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).






Experimental hybrid breed (America/Canada) using the Fishing cat (F viverrina) and a spotted melanistic domestic cat (black cat showing shadowy spotted pattern). The aim is to create an exotic-looking cat combining domestic temperament with the appearance of a small black panther with shadowy spotting. Currently in early stages because of low fertility of F1 hybrids. Early hybrids resemble the Fishing Cat and are large, very rounded and have thick, dense fur. Silvery-background to charcoal-blackish coloring with black spotting and markings similar to wild parent. Hybrids are claimed to be very friendly, use the litter tray like a domestic cat but have voracious appetites. They are intelligent, active and have an attraction to water. Also called Bagral.


Local variety

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, relatively thick fur. They have a resemblance to the Korat. A true Madura cat on Ra'as island is solid blue-grey 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 Kucing Buso.

Maew Boran


Experimental, registered with TICA. Presumed Thai Breed.


Archaic Name 

See Chantilly/Tiffany.

Maine Cat

Alternative Name

See Maine Coon

Maine Coon (American Longhair)


Large, rugged, long-bodied longhair with long, heavy and silky coat, large ruff and bib and luxuriant plumed tail. All coat colors and patterns are permitted except the Siamese pointed coat (in Britain chocolate and lavender are also disallowed). Preferred coloration is the patched brown classic tabby. Legend has it that the Maine Coon is a racoon/cat mix though the genetics of this is impossible.

Maine Coon Rex (Maine Rex/Maine Wave)


Attractive rex-furred Maine Coon variant, possibly accidental introduction of Cornish/German Rex gene earlier in breeding program or a natural mutation. Is a Maine Coon in all respects except coat texture. Kittens with fine, frizzy fur appeared in pedigree litters in UK during 1980s, but interest was limited. Its existence displeased UK breeders who saw it as a genetic 'problem' or impurity to be weeded out rather than a breed opportunity. Some breeders neutered all their rexes and rex gene carriers, risking loosing this variety before others could work with it. The cats have been popular at cat shows.

Maine Trick Cat

Alternative Name

See Maine Coon

Maine Snow Leopard


Reputedly a naturally occurring spotted breed without any outcrossing to wildcat species.


Alternative Name

The Malayan is simply a Burmese in all the Burmese solid colors except sable (and chocolate in Britain).

Malayan Persian

Archaic Name 

Old name for Himalayans/Colourpoint Persians given to a white Persian x Siamese cross in America in 1924. The name reflected the Siamese/Oriental origin of the new variety. In 1957, Himalayans were recognised in America; in 1955 Colourpoint Longhairs were recognised in the UK. The name Malayan Persian was dropped in the US and "Himalayan" (the name of the colourpoint pattern as found in rabbits) adopted instead.

Malay Cat

Archaic Breed

Bobtail cats from Malaysian peninsula, very similar to Japanese Bobtail. Reported in 1881, but not adopted as a formal breed.
See Piawaian Kucing Malaysia for Malaysia's home-grown cat breed

Malaysia Cat

Current, Alternative Name

See: Kucing Malaysia



According to a US judge in Kuala Lumpur, a breed being developed in Malaysia (1996). Looks like a small tiger with mackerel striping and athletic, moderate, Abyssinian-like type.


Archaic Name 

 See Russian Blue



From New Zealand, Abyssinian/Burmese crosses, similar to Asian Shorthair in Europe. They are full-colour equivalents of the Burmese i.e. same colour range, but no contrast between body color and points.

Mandalan Jaguar


Jaguarundi x domestic hybrid. It is not yet known whether viable offspring will result from this mating (the Jaguarundi stud has yet to become mature). The aim is a domestic cat with a conformation like the jaguarundi.


Alternative Name

See Oriental Longhair, Javanese (UK).



Colour variant of Ceylon - sandy-golden with black or dark markings.



Distinguished by long hindlegs and no tail. Expression of taillessness varies from rumpies (tailless), bumpies/rumpy-risers (vestigial tail), stumpies (short tail) and longies. Gene is semi-lethal (kittens inheriting 2 copies of gene die before birth) and linked to other abnormalities e.g. high incidence of spina-bifida. In spite of harmful effects, the gene was perpetuated naturally because the cats were an island population isolated from natural outcrosses.

Manxamese (Colorpoint Manx)


 See Si­Manx



Chinchilla/Tipped Shorthair x Manx; Manx in tipped, shaded and smoke colours.



