Monday, August 17, 2015
The beautiful Persian has been around for centuries, which is probably why we know so little about its history. We may not know where exactly they came from, but we do know they were present in the very first cat shows in Britain. These Persians has round heads, short faces, and a cobby body. By the later 1800s, however, breeders and cat fanciers started seeking cats with rounder heads, shorter faces, bigger eyes, and cobbier bodies. This led to an even more defined breed standards as the years passed.
By the 1900s, the Persian was being imported into the United States and was increasing in popularity worldwide. At first blue and silver were the colors of choice. Today, all colors are seen and sought after in this luxurious breed.
The Appearance of the Persian
Persians are medium to large in size with a muscular body. Legs should be short and the body should be quite cobby. The head of a Persian should be very round, kind of like a tennis ball, and the eyes should be large and typically copper in color.
Though the Persian has many unique qualities, it's really the coat that makes this breed stand out. The perfect Persian has a coat which flows over the body and reaches the floor. The neck should have a heavy ruff that surrounds the head and the tail should have a plume that's thick and flowing.
There are two coat variations. One is soft and even cotton-like in texture and comes in diluted colors such as blue and cream. This coat mats easily and generally requires daily brushing.
The silky coat is found on cats with more dominant colors such as black and red. This coat still requires maintenance, probably three times a week, but it doesn't mat quite the way the cotton coat does.
Either coat type benefits from routine bathing, so get your kitten used to this from a young age. You'll also have to wipe you cat's eyes with a soft cotton ball to remove anything that might irritate kitty's sensitive eyes.
The Personality of the Persian
Persians are quiet, gentle creatures that prefer quiet, gentle households. While they can tolerate children, they don't like roughness or loud noises. You'll have to teach your children to be quiet and gentle around kitty. This is very important for your cat's peace of mind.
These cats aren't exactly active. They'll play a little, if course, but they're really experts at lounging around in the sun all day. They don't talk a lot, but when they do their voices are sweet and almost musical. All in all, they're lovely little felines.
If you're looking for a companion who will sit quietly while you read, work, or watch TV, and who is good at staying home alone, the Persian might be for you.
Monday, August 10, 2015
Like many other breeds, the modern Oriental cats originated in the decade following World War II (WWII). During the war, the number of available breeding cats in England had been drastically reduced. To create new breeds, and to reestablish old ones, breeders were forced to get creative.
In the case of Oriental cats, Siamese cats were crossed with Russian Blues, Abyssinians, and British Shorthairs. The resulting offspring looked a little like Siamese, but they were not pointed like Siamese. When breeders crossed these cats back to Siamese, within just a couple generations they had kittens that looked exactly like Siamese cats except for the lack of points.
When the occasional pointed kitten was produced, due to the recessive nature of the pointed gene, they were used to strengthen the Siamese gene pool. Non-pointed kittens were used in the Oriental breeding program.
At the beginning, each color produced was given its own name. Chocolate cats were Havanas, whites were Foreign Whites, tabby cats were Oriental Spotted Tabbies, and so on. When it became apparent that there were too many colors, and that those colors didn't always breed true (with some exceptions), they were lumped into two distinct groups. Longhaired cats became the Oriental Longhair and shorthaired cats became the Oriental Shorthair.
The Appearance of the Oriental Cats
Except for coat length, the longhaired and shorthaired versions are completely identical. They are both slender, graceful, and elegant. They're not heavily built, but they are long and tall. The bone structure is fine and delicate, giving the cat a sleek appearance.
Oriental cats should be neither fat nor bony, but rather muscular and firm. The neck should be long and solid and the head should have a very straight profile when viewed from the side. The front view of the head should be triangular.
Ears should be large and wide, eyes are set at an angle and are almond-shaped. Eyes can be of any color, but green is preferred by breeders and gains more points in competitions.
These cats should be brushed once a week. The shorthaired variety could benefit from a buffing with a chamois cloth.
The Personality of the Oriental Cats
Some cats are quiet, reserved, and anti-social. Some are too social for their own good. The Oriental cats are definitely the latter. They are social, intelligent, and active. Because of their highly social nature, they don't really do well on their own. If you're away from home for hours a day, consider getting two cats so they can keep each other company.
Most Oriental cats bond closely to one person in the family and will ignore the rest of the household. They are true lap cats and are likely to fall asleep purring if you stay put long enough.
In addition to loving their people, these cats also chat and interact on a daily basis. They love to play and can turn almost anything into a toy. No piece of paper or paper clip is safe from their budding curiosity. They'll also play with things you'd rather they didn't touch, so put those knickknacks away.
If you're looking for a social cat to keep you company, and you don't mind having a cat play under your feet, then the Oriental Shorthair or Oriental Longhair might be for you.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Some breeds are stuck somewhere between being a hybrid and being a recognized breed. Such is the case with the Ojos Azules. Fist discovered in New Mexico in the 1980s, this odd-looking breed has bright blue eyes which are the product of a genetic mutation.
Most breeds with blue eyes are either white or have point coloration. The Ojos Azules, on the other hand, can be found with any coat color and pattern. So you can have a tabby with blue eyes, a grey cat with blue eyes, or even a rare and striking black cat with blue eyes. The possibilities are practically endless.
Both the shorthaired and the longhaired version of this cute little cat were only accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1991. Breeding was temporarily suspended when it was thought that the gene that gave the cat its blue eyes might cause skull defects, but it soon became apparent that the gene is harmless. Still, there are few breeders working with them today. Many of the breeders who where working with them prior to the suspension didn't pick it up again after breeding resumed.
The breed standard for the Ojos Azules is still being developed, so what they will be is hard to say. The blue eyes are important, and the cat should be medium in size with a head that is moderately triangular. White is unlikely to be an acceptable color in competition, but all other colors are allowed. The face should be sweet and pretty. Other traits are still being decided upon.
This cat is not easy to find right now. But if you want a cat with bright blue eyes and a sweet disposition, the Ojos Azules might be the cat for you.