First, A Brief History of Cats
Cats are descendents of the African Hybrid and were domesticated by the Egyptians. In Ancient Egypt, cats were thought of as magical and god like. Cats were so special that the Egyptians even had a cat goddess named Bast. Killing a cat in ancient Egypt was a crime and any person who killed a cat was to be sentenced to death. Families mourned the death of a cat by shaving their eyebrows. They were entombed and mummified alongside their human companion.
The Ancient Romans introduced cats to Europe. Europeans did not worship cats, nor did they think cats to be magical. Cats were popular among Europeans. They were kept as companions and appreciated for eliminating rodents.
The Medieval Times were a dark and horrifying chapter in the cats' history. As fear of paganism grew, it was widely believed that cats were 'agents of the devil'. Cats were tortured and burned alive. Anyone who had a cat as a pet was thought to be a witch and also sentenced to torture and death. Soon cats in Europe became scarce.
Theorists believe that the Black Plague that swept through Europe in the 1400s was a direct result of elimiating cats throughout the continent. Disease was thought to be brought on by the climbing rodent population. Without cats around to kill off rodents, disease spread.
Cats made a comeback in the 1800s. Cat shows began in the 19th century and cats are popular to this day.
Some Popular Cat Breeds
There are many different breeds of cats. Here are just some of the more popular ones.
Abyssinians are one of the oldest breeds of cats. These gorgeous short haired cats are medium length, very slender and muscular with beautiful almond shape eyes that range from brown to green. They weigh anywhere from 8 to 10 pounds. Abyssinian cats have an Ancient Egyptian look to them and are believed to have originated in Egypt. Their coat is spotted, silky and dense. Their ears are large and pointed. Their limbs and neck are long which make these gorgeous creatures appear very graceful. Abyssinians are not lap cats. They are expert hunters, very playful and love attention. Abyssinians are also intelligent and sensible. They will not take unnecessarry risks. They crave human companionship and are prone to depression if not given daily attention.
Wouldn't you love to have a minature black panther as a pet? You're in luck. The bombay cat is a perfect choice. Bombays are medium sized, short hair cats that weigh around 8 to 10 pounds. They have a shiny and silky jet black coat. Their eyes are a beautiful copper color. Bombays are a newer breed and were first bred in the 1950s. The bombay is not your typical cat. They are far from aloof. They are warm, affectionate and like to be part of the family. The Bombay is a perfect cat for people who are used to having dogs as pets. You can even take a bombay out for a walk on a leash, like you would for a dog.
The American Short Hair is a medium to large cat with an athletic build and strong, powerful legs. The coat is short, dense and thick. American Shorthair cats shed during the springtime. Females weigh from 8 to 12 pounds and males weigh anywhere from 12 to 15 pounds. They are prone to weight gain. American Shorthairs' coat can be any color but is widely recognized as the silver tabby cat. These sweet kitties are very affectionate, adaptable, social and gets along with other pets including dogs. They also get along great with children.
Bengal is a new hybrid breed. Bengal cats originate from the crossing of the domesitc cat with a small Asian Leopard cat. Bengals are short hair, large, sleek and muscular with an exotic leopard coat. Females weigh between 7 to 11 pounds, while males can weigh up to 18 pounds. Their markings can be marble, spotted or rosettes with a light colored belly. Bengal cats are happy, energetic and extremely intelligent. They are playful and even love water.
One of the first American breeds was the Maine Coon. These cats are native to the state of Maine, where the it is also official state cat. Maine Coons are big boned, large cats that are gentle in nature. A male maine coon can weigh anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds, while females weigh between 10 and 15 pounds. They are long hair to medium hair cats with a thick, shaggy coat. Their coat and eyes come in many different colors. Maine Coons are known as 'Gentle Giants' and get along well with children and other pets. They are also very loyal human companions.
Persian cats were favored by nobles in France and Italy. Because the Persian is such an old breed, it's difficult to say where they originated. Persians are one of the most popular breed of cat. These adorable cats have a fluffy appearance and a pansy face. Their coats are very thick and very long. They can have any colored marking and colored eyes. They have a wide head, short legs and very wide eyes. Their weight can range from 8 to 13 pounds. Persians are known to be quiet cats. They are sweet, gentle cats with an adorable soft meow.
Ragdolls were first bred in California back in the 1960s by a woman named Ann Baker. Ragdolls are large beautiful cats with piercing blue eyes. Ragdolls are a semi-long hair breed. Females can weigh up to 15 pounds and males can weigh up to 20 pounds. Born pure white, as adults they can range from white, seal colored or chocolate colored. Ragdolls have a gentle and relaxed nature. They are affectionate, love to cuddle and are easy to care for.
Another very old breed of cat. Due to the name, it's assumed that the Russian Blue originated in Russia, but origins are unclear. Russian Blue cats are very attractive with their silky silver-blue double coat and bright green eyes. They are of moderate weight and weigh around 8 to 12 pounds. Russian Blues are short hair with a mild temperament. These pretty cats love to follow their owners around and generally favor one human over the others. Elegant and reserved but at the same time, they are very playful cats.
The Siamese cat originated in Southeast Asia. Siamese cats are hard to miss with their striking almond shaped blue eyes and coat. These gorgeous cats are short hair and have a light coat, usually white, light beige or cream colored. The face, ears and paws are darker colored. The body of a siamese is slim and muscular. A female Siamese can weigh anywhere from 8 to 11 pounds while their male counterparts can weigh up to 15 pounds. Siamese cats are very social and talkative. They are also very intelligent and love being around people.
Domestic Shorthair and Longhair Cats
Domestic Shorthair and Domestic Longhair are names given to cats of no particular breeds. These cats are mixed and are the most common type of cat. Since mixed cats do not come from breeders they are less likely to be inbred. Due of this, they are less likely to have any health issues.
