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).




Nanus Rex


Originated from Munchkin X Selkirk Rex crosses. "Nanus" means "dwarf". Also known as Lambkin.

Napolean Cat

Alternative Name

Now called Minuet. Originated from Munchkin X Persian and Munchkin x Exotic Shorthair crosses; a long-furred, cobby-bodied cat with short legs See: Minuet

Native American Rex

Alternative Name

A name considered for the LaPerm.



Longhaired equivalent of the Russian Blue, developed from non-pedigree semi-longhairs which resembled Russians; later crossed with Russian Blues. Currently only seen in blue, but there is possibility of expanding color range using Russian Blacks/Russian Whites from Europe or Australia.


Alternative Name

 (Aus/NZ) Early name for Aus/NZ breed callend Tibetan (not to be confused with European Tibetan breed) - mitted colourpoint polydactyl of Persian/Exotic type cat. Original names mooted were Nepalese and Nepalayan.


Alternative Name

 (Aus/NZ) Early name for Aus/NZ breed callend Tibetan (not to be confused with European Tibetan breed) - mitted colourpoint polydactyl of Persian/Exotic type cat. Original names mooted were Nepalese and Nepalayan.


Local Variety

Observed in Nepal: One type is similar to a Bengal, big with elegant elongated legs and pointed faces. Colors range from sandy brown to gray always with spots and stripes. The other type resembles the Egyptian Mau with silvery (often almost lavender) coloring with small spots or light stripes. Eye colors are either light green or yellow.

Neva Masquerade


Colorpointed version of Russia's native semi-longhair, the Siberian. colorpoint longhaired cats occur naturally in Russia and have been crossed with Siberians outside of Russia (not all registries agree that it is a valid form of Siberian).

New Zealand Shorthair

Current, Alternative Name

Now being called the Antipodean due to Australian involvement. See Antipodean.

Nile Cat

Alternative Name

Early name (1990) for the Chausie breed of cat.

Nile Valley Egyptian


Shorthair breed being developed from native Egyptian feral cats. There is also a semi-longhair form.

Nile Valley Longhair


Semi-longhair breed being developed from native Egyptian feral cats (longhaired form of Nile Valley Egyptian).



Extinct Thai breed (oriental type breed) said to have black fur, teeth, eyes, claws, and tongue (the Chow dog breed has an almost-black tongue). In humans, a medical condition called porphyria causes teeth and sometimes nails to stain red; a similar condition in cats could cause dark red (almost black) staining of teeth and claws. Porphyria also causes progressive dementia, may cause photosensitivity ("allergy to bright light") and is not a desirable breed trait. Note: It turns out that "Black Pearl" is the name given to very dark grey/indigo Korats!

Non-Pointed Himalayan

Alternative Name

Canadian term used to differentiate solid color longhairs of Himalayan parentage from other solid colour Persians.

Norwegian Forest Cat (Norsk Skaukatt/ Skogkatt)


Large cat with long silky fur and thick undercoat. Large, rugged longhair superficially similar to Maine Coon and Siberian (differences in shape and fur texture). Powerfully built with longer hind legs, long hair, full ruff, tufted ears and bushy tail. Long glossy outer coat and thick undercoat.

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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