The Origins Of 4 Domestic Cat Breeds

If there is one thing that we know about cats, it’s that cats come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. That’s because there are different breeds of cats.

But have you ever wondered where all these different breeds came to be? Or how they rose to be so popular as pets?

Each breed has a pretty unique origin story of their own, and below are four popular cat breeds and the interesting facts behind the felines:

1. Siamese

These cats are very popular pets, however, their exact origins aren’t entirely known. But it is generally assumed that they did indeed come from Siam. It turned out that there were written records going back as far as 1350, which described the Siamese capital of Ayudha having cats that were quite similar in description as the Siamese cats of today. The first-ever Siamese cat to come to the US was actually the pet of American president Rutherford B. Hayes. In 1878, Hayes received his Siamese cat, named Siam, as a gift from the American consul in Bangkok. Siam joined a big family of other animals at the White House, including two dogs, a mockingbird, and a goat.

2. Bengal

The Bengal is a very beautiful cat who’s appearance makes them look almost like a wild cat with their thick spots and rosettes. But this breed’s gorgeous coat isn’t an accident, since they originated as a cross between domestic cats and wild Asian leopard cats, also known as Prionailurus bengalensis. Even though they’re a domestic breed, their name “bengal” is a derivative of the wild cat’s scientific name.

3. Sphynx

While the name may remind you of the original sphynx in Egypt, the cat breed actually comes from Toronto. The very first of his kind was a black and white hairless kitten named Prune back in 1966. His owners then bred him with a bunch of other cats in order to try and create more hairless cats. Of course, it was a little difficult working with recessive genes, but eventually, more hairless kittens were born. After these kittens were born, they were then bred with another cat breed, the Devon Rex. That is when the sphynx breed really became prominent.

4. Maine Coon

This cat is the official state cat of Maine, hence the name. However, the origins of the Maine Coon are a bit more tall tale in origin than reality. The breed’s size, color, and full tails meant that it was stated they were a cross between cats and raccoons – which is biologically impossible. Another story of their origin states that during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette sent a ship full of her belongings to the US, including six of her favorite Angora cats, in hopes to later follow. Marie Antoinette obviously never made it to the US as history has told us, but it’s still rumored that her cats then bred with local cats and created the Maine Coon. There is no concrete evidence to back this up so it’s probably just a figment of someone’s wild imagination. However, most breeders do believe that the Maine Coon is a mix of the native American shorthaired breeds that mixed with the long-haired ones that came from Europe.

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Anastasia is an American ex-pat living in Ireland. When she's not writing she can be found wandering the Irish countryside in search of inspiration. You can follow her writing adventures on Twitter @AnastasiaArell5 or Instagram @writeranastasia26
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