Saturday, December 31, 2011

Somali Cat Picture

There is a beautiful, burnished appearance to Pollux's coat in this Helmi Flick Somali cat picture. I presume that the name comes from country Somalia, which is the eastern neighbor of Ethiopia (once called Abyssinia) after which the Abyssinian cat was named, which is appropriate as the Somali is a semi-long haired Abyssinian. They should, therefore share the same personality: active, intelligent and playful. The Somali cat's appearance is reminiscent of the red fox and as I like foxes I like this cat. The plumed tail is impressive and they look intelligent. They are medium sized and quite slender (foreign type in cat breeder language) under that stupendous coat.  The colors are: ruddy, sorrel, blue and fawn. I used to have difficulty differentiating between ruddy and sorrel but I would say that Pollux is a ruddy Somali cat because he has some black on his back and his tail is tipped with black. This is a clear sign of a ruddy Somali. I remember a Somali cat at a cat show in OK, USA. Helmi was photographing the cat. And I was mightily impressed with this individual cat. He was bright, bubbly and beautiful! See the video:

Snowshoe Cat Picture

A Snowshoe cat picture by Helmi Flick. This is an striking cat. The appearance catches your eye. The pointing is bicolor. In other words the pointed extremities of the cat are divided between what we are used to seeing, say seal points, and white fur. The white fur is due to the presence of the piebald or white spotting gene probably imported from a bicolor American Shorthair (this is a hybrid cat). The genetics are a bit complicated! The bicolor pointing on the feet produces what breeders call a "mitted" appearance. When the pattern of split white/dark pointing is just on the feet the pattern is called "mitted". When this pattern is on the face as well, it is called "bicolor".  In layperson's terminology, I guess this cat breed is a traditional looking Siamese cat with bicolor pointing. As the ancestry comes from the Siamese you would expect this cat to be vocal and companionable. Read and see lots more if you desire...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Singapura Cat Picture

A beautifully smooth, elegant Singapura cat picture by the well known cat photographer, Helmi Flick; taken in the United States. Three things come to mind about this rare cat breed. It is the world's smallest cat breed. That does not mean it is the world's smallest cat, far from it. The wild cat, rusty-spotted cat is smaller and teacup and miniature cats are smaller but these are not cat breeds. Secondly, the origins of this breed are disputed. Some claim that the breed originates in the feral cats living in the drains and streets of Singapura. Fanciful, I suspect. Sarah Hartwell (Messybeast) did not see any when she visited Singapore! This is probably a created hybrid, which does not make it any less attractive or interesting. Lastly, this cat has a smooth, ticked tabby coat. The Abyssinian has a similar coat. However, the base color for the Singapura is an "antique ivory"1. The color is "seal sepia" technically. The eyes are large relative to head size and the body compact (semi-cobby). Read and see more if you wish...

Note: (1) Legacy of the Cat - ISBN 0-8118-2910-3

Siberian Cat Picture

A strong, solid looking domestic cat, you can tell that this cat breed comes from somewhere cold. In this case it is East Russia. This is a heavier than average cat breed with a triple coat including a "tight" undercoat. You can see a large ruff on the cat in the Helmi Flick Siberian cat picture above. The fur above the hock is longer too. Breeders (or one breeder!) claims that this breed is hypoallergenic. It is not true. There a lot of talk about that subject in general. Watch out for misleading information. I bracket the Siberian with two similar cats; the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat. This is a stately looking cat with an independent mind and strong limbs! The Siberian cat is still in Siberia as a random bred cat. They have been there for perhaps a thousand years. The cat fancy is quite strong in Russia so no doubt breeders turned the robust moggie into a purebred cat and from there it was exported to the USA (1990), the UK and Europe generally. You will see this cat in a wide range of colors and patterns. Read more if you wish....

Traditional Siamese Cat Picture

This is a traditional Siamese cat picture but not one taken by Helmi Flick. As a professional photographer in the United States she would not, in the normal course of events, come across a traditional Siamese cat because the major cat associations only recognize the slender, highly bred, "oriental" body shaped Siamese that breeders consider to be the original appearance or at least a cat of more elegant appearance than the original. I disagree with all of their concepts in regards to the Siamese cat.

The original Siamese is the traditional Siamese. That is clear by looking at old photographs of Siamese cats that were recently imported from Siam (now Thailand).  You can check out my version of Siamese cat history if you like. The above cat has seal pointing, which is the natural pointing of the Siamese. The traditional Siamese is bred with standard pointing colors: blue, seal, lilac and chocolate. I think they have introduced tabby pointing too (called lynx pointing). All Siamese cats before the 1950s were traditional Siamese cats.

