Types of Cats

Tuesday 27 February, 2018

Written by: Nick Tricarico, All Breeds Cat Judge

Cats have been on this earth as long as people, if not longer. Cats were revered in some countries, such as in ancient Egypt, and are commonly accepted as household members. It is interesting to see how some of today’s breeds developed from their ancestors or were fashioned as unique breeds. Here are just a few…

Photo of a Bengal cat on a bedThe Abyssinian cat that we recognize today was bred in Great Britain and named after ‘Abyssinia’ (now Ethiopia) where they supposedly originated. Widely-spread stories existed of British soldiers deployed to North Africa in the nineteenth century who returned home with Abyssinian kittens. These were bred with other cat varieties to develop a breed with a unique ticked coat where individual hairs are banded with different colors.

The Australian Mist cat, a breed that was originally called the Spotted Mist cat, was developed in Australia by Dr Truda Straede by crossing the Burmese and the Abyssinian—along with an assortment of domestic shorthaired cats—to create a cat with a unique spotted or marbled coat pattern.

The Bengal breed is a hybrid of the Asian Leopard Cat and domestic shorthaired cats, and was developed to look like an exotic jungle cat.

The Birman, otherwise known as the Sacred Cat of Burma, is often claimed to have originated as a companion of temple priests in northern Burma. Several Birman cats were exported to France and were bred with other cats, including the Persian and Siamese, which created today’s point colors. The original cats were seal point.

The British Shorthair breed is the pedigreed version of the traditional British domestic cat, and is believed to have been brought to the country by the invading Romans in the first century AD. The cats had been imported to protect the Roman grain houses from mice, and they mated with local domestic cats to create today’s breed. The gene pool in the UK was decimated during the Great Wars, and the breed was therefore outcrossed to the Russian Blue, Chartreux and Persian breeds to increase the gene pool.

The Burmilla originated in the UK in 1981 following the accidental mating of a Chinchilla Persian and a Burmese. The resultant Burmese-looking cats with silver undercoats and ticked or tipped coats proved an attraction and led to further breeding.

Photo of a Maine Coon catThe Cornish Rex, which has a short, thick and plush, curly or wavy coat with crinkled whiskers and eyebrows, has been refined from a naturally mutated curly coated kitten found in a domestic cat’s litter in Cornwall, UK. Likewise, the Devon Rex breed was discovered by Beryl Cox in Buckfastleigh, in Devon, UK, again using a naturally mutated curly-coated kitten found in a domestic cat’s litter. The breed was then developed using the curly-coated offspring and domestic shorthaired cats.

The Scottish Fold breed originated from a natural mutation that occurred in a litter of kittens born to Susie, a white barn cat who had an unusual fold in her ears. Susie was found on a farm in Perthshire in Scotland, in 1961. She later had a litter of kittens and two had folded ears. Today the breed has small ears folded forward and downwards and resembles an owl.

One myth is that the Maine Coon breed descended from ancestors of semi-feral domestic cats and raccoons in Maine, USA. The generally accepted hypothesis is that the Maine Coon breed descended from pairings of local shorthaired cats with longhaired cats brought from overseas by English seafarers.

The Tonkinese is a domestic breed produced by crossbreeding Siamese and Burmese cats. The ideal Tonkinese should be intermediate in type, neither svelte like the Siamese nor cobby like the Burmese. Everything about the Tonkinese should be intermediate between the two breeds in all aspects.

There are many other breeds with unusual beginnings, but I hope that I have stimulated your curiosity enough for you to want to research these.

For more stories by Nick Tricarico, visit the Happy Cat’s Litter website. Happy Cat’s Litter is Cats and Diabetes preferred supplier of environmentally friendly, biodegradable, organic and compostable cat litter.

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The Comeback Cat

Tuesday 28 March, 2017

Cleo’s incredible journey through feline diabetes to remission

A Memoir, by Heather Peden

Photo of the cover of the book 'The Comeback Cat'In the latter part of 2014, my cat Cleo was diagnosed with feline diabetes. She had just turned nine when she dropped a bunch of weight and then started walking funny; her hocks clonked noisily against the floor and she struggled with the stairs.

