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Cat lovers who are not actively involved in the cat fancy, often are confused about identifying terms of cats, such as purebred (pedigreed), DSH, and tabby. Hardly a day passes that I don't receive at least one email with an attached photo, asking me to help identify the "breed" of cat. The correspondent is often disappointed when my reply is, "Your cat is a beautiful example of a tuxedo DSH," or "What a lovely dilute calico domestic shorthair cat." A couple of days ago I received another photo and question about the breed of the cat, so I figured it was high time to run this article again.

Because there seems to be such a general fixation on breeds, the purpose of this article is to clarify the difference in semantics, so that the uninitiated cat lover will have a better understanding of these terms. Be sure to read the article, because tomorrow there will be a test on it. :) Jennifur aka Jenny (shown here), a lovely little stray girl who seems to have attached herself to me, is a dilute calico, or perhaps a dilute tortie with white. Under any name, she's a sweet, talkative young lady, full of "tortitude." and one of my New Year's resolutions is to fully assimilate her into our home.
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy

Comments

January 21, 2008 at 4:46 am
(1) karyn says:

so u could tell my what breed my little prince is if i showed u a picture? i have never seen a cat like him, his coat is completely white, but he has three semi large black spots on the top of his head that resemble the holes in a bowling ball, and his tail is black, it looks like someone just glued it on! his coat is medium long i would say, and very thick and so very soft. his eyes have three different shades in them on from outsid in it goes yellow, very pale green and then a darker green/medium blue, he is such a lover and i wish i knew what he was, i know he is a mutt i got him for free when i saw a sign stating “free kittens” and he was the one that stood out, the rest were mainly black. i would like to know what breeds are in him though let me know if u can help

July 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm
(2) syd says:

could you tell me what breed my cat is? she is red and is striped and hase white paws and white chin that stretched down her belly, and she is lean.

January 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm
(3) modchen says:

jesus, people, Google is your friend. Look it up.

January 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm
(4) Franny Syufy says:

modchen: I suppose they could resort to Google, but guess what the top 2 links are to? All they have to do is read my article, but that’s apparently beyond some visitors. :(

January 16, 2009 at 12:13 am
(5) kate says:

I love your Jenny! Such a pretty little lady! I hope Jaspurr gets over himself soon and she gets to play with the whole family. If anyone can get him to play nice, its you.

February 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm
(6) Lindy says:

I was also wondering if you could help me identify what breeds are in my beautiful China. I believe she is part Maine Coon. She is Orangish grey with black to dark orange stripes/spots all over, except her fron is white. Her mouth, nose, & a bit between the eyes. Her stripes/spots look almost like a bengals or some wild cats spots, they are not normal tabby stripes. Her eyes are the most intriguing. They are almost like snake eyes! Orangeish with green around the pupil. I have never seen cats eyes as unique as hers, and I lived on a farm with dozens & dozens of cats all their own unique shapes & colors. I have never seen one like her! She is so affectionate, she never scratches and plays so well with my 14 month old! Never has once scratched her, she just runs away. Even when backed into a corner! She’s my little “China Kitty”. I was just hoping for some clarification. I know she is a DSH, but a mix of what I was wondering. :) Thank you much Franny!

March 6, 2009 at 3:52 am
(7) Barbie Ann says:

I believe in you Franny! My cat made a home for herself in my backyard, underneath a bush. She is solid white, medium short hair,pink nose,and gold eyes. She’s beautiful!!! She’s not a very large cat,for I thought she was a baby herself.Till I saw her belly growing. She grabbed the opportunity when I left the garage door open to come in and have her 4 precious kittens.

March 6, 2009 at 4:14 am
(8) Barbara Ann says:

Ever since I was a child I was never to fond of cats. Till “Angel” came into my life or backyard.She won’t leave.She found her way into my house. I let her out and she keeps coming back. She found a comfortable spot in my home and that’s where she gave birth to her litter.Her hair is not short or long but she’s a solid white color with gold eyes and a pink nose.Any idea what breed?

March 6, 2009 at 4:14 am
(9) Barbara Ann says:

Ever since I was a child I was never to fond of cats. Till “Angel” came into my life or backyard.She won’t leave.She found her way into my house. I let her out and she keeps coming back. She found a comfortable spot in my home and that’s where she gave birth to her litter.Her hair is not short or long but she’s a solid white color with gold eyes and a pink nose.Any idea what breed?

July 22, 2009 at 3:37 pm
(10) PlanetGeek says:

Gracious, people – did you not even READ the article? The entire purpose of it was to tell you that the vast majority of domestic cats are various breeds intermixing for such a long time that “domestic” is the best description. Sure she could tell you what your cat looks like, but you have eyes – check yourself.

December 29, 2009 at 2:10 am
(11) Kyle says:

My cat is Black but with lighter shades of brown and a little silver. He has long whiskers at a young age and long hairs coming from his ears. He’s a long hair cat, and either because of his kitten antics or his breed he is very aggressive and loves to bite

February 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm
(12) Teresa says:

i have the same cat =]

February 16, 2010 at 9:30 pm
(13) Paris says:

What breed is my cat? It is black with a white belly and toes. Please answer, maybe you can also give me a picture of what you think it is.

February 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm
(14) Franny Syufy says:

Oh brother! Paris, did you read the article at all?

August 19, 2010 at 11:33 am
(15) Keychain says:

my mother got me a kitten yesterday. we got him everything he needs but, im just a bit confused on his breed. he is all black with big, beautiful, baby blue eyes. his fur is very fluffy and about medium in length. thank you very much. :)

November 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(16) tirana says:

i was wondering what breed my cat is. i think she’s an american shorthair, but im not sure. could you help me?

June 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm
(17) Jillian says:

My cat is white with black spots. and in the black spots are white hairs.

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