"How do I find out what breed my cat is?"
This has to be the number one question we get on the cat breeds forum.
Cats come in a variety of coat lengths, colors and patterns. Add to that a unique facial structure and an exceptionally svelte or maybe rather a chubby body form and people start wondering - is my cat a purebred or a pedigreed cat?
The Short Answer
Unless your cat came with official papers delineating her or his ancestors, then your cat is not a pedigreed cat of any breed. You won’t be able to show him or her at any breed category in any cat show, nor should this cat ever be a part of a breeding program.
Purebred cats can “lose their papers” and end up in a shelter, where they will later be adopted by curious new owners. That is not a likely scenario where ethical breeders make sure, through various means, that the cats leaving their cattery never end up in a shelter. However, it can happen and all that’s left in that case is to try and say which breed the cat most resembles - it will never regain it’s pedigreed status, unless clearly identified (for example, using its microchip to trace the breeder).
So, What Type of Cat Is She?
So, we can start by assuming that the cat you adopted is not a purebred. However, we all like fancy terms and words, and you can still learn what the correct terms are for describing your cat appearance.
Judging features like facial proportions or body shape is best left for professionals, but coat length, color and pattern, are usually easy enough to tell. First, you need to determine whether your cat has long or short hair. Accordingly, he or she is either a Domestic Longhair or a Domestic Shorthair, also known as DLH and DSH respectively.
Then, there’s an entire spectrum of patterns and colors. We have an entire article dedicated to Cat Coat Colors and Patterns which you should check out. Once you identify your cat’s colors there, you too can own a “longhair red tabby and white van” or a “shorthair cream and blue tortoiseshell” - now, doesn’t that sound fancy? It will actually be a very accurate answer to the original question, even if it does not offer an actual breed name.
Not sure which terms apply to your cat? By all means, post about your cat and add a few clear pictures and we’ll try and help out on the forums!
But Which Breed Does Your Cat Resemble?
Here are a few popular breeds and some of their more prominent features. Remember, this does not mean your cat is of that breed - only that you might be able to say there’s a resemblance.
Siamese Cats - short hair, blue eyes and a colorpoint coat pattern are the traits shared between traditional and modern Siamese cats. Modern Siamese also have uniquely svelte bodies and an elongated head.
Persian Cats - a stocky build and a very long coat constitute the typical Persian look, along with large round eyes and a short nose. Modern Persian cats have a flat face, with their nose pushed back. More about Persian Cats.
Himalayan Cats - Himalayans, aka Himmies, share the build and coat length of the Persians, but have a pointed color pattern. More about Himalayan Cats.
Maine Coon Cats - exceptionally large, with long silky yet dense hair and sometimes tufts on the tip of their ears. Maine Coons can come in any color and coat pattern, except for colorpoints. More about Maine Coon cats.
Russian Blue Cats - the bluish gray short coat is what this breed is famous for, along with bright green eyes. There are other “blue” cat breeds such as the Korat and the Chartreux, but Russian Blues are probably better known. More about Russian Blue cats.
The common trait here? These are all breeds that have a prominent feature, be it a certain coat pattern or color, or maybe coat length, that is not very common, yet is displayed among non-pedigreed domestic cats. You’ll find many “Russian Blues”, “Persians” or “Main Coons” lookalikes in shelters, all in need of a good forever home. These cats are just as beautiful and special as their purebred counterparts, just please don’t ever breed them just because they’re beautiful!
Want to become an expert on cat breeds? Get one of these books from Amazon -
The Complete Cat Breed Book
Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds
Want to show us your cat and see what other members think?
Don't leave a comment here asking about your cat.
Instead, post a thread in our special forum titled Describing Cats - What Does My Cat Look Like? Add a photo or two and wait for replies.
Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!