Pedigree Cats

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All cats are beautiful, be they pedigree or ‘moggie’. Over 90% of our pet cats are moggies, but what of the pedigrees – what makes them different? Pedigree cat colours vary tremendously but unlike their canine counterparts, breeds do not show such a huge range in size. Some breeds come in a limited range of colours, may be a lighter build or their faces may be flatter or more angular than others. However it is usually the differences in personality that make a breed stand apart.

The Abyssinian has short, close lying double ticked fur (each hair has at least two dark bands), giving it a similar appearance to that of a wild rabbit. As well as this traditional colour it now comes in sorrel, red, blue, silver, chocolate, lilac, fawn, cream and tortie. The Abyssinian is said to have a very loyal personality, and to be sweet tempered, intelligent and described by some as obedient – they are a breed frequently preferred by men.
Asian Shorthair
A relatively new breed, Asian Shorthairs are of medium build and closely resemble their ancestors, the Burmese, with a firm and muscular body, and strong straight back. The eyes are set well apart and are full and expressive, and may be yellow through to green. The Asian Shorthair was bred to be of Burmese type but with a wide range of colours. Asian Shorthairs are said to be intelligent and curious but less demanding than Burmese.
The Balinese is a semi-longhaired Siamese with a silky coat. Its body is long and slender, the head is wedge shaped and the ears may be tufted. The Balinese is reputed for being less loud and boisterous than a Siamese, but with a tendency to be very playful with its offspring. It usually adores human company.
A relatively new breed of cat, created by crossing as Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat, its coat resembles its wild ancestor with spotted or marbled markings on a paler background. The Bengal has a sleek, muscular appearance, with hindquarters slightly higher than the shoulders and a thick tail, carried low. It has a distinctive voice and likes playing with water. Currently these cats can be very expensive to buy. Bengals are very athletic, but were initially very shy. With each successive generation they are becoming more confident and playful.
The Birman is a long-bodied cat with a rounded head and blue eyes. Its long and silky coat comes in blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, tortie and tabby and has darker points on a pale body. All Birmans have white feet. Birmans are said to be intelligent, gentle and quiet cats. They are amenable, enjoy family life and adapt well to other animals.
British Shorthair
The British Shorthair is a large cat with a sturdy body, heavy feet, small, neat ears and large eyes. The short coat is dense and crisp and comes in a wide variety of colours: solid (self) colours from black to red, combinations of bi-colour (white with any of the self colours), colour pointed like Siamese, smoke, tabby in various colours and tortoiseshell. This breed tends to be very ‘laid back’ and friendly, with an affectionate temperament.
Burmese have a short, shiny, dense coat that feels wonderful to stroke and comes in brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream and brown, blue, chocolate and lilac tortie. Its body is medium sized and sturdy and it has a rounded head and wide set ears. In profile it has a firm chin and a distinct nose ‘break’, unlike the straight profile of the Siamese. The Burmese is famous for its affectionate, intelligent personality, and is frequently described as the most ‘dog-like’ of the pedigree cat breeds. They can be both demanding and vocal, enjoying the attention of their owners, to whom they become very attached. They enjoy joining in family life.
Devon and Cornish Rex
The Rex cats have a curly or wavy coat, in which the fine hair has a rippled appearance that comes in any colour or pattern. The Rexes have a slender muscular body, long legs and a wedge shaped head. The Devon Rex has large and low set ears which give the breed a pixie-like appearance. Rexes are intelligent, friendly and renowned for their energy and playful behaviour.
  Egyptian Mau
The Egyptian Mau is a cat of medium size and is long and graceful with obvious muscular strength. The coat of the Egyptian Mau is short, silky and fine and has a lustrous sheen. The random spotted pattern comes in bronze, silver and smoke. The breed is loving and playful, and said to be good at learning tricks. It is one of the few breeds that enjoys walking on a lead.
Exotic Shorthair
The Exotic Shorthair has the same shape and body size of the Persian but with much shorter hair. This breed comes in all the colours of the Persian and has the same undemanding temperament. They are gentle, affectionate, playful and intelligent.
