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).




Kanaani (Canaan Cat)


(Germany) Based on, and bred to resemble, the spotted wildcat subspecies Felis lybica gordonii, but with domestic temperament. Available photos suggest spotted Oriental or Ocicat in seal-spotted tabby, chocolate-spotted tabby and cinnamon-spotted tabby. Classic tabby is permitted, silver colors are disqualified. Large slender cat with long, muscular body, longer hind legs produce slightly raised rump. Long thin tail, tapering towards the tip. Neck is long and slim. Head must not be narrow triangle; has softly rounded forehead and top of skull is flat, prominent straight nose without stop. Distinct chin and slightly flattened snout. Large, open almond shaped eyes with slight slant; eyes green to yellowish-green. Ears are large, open, tapering and wide-set with slight brushes on ear-tips. Fur short, close-lying (but not silky like Siamese), with good ticking of base color, but not obscuring the spots. Spots are horizontally/diagonally aligned (i.e. not broken stripes) with barring on legs, ringed tail and necklaces. Belly is light beige and spotted; chin and throat are light beige/white. Until 2005, Kanaani may be outcrossed to spotted Bengals and spotted Oriental Shorthair, accounting for the slightly oriental appearance.

Kangaroo Cat

Archaic Name

See Munchkin

Karel Bobtail (Karelian, Karellian)


Shorthaired/semi-longhaired Russian breed occurring naturally along the coasts and islands of Lake Ladoga with same mutations as Japanese Bobtail. Strong, elegant, svelte cats with lifted rump and short pompom tail (4-13 cm). All colors and their combinations except colorpoint or Abyssinian ticking. See also: American Bobtail, Japanese Bobtail, Kuril Bobtail, Pixie-Bob

Karakul Cat


Rex mutation which appeared in the USA in the 1930s.


Alternative Name

Persian cat in chocolate or lavender (lilac) colors introduced via crossing with colorpoint cats/Himalyans. An alternate name used for the chocolate and lilac longhairs imported from England.



[2015] Bred to resemble the big cat look: large polydactyl feet, large head, longer faces, inverted heart shaped muzzle, big noses, large and muscular build. Many also have curled ears. Toyger-style stripes or spots. Tawny or silver. Good temperament paramount. Name means "big feet". Similar in concept to the Cubbari.

Kellas Cat

Local Variety

Natural hybrids of Scottish Wildcats with unneutered domestic cats resulting in a race of black cats with the wild type and disposition predominating. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to raise them in captivity. It is not known how domesticable they are. A similar "Dufftown Cat" was black with a distinctly roman-nosed profile and thin tail and was most likely derived from natural Siamese x Wildcat hybrids.

Keltic Shorthair

Alternative Name

Alternative name (WCF) or European Shorthair. See: European Shorthair



Attempts to create truly Cornish breed from 2 mutations indigenous to Cornwall. Tailless cats occurred in Pendarvis, 1837, and called Cornwall Cat until 1909. Cornish Rex occurred in Bodmin, 1950. The Kernow combines both traits. Conformation is same as (British) Cornish Rex, but tail ideally absent (stumpies occur). Oriental conformation of American Cornish Rex is a fault. Fur: As for (British) Cornish Rex, both shorthairs and longhairs permitted; the latter may form ringlets. Colours: black, blue, red, cream plus classic and mackerel tabbies and bicolours of those colours. Tortoiseshell/dilute tortoiseshell, including tortoiseshell tabbies, with or without white. Solid white permitted in orange-eyed only. Eyes green, orange or hazel to harmonise with coat colour (as for British Shorthair). Blue- or odd-eyes disallowed (includes bicolours), otherwise eye colour will not be unduly penalised if the conformation and markings are excellent. Faults - the following are disallowed: Siamese/Burmese colours/patterns, American-style conformation, twisted/knotted "bobtails", rabbitty gait, white locket/chin/brisket on selfs and tabbies.


Archaic Name

The original name of Sokoke breed was Khadzonzos. The Khadzonzos cats were discovered in the Arabuko-Sokoke forest, on the Kenyan coast.

