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What Breed Is My Cat?

What Breed is My Cat?

A very common question cat owners have is "what breed is my cat"? For most of us, if we have adopted a cat from a shelter, pet shop, friend etc., unless we are told the lineage, we will never know what breed of cat he is.

Most cats are what's known as "domestic shorthair" (DSH) or "domestic longhair" (DLH). That means they are of mixed/unknown breed. It doesn't make them any less special.

Some "domestics" do carry physically similar traits to purebred cats. For example, some cats may be "pointed" which could lead the owner to assume they have Siamese in them. Longhaired cats are often thought to be part or full Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat. Grey/blue cats thought to be Russian Blue. It is entirely possible, that a mixed breed carries genes for purebred cats, but without a history or papers, it is just not possible to know. Just looking similar to a pedigree cat doesn't make the cat pedigree. Domestics are just as lovely without a tag and we should enjoy them for who they are.

Some breeds which people often think their cat may be include:

Shorthaired pointed cat - Siamese

Longhaired pointed cat - Ragdoll, Himalayan, Birman

Blue/grey cats - Russian Blue, Korat, Chartreux

Longhaired cats - Maine Coon, Persian or Norwegian Forest Cat

Black cats - Bombay, British Shorthair, Oriental

White cat with ginger ears and tail - Turkish Van

Many people often confuse coat colours and markings for cat breeds. I have heard many people say "my cat is a tuxedo" or "I have a calico cat". A tuxedo cat is a "bicolour" (ie, it has white and another colour), and a calico cat is a cat with a predominantly white coat, with ginger tabby and black spotting. Both are names for coat colours/patterns, not breeds. Incidentally, did you know that almost all calico cats are female? 

calico cat

calico cat
Calico cat

Tuxedo cat

By the way, just because your cat doesn't come with pedigree papers or a history of his ancestry doesn't mean you can't show it, should you choose to. Many of the cat clubs have a "domestic or household pets" section where cats without papers/domestics can be shown. So, if you think your cat has the looks and temperament, and you would like to meet lots of cat lovers, then why not give it a go? Some of the most beautiful cats I have seen were domestics.

If you still think your cat may be a purebred, check out our list of cat breeds here. It is still not 100% complete, but we will continue to add photos as they are submitted. If you have a photo of a breed that is not on the list, we would love to hear from you. You can email us here.

Further reading:

Cat Breeds Listing