“What breed is my cat?” is one of the most common questions cat owners ask! In this article we are going to help you to work out the answer, with lots of information on the signs of different cat breeds. Some factors to look at include: fur color and patterns, face shape, tail length and more! Perhaps your cat was a rescue, a gift, or even a stray before it became part of your family. Whatever the reason, you now want to know how to tell what breed your cat is.Read on to find the answer to the question: what breed is my cat!
How to Identify Cat Breeds
There are lots of ways cat breeds differ from one another. We can use these features to identify individual cats. To find out what breed is my cat, take a look at the following:
If you’ve been left unsatisfied by ‘what breed is my cat’ quiz results, these features can give you a better idea! Before we look at these features in closer detail, let’s find out the difference between purebred and mixed breed cats.
Purebred or Mixed Breed?
Purebred cats are kittens whose ancestors are all from the same breed. So, they often share similar characteristics that fit into their breed standard. Which makes them much easier to identify!
Mixed breeds, on the other hand, can inherit features from either of their parent breeds. Which can make them quite hard to identify. Even mixed breeds from the same litter can look really different. The features we mentioned above are the best way to narrow your options down. So let’s find out what you should be looking at when figuring out ‘what breed is my cat’.
Cat Breed Sizes
One of the first and main features that shows your cat’s breed, is its size. Knowing whether your kitten is a large cat breed or small cat breed can narrow down your options. But, it’s important to remember that kittens of any breed can vary in size. So, size isn’t necessarily a guarantee of your cat’s breed, especially if it is a mixed breed.
Large Cat Breeds
Large cat breeds can weigh anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds. Although some can weigh as much as 30 pounds! Big cat breeds don’t all look identical. So, you might easily be able to answer “what is my cat’s breed?” Some of the biggest domestic cat breeds are:
Small Cat Breeds
Just like their larger counterparts, small cat breeds can look very different from one another. But they all share a similar small size – they rarely weigh more than 15 pounds. Here are some of the smallest cat breeds that are commonly kept as pets:
Another well known small cat breed is the Munchkin. This cat is only so small because of its short legs, caused by pseudoachondroplasia (a type of dwarfism). Munchkins have regular sized bodies and very short legs, which make it much harder for them to move and live like a normal cat. They are also at risk of a lot of health issues. There are several mixed breed cats that have been created from the Munchkin cat. For example:
Fur Patterns and Colors
The color and pattern on your cat’s coat is another great feature to answer “what breed is my cat”. Let’s take a look at some of the most distinguished patterns and colors you can look out for:
Solid fur patterns are pretty self explanatory. This coat has only one color, with no pattern or breaks. Solid patterns can come in a huge variety of colors. For example:
Tabby cats are hugely popular! This coat pattern can come in a large range of colours, with long or short fur. Tabby coats come in one of four patterns:
- Mackerel – narrow, parallel stripes
- Classic – swirled pattern, circular markings
- Spotted – spots of darker color on lighter background
- Ticked – multiple bands of color on each strand of hair
- Patched – patches of color.
The patched pattern is just seen as tortoiseshell by some. We will look at this pattern in more detail in a moment.
A bicolor cat is often also called a piebald cat. This coat pattern occurs when white fur mixes with another color. One of the most common bicolor cats is the Tuxedo cat. The black and white pattern on this kitten’s fur makes it look as if it is wearing a tuxedo! If your cat’s fur has two tones, but no white, it will be a tortoiseshell pattern. Let’s look at this next.
The tortoiseshell fur pattern will have any two colors, except white. These two colours can appear mixed together, or just show up in large patches. One of the most common combinations is red and black, but tortie coats aren’t limited to these colors! They can include orange, yellow, grey, or brown. To make things even more confusing, one or both of the colors on a tortie cat can be tabby patterned!
The calico fur pattern is often confused with the tortoiseshell pattern. Calico cats have three tones in their fur, but one of these is always white. If your tortoiseshell cat has tiny bits of white fur, it will be called a tortoiseshell and white cat. It needs to have large amounts of white to qualify as a calico cat. When the other two colors are more balanced with the white fur, you have a calico cat.
A cat with a pointed pattern has all of its color concentrated in its extremities. So, its face, feet, ears, and tail. The pointed pattern comes in a huge variety of colors. But perhaps the most well-known cat with a pointed pattern is the Siamese breed.
As well as color and pattern, you can look at the type of fur your cat has. This means looking at the length and thickness of your cats fur. As well as the amount it sheds.
