Sunday, 9 September 2007

List of Cat breeds (Page 1) [Longhair and semi-longhair]

List of cat breeds

The following is a list of cat breeds recognized by various cat registries.

Cats can also be grouped by type according to appearance or function.

>>Longhair and semi-longhair<<

Asian Semi-longhair

The Asian Semi-Longhair is a cat breed similar to the Asian Shorthair except they have semi-long hair instead of short hair. These cats are normally known by the name Tiffanie. They are recognised in any of the Asian Shorthair or Burmese colors and patterns. Like the Asian Shorthair, the breed was developed in Britain, and is not currently recognised by any U.S. Registries. It has full recognition in the GCCF and although it is a relatively rare breed some fine examples have become champions.

Balinese (cat)

An example of a traditional or "Old Style" Siamese cat

The Balinese is a breed of oriental cat with long hair and Siamese-style markings, or points. They resemble a Siamese with a medium-length silky coat and a plumed tail, but not nearly as fluffy as a Himalayan, and they require much less grooming. Balinese are extremely intelligent cats, although less talkative than their Siamese ancestors.

The Balinese was originally registered as a 'longhaired Siamese', and examples were known from the early 1920s. The occasional long-haired kittens in a Siamese litter were seen as an oddity, and sold as household pets rather than as show cats. This changed in the mid-1950s, when two breeders, Mrs. Marion Dorsey of Rai-Mar Cattery in California and Mrs. Helen Smith of MerryMews Cattery in New York, decided that they would commence a breeding program for the longhaired cats. Helen Smith named the cats 'Balinese' because she felt they showed the grace and beauty of Balinese dancers, and because 'longhaired Siamese' seemed a rather clunky name for such graceful felines. The breed became quite popular after this, and a number of breeders began working on 'perfecting' the Balinese appearance. This led eventually to the development of two entirely separate 'strands' of Balinese cat - some owners prefer a traditional or 'apple-headed' Balinese, while breeders and judges tend to prefer a more contemporary appearance.

Like the Siamese, there are now two different varieties of Balinese being bred and shown - 'traditional' Balinese and 'contemporary' Balinese. The traditional Balinese cat has a coat approximately two inches long over its entire body and it is a sturdy and robust cat with a semi-rounded muzzle and ears. The traditional Balinese closely resembles a Ragdoll cat although they do not share any of the same genes or breeding other than having a partially Siamese ancestry. A 'contemporary' Balinese has a much shorter coat and is virtually identical to a standard show Siamese except for its tail, which is a graceful silky plume.

In most associations, the Balinese is accepted in a full range of colors, including the four traditional Siamese point colors of seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac, as well as less traditional colors such as red and cream, and patterns such as lynx (tabby) point and tortie point. However, in CFA, the Balinese is only accepted in the four traditional Siamese colors; all other colors and patterns are considered Javanese (cat).


A sealpoint Birman's face

The Birman is a breed of domestic cat. This breed has a pale coloured body and darker points with deep blue eyes.


Birmans have semi-long, silky hair, a semi-cobby body and relatively small ears compared to other cat races. In order to comply with breed standards, the Birman's body should be of an eggshell colour or golden, depending on the intensity of the markings colour. The markings can be pure seal, chocolate, blue, red, lilac or cream. Tabby variations are also allowed. Tortie cats can be seal, chocolate, blue or lilac. Birmans have sapphire coloured eyes.

The Birman's coat is unusual due to the white 'gloves' on each paw. They are the only cat breed in the colourpoint coat that has fingers and toes in pure white colour. The genetics of this feature is still unclear.

Birman kittens

All Birmans are all born white (as other colourpoint kittens are) and they start developing their colours at the age of 1 week if they have a dark colour (as seal-point) and at the age of 14 days, or more, if they have a clear colour (as lilac-point). The first part which developes the colour are the points of ears, nose and tail. The real colour is complete a two ears old and after a wintry season.

Colours and coat

Points of Sacred Birman are: Seal-point, Blue-point, Chocolate-point, Lilac-point, Seal Tortie-point, Cream-point, Blue Cream point, Chocolate Tortie point, Lilac Tortie point. The same colours in Tabby version (Lynx): Seal Tabby point, Blue Tabby point, Chocolate Tabby point, Lilac Tabby point, Red Tabby, Cream point, Tortie Tabby point, Lynx or Red Factor colors on the legs, tail and face. Birmans differ from conventional colour-point cats by their white paws called gloves. The coat is medium-length, not as long and thick as a Persian's, and does not mat. A notable feature is their clear blue eyes, which remain blue throughout their life.


The only white area are gloves. A spot of white in other area is a fault in a Sacred Birman cat. Gloves are symmetrical in all four feet. The white must stop at the articulation or at the transition of toes to metacarpals, all fingers must be white too. Behind of the back paws these gloves finish whith an inverted V extend 1/2 to 3/4.

Care of Birmans

Birmans have been bred for their temperament, and companionship, and they form a great affinity with their owner and their family. As all cats, they are highly intelligent creatures, and seem to take a genuine interest in whatever is taking place around them. They are also very inquisitive, and playful, particularly when young, and require plenty of stimulation and attention.

Birman Naming Conventions

Many Birman breeders follow the somewhat whimsical French tradition of assigning all kittens born in a particular year given names that begin with the same letter of the alphabet. Countries with breeders using this convention include France, UK, USA, Australia/New Zealand and possibly others. Certain letters are skipped in some countries (e.g. France skips "W"). If you know the cat's country of origin, and whether the cat's breeder adheres to a country-standard or cattery-personalized naming convention, this practice makes it relatively easy to determine the approximate age of a Birman.

In the USA, for example, the entire alphabet has been run through once, ending with the letter "Z" in 2002, and beginning again with "A" in 2003. Kittens born in 2007 thus fall into the "E" year. The typical naming convention for a registered Birman in the USA is
"BreederCatteryName GivenName of OwnersCatteryName" up to a maximum of 35 letters and spaces (for CFA registered cats).

