Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Many Longhaired Cat Breeds

The first longhaired cats, as a breed, were first seen in Europe in the 1500s. These were the ancestors of the Turkish Angora. Another breed, the Persian, was imported from Persia into Italy in the early 1600s. The Persian and Angora were later crossbred, leading to the development of additional longhaired cat breeds.

Today, there are eight commonly recognized breeds of longhaired cats, at least by most associations throughout the world. Most other breeds actually have cats which are medium in length. Each of these breeds is unique and separate from the others, having their own special traits and personalities.

The American Curl Longhair is a medium-sized cat native to North America. The ears of this cat curl backwards, making the cat appear to be quite happy and open. These elegant cats are born with straight ears, which begin to curl shortly after birth. Generally, the ears are fully curled by sixteen weeks of age, though the degree of curl varies widely. These cats are friendly and intelligent, and they get along well with children.

The Balinese is an elegant and graceful cat. Its long silky fur lacks an undercoat, which makes grooming easier than some longhaired breeds. They have sapphire blue eyes and coloring similar to that of a Siamese. These cats are very loyal and people-oriented, and they are fairly vocal. These cats do not do well when left on their own, so most people who have to be away from home will invest in two of these cats.

The Birman is a larger cat with a stocky build. These cats come in all pointed colors, just like Balinese would, but they have distinctive white gloves on both the front and back feet, making them truly stand out from other cats of this coloring. The Birman makes a wonderful family pet, as they are typically patient, active, and playful.

The Maine Coon Cat is a beautiful example of a longhaired cat. Its coat is water resistant and heavy, and its tail is long and bushy. The coat is easy to maintain, normally requiring only a weekly grooming.  They come in many colors, and make excellent companions for large families, as they love attention. A fairly quite breed, they love to play, either alone or with others.

The Norwegian Forest Cat may appear to be large and unwieldy, but is really quite strong and agile. These cats come in all patterns and colors. The Norwegian Forest Cat usually requires twice-weekly grooming. These cats can be more independent that some other breeds, and are adaptable and mild-mannered.

Of all the longhaired breeds, the Persian is probably the most famous. They have short legs, a cobby body, and a stub nose. Their coats are long and luxurious, but they do require daily grooming and regular bathing to keep them in good form. These cats prefer a quieter household, and usually don’t object to being left alone to laze in the sun for a few hours.

One of the larger cat breeds in the world, the Ragdoll can take up to four years to reach maturity. They are beautiful, fluffy, and have long bodies with strong boning. They have large eyes and a sweet expression that matches their personalities. Though longhaired, the Ragdoll actually sheds very little. These cats all have blue eyes, and come in many colors and patterns. Ragdolls are relaxed and very friendly. They are wonderful with other pets, and will allow children to handle then and even dress them up.

The final longhaired cat breed is the ballerina of all cats, the Turkish Angora. This cat is elegant and fine-boned, with large eyes and large ears. The tail is a plume of silky hair that flows out behind the cat at it walks. The Turkish Angora is a true acrobat with soft hair that rarely mats. This cat sometimes has odd-eyes, which means that one eye will be blue, the other yellow, brown, or green. Their penchant for activity makes them an entertaining addition to your household.

There are many longhaired cats in the world, and each one is unique. Before deciding on a particular breed, do your research. Choose the breed that is right for you and your lifestyle. That way, both you and the cat will be happy with the match.

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