Part of the family Felidae, which includes jaguars and lions, cats are the most numerous species of felines in the world. Although all cats are the same species of animal (Felis catus), selective breeding across the world has created distinct features among cats, such as long or very short fur, eye shape and colour. Some breeds also show long ear fur, including the Maine coon, the American bobtail, the American curl longhair, the Persian and the Norwegian forest.
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Native to Maine, the coon has long, water-resistant hair, an adaptation to survive harsh winters. Maine coons have long, bushy tails and large oval gold to green eyes; and show almost all traditional patterns, including tabby (with stripes and swirling shapes) and tortoiseshell (orange and black or brown). To protect their ears from the cold, they also have long fur growing from inside. Adult males can reach 5.9 to 8.16kg.
American Bobtail and Curl Longhair
American bobtails are strong muscular cats, showing tails as short as 1 inch. They can show any colour and pattern, as well as medium-long or short fur. American bobtails with medium-long fur also have long hairs in their ears. American curl longhair cats have walnut shaped eyes and a medium-sized body, but the breed's main feature is the long fur curled ears. Although they are born with straight ears, American curl longhairs start to bend their ears about three to five days after birth, reaching the final shape after 16 weeks.
Despite their name, the origin of this old cat breed is uncertain. Persian cats have pansy-like faces, copper eyes, short bodies and legs. They feature long ear fur and a silky and dense long body fur, which requires daily combing to avoid tangling. Persian cats show a variety of colours and patterns, including white, black and tortoiseshell.
Originated in Norway, this is a slow-maturing breed that takes about five years to reach sexual maturity. Norwegian forest cats are agile and make good hunters. Despite their water-resistant semi-long coat, they require minimal grooming. They also have a dense undercoat, a genetic adaptation that helped them to survive the cold Scandinavian climate. Ears are large and arched forward, with long fur growing from inside.
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- The International Cat Association: Maine Coon
- The International Cat Association: American Bobtail
- The International Cat Association: Norwegian Forest
- The International Cat Association: American Curl Longhair
- The International Cat Association: Persian
- "National Geographic"; Oldest Known Pet Cat? 9,500-Year-Old Burial Found on Cyprus; John Pickrell; April 2004