How to Tell What Breed Your Cat Is

Knowing your cat’s breed unlocks secrets to its temperament, needs, aversions, and risks for certain illnesses. While every cat has unique characteristics, it is still worthwhile to discover the wonders of their lineage and identity. Most purebreds or pedigree cats are registered with a recognized cat council. If you purchased a purebred, you should have records to show its breed.

If you bought a cat with no papers, you may have a mixed breed. In some cases, a cat aficionado may find a purebred without papers from the shelter, pet store, or unregistered breeder. Some crossbreeds are now recognized as breeds of their own like the Savannah and Chausie.

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Pay to know the breed

If you want to take the guesswork out of discovering your cat’s breed, consider paying for genetic or DNA tests for cats. You can either purchase at-home cat DNA tests or check with a local veterinarian or a veterinary genetics lab near you. These tests are at least 90% accurate and cost around $120. Do note that not all over-the-counter tests can determine a cat’s breed.


It can be exciting to discover your cat’s breed. You can often tell a cat’s breed by comparing its appearance with other cats of the same breed. Here are some descriptions that can help you determine what breed your cat is:

Check your cat’s coat length, color, patterns, and points in color. Most domestic cats in the United States are short-haired and these have mixed roots. Domestic long-haired cats are often large in size. Cats with double-coated fur in different patterns and colors are domestic medium hair cats. Hairless cats like the Sphynx are considered pedigrees.

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Many cat breeds come in variations of white, black, brown, orange, and grey. Your cat may also have stripes, marbled, or spotted markings. Some have white markings or dark-colored tail or ears.

Official cat associations set the standard for pedigreed cats judging by their body size, shape, proportion, facial features, jaw, neck, paws, legs, and tail. If you have a heavyweight cat, check out these huge cat breeds. Finally, use your cat’s personality to pinpoint its breed. You may have a playful and well-socialized cat, a talkative feline buddy, or one that is rather reserved.

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Common domestic cat breeds

Pointed cats have a light-colored body with a dark-colored tail, ears, and face. In contrast, tuxedo cats are often black or smoky with distinctive white paws, belly, face, and chest. A calico cat is predominantly white. Tabby cats often feature a distinct M-shaped pattern on their forehead as well as marbled, spotted, or striped markings.

Tortoiseshell cats are characterized by red and black coat diluted with pale grays or brown. Torbie cats feature the same colors of the lucky tortoiseshell but with the markings of a tabby.

A spotted cat may be a Bengal. A short-haired pointed cat can be a Siamese or a Snowshoe. A long-haired pointed lap cat may be a playful Ragdoll. Other favorite long-haired cats are the Maine Coon and the flat-faced Persian.

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Cristina Vulpe is a licensed veterinarian who has been a cat owner since she was 12. She is passionate about giving useful advice to pet owners across the world. Her favorite topics range from pathology and novel therapies to infectious diseases and animal welfare. Her work has been featured in many online publications from The Pet Friendly House to Alpha Paw, Animal Wellness Magazine, and Currently, she is a Pet Content Specialist for IkoBrands.

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