Thus, for anyone familiar with Birman arcana, a registered name such as "Highbeech O'Depearl of Sacréchat" can readily be translated as a cat born to the Highbeech cattery (New Zealand) in the "D" year of Highbeech's orchid alphabetical naming convention, and subsequently imported, re-registered, owned and shown by the Sacréchat cattery (USA), with a slight name change indicating birth in the "O" year (1991) under the USA's standard alphabetical naming convention.



An example of a Seal-point, adult male Birman which originated in Burma

An example of a Seal-point, adult male Birman which originated in Burma

The Birman is said to have originated in western Burma, and cats with similar markings are recorded in documents from ancient Thailand. One story claims that a pair was given as a gift to an Englishman named Major Gordon Russell and his friend August Pavie by the priests of the Khmer people; however, what is suspect is the year that he and his friend, Auguste Pavie, were actually in the Far East. As research dictates, it appears to be 1898, which seems to be accurate as history indicates certain tribal revolutions at that time, which relate to Buddhism and additional religious factions. Some sources quote 1916 or 1919 as the dates of the revolution, but confirming any of these dates has proved questionable and as it is acknowledged that Birman cats were first sent to France in 1919, therefore 1916 and 1919 would be more appropriate, as the priests gave the men two Birmans in thanks for saving their sect from decimation by the Brahmins: The story is relatively hazy, but claims that two cats were sent to France in 1919 to August Pavie and Major Russell Gordon, and breeding started immediately. The male died on the voyage, but the female survived and was in kitten. However, if the revolution of the Brahmins had been in 1898, there would have been too much of a gap (21 years) before the two men received the birmans and this seems too long to be credible.

What is more likely (as quoted by professor Jumand in 1926 in ‘Le Chat’), is that two cats, a male and a female (whose name was Sita), were stolen and given to an American millionaire, Mr Vanderbilt, by a disloyal servant of the temple of Lao-Tsun, whilst Vanderbilt was sailing in the Far East. It is then alleged that the pair were given to a woman called Mme Thadde Hadisch. The male (once again) died on the boat, but the female was pregnant, and gave birth in the French town of Nice in 1920 to a litter of kittens. One of the female offspring was splendid, and was then named Poupee. Poupee was believably bred to a Laotian Lynx. Baudoin-crevoisier, who was documented as a top Birman breeder, confirmed this in an article written in 1933, “Poupee could not be bred by a male of that breed, but was bred to a Laotian Lynx cat belonging to a doctor in Nice. This type of cat resembles the Siamese, with very blue eyes, and this breeding produced young mongrels of Birmans and Laotians. Through successive breeding was born a perfect result – Manou de Madalpour, whose marks resemble her mother, Poupee.” Baudion then wrote in 1935, “This female was next bred to a male Siamese, which, at that time was baptised for the circumstances –Laotian Cat.” In 1933, Marcel Reney, who was attempting to unravel the truth of this mystery, wrote to the doctor in Nice, M. Prat. He wrote back, “We have had indeed several Siamese cats but know nothing of the origins. I know nothing of Mme Hadisch from Vienna.”

Marcel Reney also wrote to M. Guy Cheminaud, a hunter from the Far East who lived in Laos, and whose books on hunts of feral animals were illustrious, to determine what his view was on the “Lynx cat of Laos?” He replied, “There are no Laotian cats as a species distinct from the Siamese cat!”

Jumand and Baudoin’s entire history then fell through, as the most significant witness, the owner of the legendary “Laotian Cat” knew nothing of either the lynx cat or Mme Thadde Hadisch. Mmme Marcelle Adams, who owned Manou de Madalpour, avowed to Marcel Reney that a certain Mme Leotardi, before strangely vanishing, had narrated the tale as Jumand and Baudoin wrote it down. In 1933, after an article by Marcel Reney was published in “Chasse, Peche, Elevage” trying to gain new information, Baudoin wrote in 1935 in “Son Altesse le Chat”, “Aside from the writings of Sir Russell Gordon and Auguste Pavie, no document gives the exact origin of these cats. After six years of personnel research and ten years breeding in France, the Sacred Cat Of Burma remains still as mysterious about it’s origin as it was originally. No-one has produced anything of new import which I have been able to see, and as a consequence, to study.”

Nothing more can be found on the subject and there is still no proof as of who acquired the pair of cats. However, the breed known as “Sacre de Birmanie” was registered with the French Cat Registry in 1925. The Birman breed was almost wiped out during World War II. Only two cats were alive in Europe at the end of the war, a pair named Orloff and Xenia de Kaabaa, both belonging to Baudoin-crevoisier. The foundation of the breed in postwar France were offspring of this pair. Manou, Lon saito, Djaipour, Sita 1 and Sita 2, and they had to be heavily outcrossed with long-hair breeds to rebuild the birman breed. By the early 1950’s, pure birman litters were once again being produced. The restored breed was recognised in Britain in 1965 and by the American Cat Fanciers' Association in 1966.

Birmans have been bred as companions for many generations, and, as such, are very loving. They frequently take a genuine, affectionate interest in what their owners do. Birmans are typically used as show cats who travel with their owners if they are "show quality", meaning that the color of their paws (usually white) and the color of their legs must not blend or intermingle. Such an occurrence will render the Birman unshowable. These cats that lack show quality are regarded as pets.


Khmer temple in the Phimai historical park

Khmer temple in the Phimai historical park

Many years ago, before the birth of Buddha, the Khmer people of Burma built wonderful temples to Tsun Kyan-Kse, the Goddess with the sapphire eyes, who presides over the journey of souls, and authorize the priests to live again in a holy animal for the term of its natural life, before taking again in a divine body of a great priest. The most beautiful of these temples, built on the sides of Mount Lugh, contained a dazzling solid gold statue of the Goddess. The priests of the temple also kept one hundred pure white cats not only to guard the temple, but also to exist as companions. The elderly head priest, Mun-Ha, had a particularly loyal feline friend, Sinh, whose eyes were yellow in the reflection of the golden body of the Goddess with the serene eyes.

