Pet Cover Direct

Family Cats

There aren't as many recognised breeds of cats as there are dogs. Cats are known for being more independent than dogs and therefore they are a good choice of pet for a family where people are out for a large part of each day. Cats - once they have been vaccinated - can be let out of the house on their own. Some families fit a cat flap so that their cats can come and go as they wish. Some families raise their cats as 'house cats' who do not go outside. This can be be particularly important to families who live on a busy road and fear their cat could be killed or seriously injured in traffic. Cats are by nature clean and can be quickly trained as kittens to use an indoor litter tray meaning that there is no necessity to make sure someone lets them out at a certain time. Dogs also require regular outdoor exercise to keep them fit and well socialised. Cats can entertain themselves indoors or outdoors.

Here is a selection of some of the most familiar breeds of cats:

Abyssinian Cats

The Abyssinian is believed to have originated as a natural breed, meaning that it was not selectively bred by humans, in ancient Egypt. Since the 1900s a number of breeders have bred Abyssinian cats to create the domesticated Abyssinian cat - a familiar cat to many UK families.

The Abyssinian is a medium-sized cat with a strong, slender but muscular body. Their ears are quite large and set far apart and they have what has been described as a wedge-shaped head. Their eyes tend to be big too, with the outer corners pointing upwards towards the base of their ears. The breed is known for its ticked coat, which means that each individual hair is made up of more than one colour. This breed's colouring ranges from a ruddy brown to a grey-yellow or from black to a grey-yellow colour. Their fur is of medium length, thick and very silky. Over the years breeders have developed the Abyssinian in more colours. Some traits have remained the same such as their feet and the back of their hind legs being darker than the rest of the coat.

Popular colours for the breed now include a cinnamon colour with chocolate brown ticks to the coat and on the back of the hind legs, feet and paw pads. Blue Abyssinians are also popular, with a little beige base colour to them and blue ticking along with blue hind legs, paw pads and feet. Another colour of the breed is the Silver Abyssinian. They have a silvery-white undercoat and markings which can range from blue and black, to a warm cream and cinnamon colour. All Abyssinian kittens are born with dark fur that slowly lightens over time.

Abyssinians are cats with a lot of intelligence, but they are also playful, active and have extrovert personalities. They love toys to play with and some will often play fetch with you. Abys, as they are nicknamed, love to explore and play so they aren’t always cats that will sit on your lap for ages. They need a family that will play with them, which is why they are usually very good with children. Abys do need love and attention from their owners, so are probably better suited to families that can give them time and attention. Although they like to explore new things and places, Abys are sensible cats and will generally avoid danger and risks. 

British Shorthair cats

The British Shorthair has been the UK’s most popular cat for years. A number of cats from this breed have won cat shows around the world. The popularity of British Shorthairs decreased in the 1940s, but increased again after the end of the Second World War. Since that time the breed has remained popular with UK families.

They have square, strong, muscular bodies and short, thick legs. Its broad shape has led to some people calling it the bulldog of the cat world. Male British Shorthairs are larger than the females. Both genders have broad and large heads, with chubby cheeks, which has lead to them being described as having a chipmunk appearance. They have small ears with rounded tips and large copper-coloured eyes.

British Shorthairs are one of the most easygoing breeds of cats. Their stable character means they will happily settle to any living arrangements including life as an indoor cat, This makes them a perfect pet for people living in flats. They aren’t an attention-seeking pet and they don’t demand to sit on you. They tend to be happier sitting next to you or near you. They do enjoy playing both on their own and with their families, and they also enjoy watching household activities from a warm comfy spot in the home. Due to their easygoing nature they are also good cats for people who work a lot, as they will happily laze about all day without wrecking your house. If you do work all day its is advisable to take time to make a fuss of your cat when you do get home so that they still feel loved and wanted by you.

British Shorthairs don’t require massive amounts of grooming either as their short coat doesn’t tangle or matt easily. A brush every now and then to remove loose hairs is all that is required. You should take note though if your cat seems to be suffering from a lot of hairballs. This will mean that you should increase the amount of grooming you give them. Due to them being big-boned cats they can become obese so you do need to ensure that you are giving them a balanced diet, especially if they are living as an indoor cat.

