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A Girl That Devoted the Last 12 Years to Learning About Cats Reveals a Lot About This Fluffy Kingdom

If you think that it’s easy to learn everything about breeds and colors of cats, you are wrong. There are Harlequins, Vans, Siamese cats... And by the way, Siamese cats don’t look like most people picture them. We’ve learned about all of this from the posts of felinologist Alisa Kirichenko, which try to explain who is who in the cat world.

We at Bright Side really love cats and want to know everything about them. This is why we basically read all the posts Alisa has about them. And also, we fell in love with Alisa’s cat whose photo we saw on Facebook — make sure to go read her story in the bonus part.

Felinologist. The beginning

It all started 12 years ago. My parents moved into a new 3-story house and said that there wouldn’t be any pets. One year later, I showed my mom a photo of a Maine Coon. And 2 months later, we had our first Maine Coon at home — he was very tough and serious.

And 3 months later, we adopted a kitten from Poland that grew into this beautiful cat.

After that, our cat family started to grow very fast. I wanted to become a cat expert — a felinologist. Felina is Latin for cat. We study the genes of cats, their health, and the reasons why different mutations happen. This can be a controversial topic, but it’s really interesting.

Then, I became a breeder and then I worked as a felinology expert, but I realized it wasn’t really my thing. When you see 70-200 cats every weekend, it only seems cute in the beginning. So, now I just oversee several shelters.

Maine Coons are not as big as you think, and Siamese cats are not what they seem.

  • Despite the popular stereotype, Maine Coons are not really that big: the average weight of an adult male cat is between 15-19 lbs, (but it can go up to 26 lbs) and an adult female cat is between 9-18 lbs, I’ve never seen any bigger ones. Lately, the breed has been changing. For example, many felinology experts now recognize polydactyl cats — those with extra toes. Maine Coons are babysitter cats, they are like the labradors among cats and are great with newborn children.

  • The British Shorthair cats are very popular breeds. The traditional blueish cats are very widespread, but today there are many different colors. There are more than 100 options!
    Golden chinchilla is a very popular color right now.
  • You can tell the difference between a British and a Scottish cat by looking at their cheeks and bodies. The Scottish have rounder faces and the British have big cheeks. You can see the difference in the photos below. The British are more massive whereas the Scottish look lighter. The Scottish can have the normal straight or the more unique folded ears, and the British never have folded ears.
  • Even in these photos, you can see how different they are in size. The weight of an adult British cat can be around 17 lbs, while the Scottish are rarely even 13 lbs. The British cats are more independent and they don’t really like it when you pick them up. And the Scottish cats are more curious. They are one of the few breeds that love standing on their hind feet to watch what’s going on.

  • The Russian Blue cat is an elegant cat with an elongated face. Obviously, they can only be blue. They are somewhat similar to the British cats in their temperament: they are calm and independent. They will only cuddle with their owners. Other people don’t deserve their attention or time. The best part about these cats is that they don’t lose too much fur, so you won’t find cat hair in every meal you eat.

  • The main features of Oriental cats are their elongated body and triangle-shaped head. The almond-shaped eyes add to the charm of this amazing breed. Traditionally, they have green eyes. What about their temperament, they are very talkative and they can’t stand being alone.
  • If you are ready for the never-ending talking of these cats, you should get one of them. And make sure you work remotely, otherwise, only your neighbors will be able to hear their talking. They are extremely warm and loving and can have short or long hair.
  • And I also wanted to talk about Siamese cats, because they are often confused with other breeds. Oriental and Siamese cats are not that different in standards. Mostly, it’s about the eyes and the color. I often see people that say they have a Siamese cat and most of them are wrong. Many people call color point cats (those with darker ears, paws, tails, and noses) Siamese, but in fact, there are a lot of color point breeds. Traditionally, Siamese cats have bright blue eyes and color-point fur. But their fur has to be short and their face has to be triangle-shaped.

What vans and harlequins are and what little white spots look like

Let’s talk about the colors and start with the most popular ones.

Black. This is the color that we get thanks to the domination of 2 genes — Black (B) and Diluted (D). And the bigger the number of dominant genes there are in the formula, the brighter and more saturated the black color will be.

Red. Basically, it’s black with the Orange gene (O).

Tortoiseshell color. This is a combination of black and red. Basically, it’s the same red, but the Orange gene doesn’t dominate completely. There are very few tortoiseshell male cats: usually, they are female cats. But there are still some male cats with that color. In most cases, these male cats are born sterile but I have seen some exceptions.

Very often, along with red and black, there is also a white color.

Also, the same genes may dominate less. For example, blue is when the Dulited gene dominates and the Black gene is recessive.

If you mix Orange with Blue, you get cream or blue-cream tortoiseshell colors.

If you lighten the blue color, you get the lilac color.

What happens if you lighten only the Diluted gene and keep black dominant? You’ll get the chocolate color.

What are colorpoint cats? This is not a difficult question. Colorpoint is when the color is spread around the body in points.

There are a lot of different breeds with these colors, for example the popular Siamese cats or the less known Mekong Bobtails.

Colorpoint is not only about black and white. There are Burmese cats — those that have unique colors. There are seal-point cats, champagne, sable, chocolate, and lilac ones...

You might have seen colorpoint cats with dark bellies. The explanation is very simple — cold weather. The thing is, the fur becomes darker when it’s in constant contact with a cold surface. When it gets warmer, the lighter shade comes back.

Depending on the amount of white fur, there are different names for different variants: bicolor, van, harlequin, and little white spots.

Bonus: How cat experts choose cats for themselves

My daughter has asthma, this is why we decided to adopt a Sphynx. For a long time, I’ve volunteered in animal shelters and I know that many cats end up on the streets every day. So I was ready to take a sick animal because I knew I would be able to help.

I went online to check a popular website where people give away animals and I saw an exhausted Sphynx cat. I instantly called the owner (this was in December). When I got there, I saw a big noisy family and the cat was hiding under the couch. At the time, the name of the cat was Via. Judging by her looks and her behavior, she wasn’t treated in the best way possible. It turned out that she was in her first heat and the father of the family was really irritated by her screaming at night. I don’t know why they didn’t sterilize her, but it became a ticket to a new life for her.

During her first days in her new house — with her new name — Mathilda hid in every corner, but then she became more relaxed and started looking around the house. It took her several months to understand that it was safe. We had her sterilized in the best clinic in the city, fixed all the health problems she had, and bought her premium cat food. Now, she is a very communicative cat who’s ready to play with anyone.

Have you learned anything new about your cat thanks to this article? Show us a photo of your precious pet!