Types of Cats

There is no such thing as "Just a Cat".

Robert A Heinlein
a girl with a ca

All types of cats regardless of their origin have a unique look and special characteristics and all of them deserve the same attention and care.

There are several basic identifiable differences among domestic cats such as hair length, coat color and coat pattern and variations of eye color, which are common in Purebred cats and Pedigree cats and in Mutt-Cats with natural variation as well.

Photo By: © Debi Bishop

On this page I use the term "types of cats" regarding the basic differences among house cats as I mentioned above by using cat fanciers/breeders cat terms for the types.

Domestic Longhaired Cat

domesti longhair cat

Domestic Longhair orange and white cat
Photo by Geoff Doggett- Copyrigth: Public Domain

beoutiful longhair cat

A 17 year old gray long haired cat sits by a window with the sun shining in. Although he has all the markings of a Norwegian Forest cat, he was born in a barn and adopted from an animal shelter when he was 8 weeks old.

A few words on Domestic Longhair Cat

The term "domestic longhair" cat is used to describe a non pedigree cat with long or medium fur. Domestic longhair types of cats appear in a variety of colors like the beautiful orange and white colored cat (“bi-color”) in the picture above, or the gray with green eyes, and many more combinations like tabby, smoke, black or white etc.

Unlike purebred cats, it's difficult to predict non pedigree cat's temperament as a result of their mixed ancestry. Some cats can be quiet and docile and others active and vocal, some are sociable while others are independent. But this can also be an advantage since there are incredibly beautiful cats among these types of cats that can adapt to different environments and different families in contrast to purebred cats, which tend to be less adaptable.

A very important thing that any longhair cat owner should know is that all longhair cats need to be brushed at least once a week to avoid mats and hairballs from their coats and remove loose hair from the cats’ coats. Longhair cats must be brushed regularly for their well-being.

Cats are famous for their cleaning habits. When they groom themselves they swallow a lot of dead hair from their coat. Some of the hair remains in the cat stomach and slowly forms a hairball which the cat will "upchuck" in most cases, but it also may create a blockage in their intestine that can be dangerous. For this reason, if the cat refuses to eat for more than a day or so or repeatedly tries to eat but regurgitates the food, call your veterinarian immediately .Intestinal blockages are serious health problems and require immediate medical attention.

Domestic Shorthaired Cat

domestic shorthair type of cat

Some words on Domestic Shorthaired Cat

"Domestic Shorthair", like "Domestic longhair" is a term used to describe a non pedigree cat according to the cat's fur length. Shorthair cats appear in all colors as well as just about every pattern. They can be tabbies, tortoiseshell, tri-color, calicos, tuxedo (black and white) or solid color cats. They can have different body types and facial expressions, depending on the most prominent breeds in an individual cat’s ancestry.

As with domestic longhair cats it's impossible to predict their personality, which is as colorful as their coat colors because of their mixed breeding. If you’re considering adopting a mixed breed cat, consider adopting it from someone who already knows the nature of the cat. Most kittens display their personalities early on, and a responsible cat breeder will be able to help match the right cat to your family.

It's much easier to take care of shorthair cats’grooming since they need minimal hair brushing. However they still need brushing to remove dead hair and occasional grooming even though they are at significantly lesser risk to develop hairballs in their stomach.

It turns out that domestic cats including shorthair are judged in cat shows. If you are interested you can visit CFA standard for Households Pets shows for information.

If your cat doesn't meet the standards of cat shows but he is glorious in your eyes and you love him for being your best company, I am sure that you would like the following quotation that I feel expresses every cat lover's emotion toward cats. If you’re still undecided about adopting a cat, or unsure what breed of cat to adopt,these words may help you.

"You may not be able to purchase a pedigreed cat, but you can always find a short-haired kitten that needs a home. They have an intelligence which has been sharpened through many generations by the necessity of scrambling for a living, but hardships have not marred their native courtesy. Meet a cat on the street and it hardly ever fails to rise, to bow, and to utter a polite "P-r-r-t!" of greeting-except, of course, the poor strays whose experiences have made them distrust humanity".

