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).




Rabbit Cat

Archaic Name

Ticked British cat (term sometimes also used for fictional cabbit)See Abyssinian.


Scientific Term

According to Desmond Morris, a Danish breed similar to Siberia Cat. Danish sources wish to correct this misinformation since "Racekatte" is the Danish term for 'pure-bred cats'



Ragdoll x Scottish Fold; accidental cross in New Zealand with both long- and shorthaired versions.



Name for IRCA Ragdoll in the extended color range, removing it from the control of IRCA and allowing it to be registered with other fancies. Medium to large cat with placid temperament. Long or semi-longhair that is plush and silky. Temperament is inquisitive, but relaxed when handled.
See also: Ragdoll (IRCA)



Large, well-built cat with broad, modified wedge head, wide set ears and very thick, silky, non-matting coat and ruff. The Original (IRCA) Ragdoll and Genuine (TICA, GCCF etc) Ragdoll occur in pointed (Siamese-type colourpoints), bicolour (colourpoints + additional white markings) or mitted (colourpoints + white mitts/boottees) patterns. Three further patterns are not recognized by most societies: High Mitted (longer mitts), High White (bicolour with white predominating = Van pattern) and Mid High White (visually similar to Bicolour, some have more white). Van pattern is recognised in CFA. Though Mid-High whites are visually similar to standard bicolours, they are genetically different. Variant pointed Ragdolls with white toes/mitted Ragdolls with black toes sometimes occur. Ragdolls were once claimed to have reduced response to pain, but this is a fallacy.

Ragdoll (IRCA [International Ragdoll Cat Association])


Description as for Ragdoll, though it may be larger and is claimed to be insensitive to pain (not borne out in practice). IRCA claim that the breed came about when a white female cat was involved in a car accident and her subsequent litters were all placid and pain-proof. The umbrella term for IRCA varieties is Cherubim Cat (see notes under Cherubim). The rapid mutation of the IRCA Ragdoll into the Honeybear, Ragdoll Hobby Cat, Miracle Ragdoll ("a highly upgraded Ragdoll" formerly the "Ragdoll Tu" or "experimental Persian"), Baby Dolls/Doll Babies, Angels, Shu Schoo, Symoneese/Symonees, Manxees, Fuzz and separately named Ragdoll breeding lines known as Maximillions (silver tabbies), Minks, Bears (thicker fur, shorter ears, rounder eyes, flatter face, cobbier body) and Catenoid (blue-eyed solids - see separate entry for additional claims) indicates diverse gene interactions. Following the original breakaway from IRCA and legal wrangling, non-IRCA Ragdolls are termed Genuine Ragdoll and recognized (simply as Ragdoll) by registries while the Original Ragdoll, Honeybear, and Miracle Ragdoll were recognized only by IRCA. After Baker died, breeders re-registered IRCA Ragdolls in the extended color range as Ragamuffins, now a widely recognised breed.

Ragdoll Tu


A variety of IRCA Ragdoll developed by Ann Baker and no longer bred..

Ragdoll-Persian Crosses


Several Ragdoll-Persian crosses have been bred: Rag-a-Pers, Hima-Dolly (Himalayan/Ragdoll) and Ragalayan (Ragdoll/Himalayan). The aim is a Persian or Himalayan (doll-faced, not ultra-type) with a non-matting coat.

Ratana Kampon


A Thai cat of antiquity which has a body that is pink like the inside of a conch shell and a band around its body taht resembles an officer's sleeve band. The name means "martial gem".

Reading Brown

Archaic Name

See Havana Brown

Refrigerator Cat


A strain allegedly developed in 19th Century Pittsburgh to control vermin in refrigeration plants, but actually the product of a newspaper story. Natural selection supposedly produced a race of "Eskimo cats" which were at home in the cold, having heavily furred coats, thick tails like Persians and tufted, lynx-like ears. No such race of cats existed and this is an urban legend.



Maine Coon x Bengal plus possibly some other wild cats blood. Aim is to produce a wild-looking cat and the biggest breed of cat. At this early stage, cats have been described as resembling large Abyssinians with tufted ears or pet-quality Bengal-type cats.