One tempestuous night, Phoums from Siam attacked the temple overwhelming the Kittahs, and killing the priest Mun-Ha. As he sat dying in his golden throne, Sinh leapt onto his head, and, as he sat rigid before the statue of the Goddess, a miracle transpired. His appearance was transformed to one of immense exquisiteness. His impeccable white coat became creamy and golden tinted, his ears, nose, tail and legs became dark, like the colour of the earth, but left his paws white, and his eyes glowed the same sapphire as the Goddess. He then stared at the south door. The priests, acting upon his direct look, rushed to close the heavy bronze doors.

Eventually, temple was devoid of invaders once more. Sinh, however, stayed upon Mun-Ha’s head for the next seven days with neither food nor water, before, facing the Goddess, he died – carrying Mun-Ha’s soul to Tsun Kyan-Kse… and when, Seven days later, the amassed priests consulted the statue on the succession of Mun-Ha, the remaining ninety-nine cats of the temple ran up, all of which had been transformed like Sinh, surrounded the youngest of the priests. Therefore, the reincarnated ancestors were chosen by the Goddess’s heavenly spirit.

The legend also dictates that when a priest died, his soul was channelled into the body of a cat and upon the cat’s death the priest’s soul had entered heaven– although, according to Major Russell Gordon, ”But woe also to he who brings about the end of one of these marvellous beasts, even if he did not mean to. He will suffer the most cruel torments until the soul he has upset has been appeased.”

The legend fails to explain the genuine, scientific derivation of these cats, and the mystery surrounding their initial background will probably never be revealed.

British Longhair

The British Longhair cat is a semi-longhair version of British Shorthair. Apart from fur, it is identical to the British Shorthair. The British Longhair is also known as Lowlander in U.S. and Britanica in Europe, but is not recognised in the UK as a separate breed.

The rationale for this breed is that the original longhaired British cat, through interbreeding with imported longhairs, was developed into the Persian and became increasingly massive and extreme in type and with longer, thicker fur than the early Persians. During the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the Persian was considered the longhaired analogue of the British Shorthair (Frances Simpson's The Book of the Cat depicts and describes the old type of Persian).

During the latter part of the 20th Century a shorthaired version of the modern Persian was developed and was called the Exotic Shorthair; this was very different from the British Shorthair. It was therefore proposed that a longhaired cat of the British type be reintroduced into the cat fancy.

Chantilly/Tiffany cat

The Chantilly/Tiffany is a feline with a semi-foreign body style and a full semi-long coat. The coat is silky, soft and smooth; the lack of undercoat usually makes grooming simpler than that of cats with an undercoat. Somewhat a late bloomer, the Chantilly/Tiffany is slow to mature and usually does not come into its full stature until about two years old. The eye color of the feline intensifies with age.The head should be a broad, modified wedge with gentle curves. it should have a medium length nose and a strong,broad, short softly squared muzzle and defined but not obvious whisker pads

Originally found only in chocolate, today’s Tiffany/Chantilly comes in a range of colors including Chocolate, blue, cinnamon, lilac, and fawn. Accepted patterns are solid, mackerel, ticked, and spotted tabby. Color is rich; shading in solids may occur toward the underside. The overall impression of the ideal Chantilly would be a semiforeign cat of striking appearance resulting from the combination of its rich color and full, silky semi-longhair coat, plumed tail, contrasting neck ruff, and ear furnishings.

Himalayan (cat)

A Himalayan cat

The Himalayan, also called colorpoint Persian, is a breed of cat with extremely long, fluffy fur, and the blue eyes and the points of a Siamese. Himalayan is the American term, while in Europe they are referred to as colorpoint Persians.

They were bred from Siamese (for the markings) and Persians (for coat-length and temperament), and share the characteristics of both breeds. Himalayans are now considered the same breed for cat registries (CFA), (TICA) as the modern Persian show cat since they have the exact same conformation with a pointed coat.

The body of a Himalayan is white, but the points come in many different colors: blue, brown, lilac, chocolate, flame, red and cream. The points can also be tabby or tortoiseshell-patterned.

These cats are sweet-tempered, intelligent, very social and good companions. Because of their heritage from the Siamese cats they tend to be more active than ordinary Persians. Their coat needs daily attention and grooming, because, like many long-haired cats, they have an abundance of fur. They are more prone to hairballs than other breeds. Due to the amount of inbreeding involved in breeding these cats commercially, they are prone to genetic deformities and have a greater likelihood for developing inherited problems such as joint problems, organ abnormalities, and particularly Polycystic kidney disease among other diseases.

Himalayans need to be brushed with a wire or slicker brush 2 or 3 times a day to keep its coat looking its best and healthy. In addition, they need their face wiped daily.

The rarest colour Himalayan is Chocolate Point, with very few bred per year.

Javanese (cat)

The Javanese is a recognized breed of cat. Javanese have a long, silky coat, that comes in a variety of colors. These cats are ranked among the most intelligent breeds of cat, and resemble the Balinese.

Javanese are very social cats which will become depressed if they are left alone too often. They are generally very playful pets, and are markedly good at jumping. However, they do have a tendency to become overweight if they do not receive adequate exercise. Javanese are also quite vocal, and most will "talk" for no particular reason.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is one of the largest breeds of domestic cat, known for its intelligence and playfulness as well as its distinctive physical appearance. The breed is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America and originated from New England, making it America's first indigenous show cat. The Maine Coon Cat is known as "the gentle giant."


In the 17th and 18th centuries, domestic cats brought over from Europe faced very severe winters in New England, where only the strongest and most adaptable cats survived. Through natural selection (as opposed to selective breeding), the Maine Coon developed into a large, rugged cat with a water-resistant, thick coat and a hardy constitution.

