Archives for : Cat Breeds

Cat Breeds 101: The Russian Blue

The striking golden eyes and silky grey coat of a Russian Blue is striking for any cat lover

The striking golden eyes and silky grey coat of a Russian Blue is striking for any cat lover

The Russian Blue is a delightful cat that is most notable for having a striking dark grey, or blue, coat. Russian Blues are one of the oldest recorded breeds of cats, first making an appearance in the 1860s. They are smart, yet shy, and love to hunt mice and other rodents. Here, we’re going to talk about everything there is to know about this delightful breed.

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Best Breeds For Cat Lovers With Allergies

cat cats kitten calico allergies

Cat allergies are no laughing matter

Allergies to cats are no laughing matter; approximately 10% of the U.S. population suffers from pet allergies and cats are at the top of the list. Cat allergies can vary from extreme to mild, depending on the person. If you are one of the people afflicted with cat allergies, but are a cat lover, you do have some options. If your allergies are extreme, you may want to consult your doctor for allergy treatment or look into medically-designed hypoallergenic cats. However, for those who have mild allergies, we’ve compiled a list of cat breeds that are known to be hypoallergenic or that tend to distribute less allergens for a variety of reasons.

Cat allergies are caused by the prevalence of Fel D1, an enzyme in cats’ saliva. When a cat grooms his/herself, they use their tongue and spread Fel D1 all over their fur. This fur is then spread throughout the house. Hypoallergenic cats are cat breeds that either produce less Fel D1 or shed little or not at all. Remember that hypoallergenic does not mean that they are entirely allergen-free; just that they are less likely to set off an allergic person’s allergies.

Our favorite cat breeds for people with allergies are:

1. The Rex Cats: This includes the Devon Rex and the Cornish Rex. Both of these cats have a coat that sets them apart from other cats; they lack guard hairs and are only covered in the fur that lies beneath. Technically, these cats aren’t hypoallergenic, but the lack of guard hairs makes their shedding more tolerable for many people with allergies.

cornish rex colorpoint black white

The Cornish Rex’s short fur doesn’t spread like that of cats with guard hairs

2. The Sphynx Cat: The Sphynx cat is hairless, and therefore shedding is no longer an issue with this breed. Sphynx cats still lick and groom themselves, but without fur to shed, the spread of their allergens is much less.
3. The Russian Blue: The Russian Blue is hypoallergenic for two main reasons. First of all, their double coat helps to keep in allergens rather than spreading them throughout the house. They also produce less Fel d1, the main property that produces cat allergies.
4. The Balinese: The Balinese has long hair and a full coat, but don’t let this deter you. They produce less Fel D1, the main perpetrator of feline allergies.
5. The Bengal: Bengals have short, dense fur that doesn’t shed much. They spread less dander and fur around and have been known to spread less allergens than other cats.
6. The Javanese: The Javanese is one of only a few breeds that lacks an undercoat, making them shed less. Less shedding means less spreading of allergens

siberian forest cat piano grey

The Siberian may seem unlikely to be hypoallergenic due to their long fur, but they produce little Fel D1

7. The Siberian: Siberian cats have a medium-length coat, which would make many allergy-sufferers hesitant to the breed. However, Siberian cats have been known to have less enzyme levels in their saliva, which is a key source for allergens.
8. The Laperm: The Laperm is a curly-haired cat, and many Laperm owners believe that they are hypoallergenic. They have been known to shed less than other breeds, and many people with cat allergies have had little to no reaction to Laperms.
9. The Oriental Shorthair: The Oriental Shorthair breed has such short hair that sheds so little that they’ve been one of the most popular cat breed for allergy sufferers.

All of these breeds have been known to produce less allergens for a variety of reasons, but there are some other factors that influence how allergenic a cat will be. When choosing a cat for your household, taking the following factors into consideration may help someone with mild allergies find a cat that doesn’t make their sinuses explode:

Male cats produce more allergens than females: This is another unsolved mystery, but for whatever reason, female cats produce less allergens. If you have mild cat allergies, you may want to adopt a female cat.
Neutered males produce less allergens than unfixed males: When a male cat is neutered, his hormones change and he produces less allergens. You should always have your animals spayed and neutered regardless, but especially if you have allergies.
Kittens produce less allergens than full-grown cats: You may not be allergic to a kitten, but develop allergies to the same cat once they grow up for this reason. This, among many other reasons, is why adopting an adult cat is a good idea. This way, you will know right off the bat whether or not you are allergic to a particular cat and can avoid having to make the painful decision of what to do with a cat that is causing you terrible allergies.
Dark-colored cats produce more allergens than light-colored cats: For whatever reason, lighter-colored cats produce less allergens. So instead of a black or dark orange cat, lean towards a cat that has white as their base color.

