Getting a new breed of cat to be counted among the "regular" championship breeds can be a long process. Breeders work long and hard to achieve a certain look and establish that as the standard for a new breed. TICA - The International Cat Association - has special official categories for these new breeds, and they can be shown while technically they are still being developed.
Here are seven new breeds recognized by TICA which you may not have heard of before.
Let us know in the comments which of these you've already heard of -
Khao ManeeA native of Thailand, this is one of the naturally-occurring breeds which was first imported into the US in 1999. Kaho Manees, sometimes referred to as Khaomanees (one word), are completely white cats. They are famous for being odd-eyed cats, but while this is indeed a preferred trait, even-eyed cats still meet the breed standard, and eyes can be of any color. A couple of dozen of these cats have been imported from Thailand into the US, where a group of breeders is working together towards creating a breed with moderate SE Asian type head and body. To that end, crossing with Thai-born cats of other colors is allowed at this time.
Photo by Odyssey Khao Manee - Welcome to Odyssey
Napoleon (and Napoleon Longhair)Munchkins were the original dwarf cats, developed from a random mutation discovered in the 1980s. Deliberate mating of Munchkins with other breeds created several new dwarf breeds, one of them being the Napoleon. Napoleons were created by mating Munchkins with cats of the Persian breed group, which included Persians, Himalayans and Exotic Short Hairs.
The result is a new breed with short legs (though some cats do not display this trait) and a characteristic round face with big round eyes, similar to that of a doll-faced Persian. The Napoleon has a round body, too, a lot like that of a Persian cat, only it usually has the short legs of a Munchkin. Their coat may be long, but it is more manageable than the coat of a Persian.
Picture by Blue Skies Cats - Blue Skies Cattery Home
DonskoyThis breed was developed from a single rescued cat in Russia, in a city called Rostov-on-Don (hence the name). The cat was at first thought to suffer from a rare skin disorder, but eventually this was found to be a new mutation for hairlessness.
This mutation is unrelated to the better-known Canadian Sphynx, although the breed is sometimes called Don Sphynx. Donskoys don't have to be entirely bald. They sometimes sport very short coats of various textures which may only be present during the cat's early years of life. These cats are strong and muscular, with large ears and almond-shaped eyes.
Picture by KathrynEden, DonEden Cattery - Home
MinskinThe Minskin is the result of a deliberate breeding program developed around the turn of the century to meet the vision of one breeder, Paul McSorley.
McSorely sought to create a short-legged cat with a unique coat pattern where hair would grow only on the body's extremities. After several generations, he finally met his challenge and the Minskin was created.
Munchkin and Sphynx cats were used in the program, but also Devon Rex and Burmese cats. The end result is a dwarf cat with a short velvety coat on the head, legs and tail and a relatively bald body.
Picture by sweet as candy - Sweet Minskin cats and kittens
The HighlanderHighlander cats are large and friendly. They have a very distinct look, with ears that are firm, yet softly curl at the tip and short tails.
This unique look is the result of deliberate breeding of two hybrid breeds back in the 1990's: the Desert lynx And the Jungle Curl. The resulting cats were at first known as the Highland Lynx, but the name was later changed to the Highlander.
The breed standard also calls for an average to large body and an overall athletic body build. Highlander cats can be tabbies or colorpoint, but they cannot be bi-colors.
Picture by The The Wild in Heart Cattery and The Home of the Highlander - wildathearthighlanders.com - Home
The SerengetiWith a clearly exotic "wild" look, you might think the Serengeti was a hybrid cat (in hybrids, wild cats are used to introduce unique traits to the domestic cat genetic pool).
However, this majestic feline is entirely domestic. It's the result of deliberately crossing Bengal cats with Oriental shorthairs, initiated by the founder of the breed: Karen Sausman of Kingsmark Cattery in California.
The result is an elongated cat with large ears and large round eyes. The coat has a distinctly spotted tabby pattern. The coat can be black or even silver, but if any pattern comes through, it should show spots.
Picture by Kingsmark Cattery - Bengal Cats & Kittens Andalusian Horses & Horse Breeders in California
The SokokeRelatively new to the Cat Fancy world, this is in fact an "old breed", naturally occurring in a specific area in Kenya, Africa. The founding cats of the Sokoke breed were imported from Africa into Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, with a second, separate wave of imports bringing "new blood" into the lines in the first decade of the 21st century.
Recent genetic studies have shown the Sokoke to be related to the Asian Cats group, which could help explain its lithe elegant silhouette. These cats are strong and muscular, with a dense brown tabby pattern.
Sokokes are friendly and social cats, yet independent. Being a natural breed, they have no known hereditary diseases. They shed very little since they hardly have any undercoat.
Picture by Kadzonzo Cattery - SOKOKE, Sokokekatter, SOKOKE katt, kattrasComments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!