As far back as history can remember, longhaired cats have had a place in human’s hearts and home.
From their time as Egyptian pets to domestic longhairs, these furry friends have had quite a history. For many the preferred color for these breeds of feline is gray, also viewed as blue.
The longhair’s history stems primarily from two main branches: the pretty Persian, and the handsome Turkish Angoras.
While the two breeds have different histories, their histories share much in the way of selective breeding and established pedigree.
We’ve taken the time to find the 9 most fascinating facts about our gray friends.
1) The Pretties Persian
The pretty Persian began its illustrious past when they were first brought from modern day Iran to Italy in 1521.
Since then, they’ve been a well loved favorite for their loving temperament and silky manes.
In fact, the Persian was featured in the very first modern day cat show at London’s Crystal Palace in 1871.”
Today, they’ve been shown to have over 80 variations of color but all retain their adorable features and affectionate temperaments.
2) Turkish Delights
The closest cousin to the Persian, the Turkish Angoras traces its lineage all the way back to the 15th-century Turkey.
Their popularity was all the rage in the 1500’s until the Persian version became more popular.
Luckily for our fine furry friends, Mom.me shares they regained in popularity when American servicemen stationed in Turkey spread the word of these sweet tempered animals (1).
Since there are three types of Angoras, the British, Persian, and Turkish, be sure to not to cause a stir by naming the naming the wrong cat!
The Turkish Angoras can be characterized by their shorter heads and silkier coats.
3) Your Domestic Longhair Is Probably A Mutant
Well, perhaps not a mutant, but at least a hybrid. Very few longhaired cats, with the exception of Persians and Turkish Angoras, are true purebred longhairs.
To date, there isn’t a formal agreement as to whether or not longhair cats stem from a single origin or through multiple mutations over time.
In fact, Messybeast.com shares that unless your gray is a true pedigree such as a Persian or Turkish Angoras, there’s a good chance he or she is a careful mix of genetics and breeding that ensured their long luscious coat (2).
4) Longhairs Even Kept the Egyptians Company
The International Cat Association (TICA) states that Egyptian hieroglyphics have shown Persian longhairs have been prized companions as far back as 1684 B.C. (3).
While of course the feline’s color can’t be determined through the chiseled stone, it’s a sure bet your domestic longhair’s ancestors shared some pets and purrs with Egyptian royalty of long ago.
5) One Coat Just Isn’t Enough
Most longhaired cats actually sport not just one, but a two-layered coat.
The one closes to their skin is made up of a shorter, softer undercoat while the one most visible is a coarser longer coat.
Its their bottom coats that provide the insulation while their topcoat provides their sleek look and waterproof protection.
6) A Happy Gray Means Less Shedding
It’s important to maintain a stress free environment for your gray as stress and uncomfortable situations could cause excess shedding.
This is stems from a cat’s natural defense mechanism that releases fur when attacked.
If she were to be bitten or grabbed at by another animal, the shedding fur would cause the attacker’s teeth or claws to miss the skin and body.
Hopefully your furry friend isn’t going to be in any alley fights soon, but the same goes for stressful situations such as domestic upsets or even a trip to the vet!
Catbegood.com shares that its well known among veterinarians that their patients tend lose a lot of hair during their visits (4).
7) It’s All About The Genes
One of the reasons for longhaired cats’ desirability, is their genetic rarity.
The longhair gene is actually recessive as opposed to its counterpart, shorthaired, which is the dominate.
This means there are far more shorthaired cats in the world as it takes two cats who both carry the longhair gene to produce a longhaired offspring.
In most cases, one parent carries the shorthaired gene, while the other may or may not carry the longhaired trait.
In both of these scenarios the result would be a shorthaired offspring, though one that may still carry the longhair as a recessive gene.
8) Keeping Up With Genetics
As an owner of a longhair, it’s important to know your breed’s specific propensities to develop genetic health problems.
Your gray is no exception as there are very specific hereditary issues which cannot be overlooked for their long term well being.
In fact, it’s important to note that all breeds carry certain genetic health problems so be wary of a breeder who says your new friend has no issues. Some of the more notable issues for grays are chediak-higashi syndrome and polycystic kidney disease in Persians, pyruvate kinase deficiency and renal amyloidosis in Somalis, and deafness in Turkish Angoras.
Do be sure to speak with your veterinarian for specifics of your particular breed of longhair or visit Vetstreet.com for more information.
9) “My Longhair Sheds Too Much!”
The surprising truth share by Petplace.com, is that all cats shed the same amount (6)! It’s simply that longer hair is more noticeable if found laying on the couch or kitchen table.
Speaking of shedding, let’s talk about proper brushing of your gray longhaired cat. We all know our longhaired friends require a bit more maintenance than their shorthaired pals, but it’s important to ensure a positive experience for your pet by using the right tools.
With longhairs, it’s recommended that a stainless steel brush with soft plastic ends be used as it provides the proper lift for your longhair’s dual coats.
For these and many other reasons, gray longhaired cats have always found a place in the hearts of their human counterparts.
Today, in addition to the prestigious Persian and Turkish Angoras, there are a a number of mixed domestic as well as purebred felines to be found.
These include the independent Norwegian Forest Cat, the affectionate Siberian, the gentle Somali, the curious American Curl, and the adventurous Maine Coon.
There’s lots more to learn about each of these breeds so stick around and learn some more with us!