Breeds of the World
What’s in a name?
Pedigree or Alley Cat, all cats are beautiful, intelligent, and loved beyond measure by their human caretakers. Some humans, however, adore a certain “archetype” of cat. Whether because of allergies, lifestyle, or aesthetics, one kind of cat may be more idea for someone over another.
Pedigree cats are named so because they can trace their heritage back along a line of other registered cats of the same breed.
To be classified as a particular breed, a cat must meet a specific critera. Contrary to what many people may believe, having a gray (known as Blue in the cat fancy world) doesn’t make a cat a Russian Blue. Breeders look for criteria such as ear placement, eye shape, eye width, length of tail, chin shape, body structure, and coat type among many others to determine if the cat is a good representation of the breed.
Sometimes, a cat may be born from two pedigree cats of the same breed, but the kitten doesn’t meet its breed standard. A sphynx born with a gene that gave it a full coat of hair. A Japanese bobtail with a long tail. A Persian with a brachiocephalic deformity.
These cats, while technically a purebred, are often “petted out,” meaning they are sold specifically to a home where the animal will be spayed/neutered and simply be someone’s pet, as opposed to using them in a breeding program, or showing them as a representation of the breed.
The purpose of breeding is not to make thousands of dollars. Most breeders make very little profit from their cats after vet care and day-to-day expenses are taken into account. Breeders breed because they have a passion for a particular kind of cat. They want to contribute to the healthy continuation of the breed. Breeders breed for health first, and aesthetics second. This is why only the best of the best are seen on show circuits, and used as Mommy’s (dams) and Daddy’s (sires) in breeding programs.
All Maine Coons have an “M” on their forehead.
FALSE: An ‘M’ shape on the forehead is derived from a cat’s pattern, not their breed. Specifically, this comes from the Tabby gene. Many breeds exist that exhibit the Tabby gene, and Maine Coons come in a variety of colors, not just the tabby pattern.
All gray cats are descendants of/are Russian Blues.
FALSE: Coat color does not denote a breed. The Russian Blue is only one breed of cat known for it’s solid blue color.
Chartreux, Nebelung, and Korat are all pure-gray (or blue) cat breeds!
Cats are nocternal
Mostly True: In the wild, the prey felines typically hunt is active from dusk to dawn. Small rodents, sleepy birds coming to roost or just waking, some insects.
However, in situations where a cat is no longer dependent on themselves to catch their own food (i.e. pets), cats will adjust their sleeping patterns to yours over time.
Cats are untrainable
FALSE: Cats are totally trainable! Many cats are leash and harness trained, as well as clicker trained!
Training a cat is a bit different from training a dog, and starting young is key.
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Milk is good for cats
FALSE: Cats are mammals, and are born with the ability to digest their mother’s milk through an enzyme called LACTASE. But when a kitten is weaned (around 8 weeks), their body stops producing this enzyme. Just like humans, cats can be lactose intolerant, especially after this weaning phase. And consuming the milk from another species is not the same as milk from another cat.
Some cats can enjoy a teaspoon or two of milk as a treat every once in awhile, but even this small amount can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset. It’s best not to risk it.
Cats are loners
Mostly False: Just like humans, some cats do prefer to be alone, but most actually appreciate companionship! This may come in the form of another feline, or even a rabbit, dog, etc.
It is highly recommended when adopting a new kitten to adopt kittens in pairs. They will keep each other company and mentally engaged.