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Cat Breed Characteristics

The Origin of the Cat

Rooted in the ancient past, cats were first tamed in Egypt, circa 1600 B.C., or slightly before, coinciding with the invention of the silo for storing grain to control rats and mice.

In ancient Egypt and the rest of North Africa, it was a species of small wild cat, the Felis libyca, in which the silo keepers observed this innate feline talent by officially employing cats as ratters and mousers. Some believe that the North African wild cat is a subspecies of the European wild cat, Felis sylvestris, which would give it the scientific name Felis sylvestris libyca, but other authorities consider F.libyca and F. sylvestris simply different geographic races of the same species. Once the ancient silo keepers had tamed some of the wild cats, they could start the real process of domestication, they began shaping an entirely new species, Felis catus, our modern domestic cat.

Today in the United States there are about forty breeds of domestic cats. Between people and cats there exist a bond that has endured some four thousand years. Cats are beautiful. They appeal to our aesthetic sense. As domestic creatures, they demand affection and attention. A cat treated tenderly, cared for well, and invited to sit in your lap or your side will prove that no warmer friend can be found.

Breed Characteristics

Choosing a cat is an important decision. Not only will your cat be a faithful companion for years to come, but it will also become a member of your family. Having pet cat is a pleasure, but it is also a responsibility. To help you select the right cat, or find the breed that your cat belongs to, we have visually divided the breeds into two categories:

Longhair CatsShorthar Cats