What Breed Is My Cat? Find Out What Kind Of Cat You Have!
Explore this list of common cat breeds (with pictures) & their characteristics to see what kind of cat you have!
[Infographic at the bottom!]
“What kind of cat do I have?” Okay, so we know that you'd love your pet regardless of their breed, but knowing the breeds of our cats is actually useful.
If you have a cat with some purebred background, for example, it can be helpful to search for answers when it comes health conditions and insights that are related to that cat breeds. A lot of potential cat owners search for information on feline adoption often asking this question.
Some pure breeds might be more prone to diseases years later in life. Knowing that can help you to prepare and take preventative steps early on. It may just pay you to ask, "What breed of cat do I have?"
And, yes, your cat might very well be a purebred. You can’t always tell just by looking at your furry friend. So that rescue cat could well be one of the rare cat breeds or a mix of several!
Realistically, though, this is not always the case. Purebred cat breeds are usually expensive to buy and are not quickly surrendered.
It is possible, however, that pure breeds are rescued from unscrupulous breeders. Or perhaps originate from breeders who don't "fix" their cats before selling. These cats can mix with feral or other outdoor cats to create some interesting cat types! Maybe one is yours?
At this point, though, it’s more a matter of personal interest for a purebred cat type than anything else. Unless your furry friend has proper registration papers of the cat's breed, you won’t be able to enter her into shows.
Many cat owners who have adopted kittens from an animal shelter just like to know what their cats' preferences are from a genetic perspective.If you're really curious to find out your cat's breed right away, you can check out Basepaws, who offers the most accurate DNA testing for cats.
What's great about getting a DNA test for your mixed-breed cat is you not only learn what they're comprised of, but the scientific insight can identify genetics and health traits you can use to help your cat live a longer and healthier life.
Basepaws has a special discount right now for $20 off their basic test that tells you all about the breed of your cat: Use Coupon Code: CATDNA20. If you want the health test added on, you can save $60 with Coupon Code: CATDNA60. It's a really good deal! >> Get your DNA test kit now.
What Breed Is My Cat: Types Of Cats, Breeds, Common Characteristics & Traits
Most felines come under the denomination of domestic cats as per the Cat Fanciers Association. These cats are divided into long-haired and short-haired. Technically a purebred is a cat that has ancestors of the same breed. Some interbreeding is allowed under strict conditions.
In this section, we’ll go through some information of the common cat breeds that you will encounter are, from domestic to purebred cats.
It’s not an exhaustive list of cat breeds, which are identified by the International Cat Association who enforces the cat breed standard, but it will give you an idea of how much differentiation there is between a domestic and purebred cat breed.
There are many qualities of a cat you should look at, such as the coat length, coat pattern, weight, vocality, temperament and personality traits to really get a good idea of what kind of cat you have.
In this article, we look at the behaviors, coloration, and sizes of felines. This can be from light underside markings, the the length of your cat's whiskers, to the size and shape of their paws, chest, belly, chin and feet.
Does your cat resemble purebred or Domestic Breeds?
Don’t despise domestic breeds just because of its lack of pedigree compared to a purebred cat. They come in a range of different sizes, coat patterns, and colors. You’ll find the typical domestic cat “breeds” with coat patterns such as tortoiseshell, tuxedo, calico, and the plain old tabby cat.
For this article, we’ll divide the common cat breeds by their coat patterns. It wouldn’t pass muster with breeders, but it will work well enough for our purposes of looking at the different cat breeds.The breed of cat can be hard to tell without a cat DNA test due to the genetic pre-disposition a cat may have from their parents, whether that's from their mother or father.
Even males and females of the same breed can behave completely different. Luckily, we've compiled everything you'd need to take into account to determine your cat's breed.
The American Short Hair
Also known as the domestic shorthair, this cat breed was later distinguished as being purebred, and not the domestic shorthair it was known for.
Today, if you want to call your feline by this name of a domestic shorthair cat breed, you need to know their cat's breeding history of this American shorthair.
Calico Cat Breed
Calicos are basically tortoiseshell cats that have white in their coloring. They might have a mix of orange, black and white, or a flaxen color. You’re unlikely to find two calicos with the same patterns or patches on their coats.
Interestingly enough, most calicos that you’ll come across are female. Males are rare and tend to be sterile.
If you want a calico cat breed with a pedigree, look for a:
- Maine Coon
- Scottish Fold
- And a few others
Tabbies typically have whorls, dots, stripes or dashes on their coats, and can be primarily a gray or brown cat. They can also come in a range of colors, and the coat pattern is always identifiable.
Most tabbies have an M shape on the forehead. Otherwise, cats with the distinctive “tiger” striping fall into this cat breed category.
To really understand more about these cats, check out our guide on Tabby cat breed info to discover things about these common cats you never even knew.
This cat breed is similar to calicos but come in two main color families. They’ll usually be black and red, or some variation on these shades. The lighter red shades go all the way to ginger and cream. The black coloring can also include blue, gray, or brown.
These cats have one of two coat patterns. Brindled or patched. To confuse you a bit more, your tortoiseshell pattern might also have some tabby characteristics to it. The difference will be that it has patches of color, not the allover pattern.
The only difference between these and calicos is that the latter also has white in its coloring. Learn more about tortie cat breeds to see what really makes these cats so special!