Khao Manee


Pure white Thai shorthair also called the "Diamond Eye" and described in antiquity, "White Jewel" or "Gold and Silver Eye Cat". Distinguishing feature is its brilliant 'glowing' eyes. A bright pattern around the eye gives the eye the look of a "diamond cut". This additional brilliance is unique to the Khao Manee. Some have same-color blue eyes, some are blue/yellow odd-eyed or blue/emerald-green odd-eyed, some have eyes of different shades of the blue. Once exclusively bred by Thai royalty, now bred in the USA. Important Note: The "Diamond Eye" cat is not to be confused with the condition glaucoma (called "diamond eye" in Thailand) in which the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, swollen and very painful. Glaucoma requires immediate veterinary attention.

Khao Plort


Alternative name for Khao Manee. Means "All White"


Archaic Name

A French breed known as the Khmer resembled a Colourpoint Longhair although photos also show cats that look like fluffy pointed British shorthairs or Birmans without white feet. It was apparently overtaken by the Himalayan. "Khmer" has also been described as a bootee-less Birman-type cat.
See Himalayan.

Khorassen Cat

Archaic Name

According to Bungartz (1896) another name for the Persian.



American Curl x Munchkin - a short-legged cat with curled ears.



Kinkalow with a LaPerm/Skookum-type curled coat.

Kohana Kat

Experimental, Alternative Name

See Hawaiian Hairless. Genetically identical to Sphynx, but with a number of health issues.



Thai "lucky" breed with silver-tipped blue fur, modified oriental build and distinctive heart-shaped face which differentiates it from Russian Blue and Foreign Blue Shorthair. Also called Si-Sawat or Royal Cat. It was once believed that the gene for the Korat's blue color was dominant and distinct from the gene for blue in other cats. Blue-pointed and Lilac Korat variants occur naturally and there are unconfirmed reports of "fawn" Korats and longhaired variants. See also Thai Lilac, Thai Pointed, Thai Siamese



New breed developed from scratch in New Zealand and given a Maori name. No further information available.



Developed from Selkirk Rex x Scottish fold. Longhair and Shorthair permitted. No further information available.

Kucing Buso

Local variety

Medium size, blue-grey cats indigenous to Madura and Ra'as islands in Indonesia. Triangular face, green eyes, erect ears, medium length tail with visible bend or kink at the end. Fur is variously described as relatively thick body-hugging single fur. They have a resemblance to the Korat. A true Madura cat on Ra'as island is solid blue-grey (low-grade white spotting on the belly is common) though interbreeding with with cats on Madura island has produced blue bicolours, brown sepia, mink and colourpoint patterns and bobtailed cats. Also called Buso or Madura Cat.

Kucing Malaysia


(Malaysia). Kucing is Malaysian for "cat". Similar in type to Tonkinese, colour similar to Ragdoll. Medium sized, medium boned shorthair with muscular body, egg-shaped head and open, alert almond-shaped blue/blue-green eyes. Head wide and rounded at top. Good height with soft round lines. Full cheeks, medium to long nose, medium size strong chin. Profile is gentle convex curve with oval impression. Medium sized ears, slightly rounded tips, flare out a little and tilt forward slightly. Coat is short, close-lying and silky with little or no undercoat. Medium length body, broad chest. High legs, medium to slender in size, slightly oval paws. Thick fully coloured medium length tail with rounded tip. Colours recognisable by pointed patterns containing white. White blaze on face and muzzle is desirable. See also: Piawaian Kucing Malaysia

 Kumani Cat

Local Variety

According to Bungartz (1896) it originated from the Caucasus and was similar to the Carthusian (Chartreux) except for thick white, black or rust-red fur and flesh-coloured lips and paw-pads.

 Kurdish Van

Alternative Name

A politically alternative name for the Turkish Van.

 Kuril Bobtail (Curilsk)


Russian breed in shorthair and semi-longhair longhair forms. The main distinguishing feature is the short (5-13 cm) "bob" or "pompon" tail. Some early Kuril Bobtails were smallish, compact and cobby due to inbreeding. The modern recognised Kurilens are large (7-9 kg/15-19 lbs) and brawny and highly sociable. See also: American Bobtail, Japanese Bobtail, Karelian, Pixie-Bob

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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