Manx x Munchkin, tailless Munchkin.

Manx Rex


Early name for Tasman Manx. Rex-coated Manxes appeared spontaneously in Australia and New Zealand. The coat is relatively dense and frizzled with visible guard hairs. All traced their ancestry to a single Persian stud that had European ancestry. They may be related to the Bohemia Rex.

Marbled Mist


 Marbled version of the Australian Mist, modified tabby pattern on a misty ticked background color.
See Australian Mist.


Archaic Name

 Alternative name for California Rex



 Derived from domestic x Sandcat crosses with the aim of producing a Sandcat-looking domestic breed with large wide-set ears and small chin.

Masked Silver


 Reported in 1900 and 1947 as a variety of Persian cat resembling the Siamese. Pale silver body with black mask or face, black feet and legs and deep golden or copper eyes. Some authors consider it to be an early Colourpoint Persian (with "wrong" eye colour), other consider it a form of shaded silver Persian.


Archaic Name

Mau was also the old name for Oriental Spotted Tabby in the UK.
See Egyptian Mau.



A cross between Egyptian Mau and Bengal



NOT related to the wild meerkat (a mongoose). It derives from the Jaguarundi Curl and has heavy boning, curled or straight ears usually with tufts, short legs, short tails and polydactyl feet (the Jaguarundi Curl is long-tailed). The initial kittens where colourpoints and frequently sat upright with their front feet in the air, hence the breed's name. Colors are eumelanistic colours, snows and minks in both ticked or spotted patterns. Solid colours can occur. White markings are not accepted. Meerkats and Jaguarundi Curls may be bred together or bred to cats in the Highland Lynx group.

Mei Toi


Advertised as genetically miniature cat, currently mature cats are a similar size to Singapuras. Other information was suggestive of Munchkins. Current advertising refers to 'Mei Toi Munchkins'.

Mekong Bobtail


Slender but muscular medium rectangular body and straight back. Slender medium-length legs, oval paws. Legs slender. Tail has at least 3 vertebrae, is no longer than one quarter body length and has kinks or curves starting at the base. Head has gently rounded contours and slightly flatted top. Nose break below eye level. Strong chin and jaw, fine oval muzzle with whisker break. Large high-set ears, broad at base, slightly rounded tips, oriented slightly outwards. Large oval eyes, not slanted, vivid blue. Short, glossy coat, minimal undercoat. Colourpointed (any colour) without white. It appears to have formerly been known as the Thai Bobtail.



Recognised 1978 in Mexico as Mexican Domestic Cat and one of the first natural breeds; descended from cats introduced by Spanish conquistadors and have remained pure ever since. Shorthaired and semi-longhaired varieties. Typical working cats and hunters, athletic, medium build (light but powerful). Long, well-boned, muscular limbs. Large, strong jaws. Fur thick and protects against temperature. White (blue/orange/odd eyed forms), black, blue, red, cream, classic/mackerel tabby, silver tabby, cameo tabby, cameo, chinchilla, black smoke, tortie and dilute tortie, bicolour i.e. colours and patterns that do not show Siamese influence.

Mexican Hairless


Sphynx is similar recent mutation. The Mexican Hairless was cobbier and grew a ridge of fur along the back in winter. There was reputedly a pair in Europe, but whether these were genuine Mexican Hairless or a new mutation was unproven. In 2006, it was reported that further examples of the Mexican Hairless had been found, but whether it is the same mutation has yet to be confirmed.

Miniature Persian

Alternative Name

Diminutive Persian caused by dominant gene mutation. Appeared in a single Persian breed line in mid-late 1990s and its genetics were under investigation at the time (information supplied by breeder in 1996). See Toy Persian and Teacup Persian.

Mini breeds


Genes for miniature cats appeared relatively recently in America (possibly in Japan). These are bred in their own right e.g. Toy Persians and are also used as outcrosses to found miniature versions of existing breeds. Crossbreeds with short-legged cats or miniature cats are sometimes given the "Mini-" prefix.



Apparently a diminutive colorpoint longhair (historical, not related to trademarked breed). Recent interest in miniature breeds has led to the breeding of Mini-Himalayans and Persians.



Miniature version of American Keuda. See: American Kueda.



"Miniature" Siamese. Not short-legged, but proportional. Spontaneous mutation in regular Siamese litter, not fully investigated and will only be perpetuated if no health issues develop. Body has normal proportions, but on miniature scale.



