There's a majestic quality to a long-haired cat that's difficult to resist. If you're considering adding a fluffy little monster to your family, there are several breeds of long-haired beauties that make wonderful family pets.
A lot of mystery surrounds the origins of the Maine Coon. Whether he came to America via fleeing royalty, as one myth suggests, was the result of long-haired cats breeding with bobcats or simply from long-haired cats brought from Europe breeding with feral cats, the result is a huge, majestic fluffy cat. Maine Coons are one the largest breeds, reaching weights well over 15 pounds. In the first American cat show, held in Madison Square Garden in 1895, a Maine Coon named Cosie was named Best Cat. Recognized by his large size, tufted ears and paws and long, flowing tail, he is a hardy breed well-suited to harsher climates. He's also known for his sweet demeanor and intelligence.
According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, the Persian is the most popular breed of cat in the United States. Probably his most recognizable feature is his flat, broad face. Persians have long been considered the ultimate luxurious, lap cat. He has short legs and a long, bushy coat and tail. He's known for being laid-back and friendly, enjoying cuddles in your lap. He should be kept indoors though, and requires daily grooming to keep his coat tangle-free. He may also need a bath from time to time to prevent his coat from getting oily.
The Turkish Van is a rare breed that evolved in the Lake Van area of Turkey. He has a thick, bushy coat that will need brushing two or three times a week to keep him looking his best. He's mostly white, but has tabby markings on his forehead and on his long tail. He'll be at his fluffiest during the winter, and during the summer his coat will shed. He's very intelligent and friendly, but he may become attached to just one person in the home. If you have a pool, let him out to play. Unlike most breeds that avoid water at all costs, your pal will probably love the water. Turkish Van's have the curious habit of enjoying a swim, earning him the nickname of the "swimming cat."
Norwegian Forest Cat
While he looks a little like a Maine Coon, he's actually native to Scandinavia and is an entirely separate breed. He has an extremely silky, fluffy coat and brilliant green eyes. His coat is waterproof and incredibly thick, keeping him well insulated from snow and rain. He has specially evolved claws that make him capable of climbing nearly flat rock faces. His tail is incredibly long, at least as long as the length of the rest of his body. The forest cat has a long history in Norse stories, even taking the featured role of Puss in Puss in Boots. Despite his large size and thick coat, he has a delicate, sweet face. He'll be happiest if you let him play outdoors since he's extremely active.
- The Encyclopedia of The Cat; Michael Pollard
- The Cat Fanciers' Association: Maine Coon Breed Profile
- The Cat Fanciers' Association: Persian Breed Profile
- The Cat Fanciers' Association: Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Profile
- George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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