Common imperfections include yellow eyes, white patches on the underside and dark banding on the tail. These cats are highly intelligent and playful but tend to be curious around strangers. They also develop a close bond with their human companions.Unlike so many modern cat breeds, the Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed which is believed to have originated in the port of Arkhangelsk, Russia (hence the name), although the evidence for this is purely anecdotal. They are also sometimes called Archangel Blues, as many believe the Russian Blue is a natural breed originating from the Archangel Isles in northern Russia. Legend has these beautiful animals trapped for their plush double coats which are sometimes compared to the coat of a beaver or seal. Originally known as the Archangel Cat or Foreign Blue, it is believed that they were brought by sailors from the Archangel Isles to England and Northern Europe in the 1860s. Rumor also has the Russian Blue as a descendant of the Royal Cat of the Russian Czars and as a favored pet of Queen Victoria. First shown in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in England as the Archangel Cat, the original Russian Blue competed in a class for all blue cats. It was not until 1912 that the Russian Blue was given a class of its own. From its early origins until after World War II, English and Scandinavian breeders worked to develop the foundation bloodlines for the contemporary Russian Blue. Although Russians were imported to the United States as early as 1900, there is little recorded work with the breed in America until after World War II. American breeders combined the English bloodlines with their plush, silvery coats and Scandinavian bloodlines with their emerald green eyes and flat profiles to produce the Russian Blue we know today. In the 1960s the Russian Blue began to gain popularity and has become a favorite both at cat shows and at home.
The Bombay is two distinct breeds of cat (please see below). These are muscular yet agile cats with a black coat. The heads of Bombay cats are rounded and wide with a short tapered muzzle. The eyes, which are of golden or copper color, are rounded and set wide, and their ears are broad, slightly rounded and medium sized and, like the eyes, set wide.
The Bombay has a coat that is short, satiny and tight to the body. Bombay cats do not require grooming, although petting the cat will keep their coat shiny and will also remove dead hair. A rubber brush can help when the cat sheds larger amounts of fur (uncommon). If the cat is fed a balanced diet, the coat will shine and the cat’s naturally energetic personality will become evident. Personality Bombay cats crave human affection like most felines. The Bombay appreciates affection and purrs loudly. Bombay cats are quiet and watchful and prefer living indoors. They can be affected by loud intrusive noises as loud noises make the Bombay nervous. A symptom of this nervousness is that they lose fur from their belly and near their tail. One remedy for this is to simply keep the cat indoors or away from loud noises and make sure they have somewhere to hide. Some convenient locations where a cat can hide are behind chairs, cupboards and almost anywhere that it is difficult for a predator to gain entry, including spaces behind TVs, inside cabinets and underneath small tables. While Bombay cats will tolerate other breeds of cat, they may tend to dominate other cats. Bombay cats seem to get along well with dogs. Dogs are pack animals and have a pecking order which the Bombay will take advantage of. Like most cats that have been raised properly, Bombay cats are smart, agile and inquisitive. They will often seek out human interaction. Bombays will investigate packages and will commonly chew through bags and containers to get at food. This can lead to problems if they eat chicken bones which can injure the cat’s throat. Bombay cats are by nature lap cats. They seek heat and will jump up on their owner’s backs and rest around their neck for comfort and reassurance.These cats are head-bumpers and nose-rubbers, Some can be very “talkative” (meow loudly) and have distinct “voices”. The Bombay will often “fetch”, and takes on other dog-like characteristics. These cats love nothing more than to be held and fussed over. Sensitive, reserved and intelligent, the Bombay is suited to life in a quiet home, where it is affectionate to the whole family. Both males and females are excellent pets. Bombay cats enjoy being around anyone, but may select someone specific to pay the most attention to. They are wonderful for families with children but may be at first annoyed with a new cat in the house. Bombay cats are rumoured to have sometimes unusual diets as lap cats. They may actually eat not just sour cream, but baked cookies or beans if the situation arises. Like many other species of domestic cats, they are rather sneaky and creative at the kitchen table. British Bombay The British Bombay cat is the name given to black cats of the Asian group. It is a cat of Burmese type with a black coat, toes, nose, and copper to greenish eyes. American Bombay The American breed called Bombay was created in 1958 in Louisville, Kentucky, when Nikki Horner of Shawnee Cattery deliberately bred an American Shorthair with a Burmese for the purpose of creating a domesticated cat that resembled a wild panther (also known as baby panther). The offspring of this breeding did indeed resemble the black leopard of India. The name came from the Indian city of Bombay (now Mumbai). Horner called her creation the “patent leather kid with the new penny eyes.”
