How To Choose A Cat – Part 4
Burmese – Burmese cats are described as a medium-sized, muscular breed. The legs are slender and the hind legs are slightly longer than the fore legs. The head tapers from high cheek bones in a medium-blunt wedge to a short well-developed muzzle. The ears are medium sized with rounded points. There are a wide variety of coat colors but classically they are brown; the eyes are always yellow or gold. Burmese cats are sweet natured, equally happy in a flat, town or country house. It is an athletic breed which enjoys games with is owner or other companion cats. They are intensely sociable and dislike being left alone and can have a tendency towards jealousy.
Birman – Are large cats but less cobby than the Persian with long silky hair that tends to get wavy on the stomach. There is a well developed thick, heavy ruff and a bushy, plume like tail. Classically, the body color should be even and the point color should be confined to the points but there should be symmetrical white feet. The coat requires regular grooming but does not tend to mat. The head is broad and round with a Roman nose and wide-based, round tipped ears. They are generally a very placid breed which is playful but not boisterous. Birman do not enjoy going outside that much but do like open spaces and do not like being confined which make boarding catteries a potential problem. Breeders in America have developed short-haired varieties known as Snowshoes.
Maine Coon – A large, solid, rugged, muscular cat with a long, smooth, shaggy coat with a silky texture which is short on the face and shoulders but longer on the undercarriage and hind legs. The body is long with a level back and a broad chest and a medium length tail, the strong legs are set well apart. The head is large with a square chin and high cheek bones, the nose is broad and of a medium length. The ears are large and well tufted tapering to a point. The eyes are large, set well apart and slightly slanted. There are many different coat colors. Maine Coon cats make excellent household pets and often adopt one particular member of the family as a favorite. They have some semi-wild characteristics, they are good hunters and choose good hiding places to sleep and use as bolt-holes when startled and are impervious to the cold.
Abyssinian – The Abyssinian is a medium sized cat with a slender but muscular appearance. The tail has a thick base that tapers to a point. The head is medium with large pointed ears with tufts, the eyes are almond shaped and slightly slanted. The coat is short but long enough for each hair to have two or three bands of ticking. The Abyssinian is a good companion but is wary of strangers. They respond well to training and enjoy games.
Bengal – The Bengal cat is a wild cat hybrid resulting from crosses between domestic cats, often the Egyptian Mau and the Asian Leopard Cat (Felis bengalensis or Prionailurus bengalensis). In the first generation of hybrid the F1 kitten has an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) parent (usually the sire) and a domestic parent (usually the queen). An F1 kitten is one generation removed from the ALC. Male kittens of these early crosses are usually infertile so females are usually used as foundation stock. For this reason, the F2 usually has an F1 mother and a domestic sire and is two generations removed form the ALC. The F3 usually has an F2 mother and a domestic sire and is three generations removed from the ALC. The ALC is protected under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and the early hybrids F1, F2, and F3 are often the subject of permits depending on the local authorities. These “close to the wild” hybrids require special care, handling and housing because their habits and temperament are unpredictable. Their feral, wild beauty makes them striking animals but their temperament is determined by each individual’s inheritance. If an individual did not inherit the domestic gene from its domestic mother it will display a wild temperament. Careful selection of hybrids displaying a domestic disposition ensures that further generations meet the requirements of domesticity. The Domestic Bengal must be an F4 which is four generations removed from the ALC or a greater number of generations removed from the ALC. Bengal cats still tend to display a strong wild streak and are often described as having a feral expression. There are several colors (brown and the snows) and patterns (spotted and marble).
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