Quiet Companions (of the Feline Persuasion)

We have some guests at the cats-only boarding facility who are known talkers. Personally, I like the talkers. They’re good company! Sometimes, I talk back… but then I’m always talking to the dogs at home, too. Like I said, good company. But there are times when the talking can get to be overwhelming. I recently saw a list of the most talkative and the least talkative cat breeds — and if talkability is important to you in a pet, the info might be useful. At the very least, I hope it’s interesting! You can maybe guess the most talkative breed … Continue reading

Nebelungs: Creatures of the Mist

In German, Nebelung means “creature of the mist.” This is a bit misleading on two counts. First, one may mistakenly assume the breed comes from German origins. Not so. Nebelungs have ancient beginnings in Northern Russia and are cousins of the Russian Blue. Secondly, “creature of the mist” may invoke images of a dangerous, perhaps even predatory, cat. Hardly. Nebelungs have sweet, gentle natures and are very loving. Because their silver-tipped, silky coats are long, one might also falsely assume they shed a lot and require constant brushing. While they do shed some, it is actually very little. Like many … Continue reading

The Tuxedo Cat: Dressed Up, But Where To Go?

According to some, the tuxedo cat’s markings of black and white symbolize harmony and peace of spirit. In the case of the two tuxedo felines that lived in my house over the years, I would say that sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s not! (I had one male and one female and they were as different in personality and temperament as night is to day.) Still, the tuxedo cat is quite distinct from others of its ilk and its markings are as diverse as any that could ever be mixed from an artist’s fine palette. The derivation of the word … Continue reading

The Tabby Cat: An Uncommonly Common Delight

Although the tabby cat may not be an unusual sight, it is indeed as special as the individual animal sporting the colors itself! The word has fascinating roots. It derives from the French, tabis, which in turn comes from the Latin attabi. Both words refer to the original meaning, which is even further away, hailing from the Attabiyah section of Baghdad where it refers to a type of striped silk. This was later used (no one knows exactly when) to describe the marking on a cat’s coat. Whatever the origins of the word, the tabby cat is often mistaken for … Continue reading

The Calico Cat: A Patch of Joy

Have you ever wondered why some cats are calico and why they are almost always females? Well, wonder no more. Coat coloration in cats is a complex equation, but simply speaking, calico coloring and tortoise shell coloring are controlled by several genes. Both are a combination of color patterns resulting from genetic traits, and neither is specific to any particular breed of cat. A blend of colors creates the coloration; the result almost like the accidental slip of an artist’s palette of black, chocolate and cinnamon. The sizes of the patches differ greatly, ranging from a fine, speckled pattern to … Continue reading

The Serengeti Cat: Grand Jungle Design

Karen Sausman of the Kingsmark cattery in California established this breed in 1994, and it has since been accepted into the Foundation registry of the International Cat Association (TICA). These cats are the result of a cross between Oriental Shorthair Cats and Bengal Cats, although they greatly resemble still another jungle cat, the Serval. The gene pool for the Bengal cat is very large and contains both wild and domestic genes from at least eight different varieties of felines, including: the Asian Leopard Cat, the British Shorthair, domestic shorthair, the Indian Mau, the Ocicat, the Egyptian Mau, the Abyssinian and … Continue reading

The Honeybear: Sweetness And Beauty

Believe it or not, a woman named Ann Baker created this breed in a laboratory in California when she for some unknown reason, selected genes from a skunk, deposited them into a female Persian cat and mated that cat with a random male cat. The resulting kittens looked a lot like skunks (surprise!), being born silver and later turning black with stripes along the head, back or underside (no smelling mechanism however). These cats were so exceptionally sweet and friendly that they became the foundation stock for the Honeybear breed, which was sustained by crossing the males from that and … Continue reading

The Oriental Shorthair: A Delightful Blend

This English breed dates back to 1950, and the Baroness von Ullman of the Roofspringer Cattery. In between her numerous duties as baroness, she decided to create a shorthaired, solid-colored cat with the body characteristics of the Siamese, Abyssinian and Russian Blue breeds. Cat Fancy in England initially accepted them as “chestnut foreign shorthairs,” but soon an all white blue variant was created and became very popular. These cats became known as “white foreign shorthairs.” Siamese cats were then introduced into the foundation stock so the resulting body type would come closer to it. Peter and Vicky Markstein of the … Continue reading

The American Shorthair: Our Nation’s Own

The American Shorthair is an old and distinguished breed that dates back to 16th century Europe. Transported to North America via the early settlers, these sturdy felines are sometimes referred to as “Mayflower cat.” Records from that very ship indicate that several of these cats were aboard to hunt for and destroy rats. For centuries, these “working cats” flourished despite extreme and very harsh temperatures and conditions. Their pioneer owners highly valued these hearty and robust felines who kept the vermin population at bay and provided companionship with their loving natures and sweet ways. They were so prized that at … Continue reading

The Exotic Shorthair: The Best of Two Worlds

It looks like a Persian cat, but it isn’t, as the fur is decidedly different. What is this adorable creature that almost looks like a teddy bear? The Exotic Shorthair seems to be a Persian cat whose plush coat was somehow stolen. Dating back to the 1960s, this breed occurred when an American Shorthair was crossed with a Persian cat. The result was a creature that retains all of the loving and placid ways of the Persian, but none of the work associated with maintaining that glorious but labor-intensive coat. This breed is sometimes referred to as “the lazy man’s … Continue reading