There are many breeds within the category of domestic longhair cats. Although a single article could not possibly provide a detailed description of every breed within the realm of longhairs, there are a few breeds that top the popularity charts with pet owners.
Types of Domestic Longhair Cats
Longhair cats certainly require more maintenance than their shorthair counterparts, but there is typically a sense of luxury or even a majestic presence associated with the longhair breeds. Whereas shorthairs are fluffy, silky and downright cute, there is something very posh and wondrous about a cat with an enviable mane. The most notable breeds within the longhair category are frequently spotlight stealers at cat shows, and many breeders have devoted their life's purpose to preserving the traits of these extremely furry felines.
The Maine Coon
The Maine Coon breed is not a longhair that is typically associated with luxury cats. Instead, this stalwart breed has historically adapted to severely cold climates. Maine Coons are considered to be winter and woodland cats. They are good hunters, very sturdily built and renowned for their extremely high intelligence. The Maine Coon is also noted to be a good family cat that generally does well with children and other pets. Although the following is rarely a concern for the average American household, this breed was originally celebrated in the state of Maine for its mouse hunting abilities.
The Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat takes the impressive cold-ready talents of the Maine Coon to an even higher level. These Norwegian cats come equipped with an extremely downy undercoat that, during the cold winter months, will nearly double in size. It can be quite a shock for unprepared pet owners to discover how different their Norwegians look during the spring when they shed an impressive portion of their coats. The term "forest cat" really couldn't be more appropriate since this breed's origins were drawn from the Scandinavian woodlands. This cat is ideal, even more than the Maine Coon, for families who reside in cold territories.
The Persian is notably the ideal luxury cat. Small, stout and virtually all hair, this posh little feline is a red carpet favorite with cat associations. Persians can be bred in so many colors that the Cat Fancier's Association has allocated seven color divisions for this single breed! However, the Persian does not possess the formidable form of Maine Coons or Norwegians. This breed is an absolute indoor breed, which is at least part of the reason why Persians are considered luxury pets. Persians are not terribly athletic cats. They will not typically obtain as much amusement from kitty gyms and towers as the average cat breed. Moreover, the coat and health of a Persian requires more consideration and maintenance than most other breeds, so Persians are usually better pets for smaller households with loving, attentive masters rather than large bustling families. Still, there are exceptions within this breed, and Persians that are raised by health-conscious breeders may be surprisingly sturdy and willing to acclimate to any type of household.
Ragamuffins are the consummate sweeties within the world of domestic longhair cats. They are healthy and, despite their long plush coats, do not require anywhere near as much maintenance as the Persian. Ragamuffins, like the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat can grow to a fairly large size. This is particularly true of the Ragamuffin males which can average anywhere between fifteen and twenty pounds. Ragamuffins make good, loving and mellow family pets. They are most often easy going, but they are also incredibly playful and robust enough to handle children.
The Maintenance Factor
Longhair cats can make amazing and impressive pets, but their coats require significantly more maintenance than the average shorthair. Brushing your longhair cat will help prevent hairballs. Regular baths and grooming can also reduce the chances for matted, sticky fur. Pet owners also need to be on the lookout for springtime shedding which can produce an immense amount of lost hair. Vacuuming regularly is essential during the shedding period. Once a pet owner adapts to the grooming routine associated with these pets, the maintenance will become second nature. Just a few minutes of daily grooming with a long tooth comb or a quality cat brush can make a world of difference in your cat's coat and keep excess hair off the floors.