The Ocicat is a new and still-rare breed of cat which has spots resembling a ‘wild’ cat and the temperament of a domestic animal, named for its resemblance to the ocelot. Despite its appearance, there is no ‘wild’ DNA in the Ocicat’s gene pool. The species is actually a mixture of Siamese and Abyssinian, and later American Shorthairs (silver tabbies) were added to the mix and gave the breed their silver colour, bone structure and distinct markings.There are twelve colors approved for the ocicat breed. Tawny, chocolate and cinnamon, their dilutes, blue, lavender and fawn, and all of them with silver: black silver (ebony silver), chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver and fawn silver.
The first breeder of Ocicats was Virginia Daly, of Berkley, Michigan, who attempted to breed an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese in 1964. The first generation of kittens appeared Abyssinian, but the surprising result in the second generation was a spotted kitten, Tonga, nicknamed an ‘ocicat’ by the breeder’s daughter. Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet, but further breedings of his parents produced more spotted kittens, and became the base of a separate Ocicat breeding program. Other breeders joined in and used the same recipe, siamese * aby, and offspring * siamese. Today the ocicat is found all around the world, popular for its temperament but wild appearance. Ocicats are a very outgoing breed. They are often considered to have the spirit of a dog in a cat’s body. Most can easily be trained to fetch, walk on a leash and harness, come when called, speak, sit, lie down on command and a large array of other dog-related tricks. Some even take readily to the water. Ocicats are also very friendly. They will typically march straight up to strangers and announce that they’d like to be petted. This makes them great family pets, and most can also get along well with animals of other species. Ocicats make excellent pets for people who want to spend a lot of time with their cat, but they do require more attention than cats who aren’t so people-oriented.
Ocicat – named for its resemblance to the Ocelot and still a rare breed
Ocelot – South American / Mexican wild cat.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed of domestic cat native to Northern Europe, and adapted to very cold climates. In Norway they are known as Skogkatter or Skaukatter (skog and skau being forms of the word for ‘forest’ in different Norwegian dialects) or more properly, the Norsk Skogkatt (literally, Norwegian Forest Cat).
The breed is very old, and occurred as a natural adaptation to the cold climate of the region, but it was not regarded as anything other than a standard house-cat until the late 1930s, when a small number of ‘Skaukatts’ were shown in Germany and received very favourably by the judges. World War II brought an abrupt end to the fledgling Norwegian show cat industry, and the breed was forgotten until the 1970s. The cats are now being bred and shown in several countries including the United States. The first international association to accept the breed was FIFe, in 1977. They are rumored to be the early ancestors of the Maine Coon and the long-haired Manx. Like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats are an intelligent, robust and playful breed. They like the outdoors, are well suited to cold conditions and are great hunters. Despite their great affection for the outdoors, however, they also enjoy the company of humans and other pets and will sometimes go looking for company if left alone by their owners. They are not easily stressed and are quite patient, which makes them great for a family with children. They appreciate high vantage points and enjoy climbing trees, or, if they are indoor cats, climbing on appliances, bookshelves and other elevated surfaces in the home. Norwegian Forest Cats have a thick fluffy double-layered coat, tufted ears and a long bushy tail to protect them against the cold. Their coat is essentially waterproof due to its coarse outer layer and dense underlay. They are very large cats with adult males weighing 6 to 10 kg (13 to 22 lb), while females are approximately half that size. Their hind legs are longer than their front legs. They are very intelligent, playful cats that enjoy human company. The nickname of “Wegie” began in the United States and is a shortened version of the word Norwegian.