Reputedly being developed by breeder of miniature Mei Toi cats.

Mini Persian/Himalayan


A selective breeding program in New York in the mid 1980's used undersized cats to progressively downsize the Persian/Himalayan breed and bypassed the normal breed registration process by trade-marking the breed. (The trademark on the word "Mini" may prove impossible to enforce as it is a standard prefix in the English language and has been used to describe miniature Persians and Himalayans in the past) Mature weights: females 6-8 lbs, males 8-10 lbs. See also Pixie- and Teacup-Persians/Himalayans.



A Californian line of Teacup and Miniature Persians and Exotics. Not an achondroplastic-type mutation (i.e. not short-legged), but claim to be Primordial dwarves resulting in body have normal proportions, but on miniature scale



Aline of Teacup and Miniature Persians and Exotics that combine the miniature trait with the short-legged trait. Carry both the short-legged mutation and Primordial-type dwarfism, they are proportionately small with shortened legs

Mink Longhair, Mink Persian

Experimental or Crossbreed

Persian Longhairs in the Tonkinese (mink) colour series; the points are slightly darker than body. These have been bred experimentally in different countries under a variety of names and for many years. They are attractive cats, but have yet to attract a serious following or achieve formal recognition. A shorthaired version (Mink Exotic) is equally possible. See also: Burmalayan, Himbur, Iranese, Layanese, Silkanese, Tibetane, Tonkalayan.

Mink Rex

Experimental or Crossbreed

Rex breed with Tonkinese colouration.



Breed developed by crossing Munchkins with American Burmese and adding Sphynx (for hairlessness) and Devon Rex (for texture of "fur points"). It is neither a short-legged Sphynx nor a hairless Munchkin, but is cobby, short-legged, with a downy/fuzzy body and plusher fur on the face, limbs and tail.



Previously known as the Napoeon Cat. Originated from Munchkin X Persian and Munchkin x Exotic Shorthair crosses combining the Persian/Exotic looks with short legs. a long-furred, cobby-bodied cat with short leg. A "pure" Minuet is 75% Persian/Exotic and 25% Munchkin. Because the short-leggedness is a dominant gene, long-legged Minuets occur as variants.



There is no such thing as a Minx breed. Sometimes this term has been used for dwarfed, tailless cats (Miniature Manx type)

Miracle (Miracle Ragdoll)


'Upgraded' IRCA Ragdoll, long or shorthair, all Ragdoll patterns (Mitted, Colorpointed, Bi-colored) plus solid colors, silvers, smokes, pointed, calicos, bi­colors, tabbies and torties color.



Developed 2019 in NZ by Michelle Smallridge . Intended to be the ultimate companion cat with low prey drive and happy to live indoors, and to breed the health issues out of the Persian. A mix of a Ragdoll, Birman, Persian, British shorthair, and domestic cats with the desired qualities. Aqua eyes and a variety of colours, including colourpoint and mink, plus charcoal (a variation of tabby) from the Bengal. Only registered with Rare Cat Breeds of Australia (a paper registry).

Missouri Rex


A recessive gene Rex which occurred in Missouri, early 1990s. Shorthaired cat with smooth, wavy fur and long 'loopy whiskers' (not brittle ones). Semi-cobby body and large, low-set ears. By the late 1990s there were only three Missouri Rex in existence (more may be bred from these) due to financial mismanagement of the breed which led to most being destroyed. Missouri Rex have been test-bred to Devon and Cornish producing only straight-haired kittens (i.e. it is a different mutation from either of these).



Accidental cross of Australian Mist and Maine Coon. The long hair is recessive and does not appear in the kittens.



Non-pedigree cat, also referred to as mixed-breed, random-bred, Domestic Longhair, Domestic Shorthair, alley-cat etc. Body type, fur length, color and disposition variable. Moggies are usually robust, healthy cats due to genetic diversity.

Mohave Bob


Desert Lynx x Selkirk Rex. Mohave Bobs are rex-coated Desert Lynx in both longhair and shorthair varieties. Large and muscular with longer hind legs and often tufted ears and toes. The tail varies from absent (as in Manx cats) to half-way to the ground; a short or bobtail is preferred. Coat patterns are tawny (ticked), leopard (spotted) and clouded leopard (a marbled pattern) in all colours except tortoiseshells or bicolours. Silvers, sepias, minks and snows (colourpoints) are accepted. Solid colours and tabbies also occur.

