Aby-a-Day – April 4: Feline Diversity

One of the best things about going to cat shows is you get to see a lot of different breeds. The show in Stamford was especially good; of the 40 breeds recognised by the CFA, 27 were present at the show we attended.

stamford-pettyCHfinalE_4193

The first breeds to be shown in the 1800’s in the UK were the Persian, the Siamese, and the Abyssinian. All the breeds have changed over the years, but two have changed significantly.

stamford-angerSiameseE_3895

Take the Siamese, for example. When I was a kid, they were shaped more like Abys! Now, they’re very slender, sleek cats with dainty, refined features.

stamford-angerSiameseE_3897

stamford-SiameseE_4000

Compare these guys to Pyewacket in Bell, Book and Candle and you’ll see what I mean!

stamford-CpSHE_4010

Technically, this guy isn’t a “Siamese,” but a Colorpoint Shorthair.

stamford-CpSHE_4002

All that means, really, is that he is NOT one of the Original Four point colours (Seal, Blue, Chocolate or Lilac) but is either Red-, Cream-, Tabby-, Tortie- or Torbie-pointed.

stamford-CpSHE_4008

A rose by any other name…I think the CFA is the only breed registry that still separates Siamese this way.

stamford-CRexE_4171

The Cornish Rexes have become almost as elongated as the Siamese.

stamford-CrexE_4043

stamford-CrexE_4039

Compare this little girl’s head to the Oriental Shorthair in the background.

stamford-CrexE_4042

I am utterly fascinated with the rex gene. It’s a different gene in each of the Rex breeds (Cornish, Devon and Selkirk) and they aren’t related at all. Three separate curly-haired genes!

stamford-angerDrexE_3863

stamford-currleCrexE_4036

Aren’t they cute?

stamford-pettyCHfinalE_4192

At the other end of the feline spectrum we have the Persians.

stamford-PersianE_4116

Look how flat Persians’ faces are!

stamford-HimyE_3968

And then, of course, the Siamese and the Persian were bred together to create the Himalayan which was once its own breed but which is now a colour class of the Persian breed. There’s little left of the Siamese side of the family besides the points nowadays.

stamford-BurmeseE_3996

stamford-angerBurmeseE_3920

Then there’s the Burmese, which seems to be well on its way to becoming almost as round as the Persian.

stamford-angerBurmeseE_3913

These are very stout, very round, very muscular, solid cats.

stamford-angerBurmeseE_3911

It’s hard to believe they originated from the same part of the world as the Siamese!

stamford-angerRussianE_3929

Russian Blues are a very moderate breed. They’re neither very long nor very round. They’re just cat-shaped.

stamford-angerRussianE_3928

They’re a little more stocky than the Abys, though.

stamford-angerRussianE_3926

That’s probably due to the fact that they originated in Eurasia while Abys originate from either Africa or Southeast Asia, depending on which story you believe.

stamford-angerRussianE_3922

Climate plays a big role in how animals’ bodies evolve. Just look at the difference between the Arctic Fox and the Desert Fennec!

stamford-jakeE_3972

stamford-jakeE_3977

stamford-jakeE_4071

A rare shot of Jacoby in the traditional “Show Cat Stretch.”

stamford-angerSphinxE_3900

If you want to see what a cat really looks like, though, you have to look at the Sphynx.

stamford-angerSphinxE_3905

There’s no fur to hide behind on a Sphynx. What you see is what you get.

stamford-angerSphinxE_3906

They are wonderful cats to study if you want to learn cat anatomy.

stamford-angerSphinxE_3907

This little blue and white girl is still just a kitten!

stamford-angerSphinxE_4177

Some people think that Sphynxes are kind of…well, creepy. I think they’re beautiful.