Tabbies, Torties, Tuxedos and Calicos
Contrary to popular belief, these cats are not breeds. These names describe coat patterns that are found in many breeds. Coat patterns can influence sex and unique traits in a cat.
Tabbies can be striped, spotted or marble. They can be male or female, however, orange tabbies are almost always male. All tabby cats have an "M" marking on their forehead.
Calico and Tortoiseshell (or Tortie Cats) will always be female. These strikingly beautiful cats are very colorful. Calicos will have little (if any) black color to their pattern. Torties have more of a black coat and will have no white in their pattern.
Tuxedo cats are black and white. The color contrast is attractive. They can be male or female and are thought to be highly intelligent.
Are Black Cats Unlucky?
In Medieval Europe, it was believed that witches were able to turn themselves into black cats. This could be where the superstitions about black cats being bad luck came from. In Britain and Ireland, however, black cats are thought of as extremely lucky.
A Final Note...
Cats are wonderful companions. Whether you choose a purebred or a cat from a shelter, these amazing creatures will add more love to your life. While all cats have different personalities, there is one thing they all have in common. They have never forgotten that they were once worshipped and obviously think they still should be.
Are you thinking of adopting a cat and not sure whether to declaw or not? Read my hub on declawing:
Love dogs? Learn about some really cool breeds here:
**All pictures used for this hub were legally obtained from Google Images.
SDB from Australia on May 15, 2020:
Cagil Can on March 28, 2020:
I have an Angora. He is deaf and lovely white cat. His eyes are in different colours and he is lovely.
Andrea Martorano from United States on September 06, 2018:
I have always dreamed of having a Siamese kitty!
bloomfroever on March 21, 2014:
i want a kitten i really want a black cat i going name her selina
beth on March 31, 2012:
hi. im having a mild problem identifying my middle kitty's pattern. she is a shorter tempered female, 4 yo...her coloring is predominately gray (some dark shades) and very very little tan. her markings hiwever, are that of a brindle nature. she is not a tortie from what i have learned bc of her color. and the mix if coloring is exactly as brindle is-completely mixed sporadic hairs with absolutely no pattern. i heard cats cant b brindle. but her pattern most certainly is. so im confused now.....anyone able to help?
tbrian123 from colombo, Sri Lanka on March 01, 2012:
nice article...!!! love Persian cats a lot..
Johnlikens on January 13, 2012:
Thanks for the great info - a nice primer. I just rescued a tuxedo cat. Tough and not afraid of my dogs!
icountthetimes on January 12, 2012:
We used to have a Tortoiseshell. They are beautiful and friendly. Our current cat is half siamese and very talkative. She isn't as friendly as some of the cats we've had in the past, but that might be down to the fact that she used to be a stray and may have been mistreated prior to that.
On TV the other day I saw a piece of pixie bob cats. They seem to be adorable and really friendly. If we get another cat I'd quite like one of those :).
Miss Lil' Atlanta from Atlanta, GA on May 22, 2011:
Oh wow, what interesting cat breeds. Now honestly I'm definitely a dog person, but I'll admit lately cats have really grown on me. I'm actually starting to like cats so much that I've even considered maybe getting one sometime.
Btw I really enjoyed the hub, and I like how you covered so many types of cat breeds. Personally, I think that the Bombay cats and Bengal cats are something that I would definitely consider owning.
I'm especially going to look more into the Bombay cats since you said that they're good for people who are used to owning dogs.
Amy DeMarco (author) from Chicago on May 06, 2011:
Hi Fluffy77! My mom has a Russian Blue, she is just the cutest little cat ever. She is very friendly, even with the dog, which I haven't seen a lot with cats. She's also very playful. They are one of my favorite breeds. Thanks for commenting!
Fluffy77 from Enterprise, OR on May 06, 2011:
My cat is a Russian Blue, they are such beautiful and affectionate cats. Yet, mine any way is strictly a one person kinda cat. Other people around she runs and hides, but never from just me. Voted you up here, and useful.
Hub on May 01, 2011:
pretty intresting hub.
JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on April 22, 2011:
Very interesting information about they way Ancient Egyptians regarded cats. I had heard something like that and I appreciate you clarifying it. Interesting theory on the black plague! I had a Russian Blue cat that lived to be 22 years old! Thanks for suggesting this Hub to me! I enjoyed it! Great information on different breeds. Well researched and executed!
Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on April 13, 2011:
Wow - I love this hub! I am a cat lover too, and this is so full of great information about breeds and gorgeous photos! Rated up.
Amy DeMarco (author) from Chicago on April 02, 2011:
Thanks Bestie!!! Yep Spritz is a famous kitty isn't she? Love her too ;)
Your bestie on March 30, 2011:
Spritz.....she is all over the net! What a fun read.
J Sunhawk from South Carolina on March 16, 2011:
Cats are magical. If you wish you had a cat, the cat community will hear you and one will arrive at your doorstep. Don't try to ignore it. The cat is yours. And vice versa.
Amy DeMarco (author) from Chicago on March 14, 2011:
I'm so glad you enjoyed my hub. My first cat was a tortie and I always assumed it was a breed. People also used to tell me she was a calico so I guess people get those two confused!! Thanks for commenting.
pinkydoo from New York on March 14, 2011:
My cat Coco-Puff is a Tortie.....I THINK! She has white paws and a white chest - but no white in her actual pattern! I remember thinking she was a Calico, and having someone argue, "No, no,no..she's a Tortie!" I had always thought Calico and Tortie were actual breeds - now, thanks to your hub, I know the terms just apply to coat colors and patterns. Thanks for such an interesting and enlightening hub!!!