What Breed is My Cat?
Updated on March 27, 2024
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What Breed is My Cat?
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Identifying the breed of your cat can be done in many ways. Paying attention to its physical traits and personality can help, but using DNA tests and cat scanner apps can make the process easier and more precise.

The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 73 cat breeds. Mixed breeds outnumber purebred cats.1

If you speak with the breeder, you may have better chances of determining your cat’s breed—but even then, a DNA test may be more helpful. Identifying cat breeds can be useful if you have an adopted cat so you can understand them better.

What Breed is My Cat? 6
Source: 123rf

How to Tell What Breed My Cat Is

Purebred cats generally have similar personality and physical traits. This makes it easier to identify them.

It’s not as easy to identify mixed-breed cats. They have a blend of different traits because of their varied ancestry.

If you have a mixed breed cat or a cat you adopted, cat DNA tests like Basepaws can help you learn more about the cat’s lineage.

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Best Cat DNA Test

Are you curious about your cat's ancestry and health predispositions?

How to Identify Cat Breed Based on Appearance

Specific features and behaviors are unique to certain cat breeds. Below are some physical traits that tell you more about your cat:2

1. Body Size & Weight

Cats come in various sizes, from very large to very small. Some breeds grow as large as 30 pounds, while others barely reach 15 pounds.

Large Cat Breeds

Cats weighing over 15 pounds are large breeds. Some weigh up to 30 pounds. Large cats grow as tall as 8 to 16 inches. Their length extends between 30 and 48 inches.

Ragdoll, Norwegian Forest Cat, and Bengal Cat are large cats.

Medium-Sized Cats

Most domestic cat breeds are medium-sized. They typically weigh between nine to 15 pounds. Some medium-sized cats are Himalayan, Manx, and Persian.

Small or Dwarf Cats

Dwarf cats usually weigh less than nine pounds as adults. Some have genetic mutations that give them short legs, although they may have normal-sized bodies.

Examples of small or dwarf cat breeds include Munchkin, Devon Rex, and Cornish Rex.

2. Face Shape

Some cats have unique facial features. This makes it easier for you to identify their breed.

Flat-Faced Cats

Flat-faced or brachycephalic breeds have short snouts. They also tend to have large eyes and small ears.

Burmilla, Persian, and Exotic Shorthair are some cats with flat faces.

Narrow-Faced Cats

Narrow-faced cats aren’t as popular as flat-faced breeds. Their faces may look like small triangles. Examples of narrow-faced cat breeds are Siamese, Abyssinian, and Cornish Rex.

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Siamese Cat. Source: 123rf

3. Ear Shape

A cat’s ears may be curled, folded, or protected by tufts. They tell you more about their breed.

Cats with Folded Ears

Folded ears might look like curled ones, but they’re different. They are due to genetic mutations that cause arthritis and other health problems.3

If your cat is a mixed breed with folded ears, they might have Scottish Fold ancestry. This narrows your search because it’s not a very common trait.

Cats with Curled Ears

Your cat’s ears bend on their head like arches. This gives them a distinct look. Cats with curled ears include the American Curl and Highlander.

Cats with Ear Tufts

Some cats have hair tufts growing out of their ears. They protect them from dust but let sound in. Ear tufts make your cats look like wild Lynx cats, also known as lynx tips.

Cats with tufted ears include the Birman, LaPerm, and Maine Coon.

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Birman Cat. Source: 123rf

4. Coat

Cats may have distinctive coat lengths and thicknesses. Your cat’s coat is an essential part of their identity and is sometimes included in their name.

Long Hair Cats

Cats with thick, fluffy coats look a lot bigger than they are. Caring for your cat’s thick fur is tedious because they shed a lot.

Long-haired cats include the Domestic Longhaired Cat, American Longhair Cat, and Long Haired Siamese.

Short Hair Cats

A short coat on your cat is a lot easier to handle. They need less grooming and don’t shed much. Short-haired cats include the American Shorthair and Oriental Shorthair.

Hairless Cats

Hairless cats are popular among people with cat allergies. They’re unique because of their obvious lack of hair. Cats with Bambino, Elf Cat, or Sphynx roots might be hairless.

5. Color Patterns

Cats may have a single color or several colors combined on their fur. This tells you more about their family history. Here are some color patterns that you should know:

Solid Color Cats

These cats have a single color all over their body—no stripes or spots. Your cat may be black, white, cream, brown, or red.

Solid color cats include the British Shorthair and Turkish Angora.4

Bicolor Cats

Bicolor (piebald) cats have a mix of white patches and other colors. The second color may be any shade. Bicolor cats are Maine Coon, Cornish Rex, and Manx.

Calico Cats

A calico cat has a blend of three colors, including white. It’s not a very common color pattern. Cats with a calico pattern are Manx, British Shorthair, and Persian.

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Calico Cat. Source: 123rf

Tortoiseshell Cats

A tortoiseshell cat has a mix of two colors, like the bicolor cat. The difference is that they don’t mix white into their color pattern.

