Naturally Occurring Cat Breeds, Cross-Breeds, and Recent Mutations

Tiffanie Cat
Tiffanie Cat, Heikki Siltala, catza.net

Some cat breeds occurred naturally and others were developed as cross-breeds or more recent mutations.

Naturally occurring cat breeds are those that originated in certain geographical locations without recent mutation or human assistance. These breeds include:

    • Abyssinian (unknown origin, most likely Southeast Asia)
    • Aegean Cat (Greece)
    • Agia Eleni/St. Helen (Turkey)
    • American Shorthair (United States)
    • Antipodean (New Zealand and Australia)
    • Arabian Mau (United Arab Emirates)
    • Birman (probably Burma)
    • Burmese (Myanmar)
    • British Shorthair (UK)
    • Cape Breton Bobtail (Nova Scotia)
    • Chartreux (France, possibly brought from Syria originally)
    • Celtic Shorthair/European Shorthair (Sweden)
    • Dragon Li (China)
    • Egyptian Mau (Egypt)
    • Korat (Thailand)
    • Kusing Buso (Indonesia)
    • Maine Coon (United States)
    • Mexican (Mexico – originally brought by Spanish Conquistadores)
    • Nepali (Nepal)
    • Norwegian Forest Cat (Norway)
    • Persian (Iran)
    • Rugkatt (Sweden)
    • Russian Blue (Russia)
    • Siberian (Russia)
    • Singapura (Singapore)
    • Sokoke (Kenya)
    • Somali (a longhaired Abyssinian, time and place of first appearance unknown)
    • Turkish Angora (Turkey)
    • Turkish Van (Turkey)
    • Turkish Vankedisi (Turkey)

Many additional cat breeds have been developed through cross-breeding programs.

Cat Breeds Derived from the Siamese

Many of the cat breeds developed through selective breeding programs were established by crossing Siamese cats with other breeds. Breeds derived from Siamese crosses (or crosses with breeds that resulted from Siamese crosses) that have been accepted by at least one major cat association include the following:

    • American Bobtail (Siamese/Ragdoll/Birman/ Himalayan/domestic)
    • Balinese (a long-haired Siamese)
    • California Spangled Cat (Siamese/Angora/British and American Shorthair/Abyssinian/Manx/domestic)
    • Colourpoint Shorthair (Siamese/British and American Shorthair)
    • Havana Brown (Siamese/black British or American Shorthair)
    • Himalayan (Siamese/Persian)
    • Javanese (Oriental Shorthair/Balinese)
    • Jungala (Ocicat/domestic)
    • Ocicat (Siamese/Abyssinian/American Shorthair)
    • Oriental Longhair (Oriental Shorthair/Balinese)
    • Oriental Shorthair (Siamese/Abyssinian/American Shorthair/Burmese/Russian Blue/domestic)
    • Peterbald (Siamese/Siamese-derived breeds/Donskoy)
    • Ragamuffin (Ragdoll/Himalayan/Persian/domestic)
    • Snowshoe (Siamese/American Shorthair)
    • Templecat (Birman/Oriental)
    • Tonkinese (Siamese/Burmese)

Cat Breeds Developed Through Crosses That Did Not Include the Siamese

Additional breeds have been developed by crossing breeds other than the Siamese and Siamese-derived breeds, including the following (extinct breeds and breeds that are still in the experimental development stage are not included in this list):

    • Australian Mist (Abyssinian/Burmese/domestic)
    • Australian Tiffanie (Chinchilla/Burmilla)
    • Bombay (Burmese/American Shorthair)
    • Burmilla (Burmese/Chinchilla)
    • Chantilly/Tiffany (non-purebreds)
    • Exotic (Persian/American Shorthair)
    • Highlander (American Bobtail/American Curl/Polydactyl)
    • Honeybear (developer claims to have injected skunk genes into a Persian to create the breed)
    • Mandalay (Abyssinian/Burmese)
    • Minskin (Munchkin/Sphynx/Devon Rex/Burmese)
    • Nebelung (started with strays of unknown origin, continued with Russian Blue)
    • Piawaian Kucing Malaysia (unknown)
    • Russian White/Black/ Tabby (Russian Blue/domestic)
    • Tiffanie (Burmese/Persian)
    • Ukranian Levkoy (Donskoy/Scottish Fold)

