Take a quick flip through a book of cat breeds or make a trip to any cat shelter and it becomes very clear that felines come in almost every imaginable color and color pattern. In truth, color does not determine breed, meaning that certain coat colors, including solid black, are common to many different pure and mixed breeds.
In the wonderful world of cats, the sleek and luxurious color black is quite common. According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, there are 22 feline breeds that feature solid black as a possible coat color characteristic. And, if we consider the frequency of solid black in mixed breed cats, the options are even greater. Therefore, determining what breed your black coated feline friend happens to be may take a bit of research.
Domestic or American Shorthairs and Longhairs
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Although the breed possibilities are numerous, a large percentage of black felines who are not mixed breeds are domestic -- or American -- shorthairs or longhairs. Shorthairs, of course, are smooth and shiny, while longhairs have coats that are thicker and fluffier. These beauties, in general, have golden colored eyes, along with black paw pads and black noses. Such domestic/American shorthairs and longhairs are common sights in shelters and shops and make fabulous pets. This breed comes in many colors, including solid black.
Another, very similar breed is the Bombay. Interestingly, the Bombay is a breed that resulted from the crossbreeding of American shorthair and Burmese cats in the 1950s. The result was a new, pure black breed that is almost panther-like in appearance. Bombays resemble solid black American shorthairs in many ways, but they are a much less common breed. Their paw pads and noses also are black, but their eye colors can range from brilliant gold to copper.
The very best way to determine what kind of breed you have is to check with a vet. Your feline pal may be an American shorthair or a Bombay or one of the other 20 possible breeds or even a mixed breed. Some checking in cat breed books or on the website of the Cat Fanciers' Association, cfa.org, also may provide guidance. The main thing to keep in mind, though, is that your sweet kitty is unique and special, whatever breed he or she happens to be!
Jeff Katz has been a professional librarian, educator, historian, writer and editor for almost 20 years. He holds a Master of Library Science degree from the University of British Columbia and a BA degree in Classical Studies from Hunter College of the City University of New York.