Are you a cat-lover dealing with cat allergies? Let us know how you handle them in the comments!

Cat Breeds 101: The Burmese

burmese sable cats kittens

These Burmese cats demonstrate the traditional sable coloring of the breed

The Burmese originates from Burma, Thailand. The first Burmese was brought to the U.S. in the 30s and has become a favored breed among cat enthusiasts ever since. They are a talkative and social breed that comes in many colors. Oddly enough, the Burmese is one of the only cat breeds with different standards in the U.S. and U.K. Here, we’re going to explore everything that makes this breed so beloved throughout the world.

Where do Burmese come from?

The first appearance of a Burmese-like breed was back in 1871 at a cat show at the Crystal Palace. Two Siamese cats were shown, and both demonstrated a build more similar to that of today’s American Burmese than that of Siamese of the time. British breeders then attempted to develop Burmese, but the program fell apart.

Fast forward to 1930: a female cat named Wong Mau was brought from Burma to the U.S. Wong Mau was bred with a Siamese to produce the first Burmese breed line. Wong Mau then bred with one of her kittens from that first litter to produce dark brown kittens- a distinct strain of Burmese kittens. These kittens were finally different enough than the Siamese so much that they were granted breed recognition by the Cat Fanciers Association. In order to extensively grow the breed, many purebred Burmese were mated with Siamese, leading to the CFA suspending the breed recognition only ten years later.

The American breeders were too stubborn to let the Burmese breed die, and by 1954, the breed was back on the CFA’s map. Across the ocean, British breeders were building their own Burmese breed standard. Still today, the American and British Burmese cats are two separate and distinct bloodlines. The CFA uses the American breed standards in most cases today.

What do Burmese look like?

The biggest difference between the British Burmese and the American Burmese is the shape of their head and body. Their size and coat are quite standard.

British: The British Burmese is slender with a long and lanky body. Their heads are wedge-shaped, topped with large pointy ears. Their muzzles are more tapered, complimented with their large almond-shaped eyes. Their long legs end with oval-shaped paws, and their tails are medium-length and taper towards the end.

American: The American Burmese head is broader and bolder. Their eyes are less almond shaped and more round. As opposed to a tapered muzzle, the American’s muzzle is flat. Their ears are wider and more bulbous. As opposed to long lanky legs, their legs are proportionate and relatively stocky, as is their tail.

Regardless of being American or British, the Burmese breed is always a small/medium breed, weighing 8-10lbs. They should look lightweight and docile, but have a nice hefty weight to them when picked up. Their coats are short and glossy; full yet fine. The color of a Burmese should be uniform and only lighter in the underparts. Green and gold are the breed standard color of eyes for the Burmese.

burmese cats kittens cat

Burmese cats can come in a variety of colors

The original breed color is a rich dark brown, often referred to as sable, brown, or seal. They get their distinct color from the Burmese gene, a gene that causes a reduction in pigment. This gene causes any black to turn brown, and all other colors to pale. This gene is related to albinism and also causes the colorpoint pattern that is often observed. Today, Burmese can be many colors, including brown, chocolate, blue, lilac, cream, red, and tortoiseshell. The Cat Fanciers Association recognizes sable, blue, champagne, and platinum as well.

What do Burmese act like?

Burmese take after their Siamese heritage (link), but only to an extent. They are notorious for being human-oriented, making them great cats for families. They are dog-like and ready to learn to play games like fetch and tag. Like their Siamese relatives, they are very talkative, but have been observed to possess a softer and sweeter voice, unlike their shrill relatives.

The Burmese breed is notoriously needy, and not the best choice for people who aren’t home often. Cats are known to be a self-reliant species, but certain breeds need more attention than others. Burmese are prone to becoming depressed (link) if left alone for extended periods of time. This depression can manifest as starvation, destruction of property, and changes in sleep patterns.

