Ever wonder why there are so many cat breeds, or where the domesticated cat came from in the first place?  I’m glad you asked!

It is typically agreed upon that the domestic cat originated from the breed felis sylvestris libyca, or the “African wild cat”.  This cat species was found all over the ancient world, having a faint tabby look to it.  It was carried all over the seas by sailors, merchants, and bred with other varieties of wild cat.

Regional variations had their part in creating the domestic cat we know today.  Warren and Fay Eckstein, the authors of Cat’s Life, suggests that “red or ginger cats originated from the Cape of Good Hope; reddish yellow from Central America; black and white with short tails from Japan; black from southern Russia; bluish gray from Europe and Siberia; black and beige from Thailand (formerly Siam); and tortoiseshell from Spain.”

It wasn’t until the 19th century that cat breeding became the “cool thing to do”.  They had the first American cat show around 1840.  Now a days, you would be absolutely floored seeing the variety of cats at a show.  Despite the numbers, only 7 main categories of pedigree cats exist, with well over 50 sub-breeds and mixes continuing to grow as breeders keep trying to make more.

The longhair kitty breeds are sorted into Persian and non-Persian.  They have short legs and low bodies, wide heads and broad noses, and nice round eyes.  They require a whole lot of grooming to keep their long coats looking silky clean and un-knotted.

The shorthair kitty breeds have the remaining 5 main breed categories.  We have the American and British shorthairs, Foreign shorthairs, Foreign and Oriental shorthairs, Burmese, and Siamese.

The American and British shorthairs have short legs, rounded heads and ears, solid bodies, thick tails, and are quite adaptable to their surroundings.  All the “foreign” cats are usually thinner and move in a smoother manner.

They also tend to be more vocal, active, and smart than Western cats.  It goes to mention that they require a lot less grooming and are usually really good companions.

My own cats tend to be short/medium hair and make great kitties.  Samson, my kitten, is a Siamese and is already extremely vocal – it will supposedly get worse : P.

I have never had to groom or brush any of my cats other than for fun, so be sure to do your research before choosing your next kitty to see if you can handle an extremely furry one.

You can find more info about cat breeds by reading excellent cat books at Amazon.

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