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What Breed Is My Cat?

Devan Mcguinness
Oct. 26, 2015

Here's what you need to know if you want to find out what breed your cat is.

Cats have many features that attract our attention. For some, it's the color of their coat, and for others it may be their irresistible whiskers and cute button noses. Some people love cats with long fur, and other people may find shorter-haired cats more charming. While gazing upon your feline friend with admiration, you may sometimes ask yourself, "What breed is my cat?" With 63 recognized breeds, according to The International Cat Association, narrowing it down can be tricky.

If you're trying to figure out what breed your cat is, the answer isn't always simple, but looking at a few key traits can help narrow down your search.

What Breed Is My Cat?
If you bought or adopted your cat, and he came with official papers certifying his ancestry, you have a purebred cat, and the certification will state your cat's breed. If your cat didn't come with those official papers, finding out his exact breed may be more of a guessing game.

Look at the Coat Length
Most cats fall into one of two categories: domestic long-haired or domestic short-haired, based on the length of their fur. Rarely does a cat fit between the two when it comes to fur length, and it's the first clue to narrowing down your cat's potential breed.

Look at the Fur Pattern
Once you've determined your cat's coat length, next you need to look at her fur's pattern and colors.

Calico cats are always female (except for the very rare infertile male). The Turkish Van is distinguishable by the various splashes of red, orange, brown and white on his coat, often incorporating at least two or three colors across its fur. These color combinations can come in stripes or large sections and flecks.

Tabby cats come in a variety of colors from gray to orange, and this coat pattern can be seen in many cat breeds, including the Manx and the American shorthair.

Tortoiseshell coats come in two colors, red and black, and can have either woven or solid patches of color. This coat pattern is also almost exclusively found on female cats, and breeds with this fur pattern include the Japanese bobtail and the Burmilla.

Point coloration describes the fur pattern where a cat is mostly white or gray, excepting the "points" of its body, which include its ears, paws and tail. Cat breeds that have this fur pattern include the Munchkin, Siamese and the Ragdoll.

Look at Your Cat's Sweet Little Face
Cats generally have one of three basic face shapes: round, square or triangle. The shape can really help you narrow down your breed. Cats with round faces may be Persian or Himalayan, especially if they have big eyes as well. Cats breeds with a square face include the Maine coon and the Norwegian forest cat, and Siamese and Burmese cats have a more triangular shape to their face.

What About a Cat Breed Test?
If you're really insistent on finding out the exact breed or breed mix of your cat, you can look into getting a cat breed test done. Based on your cat's DNA, the test, offered by some veterinarians and veterinary genetics labs, can isolate the markers that can determine which breed your cat is most likely related to, according to the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory in Davis, California.

The tests also take into consideration the key traits like coat length and fur pattern and are estimated to be 90 percent accurate in determining your cat's breed and pedigree. The genetic ancestry testing will run you about $120 per animal.

Taking all the traits into consideration, you may be able to pinpoint what breed your cat is, but even if you can't, loving her unique qualities is easy to do.

Devan McGuinness is a Toronto-based freelance writer who specializes in parenting and lifestyle topics.
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