If you want one of these with a pedigree, look for:
- A Japanese Bobtail
- Cornish Rex
- British Shorthair
These cats are black and white. This cat bred will usually have a black body and white socks and bib. They’re quite distinctive so you can recognize them quite easily.
Read our full guide on tuxedo cats to learn more.
If you’re looking for a Tuxedo cat breed with a pedigree, you can search for a:
- Maine Coon
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
- And many others
Unique Cat Breeds
These are more of the kinds of animal cat breeds that you’ll see at shows, etc. They have special characteristics that distinguish them from standard domestic cats. They’ve usually been bred to highlight some distinctive traits that they have.
Here are some of the more popular breeds you might come across.
Known for their color point coats, beautiful blue eyes, and extreme intelligence, this cat breed is sought after.
They are usually slim and have a longer head. They tend to be vocal and make excellent pets for a cat household.
This cat breed is also known to be a bit highly strung and tend to bond with one family member over the others. Contrary to what you might think, they are still great cats to have if you have kids. They are very loyal to their humans.
Persian Cats longhair
These are lovely felines but can be very high maintenance. The outstanding feature here is that they have long fluffy hair and a short, stubby build. Modern cat breeds look as though they got dropped on the face when small.
Their faces tend to be flat, with the nose flattened as well. These features identify them as one of the brachycephalic breeds that has been popular in both dogs and cats.
If this is the cat breed that you have, you will likely have to brush it every day to keep it well-groomed; be sure to always need their nails cut because they have a reputation to tear up your furniture.
These felines will also need to be bathed from time to time. Their coats are usually pale colors and are one color throughout.
This cat breed similar to Persians in that they have a coat that is the same length. They also share similar characteristics regarding build and flat faces. The difference comes in the coloring. They have a color point pattern, so they might have contrasting socks.
There is a fair amount of grooming to be done with these felines as well. Persians and Himalayans can be very loving but do tend to like living in the lap of luxury.
Maine Coon Cats
This is a very popular cat breed type in the United States. It looks something like a recent offshoot or crossing of a bobcat.
Maine Coons are very big, have silky hair and lots of it, and often have ears that have tufts at the top. They come in all shapes and a variety of colors.
The only pattern you won’t find with these beautiful, curious creatures is color points.
Russian Blue Cats
Russian blue cats are famous for their unusual blue-gray fur color and their brightly colored green eyes.
They are not to be confused with the Chartreux or Korat cat breeds even though they have similar coloring. They have shorter coats, so they don’t require daily grooming like Persians or Himalayans.
This is another cat breed that is fiercely intelligent and very loyal. Because of these characteristics, they make terrific pets.
If your little friend falls into this cat breed category, it’ll be pretty easy to spot. For starters, they have a genetic mutation that causes the tail to stop developing.
Your kitty will, therefore, have just a stub of a tail. They’ve also got longer hind legs and a more rounded head.
They do come in a range of colors and coat spots & patterns. They are especially prized as active hunters and show cats. If you have a mouse in the house, these kitties will take care of it quickly.
We love felines, but these distinctive animals take some getting used to. This hairless cat doesn't have fur, so they look more like wizened old people than your typical feline. Those with allergies prize them – without fur, they cannot set off an allergic reaction.
They are incredibly loving and loyal animals, so if you get the opportunity to rescue one, do consider it.
These cats have a medium-length coat and beautiful, pale coloring. They will usually be gray and white and have silky fur. They resemble Persians in that their faces are slightly flattened, though not to the same degree.
These are a lower maintenance animal as the fur does not require daily brushing.
“What breed is my cat?” is a question that vets hear all the time. The only way to be positive if the cat’s ancestry & genetics is unknown is to have a DNA test done. Now, before you start wondering how you’re going to pin kitty down for a cheek swab, relax.
Get your hands on one of the DNA testing kits from Base Paws and find out through precise genetic testing what breeds your cat is (they also have tests for dog breeds).
Now you can search if it is a Norwegian forest cat, Turkish Angora, Turkish Van, Linx, Torties, Bengal, British short-hair cat, Abyssinian or something else. Typically it will be a toss-up between cutting some fur off or taking a cheek swab.
You can choose which method is best for your newborn kitten or mature kitty.
Once you have the sample kit from the vet, place it in the receptacle provided, and then mail it back. You’ll have an answer to determine what cat species your kitty is within a couple of weeks or so. That will then settle once and for all the question of your cat’s ancestry.
Final Notes On What Kind of Breed Your Cat Is
Whether the cat chooses you and decides to move in, or you pick the cat out, it’s the wild personality that you’re going to fall in love with, not necessarily the type of cat.
The ancestry variety doesn’t matter that much at the end of the day unless you want a show cat. You may still ask "what cat breed is my feline?"
Still, as we said, unless you have the right papers, you can’t show your cat anyway. Still, it is something that is fun to work out and search for. The DNA testing isn’t expensive and can be really interesting to learn what breed your cat is.
Infographic of cat breeds
Jackie Johnston is the founder of Cat Word – a community of cat enthusiasts with a mission to spread as much knowledge as they can throughout the world on every aspect of raising and nurturing cats! In her spare time, Jackie loves reading and spending time with her two sons Logan and Christopher, and of course with their furry felines Simba and Max.