The origin of the breed (and its name) has several, often fantastic, stories surrounding it. One tale comes from a story that a domestic cat released in the wilds of Maine interbred with a raccoon, resulting in offspring with the Maine Coon's characteristics. Though biologically impossible, this false story, bolstered by the bushy tail and the most common coloring (a raccoon-like brown tabby) could have led to the adoption of the name "Maine Coon." Another story is that the cat was named after a ship's captain named Coon who was responsible for the cat reaching Maine shores, or that the breed sprang from the six pet cats that Marie Antoinette sent to Wiscasset, Maine when she was planning to escape from France during the French Revolution.

However, most breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between pre-existing shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs, perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to America by the Vikings. Maine Coons are similar in appearance to both the Norwegian Forest Cat and to the Siberian. This may be attributed to convergent evolution — the shaping of unrelated species by similar environments, selecting for similar characteristics, resulting in similar animals.

Physical characteristics

This Maine coon clearly shows the breed's characteristic long coat.

This Maine coon clearly shows the breed's characteristic long coat.

Maine Coons are very large and energetic cats, sometimes weighing up to around 11-12 kilograms (25 pounds); the average weight is 6 to 9 kilograms (13-20 pounds) for adult males and less (7-11 pounds) for females. Male Maine Coons may grow to a length in excess of 1 meter (40 inches); the longest cat on record is a Maine Coon 122cm (48 inches) in length. Growth to full size often takes longer than for most cats, with Maine Coons usually reaching full size at age four or five.

The most common color/pattern in the breed is brown with tabby markings. Maine Coons are recognized in all colors, including tortoiseshell, except for chocolate, lavender, ticked tabby, and the point-restricted ("Siamese") pattern. Eye color also varies widely. All patterns may have green, green-gold, or gold. Blue eyes, or one blue eye with one gold eye, are possible in white coat cats. They share similar facial markings, for example, a distinct "M" shape on the forehead.

Maine Coons have medium-long, dense fur, with longer hair, or a ruff, on their chests similar to the mane of a lion (which is why the breed is sometimes humorously called the "Mane Coon"). Their fur consists of two layers - an undercoat and an additional layer of longer guard hairs, which gives the breed their key physical feature. The fur is generally very soft. Maine Coons have long hair on the backs of their legs (called pantaloons or britches) and between their toes which helps to keep warm in the cold. They also have bushy plumed tails and broad, angular heads, squared-off muzzles and wide-set ears topped with tufts of fur (known as 'Lynx-tips'). Their tails can be so bushy that the Maine Coon has earned the nickname the 'tail with a cat attached to it'.

Most Maine Coons keep their fur in good order without the need for additional human grooming, but due to the length and quantity of hair, most will also benefit from a simple brushing once a week. While the Coon may be polydactyl, having one or more extra toes on their paws, this trait is generally bred out.

Maine Coons have large ears, which can be tipped at the end with fur. This is a common trait of a Maine Coon, giving them their Lynx-like appearance.

Behavioral characteristics

An adult male with most common brown coloring.

An adult male with most common brown coloring.

Maine Coons are a breed distinguished by intelligence, dexterity, and playfulness. They have a tendency to use their front paws extensively (often curling the paw round to pick objects up) and as a consequence will easily learn to open cabinet doors, turn on water faucets, or pick up small objects. Some Maine Coons will eat, or even drink, from their paws, rather than from the bowl itself.

Due to their above-average intelligence, Maine Coons are known to be one of the easiest cat breeds to train. Maine Coons are noted for their ability to trill their meows, which sounds like a combination of a purr and a meow, and they tend to make this sound when happy or startled. They are noted for rarely eating alone, preferring to eat in the company of other cats or humans. Maine Coons are usually not "lap" cats (possibly because of their large size), and thus are generally not comfortable sitting on a person's lap or chest, though this may depend on the personality of the individual cat.

Some Maine Coons enjoy playing with, but not usually in, water. They may dip toys in their water bowls before playing with them, or just tip the water bowl over. They may also skim their paws across the surface of their water bowl. Maine Coons occasionally engage in mischievous behavior when bored, such as deliberately pushing things off tables and the tops of refrigerators with their paws.

Maine Coons can be very dog-like in their behavior. Playing fetch is a favorite game. As with dogs, they will bring their ball, drop it at the feet of their intended playmate and wait for the ball to be thrown. They will often accompany their owner on chores like getting the mail, walking the dog, and may also come when beckoned, even if outside.

Health considerations

A red tabby

A red tabby

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle where the heart muscle of the left ventricle thickens and becomes stiffer than normal. In cats, it causes heart failure, aortic thromboembolism, and sudden death in some cats affected with the disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be detected by cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography) of cats. The disease becomes detectable on a cardiac ultrasound between the ages of 1 and 7 years of age in Maine Coon cats. A mutation in the gene that codes for cardiac myosin binding protein C has been shown to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in certain genetic lines of the Maine Coon cat population. Approximately one third of Maine Coon cats tested for the mutation have tested positive for the mutation although this sampling of the population is most likely biased. It appears that another mutation responsible for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is also present in the breed. Responsible Maine Coon cat breeders, in an effort to reduce the occurrence of HCM, now screen their animals both for the disease long-term (via echocardiography) and for the mutation and make this information available to potential pet buyers.

In the past (up until 1988), taurine deficiency was a common cause of dilated cardiomyopathy in all cats, including Maine Coons. Since the pet food industry started adding more taurine to cat food in the late 1980s, this kind of cardiomyopathy is rare. Taurine-related cardiomyopathy can be cured with the addition of the nutrient to the diet, but genetic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes a permanent thickening of the left ventricle and is not curable.

Other potential health problems include hip dysplasia and Polycystic Kidney Disease. Gum Disease is also more common in Maine Coons than in other breeds. However, Coons are very hardy animals and can live to be over twenty years old. Maine Coons are generally quite healthy and resilient animals.


Nebelung male

The Nebelung cat is a medium-haired cat breed, and resembles the Russian Blue but has a medium-long coat.

