There are several tens of different cat breeds but those described below and in Part 4 are the most common. The average domestic cat will be a mix of two or more of these breeds. Knowing your prospective cat's lineage will tell you what breeds have combined to make that individual. If you don't know the cat's lineage, then a cat expert or your veterinarian will probably be able to identify some of its physical characteristics.

Popular Cat Breed Characteristics

Persian - Persians are known for breeding and showing as Longhairs. This group also contains Chinchillas. Persians have a stocky build with thick legs, a rounded head with a short nose and large eyes. The coat is full and thick and coat and eye colors vary. They are not generally temperamental and make good family pets although they do need daily grooming of up to an hour a day.

Exotic Shorthair CatExotics - The Exotic Shorthair is a relatively recent hybrid created in the USA by crossing American Shorthairs with Persians. The original intention was improve the Persian breed by creating a more Persian looking Persian, not to create a new breed type. However some of the cats produced were short haired Persian types which had the obvious advantage of reduced grooming. In 1986, the breed of Exotic Shorthair was officially recognized. Exotics are cobby-like Persians without the long coat. While the coat is short it is plush and dense, not flat like of the British Shorthair.

Siamese CatSiamese - These are medium sized cats with dainty, long, bone structure but strong muscles. The hind legs are longer than the fore legs, the body is tubular and the tail is whip like. The head is wedge shaped with almond shaped, often blue eyes which point towards a long nose; the ears are large and pointed. The coat is short and fine with color varieties at the points (the mask, ears, lower legs, feet and tail, the cooler areas). The body color is paler but compliments the points. Siamese cats have a boisterous and intelligent temperament which means they are a handful and owners must be prepared to devote plenty of time to them. They have a highly developed variety of cries for all occasions to gain attention. Despite this vocal nature it is a breed which dislikes loud noises. Siamese cats often attach themselves to one person and can become jealous if they that person pays attention to others. They are distrustful of strangers. They do not like being ignored or left for long periods because of their sensitive nature which renders them liable to mood swings and unpredictable behavior. They are easy to train and enjoy games including acrobatics and twice weekly coat grooming. They can be very territorial and can become accomplished fighters and hunters. Siamese are a long lived breed and will normally see their 15th birthday.

British Shorthair CatBritish Shorthair - British and European Shorthairs are one and the same - the North American equivalent is the American Shorthair. It is a solid, strong, majestic, hardy and adaptable breed. Its stocky or cobby appearance is due to its broad chest, level back, short strong legs and thick tail. Its head is broad and round with well developed cheeks, the head sits on a short neck. The eyes are large and round and have a wide-awake expression. British Shorthairs are laid back and enjoy both play and solitude. They are intelligent and accommodate to family life well provided there is a predictable routine. Its coat needs twice weekly grooming.

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