Choosing a Cat Breed
Although many people believe that a cat is a cat, cats, just as dogs do, also come in different breeds. There are long-haired cats and short-haired cats, and even a hairless variety (the Sphynx) although it is not really hairless but is covered with a very fine down-like fur. In fact, many people who have cat allergies seem to be able to tolerate the Sphynx cat.
Here are a few characteristics of some of the more popular or well-known breeds of cats:
American Short-hair – This cat is believed to be the most popular breed of cat in the United States. They are a medium-to-large cat with dense short fur. The American Short-hair cat is a very affectionate, long-living, creature and is disinclined to behavioral problems. These are ideal cats that get along well with others in the family, including dogs. They have a sunny and gentle disposition which makes it ideal for families with small children.
Persian - Some of the long-haired cat breeds require a lot of extra care in grooming. The Persian cat due to its long thick fur is not capable of grooming itself properly and must be brushed daily, as well as bathed often.
Siamese - Another well-known breed of cat is the Siamese. These cats have short flat-lying fur and almond-shaped blue eyes. Siamese are known for their social behavior and as being affectionate and intelligent. They are also known for their loud full-throated voice. They have a great need for human companionship and often bond best to a single person.
Abyssinian – This cat is believed to be one of the most popular short-haired breed of cats in the USA today. They have a distinctly ticked, tawny coat with their tail and paws showing tabby markings. Abyssinians are very active, friendly, curious and playful cats but generally are not considered "lap cats". They like to explore and play and will usually adopt one person in the household. They are cats who like to be busy and can get easily bored or depressed without daily activity and attention.
Ragdoll (or Ragamuffin) – This is a breed of cat that has a medium long-haired coat. It is known for its docile, placid temperament and affectionate nature. This type of cat makes an ideal pet in a family with young children, as they tolerate the hugs and kisses well and are gentle and friendly in nature. Ragdolls need to be groomed to prevent their fur from matting and to give them their fluffy appearance.
Siberian – The Siberian breed is a long-haired cat whose fur may be considered to be 90% hypoallergenic, although no conclusive information is currently available. The fur is plush but does not have a tendency to mat. These cats are strong and powerfully, agile and athletically built and known to be superior jumpers. They are intelligent, playful, affectionate and loyal and are considered to have dog-like characters.
Himalayan – These are a long-haired variety of cat with extremely long fluffy fur, which has blue eyes like a Siamese. They are a cross between a Siamese and a Persian cat. Because of their heritage from Siamese cats they tend to be more active than ordinary Persians may be. These cats are generally sweet-tempered, intelligent, very sociable and make very good companions. These cats require a lot of grooming and are more prone to hairballs than other breeds.
Burmese – This cat breed is split into two subgroups, the American Burmese and the British Burmese. Burmese cats are known for social behavior and their friendly rapport with humans, as well as being very intelligent. These cats are extremely vocal and often seem to call to their owners.
Exotic Shorthair – This breed of cat is a cross between the Persian and the American Short-hair. It has the personality of a Persian, with a calm gentle temperament, but is great for people who do not want the hassle of grooming the long hair. It is usually friendly to other cats and dogs, is playful, affectionate, loving and rarely meows. It does not like to be left alone and craves company, making it an excellent lap cat.
Russian Blue – The Russian Blue is a cat that has a silvery coat and is highly sought after for its personality. They tend to have strong bonds with their human companions, are playful and highly intelligent. These cats have been known to be able to open doors or windows, will play fetch and are highly sensitive to people’s emotions. They tend to be timid around strangers.
The above is just a small sampling of the breeds of cats that you might consider adopting into your family. There are certainly a great many other breeds to choose from, and of course you can also get a multi-breed cat from a barnyard litter.
Cats have their own unique personalities and make great pets. Contrary to some beliefs they are loving and affectionate companions.
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