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How to Identify Domestic Cat Breeds

Learn a few tricks of the trade to identify cat breeds and it will help you find the ideal pal, breed cats, or simply satisfy your curiosity about the amazing variety of domesticated felines.


  • TIP: Note that the American Shorthair cat comes in more than 80 different colors.
  • Step 1: Consider cat personality qualities. Noting whether a cat is affectionate, docile, intelligent, or energetic can help you match it with typical breed qualities.
  • Step 2: Seek DNA testing from a reliable veterinary source for definitive information on a cat's breed. Purebred or random bred, a purr-fect pet/owner match sets the stage for a gratifying relationship.
  • FACT: Ancient Egyptians brought cats on-board shipping vessels to eat mice.
  • Step 3: Pay attention to coloring, fur patterns, and the presence or lack of eyebrows and whiskers for clues to a cat breed.
  • Step 4: Observe unusual breed characteristics, like the Manx's lack of tail, the Canadian Hairless breed's lack of fur, or the distinguishing "M" marking on a Tabby's forehead.
  • Step 5: Further identify breed by body type. The Siamese, Oriental Shorthair, and Balinese breeds have a slender body and triangle head, while the Maine Coon is short and stocky.
  • Step 6: Classify foreign breeds, like the Turkish Angora, Abyssinian, and Russian Blue, by their long tails, long legs, large ears, and almond-shaped eyes.
  • TIP: Geographic location may influence the overall characteristics of a cat.
  • Step 7: Examine a cat's hair to identify whether it belongs in the short hair or long hair classification among the more than 40 domestic cat breeds recognized nationally.

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