A particularly interesting new breed is the American Kueda, which stands for “Kitten Evaluation Under Direct Assessment.” What makes this breed unique is that it was developed for maximum utility (rodent catching prowess) rather than physical appearance, using hardy barn cats in the breeding program. The result is a cat somewhat like the Egyptian Mau.

Cat Breeds Occurring Through Unusual Mutations

Long fur in cats such as the Persian, Turkish Angora, and Siberian arose due to long-ago mutations. A number of additional cat breeds that resulted from atypical (and in many cases recent) mutations affecting the fur, ears, eyes, or tail, include:

    • American Bobtail (bobbed tail)
    • American Curl (curled ears)
    • American Ringtail (tail curls over body)
    • American Wirehair (coarse, dense, springy, wiry coat)
    • Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, German Rex, Helki, Missouri Rex, Oregon Rex, Selkirk Rex, Tennessee Rex, LaPerm (short, curly fur and curly whiskers)
    • Cymric (long fur, no tail or stub tail)
    • Donskoy/Don Sphynx/Don Hairless (a fine coat that feels like suede to the touch, cat appears hairless)
    • Iowa Rex (long curly fur that forms dreadlocks)
    • Japanese Bobtail (tail like a rabbit)
    • Kurilian Bobtail (fluffy bobbed tail)
    • Manx (no tail or stub tail)
    • Munchkin (abnormally short legs)
    • Ojos Azules (very deep, intense blue eyes not associated with coat colour; has a high risk for genetic defects)
    • Pixie-Bob (bobbed tail)
    • Scottish Fold (folded ears)
    • Sphynx (a fine coat that feels like suede to the touch, cat appears hairless)
    • Sumxu (drooping ears, now extinct)

Contrary to popular belief, a Polydactyl cat is not a separate breed, but rather a mutation that produces extra toes. A severe related mutation, feline radial hypoplasia, creates twisted short forelegs that can force the cat to sit up like a kangaroo rather than standing on all fours. Such cats have been called Squittens (due to their resemblance to squirrels) or Twisty Cats. This mutation can cause serious mobility problems.

Cat Breeds Derived Through Cross-Breeding Domestic and Wild Cats

Cat breeds that were created by crossing domestic or purebred and wild cats include the following:

    • Bengal (Asian Leopard Cat/domestic)
    • Caracat (Caracal/Abyssinian)
    • Chausie (Jungle Cat/Abyssinian)
    • Desert Lynx (Bobcat/Manx/Maine Coon/Pixie-Bob/American Bobtail, Bobcat ancestry unconfirmed)
    • Savannah (Serval/domestic)
    • Toyger (Bengal/ domestic tabby)

There are also many wild hybrid breeds in the experimental development stage that have not yet been accepted by at least one major cat association.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that the Pixie-Bob resulted from matings between domestic cats and bobcats, though Bengals and other Jungle Cat hybrids were used in the early breeding program, which gives this breed a wild lineage.

For profiles of individual cat breeds, see the main Cat Breeds page. For a full list of cat articles, see the main Cats page.

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One thought on “Naturally Occurring Cat Breeds, Cross-Breeds, and Recent Mutations”

  1. It seems like the different races and sub-races of humans evolved from a few humans that traveled from maybe a few or a single place of origin. Many changes in man occurred from inbreeding with sub-species Does anyone have any information of how the different breeds of house cats cats came to be. We know that early in history the dog was taken from the wild and followed along with man and maybe evolved to meet the conditions man took them. The cat would not have willing followed man, some may have been carried afar by ships. I’m wondering where and how the some 30 original breeds of cats formed.

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