There was no such cat as the modern Siamese. Cat associations don't call the contemporary Siamese the "modern" Siamese. They just call it the Siamese. The super slender modern Siamese is on a par with the ultra flat-faced Persian as the two cats that have been conclusively over-bred and refined beyond common sense limits. These are my views alone expressed here. Read more...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Modern Siamese Cat Picture

The modern Siamese is very different to the traditional Siamese. You can see the "oriental" body conformation (slender) of this cat breed in the excellent Helmi Flick photograph above, which gives an impression of the active Siamese. In fact there are a whole range of Siamese cat body shapes. The middle ground is occupied by the Thai, a new cat breed but which for me is simply a newish version of the Siamese. It is a bit confusing for people outside the cat fancy. TICA's breed standard is different to that of the CFA. Both recognize the slender, contemporary Siamese as the breed (and simply ignore the more popular traditional cat) but TICA allows a much wider range of pointing colors and patterns while the more conventional CFA accept: seal, chocolate, blue and lilac pointing. The more modern types of pointing are lynx pointing (tabby) and other versions of broken pointing such as tortie and shaded pointing. Read more...and about the history of this cat..

Sokoke Cat Picture

A rare Sokoke cat picture by Helmi Flick. There were ten adult breeding cats in the USA in 2008. That makes this one of the rarest purebred cats on the planet. Helmi took a great picture. The choice of background is perfect as it emphasises the glorious "bulls-eye" tabby pattern, plum in the middle of the body. The head of this cat breed reminds me of the Bengal, quite small like the wild leopard cat. It certainly has a wild look. However, this is a purely, 100%, domestic cat. It is not a wildcat hybrid. That is what I have been told. I found the origin and history of this breed interesting and exotic and to be perfectly honest, I don't believe it! I know that sounds a bit brash and harsh but that is what I feel about the history, which is that stray/domestic/feral hybrid cats from the east of Kenya where discovered in the late 1970s and then exported to America, where they were refined through selective breeding. This purebred cat is named after the Sokoke Forest in Kenya (see map - you can zoom back). Read more....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Skookum Picture

Cute and interesting comes to mind when looking at this Skookum cat picture. The photographer is the creator of this very rare cat breed. As you can see the Skookum is a dwarf cat, a hybrid, a cross between the rexed (curly haired) LaPerm and the founding dwarf cat, the Munchkin.  It is an American cat breed. The name is interesting and Roy has a nice story to tell about how he came up with the name. In fact all the dwarf cats have interesting names. You can read about them here. This cat was registered with the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry but I don't see it listed at the moment (Dec. 2011). I was also told that the Skookum was accepted as an experimental breed at TICA. TICA don't list experimental breeds on their website so I don't know if this is still the case. The Skookum is registered with the New Zealand cat association: Catz Incorporated. Read and see more....

Seychellois Picture

You can see that the rare, Continental European, Seychellois, is a Modern type Siamese/Oriental Shorthair cat in terms of underlying appearance. This is a slender, oriental bodied cat. In profile there should be a smooth, straight line from the forehead to the tip of the nose (no nose break). This cat is both long haired and short haired. It is registered at FIFE, a continental Europe cat association. This is a pointed cat as per the Siamese with bioclor pointing on the face to varying degrees and patterns, the inverted van "V" shape being desirable, it seems. This is called "particolor pointing" as far as I am aware. The ears are large and the face elongated. This is a svelte, slender cat and in terms of temperament it probably follows the Siamese, Balinese and Oriental Shorthair in being vocal, loyal and requiring close human contact. Please correct me if I am wrong. Please read and see more...

Serengeti Cat Picture

The Serengeti cat is a Bengal cat to Oriental Shorthair hybrid that looks like a wildcat. The coat is a beautiful spotted tabby and the ears are large with rounded tips, inherited from the Oriental Shorthair. The ears should be like those of the serval wildcat; high on the head. The body should be heavy and the eyes should be rounded. The legs and neck should be long. The picture above has been provided by Karen Sausman and shows the desired appearance. The Serengeti is a relatively new and rare purebred cat. This is an elegant and statuesque cat breed that is recognized by The International Cat Association under Preliminary New Breed (2011). Read and see more....

