What is a domestic cat?
When it comes to the phrase “house cat,” some people can get confused. A domestic cat, by the very definition of the word, is supposed to be a cat that resides in a home; however, not all house cats are house cats. Domestic cats can be purebred, mixed-breed, live in a house or farm with humans, or reside in a neighborhood as a stray or feral cat.
History of the domestic cat
Domestic cats or domesticated cats came into being thousands of years ago through selective breeding. Formerly large wild cats, domestic cats were bred to remove “wild” characteristics from their DNA.
Artificial selection, a term coined by biologist Charles Darwin, is a process used by humans to develop new organisms with desirable characteristics. Breeders select two parents who have beneficial traits to reproduce, giving offspring with those desired traits.
All cats today are descended from those original cats in the African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. All cats can be nicknamed “domestic”, regardless of their reproduction.
What is a mixed breed cat?
A mixed breed cat is any cat of unknown origin with body types, coats, and / or color pattern. The cat may have markings similar to one breed or another, but unless there is a long list of genealogical records and pedigree records with the Cat Fancier Association or other organization, the cat is classified as mixed breed. For example, no matter how much a cat looks like a Siamese cat, in most cases that cat would be considered a Siamese mix.
Cat Fancier’s Association is the primary registration body for pedigree cat breeds in the US The organization recognizes 42 breeds such as Siamese, Persian, Maine coon cat, Bengal, etc. The International Cat Association recognizes 71 breeds ranging from ancient Abyssinian to newer breeds, such as the lykoi “werewolf” cat and the wild-looking chausie, which was derived from a wild jungle cat. Both organizations are based in the United States, host competitions, and maintain breed standards for purebred cats.
Infinite variety of domestic cats
House cats come in all sizes, shapes, coat lengths, and color patterns. You’ll find all solid colors, plus combinations of all, purebred or not.
House cats come by many descriptive names. They are also called ‘house cats’,’ stray cats’, ‘moggies (in the USA), and at cat shows that allow them, these mixed breed house cats are often in a class called’ House Pets’ .
How some new breeds emerged
Most of the new cat breeds in the last 50 years have been the result of careful breeding programs by feline genetic experts or some of them have been produced by chance. Occasionally, a litter born to a domestic cat may contain one or two kittens so completely unusual that they can be used as the basis for a new breed.
- American Bobtail:The American Bobtail originated in the late 1960s with a male brown tabby kitten. According to urban legend, it was the result of a domestic cat mixing with a lynx on an Indian reservation in the southwestern United States.
- American Curl: As a result of a fortuitous genetic accident, the first American Curl kittens were born in a long-haired black alley with unusual ears in Lakewood, California, in 1981.
- Cornish rex: Cornish rex is the oldest of the three rex cat breeds, originating around 1950 as a spontaneous mutation in a litter of barn cats.
- Munchkin:Although short-legged cats seem to have been around the longest, the munchkin, a breed of short-legged cats, wasn’t classified as its own category until 1983 in Louisiana.