9 Cat Breeds from Asia with Incredible Histories - Cat Breeds
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9 Cat Breeds from Asia with Incredible Histories.
Unlike dog breeds, whose origins can often be traced back to specific locales through detailed breeding records, cats are shrouded in some mystery. Fitting, as felines are known for being more discreet than canines. In any case, expert breeders and organizations like The Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association have done some digging to determine the origins of cat breeds around the world.
Here, we’re looking at cat breeds from Asia. All of the felines on our list either got their start in Asia or have existed on that continent for so long that we don’t know how or when they first emerged. In many Asian cultures, cats are seen as good luck! Whether you decide to adopt one of these breeds or opt for a waving cat tchotchke (maneki neko in Japanese), we hope you enjoy these kitties.
1. Birman. Birman cats hail from what was once Burma and is now known as Myanmar. Legends abound about these kitties being raised by Kittah priests in regal temples (this is why their white fur is often associated with purity). Chances are if you meet a Birman today, their ancestry can be traced back to France, where most of the breeding of these gorgeous companion cats began in the 1920s.
2. Burmese. A small, sweet brown female cat named Wong Mau is to thank for the Burmese breed. She came to America from an area near the border between Thailand and thenBurma in 1930 (alongside a companion named Dr. Joseph G. Thompson). She was bred with Siamese cats to produce what would eventually become Burmese cats. Though originally only acceptable in a light brown hue, Burmese cats come in a variety of colors.
3. Himalayan. Himalayan cats are known to be terrific companions for people with anxiety! Their sweet nature and sociability will win you over in no time. They are members of the Persian Breed Group and are often lumped in with Persians and Javanese cats. According to TICA, Himalayans are “one of the oldest cat breeds and can [be] seen depicted in hieroglyphics as early as 1684 B.C.”
4. Japanese Bobtail. Say hello to an ancient cat breed almost entirely free of human influence! As far as we can tell, these cats have lived in and around Japan for thousands of years. It’s believed they kept rats away from Buddhist monks around 700 A.D. (a job they still perform today). The Japanese Bobtail’s signature tail is au naturel. These kitties come in both long and short hair varieties and are known to be very doglike in their antics.
5. Khao Manee. Khao Manee cats are not only very rare, but they are also incredibly expensive. They only come in sparkling white with bright, jeweltoned eyes. Like Japanese Bobtails, these stunning cats occurred naturally (no human meddling to generate a specific look). Originally from Thailand, they’re mentioned in the Tamra Maew, a book of poetry from the 14th century. Despite this incredibly regal reputation, Khao Manees are still cats—mischievous, curious and sweet.
6. Korat. Another rare breed is the Korat. These inquisitive little charmers first appear in artwork from Thailand around 1350. Their signature silverblue fur and tiny stature give them an irresistibly cute look—one that experts believe has remained largely unaltered since the cats were discovered. Note their heartshaped heads and alert gaze!
7. Oriental Shorthair. Oriental Shorthair cats are incredibly smart and unafraid to go after what they want (or climb to the top of your canopy bed just because they can). They are members of the Siamese Breed Group and are actually almost indistinguishable from Siamese cats except for their coloration. However, most of the efforts that went into developing the Oriental Shorthair breed characteristics occurred in England in the 1950s. Either way, these are athletic cats ready to play all day.
8. Persian. As the parent breed of the Persian Breed Group, this cat has been around for centuries. Modern Persian cats can almost always trace their ancestry back to longhaired cats imported from the deserts of Asia to Italy and Turkish Angoras. Regardless of their true origins, Persian cats are some of the most loyal and easygoing companion animals around. They’re incredibly popular around the world and come in just about every color and pattern.
9. Siamese. Siamese cats are the parent breed for the Siamese Breed Group (duh). While their exact origin is unclear, images of them appear in manuscripts from the 12th century. At that time, Thailand was Siam and these cats were native to the region. Today, they are vocal, social pets who thrive with plenty of human companionship and love.