There are very many different breeds of cat, and if you are considering becoming a breeder, or just want to own a particular pedigree cat, then you have a wide choice. We will look at some of the different breeds here, together with their particular traits and idiosyncrasies.
However, suffice it to say that 90% of all cats are what is known as “moggies” – cross-breds – and no worse for that. All cats can make very loving companions, and one of the advantages of the moggy is that it is very often more hardy and less prone to disease than pure-bred cats which have often been inter-bred in order to produce certain desired characteristics.
High on the list of many people’s favorite pure-breds is the Siamese. These cats are very dependent on their human owner, and can pine if left alone for too long. They are extremely vocal, so if you are looking for a nice quiet companion the Siamese is most certainly not for you. They do not so much meow as have a peculiar yowl which Siamese aficionados adore, but which can drive others mad.
The American Shorthair is what is often described as a “happy medium” of the cat world. Medium sized, medium weight, medium temperament, not too cuddly, yet not too aloof. Sometimes referred to as “happy to be in your lap, but not in your face”. Historically, the Shorthair was a working cat and as a result is strong, healthy, and full of vitality.
American Wirehairs are active cats – generally more so than the Shorthair – and form a strong bond with their owners. Indeed, they will usually follow you about from room to room in order to see what you are up to and what is going on. They seem to be blessed with a sense of humor and love to play the fool. They also seem to be extremely sensitive to your mood, and if you or a family member is feeling low they will come and sit beside you and purr in order to offer comfort.
British Shorthairs show a certain amount of typical British reserve. They are even-tempered and quiet, and undemanding. Initially, they are rather shy, but soon get over it and adopt the whole family, rather than being attached to one individual. They are also quite independent and don’t mind being left on their own for a while. A useful cat to consider if you are out at work all day.
The Devon Rex is a short-haired cat that doesn’t shed fur all over the place, and just wants to spend all of his time with you. Extremely affectionate, loyal, playful, and intelligent, they want to know exactly what you are up to, where you are going next, and what you are then going to do. They have large pixie-like ears, and have been variously referred to as elves, and even space aliens. Known affectionately as the “poodle cat” they will perch on your shoulder, sit on your lap, and play games with you for as long as you want (or as long as they want!).
Manx cats are the only cat that does not have a tail. They have exceptionally powerful back legs and can jump to extreme heights. They will form a strong bond with one member of the family, and also get on well with other family members and pets (including dogs). They are intelligent and active, and seem to enjoy playing with water, possibly because they were born on an island (the Isle of Man). They have a strange walk – known as the Manx hop, which is more like a rabbit than a cat) – and they make great family companions.
If you are looking for cat that is quiet and reserved, and happy to spend hours on your sofa minding its own business, then you might consider a Persian. They have a tendency to be something of a loner, until they decide that there is one human that they like. They enjoy attention and being petted and stroked, but won’t make a nuisance of themselves if you are too busy.
However, the Persian has that very long coat which needs daily grooming in order to keep its gloss and avoid matting. Most owners keep Persians indoors, since they don’t necessarily mix well with other cats, and the coat can get really messy if they are allowed to roam free outside.
The cats we have discussed here are just a handful of the pure breeds; there are many others. However, unless you have a fancy for a particular breed or are considering showing as a hobby, you will very often do just as well with a common or garden old “moggy”.