The breed was created in the early 1980s in Denver, Colorado by Cora Cobb, with the two foundation cats being Elsa, a black domestic shorthaired cat, and an unnamed blue domestic shorthair. The first mating of these two cats produced five black or blue shorthaired kittens as well as Siegfried (born 1984) who was blue with medium long hair. The second mating produced five black or blue shorthaired kittens, as well as a black longhair female and Brunhilde (born 1985), a blue longhaired female. Cobb decided to mate Siegfried and Brunhilde, and their first litter was born in 1986. The offspring of Siegfried and Brunhilde were eventually out-crossed to natural Russian Blues in order to replicate the Russian Blue type. Although the Nebelung is sometimes called a long-haired Russian Blue, it is actually a separate breed.

The breed was officially recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1987 under the 'new breeds' category, and achieved full recognition as a Championship breed in 1997. The Nebelung is recognized by many cat registries/associations throughout Europe and also the World Cat Federation (WCF), as they mimic the natural, long established Russian Blue except for coat length.

Nebelung is a German word meaning "creature of the mist". These cats are judged in Europe on the same standard as a Russian Blue with the exception of their coat, which is mid-length with a dense plumy tail. TICA judges the Nebelung on a different standard which was developed specifically for the breed. Most Nebelungs have green eyes, though some are yellow. They usually turn green as the cat matures. Their fur must be "blue" (a term of art for a slightly blue-tinted grey) tipped with silver. The Nebelung is an intelligent cat, which stays playful when they get older.


Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed of domestic cat native to Northern Europe, and adapted to a very cold climate. In Norway they are known as Skogkatter or Skaukatter (skog and skau being forms of the word for 'forest' in different Norwegian dialects) or more properly, the Norsk Skogkatt (literally, Norwegian Forest Cat).

The breed is very old, and occurred as a natural adaptation to the cold climate of the region, but it was not regarded as anything other than a standard house-cat until the late 1930s, when a small number of 'Skaukatts' were shown in Germany and received very favourably by the judges. World War II brought an abrupt end to the fledgling Norwegian show cat industry, and the breed was forgotten until the 1970s. The cats are now being bred and shown in several countries including the United States. The first international association to accept the breed was FIFe, in 1977. They are rumoured to be the early ancestors of the Maine Coon and the long-haired Manx.

Norwegian Forest Cats have a thick fluffy double-layered coat, tufted ears and a long bushy tail to protect them against the cold. Their coat is essentially waterproof due to its coarse outer layer and dense underlay. They are very large cats with adult males weighing 6 to 10 kg (13 to 22 lb), while females are approximately half that size. Their hind legs are longer than their front legs. They are very intelligent, playful cats that enjoy human company. The nickname of "Wegie" began in the United States and is a shortened version of the word Norwegian.

Oriental Longhair

The Oriental Longhair, formerly known as the British Angora, is a breed of cat that features a tubular, Siamese-style body (known in the cat fancy as oriental type), but with a longer coat than the short-haired Siamese. The coat can also come in a variety of colors and patterns, including tabby, "tortie", and solid.

In 2002, the British Angora was renamed Oriental Longhair by British cat fancies. This avoided confusion with the Turkish Angora. With no globally recognised naming convention, other cat fancies refer to this type as Javanese, Foreign Longhair or Mandarin.

The Angora is the old name for the Oriental Longhair (European Javanese, Dutch Mandarin) British breed of cat. This Angora name was dropped by British Cat Registries in 2002 due to confusion with the Turkish Angora and bring it into line with Oriental Longhair elsewhere. They have the body type and nature of an Oriental cat - lean, sleek, intelligent and inquisitive - and a silky medium-length coat which is much longer and thicker than that of a traditional oriental cat or Siamese.

Oriental Longhairs can be any of the standard shorthair colours. The range of possible coat colours includes everything from self-coloured (black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, caramel, fawn, red, cream and apricot), torty, smoke (silver undercoat), shaded or tipped, tabby or white. All Oriental Longhairs have green eyes, except for the whites, which may have green or blue eyes, or be odd-eyed (two different colored eyes).

If an Oriental Longhair is bred to a shorthaired oriental or a Siamese, the kittens will all be short-haired. However, if these kittens are reintroduced into a breeding program as adults, approximately half of their kittens will have long coats.

The Oriental Longhair is analogous to the CFA Balinese and Javanese, and the TICA Oriental Longhair breeds in the United States.

The British "Angora" should not be confused with the Turkish Angora, one of the most ancient breeds of longhaired cats. Originating from the mountainous regions of Turkey, the Turkish Angora is recognized by many official registries including CFA and TICA.

The Turkish Angora has a svelte, but not Oriental style, foreign body type. It does not come in pointed colors. It is a refined and elegant cat, with large ears set high and tight on the head, and offering smaller boning than the more well-known Persian cat. The Turkish Angora is a natural breed of cat, and is prohibited from outcrossing to any other breed, unlike the British "Angora" (which has since dropped the name due to pending GCCF recognition of the Turkish Angora).

Persian cat

Black Smoke Persian

The Persian cat is one of the oldest breeds of cat. In Britain, it is called the "Longhair" or "Persian Longhair". A Persian cat without an established and registered pedigree is classed as a domestic longhair cat.

Origin of breed

The Persian cat originates from the Iranian plateau, a large area between the Hindukush mountains and Mesopotamia traditionally known as "Persia" in the West, correspounding to the central territories of the Persian Empire. However, interbreeding of Angoras with native British domestic longhairs in the 19th Century makes the true origin of the breed unclear. The Persian's European debut is credited to Pietro Della Valle, an Italian traveller.


A show-quality Persian has an extremely long thick coat, short legs, a wide head with the ears set far apart, large eyes, and an extremely foreshortened muzzle. The breed was originally established with a short (but not non-existent) muzzle, but over time this feature has become extremely exaggerated, particularly in North America, and Persians with the more extreme brachycephalic head type are prone to a number of health problems (specifically affecting their sinuses and breathing) caused by it.