The Korat is of medium size and is muscular and athletic. They are similar to the Russian Blue in appearance, but have a single rather than a double coat, are more rounded in shape and have peridot green rather than emerald eyes. The wide set eyes appear to be large in proportion to the face. Korats are less vocal than some oriental breeds. They have a quiet, sweet nature but are very intelligent and playful, making loving companions, particularly for children.
Maine Coon
One of the largest of the pedigree cat breeds, with long legs, a strong body, long head and squarish muzzle, the Maine Coon has a heavy, thick waterproof coat and a bushy tail. The fur is thicker around the neck giving the cat a distinctive ruff. The coat may be of various colours and patterns. Maine Coons have humble origins and were used to sleeping rough – because of this they are often found curled up in the strangest locations. They are also notable for the unusual chirping sound that they make. They are affectionate and companionable pets.
  Norwegian Forest
The Norwegian Forest Cat developed to survive the cold temperatures of Norway and has a strong, long thick waterproof coat and woolly undercoat that comes in various colours and patterns. It is renowned for its great climbing and hunting skills. They love people and can be very demanding of affection; in exchange they offer intelligent, friendly, playful company. Despite their love of the outdoors, this breed adapts happily to living indoors as long as they are given plenty of space. They are reputed to be outgoing with strangers.
Oriental Shorthair
Oriental Shorthairs have the long, slender body shape of the Siamese, but have a solid coat pattern instead of the darker coloured points. They come in a variety of colours from solid (self) colours to smoke and shaded. The Oriental Shorthair is intelligent and energetic and is said to become very attached to its owners. They are vocal cats and can be demanding in temperament.
Known officially as the Longhair, the Persian has a medium sized, sturdy body, flat face and large round eyes that are in most cases copper-coloured or orange. The Persian’s coat is long and luxuriant, with a soft undercoat. The Persian comes in an enormous range of colours and markings, but it is often the Chinchilla (with a white coat and emerald green eyes which look as if they have been outlined with kohl pencil) which comes to mind when we think of the Persian. Persians are usually gentle, friendly and undemanding, however their coats require a lot of commitment in the form of daily grooming, to avoid becoming matted to the skin.
Ragdolls are fairly light with a strong body, large tufted paws, a bushy tail and blue eyes. The silky, medium length coat comes in various ‘Siamese’ colours and three patterns: Colour pointed, mitted (white paw tips and underside) and bi-coloured (colour pointed with white patches). This is a breed which enjoys being picked up, is relaxed, easy-going, extremely tolerant and quickly becomes devoted to its owner.
  Russian Blue
The Russian Blue is a medium to large cat with a beautiful, soft, double coat, with the texture of velvet. It has an angled profile and whisker pads that stand out a little, giving it a very strong face. The Russian Blue is quiet, gentle and affectionate.
Probably the most well known of all breeds, the modern Siamese has a long elegant body, fine legs and tail and a wedges shaped head with blue eyes. Siamese have short hair and come in a range of colour points from the well known seal point, to among others, chocolate, lilac, red and cinnamon points. Since the mask, ears, stockings and tail (the points) are at a cooler temperature than the body, they are pigmented differently, being darker than the paler body. Siamese are intelligent, talkative and playful cats. They are often described as ‘dog-like’, because of their willingness to retrieve items, walk on a harness and even to learn tricks. Siamese are the most extroverted of all domestic cats, with a loud ‘voice’ that is impossible to ignore. They can become so attached to their owners, that some will not tolerate ‘rivals’ – feline nor human!
The Somali is a longhaired version of the Abyssinian and comes in the same range of colours. It has a fine but dense coat that is very soft to the touch with triple banded ticking – each hair has six bands of colour. The Somalis are highly intelligent, good-tempered and playful. They may be slightly more shy than Abyssinians, but are similarly unsuited to a life spent entirely indoors.
The Tonkinese was developed from a cross between a Burmese and Siamese and looks like a ‘chunkier’ version of a traditional Siamese. It has a fine, close-lying short coat that comes in brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream as well as various torties and tabbies. The Tonkinese is intelligent and interactive, ultra-affectionate and said to be one of the most people-oriented of the short-hair breeds. They are less shy of strangers than many of the oriental breeds, but equally vocal.