One of the biggest time drains I’m faced with on a daily basis is the trap of looking at cat photos on social media sites. Not surprisingly, most of my connections are animal lovers. They post loads of pictures of their cats being precious and, no matter how many deadlines I have looming, I cannot turn away. It’s like the Siren Song. And yes, I’ll admit it; I’m just as guilty as my friends. If I didn’t exercise some restraint, I’d post multiple pictures of our kitty all throughout the day. I just want everybody to see how darn cute he is when he’s lying on a pile of laundry or hiding in a box or opening a drawer or smoking a catnip cigar or snuggling with our dogs or… oh, sorry. I get carried away.
So, the other day I was sucked into the cat-viewing vortex when I came upon a friend’s photo of a cat she was fostering. This little guy is the weirdest looking cat I’ve ever seen. We tried to identify what breed combination he is but came up short. During this exercise I did learn that there are less than a hundred cat breeds in existence, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association only recognizes 40 breeds officially. Of those 40 different breeds, most of them look fairly similar.
There are a handful of cat breeds, however, that don’t look like other cats. Through genetic mutations and selective breeding, some of these cats have turned out rather odd-looking. Here are three of the most unusual.
Over the years, selective breeding has given cat and dog breeds a variety of sizes, shapes and abilities. You can’t help but wonder if a Chihuahua really does think he’s as big as a Great Dane. Cats and dogs have found their way into our hearts, though, and I wanted to share some fun trivia about the smallest, tallest, fastest and oldest of our four legged friends.
Smallest dog and cat breeds
Chihuahua – He may be the smallest dog breed in the world, but his ancestors were thought of in a big way. The Aztecs believed this little dog had mystical powers and could see the future, heal the sick and guide souls through the underworld. That might explain the Chihuahua’s stubborn streak. Despite his diminutive size, the tenacious breed is on a list of the top ten watchdogs recommended by security experts. The Chihuahua is no more than 5 inches at the shoulder and weighs 6 pounds or less. Average lifespan is 12 to 20 years.
Singapura – One of the sixteen natural cat breeds, this intelligent kitty is athletic, muscular, playful and curious. Native to the island of Singapore where she lived as a feral cat on the streets, her early existence is a mystery. The breed developed naturally, without human intervention. It wasn’t until the 1970s when the Singapura was developed as a breed. The cat weighs 4 to 8 pounds and has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. You can learn more about the Singapura in this article from the CANIDAE RPO archives. The cat breed with the shortest legs is the Munchkin, with an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years.
Tallest dog breed
Irish Wolfhound – His name indicates a dog with a fierce demeanor, but this sighthound is a gentle soul despite his enormous size, and gets along well with everyone, including kids and other dogs. However, his fierceness as a hunter of large game is legendary. Native to Ireland, and old Irish proverb aptly described the breed as “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.” Standing 30 to 35 inches at the shoulder and weighing 105 to 180 pounds, their average lifespan is 6 to 8 years. The Mastiff is the heaviest dog breed, weighing 120 to 230 pounds, with a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
Largest cat breed
Ragdoll – Developed in America in the early 1960s, the Ragdoll is a good natured, laid back kitty that loves to be with her people. She enjoys being held and has a tendency to go limp when she’s picked up. Some males weigh up to 35 pounds, but the average size is around 20 pounds. A Ragdoll can be three times larger than other breeds. This “dog-like” feline gets along well with the entire family. Average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.
Fastest dog and cat breed
Greyhound – One of the oldest dog breeds, the Greyhound originated in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Other sighthounds like the Whippet, Saluki and Afghan Hound aren’t that far behind, but at around 45 mph this speedy breed tops all dog breeds. The Greyhound is number 7 on the fastest land animal list, with the Cheetah holding the top spot. But when it comes to stamina, the Greyhound is far superior to the Cheetah who fizzles out after a short burst of speed. A Greyhound’s average lifespan is 10 to 13 years.
Egyptian Mau – This super intelligent kitty is the only domesticated cat with a spotted coat that occurs naturally. Originating in Egypt, the Mau was given high status and worshiped like a god. In Ancient Egypt, the word Mau means cat. The Cat Fanciers’ Association describes the breed as “something a little exotic, a little jungle, a little breathtaking and a little primitive.” This little beauty’s hind legs are longer than her front legs, and along with her spotted coat, she looks Cheetah-like. Not as fast as the Cheetah or Greyhound, the Mau has a top speed of 30 mph. Average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.
Oldest dog and cat breed
Saluki – Originating in the Middle East sometime around 329 BC, the Saluki holds the title as the world’s oldest breed. The Saluki was bred as a medium size sighthound to hunt gazelle and hare in the deserts. Highly prized, the Saluki was given noble treatment over all other dog breeds, sharing their owner’s food and tent. The Saluki may look elegant, but he’s an athletic, quick and unrelenting hunter, with stamina and speed to chase down his prey. Average lifespan is 12 to 14 years.
