Historic Cat Breeds That Still Exist Today
Cats have existed for thousands of years and overtime have become one of the most popular house pets. Selective breeding for domesticated cats has evolved over the last 50 years however some cat breeds have existed for way longer than others. In this article we will dive into some of the most historic cat breeds which still roam the earth today.
Siamese cats’ history dates back to the 14th Century in Thailand (formerly known as Siam) after appearing in various manuscripts called The Cat-Book Poems. Siamese cats are one of the oldest breeds that still exist today and they remain an extremely popular choice among pet parents.
During their early origin years, they were kept only by royal and high class families throughout Asia before being brought into Great Britain and America in the late 1800s. U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes was gifted the first Siamese to enter the United States in 1878, from Bangkok’s American Consul.
As the years went on and their breeding progressed, many high profile celebrities grew to like the Siamese like Marilyn Munroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Modernized Siamese have beautiful blue eyes, large ears, slender builds and varying colours from silver point to lilac point to chocolate point.
The Maine Coon is one of the world’s oldest cat breeds, originating from Maine in the United States. People who own these beautiful cats often say they are gentle giants because Maine Coons are very large in size and have very dense coats.
According to historic folklore, Marie Antoinette owned Siberian cats or Turkish cats which she had brought to the United States while attempting to escape her execution. While she was unsuccessful in escaping France and was executed in 1793, her cats made their way into the United States where they mated with others, in turn creating the Maine Coon we know today.
Maine Coons entered literature in the 1860s and became very popular among cat shows in the 19th Century. After overcoming near extinction, they have become one of the most popular cat breeds today.
Maine Coons are medium and long-haired cats with leonine ruffs on their necks. They do not have a prominent colour scheme but the most common colour is brown.
The Chartreux is a very rare and old cat breed originating from France. A poem dating back to 1558 called ‘A Small Kitten’s Death’ was the first time the Chartreux was mentioned in history. Later on, the cat was featured in Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange – a 1747 painting by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau. And back then, seeing a cat represented as a pet in a painting was a rare sight!
It’s not clear where the Chartreux actually descended from but some say they came from wild mountain cats in Syria before entering France in the 13th Century. By the end of the first World War, the breed nearly faced extinction before making a comeback after World War II.
Chartreux are short haired breeds with silver/blue coats, muscular builds and orangey eyes. A fun fact about these felines is that they appear to be smiling and this is because of their head and mouth shapes. How cute!
The Turkish Angora breed is one of the first cats to roam the earth. With documents dating back to the 17th Century and evidence showing their existence in the 15th Century, these felines from Turkey have been around for a very long time.
You might recognize these beautiful white-furred cats from the classic Disney film The Aristocats with the characters Duchess and Marie both being Turkish Angoras. Today, they’re not an overly common breed but it is believed that the Persian cat was developed through this breed.
Normally they are white cats but they can also be black, brown, gray and orange. Their eye colours vary but many of them have odd eyes – two different coloured eyes.
A small cat indeed but also the fastest domesticated breed is the Egyptian Mau. Dating back to 3200 BC, Egyptians worshiped ‘deity Bastet’ a goddess with the head of a feline. She was believed to have brought protection, good health and pleasure to the people. Playing an integral role in their society, cats became companions of royals.
The Egyptian Mau breed itself nearly went extinct during World War II. It wasn’t until Nathalie Troubetskoy a Russian Princess living in Italy brought her three Egyptian Mau’s to the United States which led to a cattery that helped bring back the breed.
These cats have longer hind legs which is why they are the fastest domesticated cats. They also have a distinct stripe which runs from their tails up to their heads! They are naturally spotted and can be born in a variety of colours.
These are just five of the many cat breeds which have been around for thousands of years. Each of these cats have an interesting history in our society with different stories told through their domestication. Do you own any of these breeds? We’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at email@example.com
Updated March 03, 2023
Originally Published: Nov 16, 2022