Instead, the fur of a “tortie cat” might contain red, blue, black, chocolate, yellow, or orange. Many tortoiseshell cats you’ll meet are female. Male cats with this pattern may be sterile.

Maine Coons may have tortoiseshell fur.5

Seal Point Cats

Seal point cats have darker colors on their extremities—such as their faces, tails, feet, and ears. They tend to contrast against the base color.

Cats with a seal point fur pattern include the Balinese, Highlander, and Javanese.

Tabby Cats

This is one of the most popular fur patterns. Many cats you see with the tabby fur pattern are mixed breeds. They come in various prints, such as:6

  • Mackerel – Narrow, parallel stripes
  • Patched – Patches of color
  • Spotted – Dark spots on a light-colored background
  • Classic – Swirled pattern or circular markings
  • Ticked – Multiple color bands on each hair strand

6. Eye Color

Most cats have the same color in both eyes. Your cat’s eyes may be brown, hazel, gold, green, or blue.

Few cats have genetic mutations that give them different colors on each eye (heterochromia). This makes them stand out.

Examples of cat breeds that exhibit heterochromia are the Russian White, Oriental Shorthair, and Turkish Angora.

Cat Personality Traits That Help You Tell Their Breed

You can’t predict the personality of a mixed-breed cat. They can be eccentric due to diverse ancestry. Purebred cats have behavioral traits specific to their breed.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has identified five personalities you might see in cats. These are:7

  • Neuroticism – These cats are cautious and anxious around people. They show signs of insecurity, shyness, and suspicion.
  • Extroversion – They’re clever and inquisitive. Your cat might also be vigilant, inventive, and curious.
  • Dominance – Your cat may show their superiority by bullying others or showing signs of aggression.
  • Impulsive – These cats might indulge in reckless and unpredictable behaviors.
  • Agreeable – Your cats may belong to this category if they’re friendly and gentle to people. They’re not shy to show affection.

Dogs usually have specific temperaments based on their breed. Cats, on the other hand, combine multiple personality types. Purebred cats often express at least two personalities.

1. Adventurous Cat Breeds

Adventurous cat breeds are often dominant, extroverted, and impulsive.8 Examples include the Abyssinian, Siamese, and Ragdoll.

Abyssinian is bursting with energy. They’re affectionate, physically active, and intelligent.

Siamese cats hate being alone, so they’ll shower you affectionately. They’re also vocal and physically active.

Ragdoll cats are curious. They’re a ball of energy and always investigating.

2. Relaxed Cat Breeds

Relaxed cat breeds are agreeable, but they can be neurotic, too. Examples of these cats are the Himalayan, Bombay, and LaPerm.

LaPerm cats love to curl up on your lap. They’ll also join you for a few games.

Himalayan cats don’t like a lot of noise. They’d much rather stay in a peaceful environment. This means they’re great companions for the elderly.

Bombay cats love to play. They’ll also enjoy sitting on your lap.

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Himalayan Cat. Source: 123rf

Cat Scanner App That Tells You A Cat’s Breed

Many mobile apps can help you identify your cat’s breed. They only require a picture or a short video of your pet. The app compares your cat’s features to the information on their database.

Cat scanner apps are usually more accurate for purebred cats. You can still try using them on mixed-breed cats but don’t rely too heavily on the results. DNA tests may work out better.

Cat scanner apps to try include:

Online Quizzes to Identify Your Cat’s Breed

Online quizzes can help you figure out your cat’s breed. They only take a few minutes.

Answer questions on the website about your cat’s physical features and personality. 

The results reveal the most likely match.

These online quizzes aren’t very accurate, so take the results with a grain of salt. You can still try them for fun.

Some online quizzes to identify your cat’s breed are:

Using A Cat DNA Test Kit to Know Their Breed

Genetic testing uses your cat’s DNA to give you accurate information about their breed. The report contains details about their hybrid status and possible health risks.

Simply swab inside your cat’s mouth to get some cells. Send them to the lab, where the team analyzes your cat’s genetic information.

You probably won’t know the breed of your cat if you’ve just adopted a rescue. DNA testing for adopted cats or cats of unknown breeds helps you better care for their health.

Should You Try Cat DNA Testing?

Some cat breeds are more likely to get specific health problems than others. This is why you should learn your cat’s ancestry. 

For purebred cats, you can look up their features online. This might not work for mixed-breed cats because of their diverse physical and personality traits. 

The best cat DNA tests provide reliable information about your cat’s breed. This is great if you’ve adopted a stray cat or cat from the shelter. 

The benefits of DNA testing for cats are: 

  • It’s accurate 
  • It’s affordable 
  • It’s quick and easy 
  • It identifies hereditary diseases 
  • It shows you how to care for your cat’s health needs

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What could be more fun than learning everything there is to know about your feline friend?

Updated on March 27, 2024
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8 sources cited
Updated on March 27, 2024
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.