The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia) suggests that the Persian is derived from the Pallas Cat. A photograph accompanying the entry in the Encyclopædia shows a Blue Persian Cat, the conformation of which we would now call a "Doll Faced Persian" or "Traditional Persian". Early photographs and drawings from magazines show the Persian as a Traditional Persian Cat. The Persian was first registered with the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1871 when the association first kept records.

Photographic records indicate that Persians, up until the 1960s, show a difference in appearance to cats of the early 1980s onwards (i.e. from the Traditional "doll face" to the "extreme", "ultra", "flat-faced" or "snubby" face of today). However, the Persian Breed Council's standard for the Persian had remained basically unchanged over this period. The Persian Breed Standard is by its nature somewhat open ended and focused on a rounded head.

It is generally accepted (and by the Breed Council) that through selective breeding, in an attempt to develop the ideal Persian appearance, the Ultra Face came about . This has been called ultra-typing . The Persian Breed Council's standard was changed during the late 1980s to limit the development of the extreme appearance. In 2007 the Persian Breed Standard was altered to reflect the flat face and it now states that the forehead, nose, and chin should be in vertical alignment.

Conscientious breeders take into account and minimize health issues by careful choice of breeding stock with more moderate head type, as the stated goal of most breeders is first and always healthy cats.

Silver Persian
Silver Persian

Persian cats can have any color or markings including pointed, tortoiseshell, blue, and tabby. Tipped varieties are known as Chinchilla. Point varieties are called Himalayan in the United States and Colourpoint Persian in Europe.

In the USA, there was an attempt to establish the Silver Persian as a separate breed called the Sterling, but it was not accepted and Silver and Golden longhaired cats, recognized by CFA more specially as Chinchilla Silvers, Shaded Silvers, Chinchilla Goldens or Shaded Goldens are judged in the Persian category of cat shows. In South Africa, the attempt to separate the breed was more successful: the SA Cat Council (SACC) registers cats with 5 generations of pure bred Chinchilla as a Chinchilla Longhair. The Chinchilla Longhair has a slightly longer nose than the Persian, resulting in healthy breathing and no tearing of the eyes. Its hair is translucent with only the tips carrying black pigment: a feature that gets lost when out-crossed to other colored Persians. Out-crossing also may result in losing nose and lip liner, which is a fault in the Chinchilla Longhair breed standard. One of the distinctions of this breed is the blue-green or green eyecolor only with kittens having blue or bluish purple eyecolor.

Because their fur is too long and dense for them to maintain themselves, Persian cats need regular grooming. To keep their fur in its best condition, they must be bathed regularly, dried carefully afterwards, and brushed thoroughly every day. Their eyes need to be checked for problems on a regular basis because some animals have trouble keeping them clean. Likewise, Persians are particularly susceptible to a genetic disease which causes kidney failure, PKD, Polycystic kidney disease, among other diseases. However, cats can now be DNA screened for the gene that causes PKD, so these affected cats are gradually being removed from the Persian gene pool by responsible breeders.

Longevity is usually between 10 and 18 years on average.

Gallery of Persian Types


A blue colorpoint Ragdoll.

The Ragdoll is a breed of medium longhaired cat. It is best known for its docile and placid temperament and affectionate nature. They are non-aggressive to the point that many cats cannot or should not be let outside for prolonged periods as many will not defend themselves and most do not hunt. The name "Ragdoll" derived from the fact that many of these cats go completely limp and relax when picked up. Ragdolls have a sturdy body, short legs, and a thick coat with Siamese-style points.


Ragdolls were first bred in the 1960’s by Ann Baker, a Persian breeder in California, some of whose original stock consisted of sturdy, free-roaming cats. It is thought she created the foundations of the Ragdoll breed by selecting kittens out of Josephine, a semi-feral longhaired white female Persian/Angora type, sired by several unknown male Birman-like or Burmese-like cats, one with Siamese type markings. Out of those early litters came Blackie, an all black Burmese-like male and Daddy Warbucks, a seal point with white feet. Daddy Warbucks sired the founding bi-colour female Fugianna, and Blackie sired Buckwheat, a dark brown/black Burmese-like female. Both Fugianna and Buckwheat were daughters of Josephine. All Ragdoll cats are descended from Ann Baker's cats through matings of Daddy Warbucks to Fugianna and Buckwheat.

By selecting individuals with the look and temperament she wanted for her breeding program, Ann Baker created the standard Ragdoll type. Denny and Laura Dayton are credited with bringing the Ragdoll breed to worldwide recognition by various cat registration organisations. What is known is that this breed was selectively bred over many years for desirable traits, such as large size, gentle demeanour, and a tendency to go limp when picked up.


Siberian (cat)


The Siberian is a long haired breed of cat. The Siberian cat breed is recognized by most cat organizations, which accept Siberians of any color (including color points) for competition. This includes recognition in the major cat registries such as TICA and Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), as well as acceptance in the CFA Championship class beginning on February 6th, 2006.



Known to be an exceptionally high jumper, the Siberian is a strong and powerfully built cat, with well proportioned characteristics that include strong hindquarters and large stomachs. They typically weigh between 15-20 (6.8-9.1 kg) pounds for the males, or 10-15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kg) for females. They are shorter and stockier than Maine Coon cats and Norwegian Forest Cats even though they can attain approximately the same weight. Also, Siberians typically attain their full growth more slowly, over their first 5 years.


Siberians are generally intelligent, playful, affectionate and loyal, leading many to describe their character as dog-like. Their fur is plush, can have a wide range of coloration (including points), and does not have a tendency to mat.


Siberians may be 90% hypoallergenic. No conclusive information is currently available. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, extensive anecdotal evidence can be found from breeders and pet owners supporting such claims. Siberian fur is textured, medium-long and usually tabby patterned.


