Cat Breeds (Recognized/Unrecognized, Common/Obscure), Variants, Mutations, Hybrids, Archaic/Alternate Names.

Copyright 1994 - 2007 Sarah Hartwell


About the Messybeast Breed List

A - Z Breeds Index


With so many different registries with different views, the exact status of some breeds is hard to define. I have used the following terms:

Alternative Name: An alternative name still in use; might have been a proposed name while breed was being developed.
Archaic Name: Historical name no longer used.
Crossbred: Informal variety always created by crossing 2 other breeds.
Current: A currently recognised breed (means recognition by at least one registry in the world)
Experimental: Early stages of development. Some have provisional or preliminary recognition, but others do not seek or achieve registry recognition.
Extinct: No individuals of the breed exist e.g. Mexican Hairless
Fake: An attempt to decieve the public by representing a cat as something it is not.
Fictional: "Breeds" such as cabbits, squittens, Chinese Hairless and Egyptian Hairless that exist only in fiction or folklore (but people believe they are real).
Local Variety: Unrecognised distinct strain of cats found in a particular locality e.g. Buckfast Blue.
Mutation: Distinct strain that occurred through mutation; some are incorporated into similar-looking breeds (e.g. different Rex strains with the same gene mutation).
Proposed: Not even off the drawing board!
Unknown: Reported by reputable source, but with no other information, possibly a one-off.
Variant: Purebred cats that do not meet the breed standard due to hidden genes e.g. longhaired Bengals. Some are recognised in other countries under a different name.

A further region-specific classification is out of the scope of this list: Banned. In parts of Europe certain breeds are prohibited because their breed traits are considered harmful deformities. These include Manx/Cymric (spinal problems related to tailless mutation), Munchkin (dwarfism), Scottish Fold (skeletal problems), Sphynx (hairlessness is considered detrimental to the breed) and Blue-Eyed Whites in any breed (deafness).




Iceland Cat

Local Variety

According to Bungartz (1896) almost identical to the Carthusian (Chartreux)with bluish grey fur, most probably a Russian Blue type cat.

Icelandic Shorthair


No details. Possibly a localised strain of domestic shorthair.

Il Gatto Color Cioccolato


The European nucleus of York Chocolate (or York Chocolate type) cats, found in Northern Italy.



Medium-to-large curl-eared polydactyl; semi-longhaired with harlequin markings in any colour. Markings limited to the head, spine, shoulders, hips and tail. Developed in Illinois, USA by crossing American Curls with polydactyl cats, formerly called Tulip.

Imperial, Imperial Longhair


Experimental, rgistered with TICA 2015.

Indian Cat

Archaic Name

An archaic name for the Persian breed; used in the 1800s. NB: The Indian Desert Cat is sometimes erroneously listed as a breed, but is a subspecies of F lybica.

Indian Mau

Colloquial Name

'Mau' is a generic name for cat. Two Indian Maus were brought back from the New Delhi in 1982 and used in the Bengal breed. The Indian Maus were products of two cats that were brought to India from Egypt by a British couple.

Indian Rex

Alternative Name

A name considered for the LaPerm breed.

Iowa Rex

New Mutation

Rex mutation reported 2001. Sandy Lowe's calico had a curly coated kitten (Simon). A later litter sired by the same male gave another rexed kitten and a third litter resulted in a longhaired rexed kitten which has fur which hangs in "dreadlocks". Iowa Rex have long whiskers and are large, muscular rangy cats. The head type with their well developed broad muzzles is also distinct. It is hoped that an experienced breeder can take over these cats as foundation cats for a new breed.



Tonkinese x Persian. (Australia). See also: Burmalayan, Himbur, Iranese, Layanese, Mink Longhair, Mink Persian, Silkanese, Tibetane, Tonkalayan

Irish Shorthair


Suggested name for recreating cats of the pre-war British Shorthair type Modern British Shorthairs are cobby and plushly furred from outcrossing to Persians. Cats of the pre-war type are still found in Ireland and Scotland; a new name would be required to differentiate them from the modern British Shorthair. This is, thus far, hypothetical.

Irish Shortear


Featured in "Why Paint Cats" book of dyed cats (actually photographic manipulation). Described as Burmilla x Scottish Fold with large protuberant eyes, short ears and very relaxed nature. The photo (Brown Burmilla) has been edited to give the cat larger eyes, narrower chin and short ears (original ear tip has been enlarged and grafted back onto the face). Scottish Fold gives folded not shortened ears. The partial-dominant "macro-retinal" gene is fictional.

Israel Rex


Several curly kittens have been born to a semi-feral cat in Israel. Some are born curly but lose their curls later. This sounds similar to the LaPerm, however there is no intention to develop them into a breed in Israel and they are too far distant to be imported into the USA.

 Italian Rex


 Extinct Rex-type mutation, possibly same as Oregon Rex.

CAT BREEDS TIME-LINE - A list of dates when breeds and varieties (i.e. populations which bred true) were discovered or recognised (now held on its own webpage due to the increasing size of this list).

CAT COLOURS & PATTERNS  - A plain English guide to cat colours and patterns, including breed-specific colours/patterns.

About this List of Breeds and the Breeds Time-Line
This file was originally started for my own interest back in the 1980s. Information on currently recognised cat breeds is readily available in books, from registries/governing bodies (GCCF, FIFe, ACFA etc), breed societies or on the Internet. Breed recognition and breed descriptions vary between registries and countries. This "layperson's list" contains general descriptions only and is not (nor will it ever be) specific to any single registry, breed society or cat-breeding country. It will not link to, nor name, any breeder pages or cattery pages as this would compromise its independence. It comprises information and trivia from diverse sources worldwide including historical texts and personal correspondence. I wish to express my gratitude to the various contributors who have helped me keep it up-to-date.


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