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11 Pairs of Cat Breeds That Always Confuse Us

Unlike a lot of animals that humans have domesticated, like dogs and cattle, cats domesticated themselves. We co-existed for years before the felines chose us, forever. Of course, today, we can’t imagine our life without cats. And cat owners will tell you, each cat has a distinct personality. But some breeds look so much alike, it’s difficult to tell them apart.

We at Bright Side are cat fans too, but some cats tend to confuse us as well. Hopefully, this will make it easier for us and you to figure out which breed is which.

1. Manx cat, Norwegian Forest cat, and Maine Coon

The Manx Longhair, Norwegian Forest cat, and Maine Coon are all large with shaggy fur, so it’s understandable that we might confuse them.

Most Manx cats have rounded heads and long necks. The Manx Longhair, which is often confused with other longhaired breeds, is commonly tailless or partially tailed.

The Norwegian Forest cat is more compact and has a smaller, triangular head with rounded ears. It also has a longer and smoother coat.

But the Maine Coon’s head is more long than wide, with a wedge shape. It has high cheekbones and a stouter muzzle, and they are usually the larger of the 2 with large tufted ears that taper.

2. British Shorthair and Chartreux

The Chartreux is like the French cousin of the British Shorthair and comes only in blue and gray shades. It has more slender legs and its coat is double and short, with a woolly texture. Its ears are set high on its head as well.

The British Shorthair has more colors and patterns but is more popular in its blue-gray shades. With chunkier legs, it also has a short and dense coat, but it’s never woolly. It has ears that are set far apart as well.

3. Korat and Russian Blue

The Russian Blue and the Korat come with short, silvery-blue coats, so it’s easy to confuse the 2.

But the Korat usually comes with slanted green eyes and has a heart-shaped head with rounded ears. The Korat has a single coat and is more muscular and stoutly built.

The Russian Blue has a more wedge-shaped or triangular head with pointy ears. It has a dense double coat and is long and muscular.

4. Siamese and Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair is an offspring breed of the Siamese, so it’s no surprise that they look alike.

The difference lies mainly in the coat. The Siamese usually has a “pointed coat” with a plain, pale body, with a darker face, feet, ears, and tail. The darker colors are blue, brown, grey, or lilac.

The Oriental Shorthair, meanwhile, can be in many color and pattern combinations, more than 300 of them. So they can be solid, particolored, or bicolored, as well as tabby, silver, tortoiseshell, and more.

5. American Shorthair and Domestic Shorthair

The American Shorthair and the Domestic Shorthair are pretty similar but the former is a pedigree while the latter is more of a random street cat.

This makes the Domestic Shorthair a jumble of a cat, with no specific characteristics, colors, patterns, or body size.

The American Shorthair on the other hand is more rounded, with a large concentric head, a compact body, and rounded paws.

6. Ragdoll and Ragamuffin

Ragdolls and Ragamuffins are both fluffy and large cats that easily get confused with each other.

Ragamuffins are mostly white, but they can come in a mix of colors. They have no points, as the paws, tail, and muzzle are not darker than the rest of their coat. They also have round eyes.

Ragdolls are mostly solid-colored, have a pointed coat, and have almond-shaped eyes. The easiest way to differentiate between the 2 is to pick them up. Ragdolls are aptly named because they go limp in your arms when picked up.

7. Bombay cat and black cat

A Bombay cat is all black, but not all black cats are Bombay cats. A black cat is simply any breed of cat that is black, and it can have various features, characteristics, and eye colors. It could be big or small, with dense fur or short-haired, with round eyes or almond ones in any color.

But a Bombay cat is another specially created breed, one that was made to resemble the Indian black panther. It has a dark black coat, short hair, and bright copper-gold eyes. It was created by breeding a black American Shorthair and a sable Burmese female, and it even has black paw pads.

8. Birman and Siamese

The Birman and the Siamese both hail from Asia. While the former is a near “sacred” cat from Burma, the latter hails from Thailand.

The main difference between the 2 lies in the coloring. For Siamese, there are 4 main colors in its pointed coat. Chocolate Points are creamy with pale brown tips, while Seal Points are tan with dark brown marks. Siamese Blue Points are white with gray points, and Lilac Points are cream-colored with pink points.

Birmans, on the other hand, have faded or inconsistent points as compared to their body. And they have contrasting white gloves on their front paws.

9. British Shorthair and Scottish Fold

Considering both the British Shorthair and the Scottish Fold are cousins, and come round, cuddly, and gorgeous, it’s easy to confuse the 2. Most British Shorthair cats come in blues and greys and have pointy ears. The head and paws are rounded.

Scottish Folds are also similar in size and with the same rounded head and paws but they can come in different colors. The main distinction between the 2 breeds lies in the ears. Scottish Folds have lopped ears, nearly folded into themselves. This gives them a sweet, owl-like appearance.

10. Somali cat and Abyssinian

Abyssinian and Somali cats are both a tad wild when it comes to their looks. They are rather alluring, as well, and share DNA. Compared to the Abyssinian, the Somali cat is usually smaller, with less fur and a slender tail.

The Abyssinian is also not a large cat but its longer fur, which is smooth and never woolly, makes it appear larger. They also have a furry ruff and tail, which distinguishes them from their Somali cousin.

11. Bengal cat and Toyger

The Bengal cat and the Toyger are both bred cats, made by interbreeding different cat species for a specific result.

The Bengal cat was born in the ‘70s, by breeding a domestic cat with an Asian Leopard cat. They get marked rosettes, a near gold coat, and the soft-footed big cat gait from their wild DNA but they are lovable and domesticated because of the other half of their DNA.

Toygers on the other hand, are not bred from wildcats, because you cannot breed a striped tiger with any domestic cat. But they are bred from cats with tiger-like looks, resulting in a cat with a pointy chin, and marked stripes on its coat.

Did any of these cat breeds ever confuse you? Would you want any of these as your pet? Share your cat thoughts and stories with us.

Please note: This article was updated in August 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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