Norwegian Forest Cat.
The Russian Blue breed has a lean medium-sized body and a short, plush, blue coat. The colour is a bluish-gray that is the dilute expression of the black gene. The coat is unique to the breed as it is a double coat, with the undercoat being soft and downy, and the longer guard hairs an even blue with silver tips. This “tipping” gives the coat a shimmering appearance. Its eyes are green and ideally should be dark and vivid.
A Stately Russian Blue
Photograph: Pat Hardy of Machika Burmese & Russian Blues. [taken from the russianblue.org website]The Russian Blue is a gentle, affectionate cat easily distinguished from other breeds. One of the most outstanding features of the Russian Blue is a short, dense coat of an even, bright blue color with each hair dipped in silver. This silver tipping gives the Russian a silvery sheen and lustrous appearance that can best be appreciated in natural light. Russian Blues come in only one color, blue, and one coat length, short.The density of the coat causes it to stand out from the body and allows patterns to be traced in the coat which remain until you smooth them away. In lovely contrast to the blue coat, the Russian Blue has large, rounded, wide-set eyes that are a vivid green. During and following World War II, due to a lack of numbers of Russian Blues, some cross breeding with the Siamese breed was introduced. The Siamese traits have now been largely bred out. The majority of their modern breeding program has been carried out in the U.S.. Although they have been used on a limited basis to create other breeds (such as the Havana Brown) or add type to a breed in creation (the Nebelung), Russian Blues themselves are shorthaired, blue cats. Russian Blues should not be confused with ‘British Blues’ (which are not a distinct breed but rather a British Shorthair with a blue coat), nor the Chartreux or Korat which are two other naturally occurring breeds of blue cats. During the early 1970s, Mavis Jones, a Russian Blue breeder in Australia, mated a domestic white cat with a Russian Blue with the intent to create a solid white Russian Blue. By the late 1970s, the Russian White and Russian Black colors were accepted by cat fanciers in Australia as true Russian cats. These hybridized colors are accepted in a few other registries and only on a limited basis.
The Sphynx (also known as the Canadian Hairless) is one of the newer cat breeds. It is reported that the first Sphynx was born in Canada in 1966, in Roncesvalles, Toronto when a hairless kitten named Prune was born. The kitten was mated with its mother (a process known as backcrossing), which produced one more naked kitten. The lack of hair on the Sphynx is caused by a genetic imbalance and occurs about once every fifteen years. Despite the Sphynx appearing to be a hairless cat it is in fact not truly hairless. The skin will have the texture of chamois leather or a ripe peach. This covering is a very soft, fine down, which is almost imperceptible to both the eye.Lack of a thick coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Hair in the form of Whiskers and eyebrows may be present or may in some extreme cases be totally absent. It is said that the skin of this feline is the color their fur would have been had it been present, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid, point, van, tabby, tortie, etc) may be found in Sphynx too. This is a very unusual trait. The personality of the Sphynx is generally warm and friendly, highly intelligent, inquisitive and extroverted. They are also very affectionate and social animals. If kept as a pet the Sphynx should always have the company of others (be they other Sphynx or humans) so that they have companionship throughout each and every day. It is said to be cruel to keep a sphynx isolated for long periods. Many people with typical allergies to cats with full fur coats find that they tolerate the Sphynx breed well. Because Sphynx don’t leave hair all over the house this is thought to make them an easier cat to keep. This is not strictly so! Their lack of hair results in increased body oils so regular bathing is often necessary, which is an inconvenience most cat owners dont have to deal with. Also the Sphynx will be going outdoors as often as your ‘common’ domestic cat (if at all) Care should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat’s exposure to outdoor sunlight as they can develop a sunburn, similar to that caused in humans. In general, Sphynx cats should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have limited means to conserve body heat in colder temperatures, and their curious nature can take them into dangerous places or situations.The Sphynx breed is known for a sturdy, heavy body a wedge-shaped head and an alert friendly temperament. Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history (hairless cats seem to appear naturally about every 15 years or so), and breeders in Canada have been working on the Sphynx breed since the early 1960s, the current American and European Sphynx breed is descended from two lines of natural mutations: Other hairless breeds might have different body shapes or temperaments than those described above. There are, for example, new hairless breeds, including the Don Sphynx and the Peterbald from Russia, which arose from their own spontaneous mutations. The standard for the Sphynx differs between cat associations such as TICA, FIFE and CFA. Sphynx hairlessness is produced by a ‘strain’ of the same gene that produces the Cornish Rex, which has only one of the usual two fur coats. The Sphynx strain (or allele) is incompletely dominant over the Devon allele; both are recessive (or revert) to the wild type. Sphynx were at one time crossbred with Devon Rex in an attempt to strengthen this gene, but unfortunately this led to serious dental or nervous-system problems and is now forbidden in most breed standards associations. A genetic heart defect was also introduced by the Devon Rex breed. The only allowable out-cross breeds in the CFA are now the American Short-hair and Domestic Short-hair. Other associations may vary. In Europe mainly Devon Rex has been used for out-crosses.
Sphynx cat with typically large ears.
A semi-coated Sphynx showing skin markings.
The Oriental Shorthair breed is also called a “Foreign Type” cat. This cat combines the Siamese body with a diversity of colorings and patterns. Oriental Shorthairs are intelligent, social animals who bond closely to their people. They are inquisitive, friendly, emotional, demanding and often quite vocal. Oriental Shorthairs have been likened to a Greyhound or a Chihuahua in appearance. Some people say they are ‘dog-like’ in personality, particularly because they become so attached to people.
Description The Oriental Shorthair is a self-coloured (non-pointed) member of the Siamese Family. They can be found in solid colors (white, red, cream, ebony, blue, chestnut, lavender, cinnamon, or fawn), smoke (white undercoat to any of the above except white), shaded (only the hair tips colored), parti-color (red or cream splashes on any of the above), tabby (mackerel/striped, ticked, spotted, and blotched/classic), and bi-colored (any of the above, with white). In total, there are over 300 color and pattern combinations possible. Though in CFA, pointed cats from Oriental Shorthair parents are considered Any Other Variety (AOV), in TICA, as well as in the majority of worldwide Cat Associations, these cats are considered to be, and compete as, Siamese. Oriental Shorthairs have expressive, almond-shaped eyes, a wedge-shaped head with large ears that fit in the wedge of the head. Their bodies are very elegant yet muscular. When seeing an Oriental Shorthair, one would never guess them to be as solid as they are. The longhaired version of the Oriental Shorthair, Oriental Longhair, simply carries a pair of the recessive long hair gene. Origins The Siamese cat was imported to Britain from Siam (Thailand) in the later half of the 1800s. According to reports, both pointed and solid colors were imported. The gene that causes the color to be restricted to the points is a recessive gene, therefore the general population of the cats of Siam were largely self (solid) colored. When the cats from Siam were bred, the pointed cats were eventually registered as Siamese the others were referred to as “non-blue eyed siamese” or foreign shorthair. Other breeds that were developed from the moggies of Siam include the Havana Brown and the Korat. It was not until 1977 that the Oriental Shorthair was accepted for competition into the CFA. In 1985, the CFA recognized the bicolor oriental shorthair. The bicolor is any one of the accepted oriental shorthair color patterns with the addition of white to the belly, face, and legs/paws.
Oriental Shorthair – emotionally demanding and often quite vocal.