Tricolor Cat

tricolor type of ca

Photo:© Rachel
Pola-Tricolor Cat - My daily welcomed guest

Tricolor, Calico and Tortoiseshell

Tricolor, Calico and Tortoiseshell receive their names from their coat patterns. They all have a tricolor fur pattern, which must contain all three of the following colors: orange, white and black (or blue).

A true tricolor must have one of its colors derived from the red gene (see the link below for more information). Only if all the three colors are present in the cat's fur can it be called tricolor or tortoiseshell.

The Tricolor and the Calico are only different names for the same type of cat. The difference between Tricolor and Tortoiseshell is that in Tortoiseshell the three colors are blended and don't form distinct patches, while in Tricolor there is a significant amount of white, and the other two colors are broken up into distinct patches.

Tricolor cats are usually female. It is rare to find male tricolor cats due to genetic determinations. There are also genetic explanations for the red or orange color which characterize the tricolor type of cats.

If you want to learn about the genetic issues I recommend reading

"Torties, Calicos and Tricolor Cats" By Barbara French.

Calico Cat

calico ca

Tortoiseshell Cat

tortoiseshell cat

White Cat

a solid color white cat,

Why are White Cats white?

Most White Cats have white coat caused by a gene for white coloration. Another cause for a white coat is a gene for white patching which can be so extensive that the cat coat becomes entirely white.

For an explanation about the gene issue please visit
Genetic Example-White Cat

The third group of white cats is the Albino that caused by lack of color pigmentation that results in a translucent white coat and pink or very pale blue eyes.

White Cats with blue eyes that have the white color by the gene for white coloration have a high potential for deafness. But since coat and eye color can be caused by different genes, only some blue eyed whites are deaf.

If the white color is the result of the gene of white patching the cat won't be deaf. Albino cats are not necessarily linked with deafness as well.

For more information about white cats and deafness please visit
White Cats, Eye Colours And Deafness By Sarah Hartwell

Snow Cat

snow cat type

Photo: By Or Hilch

The Snow Cat that turned out to be a Foreign White Cat

I have to admit that I didn’t know what type of cat a "Snow Cat" is when I decided to add this charming white cat photo to the page. I loved the photo with the Snow Cat title and I immediately started to look for information about Snow Cat type. But soon I found out that the term "Snow" is used to describe a kind of color in cats which breeders say is affected by the colorpoint restriction gene.

But since the cat in this picture looked to me very similar to the Siamese, I kept searching and came across the Foreign White cat type term. After comparing my picture with the pictures of the Foreign White Siamese, I became more and more convinced that the "Snow Cat" in my picture is none other than Foreign White cat breed.

However, I love this picture and I decided to leave it on this page with the original title, since the Foreign White's pure white color fur reminds me of shining white of snow.

Black Cat

black cat, solid color cat type

What makes Black Cats to be Black

Black cats are black because of Gene Mutations. Gene Mutations.

Domestic black cats are among 11 felidae species that express the black gene mutation, Melanism. This gene mutation increases the presence of Melanin in an organism, which increases amount of dark pigmentation, thus causing the black color of the cat’s fur.

How does black color effects black cat's life?

First there is the black cat superstition black cat superstition issue which often negatively influences a cat’s life. Unfortunately many still associate black cats with witchcraft and evil, thus making them easy targets for abuse and neglect.

A second effect is the difficulty seeing their faces. It may be hard to see their beauty, facial expressions and thus their personalities. It's difficult to connect with an animal without being able to read its face. This lack of connection often leads to a lack of sympathy and lack of home, especially for non pedigree black cats.

But the good news for anyone who cares about these lovely creatures is that black color may provide resistance to some viral infections. A black cat’s chances of surviving viral infections may be greater than that of mixed color cats.

