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).




White Ringtail

Archaic Name

An old name for the Turkish Van cat because of their white body and striped (ringed) auburn tail.

Wild Abyssinian


From Singapore, close to the original type Abyssinian; ruddy (slatey) color, larger build, ringed tail, barred legs. It resembles the older style of Abyssinian before breeders eliminated the tabby markings; but its use of the name Abyssinian is controversial. The breed began in 1987 when Jerry Mayes of Marietta, Georgia imported additional foundation Singapuras from Singapore. As well as 2 Singapuras (Burmese expression brown ticked tabby) he found black ticked tabbies (non-Burmese expression) and red ticked tabbies. The blacked ticked tabbies were bred for a while as "Wild Abyssinians" and the red ticked cats were dubbed "Limau Kohlum" (Malay for "red cat"). Interest in these appears to have waned.

Wirehair Rex


See Dutch Rex.

Wooley (Brooklyn Wooley)


Rex-type mutation which occurred in Brooklyn, USA, 2003. Rippled coat, wiry rex hair, kittens born bald; straight-haired cats may go on to have wavy, coarse hair (LaPerm-type growth pattern, but Rex-type coat). Possible dominant gene. Some cats also blue-eyed (Ojos Azules gene). Renamed "Wooley" in 2006.

Yankee Cat

Alternative Name

See Maine Coon.

York Chocolate


Extinct c. 2004. Was developed from domestic, non-pedigree cats. It is distinguished by its semi-long soft, silky hair and chocolate coloring. It has a long lean body reflecting some Siamese ancestry, but is a large cat. In addition to solid chocolate, it comes in chocolate and white bicolor, lavender (dilute of chocolate) and lavender and white bicolor. Also known a "York."


Alternative Name 

 French term for sable Burmese

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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