Long Haired Cats
Do you have an extremely fluffy cat in your home? We’ve compiled a list of some of the fluffiest cat breeds to help you find out “what breed is my cat?”. The following breeds are known for their long, thick fur:
There are plenty of other long-haired cat breeds. So make sure to examine your cat’s fur closely, to help you find out what breed your cat is!
Short Haired Cats
Not every cat has long, fluffy fur that needs lots of grooming. Perhaps your mystery kitten has a short, easily maintained coat. If so, you might have one of the following breeds:
It’s important to remember that each cat is an individual, even if it has a breed. Some cats within a breed may have longer fur than others. Plus, if your cat is a mixed breed, its features can fall somewhere in between those of its parents.
Does your mystery cat have curly or wavy fur? If yes, there are a few more breeds for you to look to! Most cats have flat coats, but some can have a crimped or wavy texture. Your breed could be linked to one of the following, known for their wavy fur:
Hairless cats are popular among people with allergies. Although, cat allergies, just like dog allergies, are caused by allergens produced in skin, urine, and saliva, as well as just fur.
Many hairless cats are mixed breeds. If you have a hairless cat, you could own one of the following breeds:
If you’re still struggling to identify what breed your cat is from its size and fur, looking at its facial shape and features is another great idea. Some breeds have very distinctive face shapes or features such as curled ears. Let’s take a look at some of these now.
Some cats have longer, more pointed faces than others, which makes them more recognisable. Looking at the breed standards of cats can help narrow down which breed your cat is. Here are some cat breeds with long, pointed faces:
Flat Faced Breeds
Flat faced breeds are cats with very short snouts. They are known as brachycephalic breeds. Their skull shape has been bred this way to give them a “human-like” appearance.
Flat faced breeds often have large eyes and small ears. But they are also prone to some serious health issues, such as breathing difficulties, dental problems, and eye problems. Brachycephaly affects the following breeds to varying degrees:
Even your cat’s ears can help you find out “what breed is my cat”! Many breeds have tufted ears. This refers to the hair at the very top of your cat’s ears. This can give your cat a wild look, almost like the wild Lynx cat! The following breeds are known for having tufted ears in their breed standards:
Although most cat breeds have pointed, rounded ears that stand tall and straight, some breeds have ears that are curled to their heads. This is a really distinctive feature that can be a good way to identify your cat. The following breeds are known for their curled ears:
Type of Tail
Another useful feature to help you answer “what breed is my cat?” is the type of tail your cat has. A lot of cats have long tails. But some have much shorter tails that make it look as though they have been cropped. Some even look as if they don’t have tails! The following breeds are known for having short tails like these:
Personality and Behavior
Does your cat have a really distinctive personality? Some breeds are known for certain traits that can help you identify what breed is your cat. Let’s take a look at some traits, and see which breeds could apply!
Friendly Cat Breeds
Is your cat affectionate to anyone and everyone? Here are some breeds that are known for being friendly and loving, especially to their families.
- American Shorthair
- Birman Cat
- Burmese Cat
- Cornish Rex
- Maine Coon
Intelligent Cat Breeds
Some cat breeds are just known for their intelligence. In fact, some have even been taught tricks, just like dogs. If you have an intelligent cat, it could be linked to one of the following breeds:
Perhaps your mystery cat is very vocal! Some cats love to join in our conversations. So this is definitely a quality that can help identify your cat! Here are some breeds that are known for being noisy and vocal:
Quiet Calm Breeds
Not every cat breed is vocal, busy, and active! Some love nothing more than relaxing, and observing the world quietly. If you think this sounds like your kitten, take a look at some of these breeds:
Bossy Cat Breeds
Although all cats love to show their affections, some also love getting their own way! If your cat is like this, it could be linked to some of the following breeds:
Finding the answer to: “what breed is my cat” can be really tough. Especially if you have a mixed breed. If you’re really eager to find out exactly what breeds are in your cat’s DNA, you should take a trip to the vet!
Your vet can help you with a DNA test. Not only will this show you exactly what breeds are in your cat’s ancestry, but it can also identify any potential health issues you should watch out for. This can help you take the best care of your mystery kitten!
What Breed is Your Cat?
Have we helped you find the answer to the popular question: what breed is my cat? Make sure you let us know in the comments! We would love to hear what mixture of characteristics your cat has!
References and Resources
- Cat Financier’s Organisation (CFA)
- The International Cat Association (TICA)
- M. J. Lipinski (et al), ‘An International Parentage and Identification Panel for the Domestic Cat’, Animal Genetics, 2007
- B. Bonnet (et al), ‘An Update on Molecular Cat Allergens: Fel d 1 and What Else?’ Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology, 2018
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