Selkirk Rex Picture

A sweet Selkirk Rex picture by Helmi Flick and this is a sweet, gentle cat that looks a bit like a sheep because of his/her curly, crinkly coat. They also say that the coat is not as demanding in respect of maintenance as it looks. This beautiful cat in the Helmi picture looks like a calico although it is a camouflaged under all those curls. All colors and patterns are allowable under the breed standard for this cat breed. Helmi says that you can see the British Shorthair in the face of the Selkirk Rex. This is because the breeding program includes the Brit SH as well as the Persian and American Shorthair. This is a stocky looking cat (semi-cobby). The first signs of a curly coat in kittens are the curly whiskers, which break off. At about 4 months of age kittens lose a lot of their fur but it grows back curly and this time it stays.  The curly hair is due to a dominant gene. Read and see more....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Scottish Fold Picture

A strong, statuesque, Scottish Fold picture by Helmi Flick. This is a fantastic looking bicolor cat. The cute, owl-like, appearance is what endears people to the Scottish Fold. Although the founding cat came from Scotland, UK, development of the breed blended American and British Shorthair cats. Except for the ears, the appearance today is similar to the British Shorthair. There is that semi-cobby body and square, solid face. You'll see short and long haired Scottish Folds. Kittens are born with straight ears. Between 13 and 23 days of age the ears begin to fold. Not all the kittens in a litter will develop the folded ear flaps (pinnae). There is a downside to the interesting appearance. The dominant gene that alters the formation of cartilage in the ears may affect cartilage growth in other parts of the body such as around the cat's joints. The feet can also be affected. Sometimes the unwanted defects can show up at aged 5+. There would seem to be a dispute whether you can breed Scottish Fold to Scottish Fold for these health reasons. Read and see more....

Savannah Cat Picture

An active, dynamic Savannah cat picture by Helmi Flick. She is very good at capturing movement and shape on digital camera. A photograph of a Savannah cat should be dynamic because this is a large, active cat. When I say large I am referring to the F1s and F2s which can weigh up to 30 lbs. This is because the wildcat parent is a serval, which is a medium sized cat, the size of a large dog. The serval is quite intimidating. The Savannah cat, however, is a very beautifully socialized domestic cat no matter whether the cat is a first or fifth filial - proper socialization is emphasized. The F1-F2 Savannah cat is the cat of kings, the rich and the super rich. These are the world's most impressive domestic cats. The number one breeder is A1 Savannahs in the USA.

The guiding objective in respect of appearance is the wild cat parent, the serval, which has a clean, high contrast, spotted coat on a rustic, functional, buff-yellow background. The tail is not long and the cat is elegant in conformation. This is a long legged athletic domestic cat. The body conformation is really about function, which I think is sensible as it makes this breed a true cat rather than a fluffy accessory. You should have proper expectations of cat management if you intend to adopt an F1 or F2. The first three places in respect of the world's biggest domestic cats go to Savannah cats: Trouble (F1), Magic (F1- former world champion) and Motzie (F2). The serval has large ears for homing in on small prey in long grass. The Savannah also has large ears. Read and see lots more on this majestic cat breed....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Safari Cat Picture

A rare Safari Cat picture by Helmi Flick. This is wildcat hybrid that you will not see very often. I doubt whether they are shown at cat shows. Perhaps they make the odd appearance. The Safari Cat is not registered with TICA and they are perhaps the most adventurous cat association. That is not to say that this cat breed is unpopular. As you can see this cat has a stunning appearance. The Safari Cat is the result of a mating between the small wildcat Geoffroy's cat and a domestic cat. Sometimes the selected domestic cat is the Bengal cat (itself a wildcat hybrid). The Geoffroy's cat is sometimes (but rarely) domesticated itself. Clearly Geoffroy's cat is one of the small wildcats that can be domesticated. Incidentally the leopard cat - the wild component of the Bengal cat - can't! The picture above is an F1, first filial, Safari Cat. The coat is pure, dense, spotted tabby. The background color is a warm gray. The eyes are piercing and the face very strong. This is a large domestic cat at up to 25lbs (F1). You'll need to make special arrangements and have realistic and informed expectations. Read and see more....

Russian Blue Picture

An impressive Russian Blue picture by Helmi Flick. The Russian Blue is a reserved cat. Except for the color of its coat it is very different in appearance to the European blue cats: the blue British Shorthair and the French Chartreux (which has to be blue like the Russian Blue). This Russian cat is one of the grey cat breeds.