Mohrenkopf (Moor-headed cat, Black-headed cat)

Alternative name?

Described by Bungartz (1896) as a white shorthair with black, grey, blue or yellow tail and head with no white hairs among the markings except those regularly showing up on the head. Depicted as having a wholly black head, but probably a Turkish Van.

Mojave Spotted


Polydactyl x Bengal cross, producing a spotted cat in Bengal pattern but with extra toes. Formerly called Hemingway Spotted as polydactyl cats are often known in the USA as Hemingway cats. Now called Mojave Spotted as the polydactyl cats used are from the Mojave Desert area

Mokave Jag Cat


Very large and heavily-boned wild-looking cat with intelligent, laid-back temperament. The colouring and markings should resemble a Jaguar while the bobtails and ear-tufts resemble a Lynx. The desired weight is between 12 to 30 lbs, with 20 lbs being average. Bred from 2000 as family pets with temperament in mind. Derived from Desert Lynx, Highland Lynx, Jungle Cat and Asian Leopard Cat hybrids. Large, broad wedge-shaped head with high cheekbones and white squarish, blunt muzzle with prominent whisker pads, a broad flat nose with dark nose-leather. The chin should be strong and the throat should be white. Large wide-set eyes ranging from green to gold; blue eyes in seal-tabby point cats ("snows"). Aqua and brown shades are permissible. There should be white spectacles. Forward facing moderate-size ears with a slight inward turn and long lynx -like tipping ("twist tufts"), ear furnishings and ocelli (white marking) on the backs. As well as domestic cat vocalisation, Mokave Jag Cats will make a range of wildcat sounds as well.
The body is large, well balanced and heavily muscled with a deep chest. The belly should be pale or white with spotted markings. The legs are sturdy and thick, hindlegs longer than forelegs, with barred and spotted markings and large paws. Polydactyly not allowed. The tail is long, thick and spotted/ringed with a blunt black tip. Bobtails are allowed due to the cat's ancestry, but Manx-type tailless or nearly tailless cats aren't allowed. The fur is soft, plush and dense; longhairs or coarse-haired cats are not acceptable. Colours are blue, golden-brown, chocolate, cinnamon, ebony, red and snow (colourpoint) with clear dark spots (either random/horizonatally aligned or arranged in rosettes) or tri-colour marbled or chained markings reminiscent of a Clouded Leopard. Domestic-style tabby markings are not accepted. There should be high contrast between background and marking colour. Slight ticking is permitted due to the cat's ancestry.

Moon Cat,
Moonstone Cat

Archaic Name

Alternative name for the Sphynx or Canadian Hairless.

Mountain Bobs


Originated from Siamese x Manx cats (Si-Manxes). Medium to large size and conformation and short or long-haired. Females 8-12 pounds, males 12-16 pounds. Head is wide and round with full cheekbones, well developed muzzle, strong chin and prominent whisker pads. Ears are medium to large, wide set, wide base, rounded tip, often tufted. Large oval to slightly almond shaped eyes, wide-set and slightly slanted. Broad chest, sturdy legs, large paws and can be polydactyl, often tufted between toes. Preferred tail is stumpy or rumpy. Occurs in all non-colorpoint color and patterns including sepias and minks. The colorpoint version (which may also have white markings) is called the Owyhee Bob.



Munchkin x Siamese (described as having a 'wedge' head and oriental shape i.e. a short-legged Siamese rather than colorpoint Munchkin)


Experimental or proposed

Munchkin x Pixie-Bob. Short-legged breed with bobtail and preferably polydactyl. The ultimate aim appears to be a bobtailed polydactyl Munchkin with folded-ears.



Miniature or short-legged Siamese, bred for a while in South Carolina



Breed with short legs akin to a dachshund dog and ferretlike gait. The name Louisiana Creole Cat was an alternative suggestion when the breed was being named. Occurs in shorthaired and longhaired varieties. Unlike short-legged dogs, Munchkin is apparently supposedly free of back problems, however it may be prone to chest/ribcage problems.
See also Kangaroo Cat.

Munchkin Polydactyl


Munchkin x polydactyl - basically a short-legged cat with extra toes (no breed name available but possibly associated with Munch-Bob development).



Munchkin x Lykoi - a short-legged cat with the sparse fur pattern and roan colour of the Lykoi. Bred in Russia.



Manx x Sphynx. Attempts to breed hairless tailless cat have not been generally welcomed.

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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