A cat’s behavior has everything to do with their upbringing, regardless of their breed. Many of these traits may be common for Burmese cats, but it is important for any cat to be socialized as a kitten.

What is the health of a Burmese like?

The Burmese breed has an extremely low genetic diversity rating, only second to the Singapura. Because of this lack of genetic diversity, they are prone to a variety of health problems including:

Diabetes mellitus: Type 2 diabetes; manifests as high blood sugar
Hypokalaemia: A recessive gene that causes low levels of serum potassium
Teething issues: Burmese kittens have problems with painful teething that often causes them to scratch at their faces. This does not cause oral problems; only cosmetic issues from scarring from the scratches.
Feline hyperaesthesia syndrome: This causes increased sensitivity to touch and can make small gestures feel very painful to the cat
Glaucoma: An eye condition that can result in blindness
Calcium oxalate urolithiasis: Painful bladder stones
Agenesis of the nares: Incomplete development of the nostrils

With any cat, there is no guarantee that they will or will not have these problems. Many health problems can be tested for, which is why it is a good idea with any breed to have a relationship with your veterinarian and report any changes in behavior.

If you are interested in bringing a Burmese into your family, there are a few ways to go about adopting one. It is certainly possible to keep an eye out at your local shelter for a Burmese, but you’ll more likely come across one at a dedicated Burmese rescue. These rescues often rehome Burmese who’s owners have unexpectedly passed away or can no longer care for their pets. Burmese rescues go out of their way to find Burmese cats and kittens and work to find great homes for cats of all ages.

If you do decide to purchase from a breeder, you are looking to spend $400-700 for a Burmese kitten. If you are going to purchase from a breeder, make sure that they practice responsible breeding and are open and honest throughout the process. Bringing a Burmese into your home will bring your household great entertainment and a new furry friend for years to come.

Cat Breeds 101: The Cornish Rex

Cornish RexCornish Rex hail from Cornwall, Britain, and are an easily recognizable breed of housecat. They are unique for their lack of guard hairs, presenting a fine and short curly coat.
Their coats may be one of the softest of any cat breed. Cornish Rex are built to be indoor cats, especially since their fine coats escape their little bodies very quickly. Here, we’re going to dive into the great breed that is the Cornish Rex and learn all about their history, behavior, looks, and health.

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Cat Breeds 101: The Devon Rex

This Devon Rex kitten shows off the breed's signature big ears and pixie-like appearance

This Devon Rex kitten shows off the breed’s signature big ears and pixie-like appearance

Also known as the “pixie cat,” the “alien cat,” or the “poodle cat,” the Devon Rex certainly lives up to its many names. The wavy-coated breeds hails from England, first gaining attention in the early 1960s. They are a well-liked breed, due to their innocent looks, intelligent nature, and likelihood of producing less allergens than other breeds. Here, we’re going to learn all about The Devon Rex including their history, looks, behavior, and health status.

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Cat Breeds 101: The Abyssinian

This Abyssinian has the breed's signature almond-shaped eyes, big pointy ears, and "ticked" coat pattern

This Abyssinian has the breed’s signature almond-shaped eyes, big pointy ears, and “ticked” coat pattern

The Abyssinian is a popular medium-sized breed of house cat that has a striking and unique “ticked” coat that gives them such notoriety in the cat breed world. Each hair on the Abyssinian’s fine coat is banded with different colors, giving them a look that is instantly recognizable and aesthetically pleasing. The Abyssinian breed is an old one, originating near the Egyptian coast over one hundred years ago. The name Abyssinian comes from the cat’s origins hailing from the area now known as Ethiopia.

Where do Abyssinians come from?

The Abyssinian breed is one of the oldest cat breeds in history, first dating back to the late 1800s. The breed was developed in Great Britain, back when British soldiers began to bring the exotic kittens back to the E.U. from North Africa in the late 19th century. Genetic research says that the breed officially originated in Egypt and near the Indian Ocean Coast. Today’s Abyssinians derived from Alexandria, a city in Egypt, by a British soldier in 1868. In the late 1930s, Abyssinians were exported from Great Britain to the U.S. to form the American breeding program.

What do Abyssinians look like?