The Russian Blue originates from the North Russian sea port of Archangel. It is not far from Finland. The coat is understandably dense for excellent insulation. The coat has a distinct feel. The plush dense coat of the Brit SH has a similar feel I suspect. It appears that the Russian Blue goes back a long way in Britain as they were mentioned in a book written by the founder of the cat fancy, Harrison Weir. The book was published in 1893. That is at the beginning of the cat fancy. It is thought that the first cats of this breed in the West were shipped over as ship's cats from Archangel in the 1860s. The eyes of this cat are green. The longhaired Russian Blue is the glamorous and rare Nebelung. Read and see more.....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pixie-bob Cat Picture

Wild and sweet looking, Bear, is a excellent domestic cat. The Pixie-bob is meant to look like a wild bobcat but at the same time be the best sort of domestic cat and the breed meets that standard. I am told that the Pixie-bob is good with children. That must be the highest recommendation for a domestic cat.

They are also said to have temperaments like a loyal dog but prefer to be in a single cat home. This is a quiet cat with a short tail. It is also one of the larger domestic cat breeds. When they have polydactyl feet they look incredibly cute. Bigger polyfeet are effective in making this breed look wild because the lynx wild cats (of which the bobcat is a subspecies) have wide, large feet to traverse snow.

As to coat types, the Pixie-bob is a spotted, brown tabby cat. The coat is ticked and reminiscent of the wild cats. The spots can sometimes be rosetted.

Peterbald Cat Picture

A flashy cat photograph by the celebrated Helmi Flick of a Peterbald cat whose name is "Flashy". This is a playful cat that should also be somewhat vocal and demanding as it is a hybrid purebred cat, the result of mating a Don Sphynx with the Oriental Shorthair. The Oriental SH is non-pointed Siamese and the Siamese is vocal! Phew. The Don Sphynx as you might have guessed is a hairless cat, very similar to the Sphynx. The Peterald is a Russian cat breed named after the city St. Petersberg - the "Peter" in St. Petersberg being extracted for the name and added to "bald". However, this cat is not always totally bald. In Flashy you can see the pattern of what would have been his fur if he had some! He is a bicolor. The purpose of this hybrid was to create a more slender hairless cat than the Don Sphynx. It is a recent cat breed (1994) and a rare cat. Read and see more....

Traditional Persian Cat Picture

Beautiful Cristalline. I have not seen a more beautiful domestic cat. I can think of a ginger cat that is almost as beautiful! The traditional Persian is a refinement of the way the original Persian cats looked before they became purebred but the "refinement" and development of the breed through selective breeding has not gone as far as for the flat-faced contemporary Persian. The desire to create an extremely rounded cat with a flat face results in other elements of the cat's anatomy becoming slightly unnatural such as the smaller ears of the contemporary Persian.  The small picture on the right shows a Persian cat at around the early 1900s. The similarity with Christalline is noticeable. Today you will see Turkish Angoras in Turkey (not the more highly bred American cats) that look like traditional Persians indicating that the purebred Persian cat of today might originate in Angoras of Turkey.

This picture (left) is copyright Harvey Harrison. The doll face look of this Turkish Angora in Turkey is reminiscent of the traditional Persian. The body conformation is similar too.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Persian Cat Picture

An arresting photograph of a purebred, contemporary Persian cat by Helmi Flick. This picture has a strange, slightly unreal quality about it. I have called this Persian "contemporary". What I mean is that the appearance of the modern Persian cat is a far cry from the original long haired cats that were (and are) present in Persia (Iran), which is meant to be the area where these cats come from. Or did this cat breed originate from the Turkish Angora, which was referred to as the "Angora"? The traditional Persian (see picture right of Yeri) is quite a different looking cat and because of that I have listed the traditional Persian under a different heading. The aristocratic Persian has a very distinguished and long history. It is one of the first breeds of the cat fancy being exhibited at a cat show in England (probably at the Crystal Palace) in 1871. Was that the first cat show in England? I think it was. The modern Persian has very long, flowing hair and an extreme roundness of body and head - except for the famous flat face that I personally so dislike. It is a matter of personal taste and breeders decided that the face should be flat; all elements of the face inline vertically! The traditional or doll face Persian has a square shortened face but it is much more natural. Whatever you think about either the traditional or modern version of this cat, it is an extremely popular cat and because of its delicately, docile temperament it is suited to a modern indoor life.

