkinese have aqua-hued eyes, point Tonkinese typically have blue eyes, and solid Tonkinese cats have green eyes.

Tonks have a personality fit for companionship. Cold and aloof? Not these cats! These sweet kitties love their role as lap cat, and always have affection to share with their family. Tonkinese shares his curiosity and intelligence with the Siamese side and affectionate energy with his Burmese ancestors.

Tonks are playful, smart, and social pets who enjoy spending time with their pet parents and supervising day-to-day life. This breed is incredibly talkative, and they expect you to listen—and respond! Some might call this take-charge breed a little bit bossy, but your Tonk’s heart is usually in the right place.

These fantastic felines are intelligent and inventive. The Tonkinese is like his Siamese ancestors in his desire to master interactive toys and try new tricks. Tonks are active, silly cats with a reputation for jumping high and clowning around to entertain their family.

What we know today as the Tonkinese was first referred to as a “Chocolate Siamese” at a cat show in 1880s Britain, referring to the breed’s dark brown chocolate point coat and resemblance to the Siamese cat. The breed’s popularity didn’t take off in the UK, and after a short while the cats ceased to exist in Britain.

However, the cats kept turning up in Thailand and the area formerly known as Burma (now Myanmar)—likely as a result of natural matings between Siamese and Burmese cats. One of these naturally bred cats was imported to the United States in the 1930s. The cat’s name was Wong Mau, and she became the mother of the modern Burmese and Tonkinese breeds. In the 1950s, the first human-initiated mating between the Siamese and Burmese was done by a breeder named Milan Greer.

Though Milan discontinued his breeding program, other breeders became interested in crossing the Burmese and Siamese. These breeders produced what is today called the Tonkinese, named after the Tonkin region in northern Vietnam.

The Tonkinese is a typically healthy breed with an expected lifespan of 15–20 years. Some common health concerns for Tonkinese include gum disease, bowel issues, and respiratory infections.

Tonkinese may be genetically prone to a heart disease termed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Responsible breeders will test kittens for health issues, but it’s important to keep regularly scheduled vet appointments and take the advice of your cat’s vet. Diseases and other health problems can develop later in life and should be routinely monitored.

Tonkinese cats are known to be very keen on grooming themselves and require little attention in that department from their owners.

These cute cats require only weekly brushing to keep their coats smooth and shiny, and the rare bath if they’ve gotten themselves particularly messy. You’ll also need to trim their nails and clean their ears regularly.

Toyger cats

Toyger Cats

 KEY FACTS

As a new breed, some of the design elements are still being hammered out, but make no mistake: The Toyger looks more like a full-sized tiger than any other tabby you’ve ever seen. But don’t be fooled; there aren’t actually any tiger genes in their DNA.

Bred from Bengals (the domesticated cats, not the wild tigers) and various striped felines, Tgers resemble a mackerel tabby cat, but are a bit more glammed-up. On her head are markings that create a circular pattern, framing her face. Moving down the body, in lieu of the more or less straight, vertical striping common with tabbies, the Toyger’s striping is thicker, more broken, and in more random patterns. They’re coupled with thick, horizontal striping on the legs, with a black tail tip and feet, and a white underbody. Just like their jungle inspiration, every Toyger’s markings are unique to that particular cat. And underneath those stripes is a gorgeous golden-reddish colour.

In addition to the coat markings, Toygers have heavily muscled frames and long, low-slung torsos. They also have big-boned, high-set shoulders, which help give them that familiar, rolling gait of the large wild cats. The typical Toyger stands at 22-33cm inches and weighs between 3-6kg.

Lifespan:  9- 13 years

Height: 22-33cm (9-13 inches)

Weight: 3-6Kg (7-15 pounds)

Energy: Calm

chocolate / brown / sable

Toygers are very intelligent cats who enjoy being challenged and stimulated by their humans, and can even be taught tricks (such as how to play fetch) or how to walk on a lead with relative ease.

Toygers feature unique stripes and spots that tabby cats lack. Along with looks, Toygers have been bred to be laid-back, friendly companions, their personalities are Bengal-like, but, “not quite as wild as the typical Bengal.

Bengals on the whole tend to be more independent and busy. They can be challenging to people new to cats or who have not had very active cats. However, with the integration of domestic genes into this variation, Toygers may be easier.

Though they might not be as active as their Bengal cousins when it comes to exploring or climbing, Toygers still have an eye for adventure—as long as their human is by their side. Instead of prowling on her own, she tends to prefer to stick fairly close to her people, according to the Toyger Cat Society, and is more likely to want you to play with her rather than entertain herself.

Created by American breeder Judy Sugden in the 1980s, the Toyger was bred specifically to mimic the stripes of a Bengal tiger. A long-time fancier of mackerel tabby cats, Sudgen noticed a kitten from one of her tabbies had a unique spotted pattern on her temple —an area normally devoid of markings in tabbies, according to The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.

Sugden then began an experiment to see if she could more accurately mimic a tiger’s stripes, using that cat along with a street cat with a unique spotted face she imported from India. Along the way, she mixed in various unpedigreed short hairs with striping patterns she liked, as well as domestic Bengal cats (a breed created by her mother, Jean Mill).

Because Toygers are such a new breed, it’s difficult to say what, if any, health concerns are specific to these cats. Getting them checked for standard “cat things” such as patellar luxation and feline infection peritonitis will be important, and there’s some evidence to suggest Toygers are more susceptible to heart murmurs as well.

If you’re looking for a cat to take on walks through the park, a Toyger is a great choice. They’re keen for adventure, and they’re so smart that they’re typically leash trained easily.

That ability to mask pain—especially in breeds that aren’t well-known for having specific health issues—can cause a lot of cat owners to forego things like routine vet visits or preventative care.

As beautiful as those tiger-like coats are, Toygers will shed their fur all over your sofa, clothes, and carpet. Weekly brushing should keep most of the cat hair under control. Plus, it’s a good way to bond!

Turkish Van Cat breed

Turkish Van Cats

 KEY FACTS

While all-white Turkish vans do exist, they are not considered show quality and are therefore actively bred against. What gives the Turkish van its name is the “van pattern” of colouration: an all-white body, with different coloured spots on their heads, and a usually solid-coloured tail of the same shade. Interestingly, while it can be easy to look at the Turkish van and assume it is a white cat with splashes of colour, genetically speaking, the exact opposite is true.

In addition to its distinct colouration, the Turkish van’s coat is medium-long and single coated, making it cashmere-soft and easy to maintain. It lays close to their bodies, giving the Turkish van a satin appearance, and their coats are surprisingly water-resistant, making them easy to dry off when they get wet, but difficult to bathe.

Underneath that coat, the Turkish van is an absolute unit. Male cats getting up to 9kg are not uncommon, and the cats have been known to measure 90cm from nose to tail tip. They are well-muscled cats, making them incredibly athletic, especially when it comes to jumping.

Their heads are slightly wedge-shaped, ears are of medium size and positioned just to the outside of the eye’s centrelines, and the eyes themselves are mostly round and come in amber, blue, or a heterochromatic combination of both.

Lifespan:  12- 17 years

Height: 25-35cm (10-14 inches)

Weight: 4-9Kg (10-20 pounds)

Energy: Active

A result of the White-spotting gene, the Turkish van’s colouration is actually that of a red, cream, black, blue, or tabby cat with large spots of white covering their body.

While this gene usually manifests in spotting or blotching of colour (think black and white spotted horses or cows), in the Turkish van, the white manifests in a single, large “spot” that covers their torsos.

Turkish vans are incredibly intelligent, easily trainable cats. They fetch naturally, and will often bring balls to their human companions to initiate games. They can also be trained to walk on a lead or harness fairly easily.

Furniture wobbles and rocks when he jumps, things will get knocked off ledges as he passes by, and each time he makes his way back down to floor level, you will definitely know it.

While Turkish vans are affectionate to their family members, these are not normally lap cats. They may lay next to you and will happily allow themselves to be petted, but this is not a breed that tolerates being picked up and often wants to be near you, not on you.

Finally, on individual temperament, Turkish vans have historically had a reputation for being eager swimmers and water enthusiasts. Owners report finding their vans playing in toilets, turning on taps so they can drink and splash, and going for short swims in pools or lakes.

The Turkish van has been around for centuries, naturally roaming the mountains in their homelands of modern-day Turkey. Specific breed origins are always difficult to track, but archaeologists have found artwork and jewellery dating back at least 5,000 years that bears images of cats with remarkably similar body shapes and markings to the Turkish van.

The breed is genetically different from the Turkish Angora in a number of ways, the most noticeable of which is coat colouration. While Turkish Angoras are solid white cats, the Turkish van is actually a darker coloured cat with large white spots that cover almost their entire bodies.

The Turkish van began to gain notice outside of their native country when two British travel writers, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday, were given a pair of van cats as gifts while touring the country in 1955. Surprised by how hardily the pair of cats handled the rigors of car travel and delighted by their penchant for swimming, Lushington and Halliday decided to bring the cats back home with them and began breeding the pair shortly thereafter.

Originally called the Turkish cat, the name was changed to Turkish van after receiving recognition by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 1969, to help differentiate it from the Turkish Angora.

As an extremely old, naturally occurring breed, the Turkish van is largely free of genetic issues and breed-specific health defects. Unlike the Turkish Angora, the Turkish van doesn’t have issues with deafness.

Keeping an eye on common feline issues as they age is a safe bet, and older cats may have to have their diets adjusted to keep them from falling into the trap of obesity.

Additionally, due to the Turkish van’s larger size, you may want to talk to your vet about delaying any spay or neutering procedure, as an early adjustment to their hormone levels can affect how their bones and muscles grow.

Turkish vans are seasonal shedders, as their coat gets thicker over the winter months and thins out in the warmer months, but aside from seasonal changes, they are fairly easy cats to maintain, thanks to their lack of an undercoat. Brushing them with a slicker brush once a week should be plenty to keep them looking glossy and sharp. Baths shouldn’t need to be a common occurrence, but when they are necessary, know that the Turkish van’s naturally water-repellent coat can make it difficult to get them properly clean.