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This cat breed directory is an exploration of the currently accepted cat breeds of North America. Three areas will be covered in each profile: history, personality, and conformation.

Various characteristics are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 means the breed exhibits the least amount of this characteristic; 10 means the breed exhibits the most of this characteristic). These characteristics can vary from cat to cat and from bloodline to bloodline, but the rating serves as a general guide to help you get an overall picture of the breed and determine whether this breed is right for you. Keep in mind that these are overall ratings and that an individual member of a breed may not follow true to form. Certain bloodlines may differ, and geographical location also can play a part in the overall characteristics, since certain traits tend to be passed around a given area.

Characteristic Ratings:

Activity Level
In the chart, activity level relates to the amount of hustle and bustle to which the cat is prone. A breed with a rating of 10 is likely to be animated, busy, and forever underfoot, whereas a breed with a rating of 1 tends to be relaxed and sedentary.

Playfulness relates to the cat’s desire to play with its human companions and with other animals. Most cats exhibit some playfulness, but some breeds have a greater need for this kind of contact with their owners. A breed with a high rating needs more play time than a breed with a low rating.

Need for Attention
Need for attention describes the breed’s overall need for human interaction. Some breeds seem to get by quite well if left alone for periods of time, and rate low in this characteristic, whereas others pine if left alone too much, earning a high rating.

Affection Toward the Owner
The rating in the affection toward the owner category tells you if this breed tends to be loving and devoted or aloof. A high rating indicates a highly affectionate breed.

Vocality indicates the amount of vocalizing the breed is likely to do. Some breeds, such as the Siamese, tend to keep up a running dialogue with their owners, earning a high rating. Others, such as the Chartreux, vocalize very little, earning a low rating for this characteristic.

Docility indicates how amenable the breed is to handling. A high rating indicates a breed that tends not to object to handling and routine care. Keep in mind, however, that any cat will defend itself if it feels threatened. Don̢‰t count on a high rating to protect you if you handle a cat roughly.

Intelligence relates to, of course, the general amount of "smarts" the breed tends to exhibit. A high rating indicates high intelligence.

Independence relates to the breed’s desire for human contact. A breed with a high rating can take humans or leave them; a breed with a low rating desires a high level of connection with humans.

Healthiness and Hardiness
Healthiness and hardiness indicates the breed’s overall vigor, strength, and vitality. A high rating indicates a breed with few inherent weaknesses.

Need for Grooming
Need for grooming is self-explanatory; a high rating means that you’ll spend a lot of quality time grooming your feline buddy.

Compatibility with Children
Compatibility with children indicates how well the breed tolerates children’s sometimes rambunctious antics; a high rating means that this breed would be a good choice for a household with children.

Compatibility With Other Pets
Likewise, compatibility with other pets indicates how well the breed gets along with other animals. A high rating means that the breed should integrate well into a household with existing pets.

Keep in mind that cats require effort to become the best companions they can be. For example, just because a cat breed has an affection rating of 9, it doesn’t mean that a member of that breed will give you its devotion if you ignore or abuse it. Cats will meet you halfway if you give them a chance, but you must earn their loyalty and trust in order to have the closest relationship possible.

Use the Cat Breed Selector to find the perfect feline friend for you, based on the criteria above.

Picture(s): DCI |


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