Feline diabetes was not something I ever really thought about and the diagnosis came as a bit of a shock, especially since Cleo was a cat who had never been sick a day in her life. This was a cat who made it very clear from the time she was a kitten that she didn’t need anything from anyone, a cat who wore dog slobber like a badge of honour. ‘How could she be so seriously ill?’ I wondered as we were thrown headlong into a whirlwind of information, vet visits, blood and urine tests, insulin shots, and home blood glucose testing.

Suddenly there was a sharps container in my bathroom and a cat who could barely walk from one side of the room to the other. At her worst, Cleo suffered peripheral neuropathy in all of her limbs, so that she flailed and flopped everywhere. It was difficult to watch.

From the beginning, though, we had been told about the possibility of remission and I clung to that idea. I was sure we would get there. If any cat could do that, I thought, it would be Cleo. But as the weeks went by and Cleo seemed to be getting worse instead of better, it felt very much like we were running out of time.

The treatment we were following didn’t seem to be working, so I began researching the disease more thoroughly, determined to find a different way. I learned a lot more about a healthy feline diet and I learned about tight regulation. I made some changes to what we had been doing and watched in astonishment as three months after her diagnosis, Cleo started to get better.

Photo of Cleo the comeback catIt was amazing to watch her body heal, and it happened quickly after I got all the pieces in place. By the end of March 2015, Cleo no longer needed insulin injections and by the end of that summer you wouldn’t guess that she had ever been sick. Her legs, which I was sure would never be normal again, repaired themselves a little more each day until she was leaping about the house like she had when she was a precocious two-year-old.

Through the entire ordeal, Cleo was incredible. I was so proud of her and so grateful to have this second chance with her that I wanted to share her story. I wrote The Comeback Cat in the hopes it might help other cats in the world, and their people, dealing with feline diabetes. I also wrote the book as a bit of a tribute to Cleo, an eccentric cat who never seemed to quite fit in to our family, but whom I have greatly come to admire in all her quirkiness.

In the Can: Canned Food Options for Your Feline Friend

9 February 2017

Cats are lovable, but they sure can be fickle. They have their favorite toys, their favorite scratch pads, and their favorite sleeping spots; disturb them, and cats quickly make their opinions known. But what about food? There are hundreds of choices of all different flavors and specificity, such as by age or health concern. Luckily, […]

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Happy 19th Birthday 2Pac

5 February 2013

Today would have been my boy’s 19th birthday. I still have the little alter devoted to him set up in my home. On it I have photos of him, the cards people sent me after he crossed the rainbow bridge, his collars and his urn. There is other memorabilia there too. Every year on my […]

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Cat-sitting Ratiti

30 October 2012

I have recently returned home from a delightful cat-sitting adventure in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. My dear friend Heather went on holiday for 10 days and I had the privilege of caring for her 6-year-old Tonkinese, Ratiti (which is Fijian for Daughter of the Chief). We had many adventures, including playing hide-and-seek, chasey, and pipe cleaner […]

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Tacoma Cat Hospital Audio Podcast

15 September 2012

I found this wonderful little page that has an audio podcast about feline diabetes. Click on podcast number 7.

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Missing 2Pac

6 September 2012

It’s been three months and one week since I last saw my boy. I haven’t been able to face writing about him until now. It’s been very strange not having him around. I often think I hear him or see him under my feet. He was always following me around the house, no matter where […]

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My Beloved Crosses the Rainbow Bridge

6 June 2012

I lost my beloved boy last Wednesday 30 May when he crossed over the rainbow bridge and out of my life. Where his suffering ended, mine began. I’m in so much pain and I miss him so much. He’s my baby, my little boy, and I feel so blessed to have shared the last 18 […]

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2Pac’s Blood Sugar Curve

29 May 2012

Given some of the extreme blood readings 2Pac has had over the past couple of weeks, the vet suspected the Somogyi Effect. So, we went to the vet again on Saturday and started a blood sugar curve that I completed throughout the evening at home.   You can see that the curve is gentle, so is […]

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Chronic Renal Failure

26 May 2012

Last week 2Pac had extensive blood work done. His urea is extremely high, as is his Creatinine and CK levels. He is also slightly anemic.

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