British Shorthairs are also very intelligent cats and have the ability to learn tricks. The breed is extremely popular with the film industry and trainers because of their intelligence and the ability to pick things up quickly.

Chartreux cats

The Chartreux breed originates from France and is one of the few breeds of cats that remains the same as when it was first discovered. Cat breeders normally like to ‘improve’ elements about a cat when they breed them to create a fancy pet, but with the Charteux breed they have never done this. Breeders like the purity and natural nature of the Chartreux breed.

The Chartreux breed has a large muscular body contrasting with their short and thin boned legs. They are also known for their 'smile' - the shape of their head and their long muzzle makes them look as if they are smiling. They are also known for their distinctive blue/grey coat which is part of the purity of the breed. All Chartreux cats have gold, copper-coloured, large eyes. An attractive element of the Chartreux breed is their quietness. They have tiny voices and many of the breed are mute.

They are a very clever and watchful breed and you will notice that they may learn little tricks from you. It’s been known for some of these cats to flick the radio on and off and be able to open doors. Chartreux cats take about two years to reach adulthood, but most will remain playful into old age. They are one of the least aggressive breeds of cats, which means they will happily get along with children and other animals. Their nature also makes them good travellers. Chartreux are very loving and affectionate cats. It isn’t uncommon for them to form a particularly strong bond with one member of the house - and they may follow you from room to room.

Persian cats

Persian cats are traditionally known for their short, muzzled, round faces and they are one of the oldest cat breeds in existence. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Persian breed began to appeal to cat breeders and it was the English who started to breed them first. The breed is mainly known as the Persian Longhaired - or just the Longhaired in the UK. Due to selective breeding, its fur can be in a number of colours. Breeding has also led to their faces becoming flatter than they were originally.

During the 1950s, the Peke-faced Persian began to be bred. They took their name from the flat-faced Pekingese dog. Their popularity decreased in the 1990s due to the health problems and breathing difficulties they suffered as a result of their flat faces. Since then, breeders have continued to breed Peke-faced Persians although with more care and attention to ensuring that their faces are not extremely flat. Only red and red-tabby Persians are capable of being bred to reach the fully flat face.

The popularity of the Persian has always been high and they are the most popular breed of pedigree cat in the USA. In the UK, the breed was knocked off the top spot in 2001 by the British Shorthair. By 2008, they were said to be behind the Bengal, Siamese as well as the British Shorthair in the UK cat popularity stakes.

The Persian has a long, thick coat and short legs. Their ears are spread wide apart and they have particularly large eyes and the distinctive muzzle. Persians can have markings on their coats which can be tabby, tortoiseshell and pointed. As a breed they are homely, friendly and fairly quiet cats. They are very friendly to strangers and will welcome guests into their house. They love the attention and affection of their owners.

Ragdoll Cats

Ragdolls got their name because when people pick them up, many of these cats tend to go limp and completely relaxed. The Ragdoll breed is also known for having bright blue eyes and a colour-point coat. They tend to be mainly white with dark patches on their body. 

The breed originated in America in the 1960s. Ann Baker, a persian cat breeder in California had a female cat called Josephine that was hit by a car and survived. Afterwards the cat continued to have kittens but both she - and they - were much more relaxed and docile than previously, Mrs Baker claimed.

Mrs Baker continued to breed the cats and trademarked the name ‘Ragdoll’. However, a group within the International Ragdoll Cat Association, IRCA. broke free in 1975 and set out to make the Ragdoll breed mainstream. This was repeated in 1994 when another group left the IRCA. This led to the group Ragamuffin being created. 

Ragdolls are a large breed. They have a large frame and a muscular body with large legs. A female can weigh up to eight pounds and a male can weigh up to 12 pounds. Their colour-point coat and gorgeous blue eyes makes the Ragdoll breed very attractive. Their coat is long, though they don’t have a particularly thick undercoat, which means they don’t really shed. Their fur tends not to matt much. Ragdoll coats can be a number of colours like; chocolate, flame, seal, cream and blue. They can also have different patterns to them: bicolour – which means they are mainly white all over; pointed – this is when they are darker around their nose, eyes, paws and tails - and mitted – which is the same as pointed but with white stomachs and paws.

Ragdolls have a very docile nature which makes them extremely easy to handle. They are also very intelligent, friendly and very loving and affectionate.