Oriental Shorthair Picture

A beautiful Helmi photograph of a very impressive cat. The Oriental Shorthair is a purebred cat that was created in the mid 20th century by breeders to allow them to break out of the constraints of the Siamese cat pointing. The Oriental Shorthair is a contemporary looking Siamese cat with a very wide range of colors. As you can see this is a slender cat at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Persian. Breeders call the slender appearance "oriental" (see cat body types). Initially the breeding program produced a cat that was not so slender. Today in terms of temperament and physique this is a Siamese cat. Without wishing to be critical, the modern Siamese cat has one of the longest lists of potential inherited diseases as will this closely associated cat breed. In the UK, the GCCF classify the "Oriental" cat into eight different coat types (colour/pattern/length). The cat in the picture looks like a silver tabby and white. Through selective breeding the tabby pattern on the body has been almost eliminated to produce a speckled black-on-silver finish.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ojos Azules Cat Picture

The Ojos Azules cat breed is very strange. The above picture is probably photoshopped by the way! We can't tell. I had believed that the Ojos Azules was a rare cat that had blue eyes but a coat type that was not associated with blue eyes. The genes that produce certain coat colours and patterns also turn the eyes blue or odd eye color. The classic combination of coat and eye color is the blue eyed Siamese cat. Cats that are bicolor - white and another color - sometimes have odd eye color, one eye blue and the other yellow for example. This is because the piebald gene that produces a partly white coat also affects eye color.

The Ojos Azules is meant to be different: a blue eyed cat that does not have a coat color and pattern that is normally linked to blue eyes. The black cat above, if it is genuine, would be an Ojos Azules. One note of caution is that kittens have blue eyes so you have to wait until a cat is adult before you can make a judgment.

However, all my preconceptions are shot to pieces on reading the TICA breed standard for the Ojos Azules. It says that this preliminary new breed can have any coat type and color. The cat can be a bicolor or solid or anything. The eyes must be clear blue or blue-grey. As we don't know what genes are at work all we can say is that the breed standard describes a random bred cat (a moggie) and not a purebred cat. I really think that TICA has simply agreed to define a new breed out of a commonplace moggie. Any cat can be purebred of course if it is bred that way and has a pedigree. Many purebred cats started out as household random bred cats. I think TICA have simply started a new breed and are willing to let breeders develop it as they wish on the basis that the eyes are the "dominant feature". Despite my assessment, TICA say the cat is very rare. The breed standard does not describe a very rare cat. I will be happy to be corrected and probably will - please leave a comment if I have this completely wrong.

Note: you will see only a few photographs of this cat breed indicating rareness. However, in my opinion the lack of photographs is not due to rareness. It is due to the fact this cat breed does not yet exist (2011). Read more...

Ocicat Picture

A man-made spotted (tabby) cat of presence and athleticism. This is a purebred cat and one of the rarer cat breeds. It looks like a wild cat hybrid but is, in fact a three way domestic cat hybrid: Siamese, American Shorthair and Abyssinian. However, from 1986 until 2005 breeders did not use the Siamese and American Shorthair in breeding programs and today (2011) the Abyssinian is not used either. This Helmi photograph gives the impression that this is a substantial cat and it is a larger than average cat. It has, what breeders call, a "moderate" appearance. This means not bred to extreme to create a slightly abnormal appearance. The moderate look probably originates in the desire to keep this cat breed looking like a wildcat. The original Ocicat, Tonga, was so named because he looked like a ocelot, a small but powerful and well patterned wildcat. Read more and see more pictures...

Norwegian Forest Cat Picture

Sheer beauty. Stunning presence. Venus is a goddess of a purebred cat! The Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC) is on a par I think with the Maine Coon and would be as popular as the Maine Coon (MC) but for the fact that the MC is considered an American cat and the biggest market place for domestic cats is America by far. The NFC is a substantial, long haired cat developed from the icy forests of Norway from the 1930s onwards, when the first NFC was shown at a cat show in Germany. This cat is seen in all traditional colors and patterns. Venus is a classic tabby and white with an impressive ruff. It seems that the character of the Norwegian farm cats from which they were developed has remained with this breed. They are somewhat single minded and intelligent. I include a video I made years ago, which adds some detail. It is basic but has proved to be popular. Read more...

Nebelung Cat Picture

Nebelung cat - Photo copyright Anke Zekveld

This beautiful, rare and blue cat, above, has the title: International Champion Aleksandr van Song de Chin. This cat is rare because my research indicates that and Helmi Flick was unable to produce a picture of this cat from her library (2008). Things may have changed but it means that this breed is not often seen at cat shows in the USA as Helmi takes a lot of her studio photographs at cat shows. The Nebelung is a semi-long haired Russian Blue. Since 1987 when TICA approved the Nebelung the appearance of the Russian Blue appears to have diverged from the Nebelung. The origin of the name is interesting. Nebelung means "mist-creature" or "creature of the mist" in German. This is a reference to the coat the guard hairs of which reflect light in a misty way. Apparently over 100 years ago the long haired Russian Blues were shown at cat shows. Then the Nebelung dissapeared until revived later in the 20th century. Read more about this cat and see more Nebelung cat pictures.

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