See Angora German Rex, Butterfly Rex, Bohemian Rex, Brooklyn Rex, California Rex, Cornish Rex, Czech Curly Cat, Devon Rex, Dutch Rex, German Rex, Hoosier Rex, Italian Rex, LaMerm, LaPerm, Maine Coon Rex, Maine Waves, Missouri Rex, Ohio Rex, Oregon Rex, Poodle Cat, Selkirk Rex, Urals Rex, Wirehair Rex.

Ringtailed Sing-a-Ling (Trademarked)

Alternative Name

Now called American Ringtail. Ringtailed Sing-a-Lings carry their tails arched over their backs. Judges reported the trait to be rare, though it is is found in random-bred cats around the world. The tail is either arched over the rump (like a Chow dog), looped onto either flank or lies flat along the spine. See also American Ringtail

Royal Cat (of Siam)

Archaic Name

Old name for early Siamese cats.

Royal Siamese

Archaic Name

Old name for early Siamese cats. to differentiate them from Chocolate Siamese (Burmese or Tonkinese) and Golden Siamese (Tonkinese)



A rexed version of American Curl (longhair and shorthair) with the rex gene from the American Cornish Rex. Curled ears and a curled coat. Face is a modified wedge. Hindlegs longer than forelegs. The description suggests a curl-eared Cornish Rex rather than an American Curl with curly fur. According to one source, attempts to improve American Curl ear-size by out-crossing to Cornish Rexes had the side-effect of introducing the gene for rexed coat; this re-surfaced later on in an American Curl breeding line. According to a second source, it was deliberate cross to create new breed. They were named after a brand of crinkle-cut potato snacks. Lack of funds led to the end of the Ruffle breeding program.


Local Variety

Swedish breed, very similar to Siberia Cat.

Russian Angora

Local Variety

Like Turkish Angora, can have green eyes.
See also Russian Longhair, Siberian.

Russian Black


 Black version of Russian Blue, bred in Australia.

Russian Blue


Intermediate conformation shorthair with thick, silky, silvery-blue double coat. Originally prized for its pelt, now prized in its own right. May have originated in Archangel, a White Sea port near Finland/Russia border) and once known as Archangel Cat. Due to shortage of pure-bred Russian Blues, British breeders crossed it with Siamese cats, but the original conformation has since been largely restored. See also Archangel, Maltese Blue, Nebelung, Russian Shorthair, Spanish Blue.

Russian Blue Longhair

Alternative Name

See Nebelung

Russian Colourpoint


 Some European lines of Russian Blue carry the gene for colourpoint as a result of outcrossing to save the breed following the Second World War. Russian Colourpoints are identical in all ways to the Russian Blue except for the Blue Colourpoint pattern. Colourpointed cats of Russian type occur naturally in their homeland.

Russian Longhair (1)

Alternative Name

Longhaired cat of either Russian or Siberian type. It was known in the 19th century and described as distinct from the Persian or Turkish Angora, having a larger body with shorter legs, a wooly coat with coarse hairs among it, a large mane and short thickly furred tail. In Victorian times, it was extensively crossed with the Persian and the Angora and was lost as a distinct type. See also Nebelung, Russian Angora, Siberian.

Russian Longhair (2)

Archaic Name

Archaic name for Turkish Angoras and Turkish Van cats.

Russian Peach (Peach Russian)

Experimental, Variant

A color variant of the Russian Shorthair, appeared in USA as variant of Russian Blue. Possibly genetically cream (dilute of red) or analogous to the lilac variants found among Korats (another blue-coated breed).

Russian Red


Another reported color variant of the Russian Shorthair.

Russian Shorthair


The Russian Shorthair group comprises cats of Russian Blue type but all colours: Black, Blue, White, Red, Brown Tabby, Blue Tabby etc. The original Russian-type Blue imported into the UK was said to be a blue and white bi-color called "Kola". At present, these other colours are regarded as separate breeds to the Russian Blue. Russian Peach appeared in the USA while Russian Colourpoint has appeared in the UK. All occur naturally in Russia.

Russian White


Green-eyed white version of Russian Blue, bred in Australia and in Europe. There is now a Russian White at stud in the USA.

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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