Notice the slender tail and legs of this purebred Abyssinian

Notice the slender tail and legs of this purebred Abyssinian

The Abyssinian is a slim, medium-sized cat. Their heads are wedge-shaped, with the nose and chin forming a straight line when viewed from the side. Their ears are large and pointy, complimented by their large almond-shaped eyes that come in gold, green, hazel, and copper. Their legs are long and skinny, with small paws and a comparatively long tail that becomes skinnier as it goes on. The Abyssinian should weigh between 6-10lbs.

Abyssinians are born with dark coats that lighten over the first few months of their life. Their coats are short and fine, yet dense and full. One of the most notable traits of the Abyssinian is the pattern of their coat; referred to as “ticked” or “agouti” pattern. This can be described as each hair having bands of color, creating a complex fur pattern. The ridge of their spine, tail, the back of the legs, and paw pads are typically darker in color. You’ll find the typical tabby “M” pattern on their foreheads in many cases.

The standard color of an Abyssinian is a warm red/brown with black ticking. They can also be silver, blue, chocolate, and lilac. This special pattern of their ticked coats is due to a dominant mutated gene called Ta. The genome was first published based on an Abyssinian named Cinnamon. There are other colors that have either been observed or are in development, including a “torbie” pattern; this includes the ticked pattern on the hairs, but possesses the tortoiseshell pattern beneath the fur.

What do Abyssinians act like?

Abyssinians are known to be smart, extroverted in the right settings, and very playful. They are so play-oriented that Abyssinians are known to become depressed without the appropriate amount of attention and care. They are quiet and not huge on meowing, which can be a pleasant attribute for quieter homes.

As shown with these kittens, Abyssinians can come in a variety of colors, even in one litter

As shown with these kittens, Abyssinians can come in a variety of colors, even in one litter

The breed is great with strangers and family in the right setting, but tend to become anxious and uncomfortable outside of their homes. This provides a challenge for breeders wishing to show the cats. They may not be lap cats, but they certainly are loyal and loving. The Abyssinian loves to perch up high, and an extra tall cat tree would be a great addition for any Aby-owner. They are intelligent and energetic and tend to sleep less than your average cat, craving attention and action over a cat nap most days.

What is the Abyssinian’s health like?

The Abyssinian has a few health problems that come up regularly within the breed. One concern is gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, which can be very serious and costly to fix. Gingivitis refers to the swelling of the gums, and is usually caused by plaque. Having an Abyssinian as a pet will require a bit more maintenance due to this ailment; you’ll need to regularly brush their teeth and take them to the veterinarian for regular oral health checkups.

THe breed is also prone to familial renal amyloidosis, a kidney disorder. They are also prone to blindness and patellar luxation. Progressive retinal atrophy is a gene mutation that causes blindness which comes up often in the Abyssinian breed. Another health problem that often occurs in Abyssinians is Pyruvate Kinase deficiency, which impairs the red blood cells ability to metabolize and can cause anemia or other blood-related problems. This can be tested for, and a responsible breeder will be open and upfront about the prevalence of the disease in their breed line.

Abyssinians are a smart and brave breed, good for homes with children and other pets. Their lack of fearfulness will keep them from hiding, and their curiosity will allow them to bond with the other members of your household. If you are interested in adding an Abyssinian to your family, be prepared for an energetic and lovable sidekick that requires a bit more maintenance than your average feline. You may have to brush your Aby’s teeth and give them baths occasionally, but the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives! Look for a responsible breeder in your area, or keep an eye out at your local animal shelter. You never know; an Abyssinian may just come your way!

Cat Breeds 101: The Savannah Cat

Savannah_Cat_portraitThe Savannah cat is a Serval and domestic hybrid, and one of the largest house cats, if you can call it that. Many people adopt Savannah cats for their large size, their exotic looks, and their dog-like temperament. The serval is a medium-sized african cat hailing from sub-saharan Africa, and mates with a domestic cat to produce the Savannah cat. The Savannah cat is revelled for having a temperament closer to that of a domestic cat but boasting the looks of the exotic serval.

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Cat Breeds 101: The Persian

Young Persian cat sitting in front of white backgroundAh, the recognizable Persian cat; with their squishy faces, round heads, and fluffy bodies, the Persian is one of the most well-known cat breeds around. This cat is one of the most worldly breeds, with its popularity spanning from America to Eastern Asia. With any squish-faced animal, the Persian faces some serious health risks that go along with their specific facial structure. The term “Persian” actually refers to a group of breeds. Here, we’re going to learn all about Persian cats; from their history, to their breed profile, to their temperament, and more.