On average, a Siberian cat's litter consists of 5 kittens.


While Siberians are a fairly recent introduction to the US(1990) and thus relatively rare, though popular, the breed can be seen in Russian paintings and writings hundreds of years old. This sets them apart from breeds that are the result of fairly recent selective breeding.

There is an increasing interest in Siberians worldwide, and they are currently accepted in all registries.

Breed Standard

Description: The Siberian is a medium/large, strong cat which takes 5 years to mature. The females weigh less than the males. They are extremely agile and athletic. Their muscles are mighty, outstanding and powerful. The back is medium and slightly lower in front than in the hind, but appears horizontal when in motion. A barrel shaped, muscular torso, develops with age. The hind legs, when straightened, are slightly longer than the forelegs. The paws are round, big and quite powerful. The overall appearance should be one of great strength and power; the facial expression is quite sweet. The general impression is one of roundness and circles.

Coat: This is a moderately long to longhaired cat, with hair on the shoulder blades and lower part of the chest being thick and slightly shorter. Siberians have a triple coat. There should be an abundant ruff setting off the large, impressive head. There is a tight undercoat, thicker in cold weather. Allow for warm weather coats. The hair may thicken to curls on the belly and britches, but a wavy coat is not characteristic. The skin may have a bluish cast. Clear strong colors and patterns are desirable, but are secondary to type.

Eyes: The large, almost round eyes are at least one eye width apart with the outer corner slightly angled toward the lower base of the ear. There is no relationship between eye color and coat color/pattern, however, as with all pointed cats the eye color is blue with pointed colors

Ears: The ears are medium-large, wide and set as much on the sides of the head as on the top; ideal position is 1 to 1-1/2 ear widths apart. The tips are rounded and the ear tilts forward. Ear furnishings are desirable. Hair over the back of the ears is short and thin; from the middle of the ear, the furnishings become longer and cover the base completely.

Tail: The tail is medium length, wide at the base, blunt at the tip without thickening or kinks, evenly and thickly furnished.

Head: The head is a modified wedge of medium size with rounded contours, broader at the skull and narrowing slightly to a full rounded muzzle with well-rounded chin. There may be a slight muzzle curvature, but the transition between the side of the head and the muzzle is gentle and inconspicuous. The cheek bones are neither high set nor prominent. There should be a good distance between the ears and eyes. The top of the head is flat, with a gentle nose curvature of a gentle slope from the forehead to the nose and a slight concave curvature before the tip. The neck is medium, rounded, substantial, and very well-muscled, siberians have the appearance of no neck.

There exists controversy concerning color point Siberians. Some consider them to be a separate breed called Neva Masquerade, but so far no major cat registry has accepted them as a separate breed. They are considered to be a color division of the Siberian breed.

Turkish Van

Immature male red tabby Turkish Van

The Turkish Van (Turkish: Van Kedisi, Armenian: Վանա կատու) is a rare, naturally occurring breed of cat from the Lake Van region of present-day Turkey. For Turkish Vans, the word van refers to their color pattern, where the color is restricted to the head and the tail, and the rest of the cat is white. It is the maximum expression of the piebald white spotting gene that makes the van pattern.The spotting gene appears in many different species (like the horse and ball python). It also shows up in the common house cat, so a cat that shows this color pattern but is not registered or from the Van region, is called a "Vanalike".


The coat on a Van is considered semi-longhaired. While many cats have three distinct hair types in their coat - guard hairs, awn hairs and down hairs - the Turkish Van only has one. This makes their coat feel like cashmere or rabbit fur, and the coat dries quickly when wet. Lake Van is a region of temperature extremes and the cats have evolved a coat that grows thick in the winter with a large ruff and bottlebrush tail for the harsh winters and then sheds out short in the body for the warm summers. The full tail is kept year round.

The Van is one of the larger cat breeds. The males can reach 20 lb (9 kg) and the females weigh about half of that. They have massive paws and rippling hard muscle structure which allows them to be very strong jumpers. Vans can easily hit the top of a refrigerator from a cold start on the floor. They are slow to mature and this process can take 3-5 years. Also, their fetching skills are quite good and they are quick to learn.

Perhaps the most interesting trait of the breed is its fascination with water; most cat breeds dislike being immersed in water. The unusual trait may be due to the breed's proximity to Lake Van in their native country; it may have acquired this trait due to the very hot summers and have extremely waterproof coats that make bathing them a challenge. As such, Vans have been nicknamed the "Swimming Cats" for this most unusual trait. Most Vans in the United States are indoor cats and do not have access to large bodies of water, but their love and curiosity of water stays with them. Instead of swimming, they stir their water bowls and invent fishing games in the toilet.

Breed standards

Breed standards allow for one or more body spots as long as there is no more than 20% color and the cat does not give the appearance of a bicolor. Although red tabby and white is the classic van color, the color on a van's head and tail can be one of the following: Red, Cream, Black, Blue, Red Tabby, Cream Tabby, Brown Tabby, Blue Tabby, Tortoiseshell, Dilute Tortoiseshell (also known as blue-cream), Brown Patched Tabby, Blue patched Tabby and any other color not showing evidence of hybridization with the pointed cats (Siamese, Himalayan, etc).



Turkish Vans are a naturally occurring breed of cat. They can still be found in east Turkey, near Lake Van. Their numbers have diminished, but both the Vans and the Turkish Angora, (which is a separate breed with different characteristics originating in central Turkey) are under the protection of the Turkish government and are bred at the Ankara Zoo. The genetic traits of the cats have not been modified from their originals and breeding programs seek to preserve their unique combination of athleticism and loyalty.

Turkish Van cat, Van, Turkey 1973, showing different coloured eyes
Turkish Van cat, Van, Turkey 1973, showing different coloured eyes

Vans are sometimes confused with Turkish Angoras, although a side-by-side comparison reveals vastly different characteristics. Angoras are named after Ankara (Angora) and descended separately from the Vans. Angoras also carry the W gene associated with white fur, blue eyes and deafness while Vans do not. Van eye color can be amber, blue or odd (one each, amber and blue) but Vans with two blue eyes are not deaf like Angoras. The breed should be thin and nimble and should be very independent to each other.