For more information about the Melanism issue in cats please visit Molecular Genetics and Evolution of Melanism in the Cat Family

Farm Cat

farm cat

Farm Cats - Who are they

Farm cats, also known as barn cats, are named in light of their location and lifestyle on farms. They're not defined as a special cat type, but rather considered semi-stray cats. Since they call a farm a home, and are fed and watered by humans, they're considered somewhat domesticated. But as they're kept on ranches and farms to combat vermin, and since they tend to live outside or in barns, they're usually wilder than house cats. The most influential factor in their environment is human interaction. Generally the more they have, the more 'domesticated' they are than cats who have little or no human interaction

Feral Cat

feral cat

Pfoto: by Stavrolo
Lisenced under Wikimedia Commons

Feral Cats or Homeless cats

Every time I look at the picture above it makes me sad. In fact it's breaking my heart. The face and the eyes of the "feral" cat in the picture, express, in my eyes, a painful misery that tells the story of the homeless lonely cats that we call "feral".

Defining a feral cat can be difficult; usually they are described as free-roaming or outdoor- living. Their environments generally involve little human contact. They’re often easily frightened and usually revert to some degree of a wild state. No two feral cats are alike and one can never predict how any feral cat will react to human contact.

Feral cats develop these particular behaviors because most of them never had any human care or because they lost contact with their owners. Most feral cats are born on the street and spend their whole lives living in the street. The reason they are on the streets may occur for different reasons but the effect on the cat's behavior is the same. However, if a feral kitten is brought into contact with humans, there is a good chance it will socialize easily.

A lost or discarded house cat will often respond quickly to human care. No matter how long they live alone, almost all of them depend on people for their food source, and only few are able to subsist by hunting. Feral cats still need humans to provide them with food and water if they’re to have any quality of life.

As feral cats are easily frightened and unpredictable, one must treat them carefully. Since they lack vaccinations, they may transmit disease. Feral cats will not attack unless provoked, so you may give them food and water without worry of attack - just be sure to give them the physical space they need in order not to feel threatened .

Odd Eyed Cat

odd eyed ca

Odd eyed cats - Amazing design of nature

This odd eyed cat, one blue eye and one brown, with red fur and white spotting, isn’t the typical odd eyed. The difference in coloration, (heterochromia) usually of the iris but also of hair or skin, is a result of the relative excess or lack of melanin (a pigment).

Heterochromia in cats commonly has an effect on white colored cats which carry the dominant white gene (which cover any other color genes and turns a cat completely white), but can be found in a cat of any color, as long is it possesses the white spotting gene.

The sweet cat in the picture above is a good example of this.

Tabby Cat

long hair tabby ca

Tabby - One of the most common coat patterns

Tabby is a coat pattern that appears in a variety of cat coat colors. Cats with tabby pattern are obviously called "Tabby Cats". They not considered a breed, even though the tabby pattern is recognized in purebred cats, however with very clearly defined markings. Tabbies may be black, red, cream, blue chocolate or lilac. The most common coat colors with tabby pattern are red or gray. White color does not have tabby patterns. But bi-colors can have the tabby patterns on the colored patches of their coat.

There are four tabby patterns that have been shown to be genetically distinct:

1. Mackerel
2. Classic
3. Spotted
4. Ticked

For information about the types of tabby patterns please visit:Wikipedia: Tabby patterns.

Bicolor Cat

bicolor back and whit cat

bicolor type of cat

Photo By © Callalloo Candcy - Fotolia.com

The beautiful variety of Bi-Color

The term bi-color or literally "two colors" used to describe cats with one color combined with white markings. There are 10 identifiable grades of bicolor in cats The range of bi color starts from low-grade white spotting, through to solid white, which is when white markings cover the entire base of the coat color.

Bi-color cats come in many patterns and various names like the Van pattern (color on the crown of the head and the tail only). The Tuxedo, see the cat in the picture above.(Solid black coloring all over, with white limited to the paws, belly, chest, throat, face, and possibly the chin: it should appear as if the cat were wearing a tuxedo).The "Cow Cat" or "Moo Cat" pattern, (black spots on a white background like the Holstein cow), or the Black Mask Cats (so called because they look like they’re wearing a black mask over their head).

Bi-color pattern in cat coats isn’t limited to mixed-breed domestic cats. It can be found in many different types of pure-breed cats as well. Some breeds of cats are especially well-known for having bicolor coats in their breed standards. These include the Turkish Van, American Shorthair, Manx, British Shorthair, Persian, Rag doll and some other breeds.

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