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Cat Breeds 101: The Sphynx

Sphynx kitten, 4 months old, portrait in front of white backgrouThe Sphynx cat is hard to miss- between their big eyes, their long tails, and “hairless” bodies, Sphynx cats can tend to create quite a stir. The Sphynx cat is a relatively newer breed that has exploded in popularity in the last fifty years. Their docile and silly nature will surely convince anyone put off by their odd looks that the Sphynx cat is one special breed. Here, we’re going to talk all about the wondrous Sphynx cat and all of their delightful qualities.

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Cat Breeds 101: The Ragdoll

Purebred Ragdoll CatIf you’ve ever met a Ragdoll cat or kitten, you’ll likely have noticed their adorable markings, their cute and playful temperament, and their patient way with people. Ragdolls are popular throughout the United Kingdom and the United States and are regularly shown in cat shows, in commercials, and on television. After learning all about the Ragdoll, you might just find yourself wanting to add one to your family!

Where do Ragdolls come from?

Ragdolls originated in the U.S. in the early 1960s. A white domestic longhaired Persian cat named Josephine mated with a male Birman cat, producing a kitten with point coloration. This was the first known kitten to have the Ragdoll look of a fluffy cat with blue eyes and dark spots on their ears, muzzle, and paws.

Ann Baker, an American breeder, purchased kittens from one of Josephine’s next litters, in the hopes that she would produce a new breed of cats. She began to breed these self-named “Ragdoll” kittens, trademarked the name, and set up her own registry called the International Ragdoll Cat Association. The breed was eventually accepted by most major U.S. cat registries, and stuck to its strict breed standards until 2005, when the trademark “Ragdoll” wasn’t renewed. To this day, around 45% of the genes in the ragdoll breed come from the original pair produced by Ann Baker, which is why so many are prone to genetic health problems.

What do they look like?

The look of a Ragdoll is very distinct. These cats are large and sturdy, as opposed to being slender and sleek. Adult females will range between 8-15lbs, while males weigh between 12-20lbs. The most noticeable trait that overcomes all Ragdolls is their striking blue eyes. These blue eyes come along with the breed’s point coloration. Point coloration refers to animals that have a light-colored torso with darker extremities. This means that the color comes in on the cat’s tail, ears, face, and paws.

Closeup Kitten FaceThe reason that these areas are darker-colored than the rest of the cat has to do with temperature. Point coloration is a form of albinism, meaning that the cat’s melanin production is different than that of most cats. The dark colors are the result of cooler areas on the cat. On that note, it is worthwhile to point out all the color variations that Ragdolls come in. They can be red, seal, chocolate, blue, lilac, cream, and tortoiseshell. The most recognizable colors of a ragdoll are white with dark brown color points.

What do they act like?

These cats aren’t called Ragdolls for nothing. They have a tendency to go limp when picked up, much like a ragdoll or a baby. Their docile-ness has been a key trait of the breed, going so far as to have certain breeders question whether or not the trait helps or harms the breed. They are so snuggly and trusting that some breeders fear that they may have lost the ability to detect danger or pain. However, as long as a Ragdoll is in good hands, there is simply no reason to stray away from this sweet breed.

If you have a Ragdoll, or more than one, you’ll notice that they will infamously flop all over what is around them. This could mean sleeping right on top of each other, or in other silly locations. This flopping puts them up at the top of the list to be a lap cat. They are intelligent and relaxed and ready to hang out in a calm environment. They enjoy playing and being playful, but their most famous personality traits are their dog-like loyalty and calmness.

What is their general health like?

Unfortunately, Ragdolls aren’t known for being the healthiest cat breed. This is due to inbreeding as an attempt to keep the breed going. Since the breed is relatively new and has so many distinct aspects to the look and behavior, as many as 40% of Ragdolls are inbred. This means that their parents were very close in relation; either stemming from the same litter or parents.

It is estimated that only 63% of Ragdolls live past the age of 10, which is a high early mortality rate for a cat. They are prone to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a painful heart disease that shows up in many felines. It is important for breeders to only breed parents that lack the gene so common in Ragdolls in order to ensure that it is not passed on.