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How Many Breeds of Domestic and Wild Cats Are Out There?

Quick tips for identifying a cat’s breed, whether domestic or wild.

While many pet owners tend to know the general breed of their animals, cat breeds
can be particularly difficult to pinpoint. Why exactly are they so difficult to identify?

Overall, cat classifications vary from database to database, making it difficult to
determine just how many breeds of cats there are and what constitutes each breed.
Altogether, there are roughly 100 breeds of domestic cats and approximately 40
breeds of wild cats. Here are a few tips on how to tell your cat’s breed:

Coat length – Most of these beloved pets can be grouped into two categories: long
haired or short haired. From here, your furry friend can be placed into subcategories
based on coat color and pattern. Long hairs can include a variety of breeds such as
Himalayan, Ragdoll, and Maine Coon. Short hairs can consist of breeds such as Manx,
Bombay, and Bengal.

Fur pattern and color – Your cat’s coat pattern and color can be a significant
identifying factor when trying to determine the ancestral history of your pet.
Patterns can be displayed in a wide variety of colors, including calico, tabby, and
tortoise.

Tortoiseshell coats can include red, black, cream, orange, gold, and white colors.
Affectionately referred to as “torties,” this pattern can be found on a variety of breeds
such as Cornish Rex, Persian, and British Shorthair.

Calico cats have coats that are mostly white with patches of orange, black, cream
and gray. This pattern can include breeds such as Scottish Fold, Persian, and Maine
Coon.

Despite what some pet-owners may think, tabby is actually not a breed. Tabby refers
to the cat’s coat pattern which can display dots, lines, swirling patterns or stripes —
all of which come together to form a distinct “M” shape on its forehead. Its fur can
include brown, black, red, silver, red and cream colors. This pattern can be found on
breeds such as Siberian, American Curl, and Australian Mist.

Facial structure – For the most part, a cat’s bone structure will fall under three
categories: triangle, round, and square. Siamese and Cornish Rex can be identified
by their famously triangular face that gives them sharper features. Felines with
round faces can include Singapura, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmilla. Square faces can
be found on breeds such as the Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon.

While dogs have been bred for various purposes such as hunting, racing, and
herding animals, cats were not bred with the intent to serve humans. Cats were
primarily made to chase mice and look adorable. Due to this, although the exact
number of domestic and wild cat breeds is still unknown, there are still far fewer
recognized breeds of cats than there are dogs.

A recent study shows that cats actually came to domesticate themselves. Since mice
and other rodents were attracted to the agricultural crops created by humans, the
ancient ancestors of our beloved pets likely came into contact with humans daily.
Another lineage of cats from Egypt suggests that humans were intrigued by their
personalities and attitudes — just as we are today.

Cat-owners can agree that some of the most popular breeds include American
Shorthair, Siamese, and Maine Coons. However, if you fancy befriending a rare feline,
some of the more rare breeds include Burmilla, Peterbald, and Serengeti. However,
no matter how popular or unusual your breed of cat is — it will still come with its own
unique and quirky personality that you will be sure to love.

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