There are over 100 different recognizable cat breeds worldwide. Some originated naturally in specific locations and are the products of accidental or wild breeding. Others have been selectively bred by humans to obtain specific traits such as body shape, face structure, coat color and quality, and other distinctive traits.
A look at cat genes
The domestic cats we know, love, and live with today are the offspring of the wildcat. Originally distributed in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, wild catetics influences the color and quality of the fur.
Contrary to popular belief, tabby is not a breed of cats. Instead, this term refers to the pattern of a cat’s fur coat. Despite the color or markings you may or may not see, all cats today have the tabby gene, which is derived from the African wildcat. Their fur may appear solid, but upon closer inspection, one of five tabby patterns may become apparent:
- Classic – Broad stripes, swirl pattern on the flanks.
- Checked – The fur is softly speckled, with clear markings on the head, legs and tail.
- Dotted – Spots on the body with stripes on the tail and legs.
- Mackerel – Narrow, parallel stripes run down the spine to the flanks and stomach.
- Patched – A patched tabby, commonly known as a tortoiseshell cat, shows a combination of the other four tabby classifications. Gold, oranges, blacks, creams, and reds are found in breeds of Cornish Rex, Persian, and British Shorthair.
Tabbies have an M-shape on the head. Siberians, American curls, and Australian fog races can be reddish, silver, cream, black, and brown.
Other types of coating patterns
The distinction between cat breeds can be made by taking an even closer look at the coat pattern and coat color. For example, in addition to tabby and tortoiseshell coats, calico patterns can also determine a cat’s ancestry, which can include Persians, Scottish Fold or even Maine Coons.
Appearance of the coat
Cat breeds can be divided into long-haired or short-haired categories. Long-haired cat breeds include Persians, Himalayas, Maine Coons, and Ragdolls. Short-haired breeds are the popular Bengal, Bombay, or Manx breeds.
Eyes, ears and head shape
Cat breeds can also be grouped based on the appearance of their face. Flat-bred breeds such as Persians, round wedge-faced cats such as Bengals, or extremely wedge-faced breeds such as the Devon Rex can be easily identified.
Depending on your cat’s breed, they may have sharp, pointy triangular ears, folded ears, droopy ears, or ears that look like they’re barely there.
The shape and color of the cat’s eyes also play an important role in identifying the breed. Round eyes appear spherical, while almond-shaped eyes are more elliptical. In addition, eye color is determined by genetics and can appear coppery brown, orange, yellow, green, and even blue.
All breeds of cats are wonderful
If you don’t know the breed of your cat, it is very likely that it is either a short hair or a long hair. If they were dogs, they could be affectionately referred to as “mutt”. Either way, they are amazing animals that are sure to bring you a lot of love.
Please let us know if you need any help identifying your cat’s breed. At Cat Care of Vinings we are always there for you.