Van Guzelli Iskenderun, the first registered Turkish Van, imported from Turkey in 1955 by Laura Lushington
Van Guzelli Iskenderun, the first registered Turkish Van, imported from Turkey in 1955 by Laura Lushington

Turkish Vans have been living in their native Anatolia for thousands of years and various references to "white ringtail" cats through history show this. The classic red tabby and white pattern gives the ringtail appearance and has been found depicted on Hittite jewelry of antiquity. Also, archeologists have found "...relics of an ancient battle during the occupation of Armenia by the Romans included armor and banners displaying an image of a large white cat with rings on its tail."

In 1955 two British women, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday, saw Vans in Turkey for the first time and decided to bring them home. They immediately bred true, confirming they are a true natural breed. A quote from Laura Lushington from the Complete Cat Encyclopedia, edited by Grace Pond and published in 1972:

"One of the two accepted breeds in Turkey, the Van Cat is now known in Britain as the Turkish Cat. Originating in the Lake Van area of southeastern Turkey, these cats have been domesticated for centuries (in fact for as long as the famous Saluki Hound); they are much loved and prized by the Turks for their exceptional character and unique colouring. Apart from their great capacity for affection and alert intelligence, their outstanding characteristic is their liking for water, not normally regarded as a feline attribute. They not only dabble in water and play with it, but have been known to enter ponds and even horse-troughs for a swim – they soon became famous as the 'swimming cats.' I was first given a pair of Van kittens in 1955 while traveling in Turkey, and decided to bring them back to England, although touring by car and mainly camping at the time – the fact that they survived in good condition showed up the great adaptability and intelligence of their breed in trying circumstances. Experience showed that they bred absolutely true. They were not known in Britain at that time and, because they make such intelligent and charming pets, I decided to try to establish the breed, and to have it recognized officially in Britain by the GCCF."

The first Vans were brought to the United States in 1982 and accepted into championship for showing in the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in 1994. Since then, CFA has registered approximately 100 Vans born each year in the US, making them one of the rarest cat breeds. However, the gene pool thrives because it still uses Vans imported from Turkey. Imported Vans have no human breeding intervention and are quite robust.

Vans as pets

Turkish Vans are very intelligent, and will easily take over their home and owners. Vans are people cats that want to be with people wherever they go. They like to play and jump and explore anything in their reach, which is quite large. They are energetic; they play hard and sleep hard. Many Vans are dedicated to fetching their particular object of interest, and many owners describe them as "dogs in a cat suit" because of their unusual personalities.

Turkish Angora

An odd-eyed Turkish Angora

The Turkish Angora (Turkish: Ankara Kedisi) is a breed of domestic cat. Turkish Angoras are one of the ancient, naturally-occurring cat breeds, having originated in central Turkey, in the Ankara region.

Physical characteristics

They mostly have a white, silky, medium-long length coat, no undercoat and fine bone structure. There seems to be a connection between Ankara Cats and Persians (see below), and the Turkish Angora is also a distant cousin of the Turkish Van. Although they are known for their shimmery white coat, currently there are more than twenty varieties including black, blue, reddish fur. They come in tabby and tabby-white, along with smoke varieties, and are in every color other than pointed, lavender, and cinnamon (all of which would indicate breeding to an outcross).

Eyes may be blue, green or amber, but it is often a of one blue and one amber. The W gene responsible for white coat and blue eye is closely related to the hearing ability, and presence of a blue eye can indicate the cat is deaf to the side the blue eye is located. However, a great many blue and odd-eyed white cats have normal hearing, and even deaf cats lead a very normal life if indoors.

Ears are pointed and large, eyes are almond shaped and the head is massive with a two plane profile. Another characteristic is the tail, which is often kept parallel to the back.

The "Angora" cat (actually a Persian) of the James Bond films.
The "Angora" cat (actually a Persian) of the James Bond films.

Behavioral Characteristics

Turkish Angora is an intelligent, adorable and a very curious breed which is very active throughout their life-span. Some Turkish Angoras will bathe with their owners (another link to the cousin Turkish Van cat, which is known as "the swimming cat"). They also tend to bond with their owners and try to be the center of attention, often doing their part in conversations. They usually don't like to be held for long, but like to stay in human presence, happily playing for hours.


Like all domestic cats, Turkish Angoras descended from the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). The mountainous regions of Eastern Anatolia isolated cats brought by traders from Egypt, and through inbreeding and natural selection they developed into longhaired breeds like the Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora.

Longhaired cats were imported to Britain and France from Asia Minor, Persia and Russia as early as the late 1500s, though there are indications that they appeared in Europe as early as 1300s due to the Crusades. The Turkish Angora was used, almost to the point of extinction, to improve the coat on the Persian (cat). The Turkish Angora was recognized as a distinct breed in Europe by the early 1600s.

In 1917, The Government of Turkey in conjunction with the Ankara Zoo began a meticulous breeding program to protect and preserve what they considered a national treasure, pure white Turkish Angoras with blue and amber eyes.The program continues today. The zoo particularly prized odd-eyed Angoras (ie. Turkish Angoras with one blue eye and one amber eye). The Zoo has its own cat facility which houses the white Turkish Angoras for its breeding program.

Turkish Angora, which was most recently brought to the United States in 1963, was accepted as a championship pedigreed breed in 1973 by the Cat Fanciers' Association. However, until 1978 only white Angoras were recognized. Today, all North American registries accept the Turkish Angora in many colors and patterns. While numbers are still relatively small, the gene pool and base of fanciers are growing.

Health considerations

In the Turkish Angora, an autosomal recessive hereditary ataxia is found. The kittens affected by this ataxia do not learn to move and die young. The genetic cause of this ataxia is not yet known.

No comments: