It’s not always easy to determine what specific breed your cat belongs to. If you’ve adopted or otherwise taken in a feline family member that didn’t have pedigree papers, take a look at the different characteristics below to narrow down your cat’s possible breed.
Fur Color & Pattern
Some cats have fur that is all one color, but many have a coat that contains at least two colors. Common feline colors are white, cream, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, red (orange), black, and chocolate (brown). Tabby cats specifically are often two distinct colors that are in spotted, striped, or marbled patterns. Tortoiseshell cats have coats of fur that include two distinct colors (red/orange and black) but are diluted with grey, orange, black, cream, or brown hues. Calicos often present with tortoiseshell patterns but also patches of white. Additional patterns in cats include:
Mitted: White paws.
Button/Locket: White spot on the chest.
Bicolor: 50/50 coloration in black and white.
Van: Mostly white with color on tail and head.
Harlequin: Predominantly white with large patches of color.
Snowshoe: Light body with dark face, ears, legs, and tail.
Most mixed-breed cats are identified as one of the following: 1) Domestic Shorthair, 2) Domestic Medium Hair, or 3) Domestic Longhair. Nearly 90% of mixed-breed cats in the United States alone are considered Domestic Shorthairs. Medium-haired cats have double-coated fur, while Domestic Longhairs have full, thick, and long coats of fur, and tend to be larger in size than other breeds.
Feline eye colors commonly include gold, hazel, green, blue, and brown. Though eye color varies among most cat breeds, there is a condition, called heterochromia, that is seen in a few specific breeds. Heterochromia is the genetic anomaly where a cat has two different eye colors. Cat breeds that are more likely to have this trait include:
- Oriental Shorthair
- Russian White
- Turkish Angora
Body Size & Type
Looking at your cat’s size and body type can also be helpful in determining what breed he or she belongs to. Take a look through the chart below to see if your furry (or hairless!) pal has any of these characteristics:
|Oriental||Slender, long appendages, triangular heads||Siamese, Oriental Shorthair, Oriental Longhair|
|Cobby||Short, compact, muscular, rounded features||Persian, Himalayan, Burmese|
|Semi-Cobby||Big-boned, thick build||American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Scottish Fold, Bombay|
|Foreign||Long, lean, slim, oval/almond eyes||Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, Russian Blue, Abyssinian|
|Semi-Foreign||Standard shape, medium-sized body||American Curl, Sphynx, Havana Brown, Snowshoe, Munchkin|
|Substantial||Large, tall, thick, built||Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Turkish Van, Norwegian Forest Cat, Bengal|
Although some cat breeds are easily distinguishable, the majority of cats kept as pets in the U.S. are mixed and include characteristics of multiple breeds at once. Your vet can help you better determine which breed or breeds your cat may be, and there are also DNA tests that can be taken to help you find out your cat’s genetic history.
Not Sure of Your Cat’s Breed?
Luckily, it’s not essential to know your cat’s breed in order to properly care for them. Working with your vet by scheduling regular check-ups allows you to better understand your cat’s needs, whether they are related to temperament or bodily health. At Catonsville Cat Clinic, our veterinary specialists are here to provide quality, affordable healthcare for your feline friend. Whether you have a concern about your cat’s behavior or want to find out the best food to give your new pal, we can help. Give us a call today to learn more.