Book Preview: Cat breed facts: D. Rex is not a dinosaur


This is another of those rewritten blog posts. Hope you like it! (I won’t be using videos in the final ebook, but it’s nice for this blog post.)


It’s awesome to say “rex mutant” when somebody asks what kind of cat you have.

Even better, these mutants and their unusual fur coats can only take over the cat fancy, not Planet Earth.

This look comes from gene mutations that are rather complex. All we need to know is that experts are still trying to understand the LaPerm’s coat, while Selkirk Rex, Cornish Rex, and Devon Rex fancy-cats all have different mutations.

And the Devon Rex–a top-ten breed in the Cat Fanciers’ Association–has also inherited its moggie ancestor Kirlee’s elfin good looks.

Breed type:

All rex fancy-cats are mutation breeds.

Appearance and Personality:

Body build in these kitties varies from big-boned and sturdy (Selkirk Rex) through typical house cat (LaPerm) to whippy and sleek (Cornish Rex). But at first, no one looks at anything but the animal’s fur.

Here’s why rex cats look so strange to us. Continue reading

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Guest Videos: Lykoi–The Werewolf Cat


Happy Halloween!

For facts about the Lykoi, ask the Cat Fanciers’ Association or TICA (the International Cat Association). And this is a good overview about cats with sparse hair on their coats.

But the following video, which I suspect is mostly fact-free, is a lot of fun:



Meanwhile, at the cat show . . .



Featured image: Steptacular via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0.


Book Preview: Fancy Breeds Fit Into At Least One of Five Informal Categories


This post, adapted from one of the facts in my upcoming ebook “50 Facts About House Cats (And Where They Come From),” builds on last week’s post on moggies and fancy-cats.


Purebred dogs get genetic testing, yet no cat registry requires DNA tests to validate identity, pedigree, and parentage.

That’s because geneticists are struggling to identify feline fancy-breeds in the lab.

One problem is that all cats look alike under the skin. Yes, that’s hard to believe, considering all the various feline looks today . . .



. . . but it’s true. Almost all of the genes in these animals are the same.

Another problem for researchers: cat breeding hasn’t been around long enough for clear-cut genetic breed differences to accumulate.

They’re working on it, though. Four different regional genotypes have been found, as well as multiple domestic cat “races.”

This all helps the boffins categorize the forty-plus modern cat breeds.

What are the five informal categories?

Short answer and details are best combined here.

While this isn’t formalized in the cat fancy, a review of scientific literature finds the following (exactly which breed goes where depends on the study; Menotti-Raymond and others, in the source list, used these examples–your mileage may vary):

1. Mutations: A spontaneous genetic change produces an interesting look that cat fanciers develop into a new breed.

Examples:

  • Scottish Fold
  • Selkirk Rex
  • Sphynx

Continue reading

Book Preview: The Recipe for Fancy-cat Starts With a Moggy


This is another of those old posts that I had to rewrite into a book chapter. Hope you like it!


Fancy-cats are the beautifully groomed felines you’ll see at a show. The other 80% of the world’s cats are unpedigreed (but equally beautiful) moggies.

Once upon a time, there weren’t any fancy-cats. And most moggies were striped tabbies. Today’s fancy-cats are sometimes tabbies, but fanciers prefer to build a cat breed on some unique feature.

Like floppy ears.

This works for the Scottish Fold–Internet celebrity cat Maru’s breed.

It’s a good example of the pleasures and perils that happen when you turn a moggy into one of the most popular breeds in the cat fancy.

What are cat breeds?

Short answer: For many centuries, people across the world collected moggies whose appearance attracted them. When the cat fancy arrived in the Victorian era, it brought these enthusiasts together. They formalized the various looks into pedigreed breeds.

Details: Any dog in the street might be a mutt, with quite a mixture of canine purebreds in its background. That’s because humans have bred dogs for various purposes since mid-Neolithic times, while mongrels happened on their own.

Cats have followed a completely different path, with street cats eventually ending up as prize-winners. Continue reading