Egyptian Mau – Not only is the Mau the fastest cat breed, it’s most likely the oldest as well. Depictions of cats resembling the Mau are found on Egyptian hieroglyphics. These cats were so revered by their owners, after death their bodies were mummified and placed in tombs.
Chihuahua photo by Jose Antonio Tovar Singapura photo by Lil Shepherd Ragdoll by Steve Jurvetson Egyptian Mau photo by Nickolas Titkov Saluki photo by Renee Johnson
Despite common belief, many cats and dogs that live together don’t fight like…well…cats and dogs. Canines and felines can share space in peace and harmony, and are capable of forming lifelong friendships with each other. All pets are individuals with their own likes and dislikes, and there are some dog breeds that don’t get along well with cats. To increase your chances of harmony, there are some cat breeds that are more compatible with dogs than other felines are. These breeds also get along well with kids and other cats.
This breed was brought to England during the Roman invasion; they arrived with the troops and were kept for their mousing abilities. When English settlers came to America, they brought their cats with them to control vermin on ships and in the home once they arrived. It’s likely this breed was here before the Mayflower sailed, brought by the Pilgrims to early settlements like Jamestown. The American Shorthair is an affectionate, fun-loving, confident and friendly kitty.
One of the natural cat breeds, the Japanese Bobtail is considered to be good luck in Japan, her native country. An ancient breed that goes back at least 1,000 years, this loving kitty with a short, rabbit-like tail likes to sit and talk with you. The smart, active and inquisitive feline will play in water, fetch, and can learn feline agility.
For centuries, people have associated certain breeds of cats and dogs with mythical legends, and some are still believed today.
Shih Tzu – One of the 14 oldest dog breeds, “the Lion Dog” is the smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs. In Buddhist mythology, Buddha rode to earth on a lion and carried a Shih Tzu. The dog was bred to resemble a lion, and was given high honor as the dog loved by Buddha. It was believed Shih Tzu dogs were incarnations of mischievous household gods. It was also thought they carried the souls of lamas searching for nirvana.
Norwegian Forest Cat – This large feline originated in Norway, and sailed with the Vikings to control rodents. The cat evolved by natural selection some 4,000 years ago, and has a role in Norse mythology. Viking gods are divided into two groups, Aesir and Vanir. Aesir gods were connected to war and victory, and Vanir gods were wise with magical skills. One of the Vanir gods, Freya, was the goddess of beauty and love. During battle against the Aesir, Freya’s chariot was pulled by two large Norwegian Forest Cats.
Every state has a flag, seal, motto, emblem, song, animal, flower, tree and bird, unique to each one. No matter where you live, our symbols reflect who we are as a country, and the diversity that make up the stars in Old Glory.
Dog State Mascots
Alaska – When you think of sledding dogs, the first breed that comes to mind is the hard-working Siberian Husky. But it’s the Alaskan Malamute that was chosen as the state’s official dog in 2010. The Siberian Husky was a close second, but the Malamute has been part of Alaskan history for 5,000 years plus, and contributed more than any other breed to the development of the state.
Louisiana – The most aggressive and largest of the cattle dogs, the Catahoula Leopard Dog was picked in 1979 as their state dog. The Catahoula is all-American breed capable of finding livestock in any kind of terrain, no matter where they are. The breed was developed by settlers and Native American Indians.
Maryland – The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was recognized in 1964. When an English ship wrecked off the coast of Maryland in 1807, the crew and two Newfoundland pups were rescued by an American ship. The puppies were given to duck hunters as a thank you gift from the British crew. They were bred with local hunting dogs to create the beginnings of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
People who like cats with a wild look are naturally drawn to the Chausie, an exotic feline with Jungle Cat ancestry. With their long legs, long, lean body and statuesque appearance, Chausie cats are exquisitely beautiful creatures.
However, the Chausie (pronounced chow-see) is not for everyone. This unusual cat breed requires an experienced owner who can meet the demands of a very active, assertive and athletic feline that needs a lot of interactive play and attention.
This high energy feline is rarely idle; they prefer physical and mental stimulation to lazy catnaps on your lap. The Chausie is sociable, affectionate, good natured and intelligent. They have a very curious nature and can be fearless, so keeping them indoors at all times is essential. The Chausie is highly trainable and can be taught to fetch. Their exceptionally playful demeanor lasts well into adulthood.
Despite their wild ancestry, Chausies can develop deep bonds with their owner and do not like to be left home alone for long hours. Their movements are very “cougar-like” and they are excellent jumpers with the ability to reach high places with ease (such as the tops of doors).
Chausie Physical Appearance
Bred to retain the look of the Jungle Cat, this medium to large domestic feline is tall, sleek and elegant. The short haired cat has large tufted ears, slanted cheekbones, a long sloping forehead and a slightly shortened tail. Their muscular body is built for running and jumping, which they do very gracefully. The Chausie’s deep chest enables them to breathe deeply which adds to their impressive endurance level. The males are usually larger than the females, and can weigh up to 25 pounds!
This rare breed is the result of breeding domestic cats with the Jungle Cat, a wild species that dwells primarily from the Nile Valley to the Caspian Sea. The breed’s name is derived from the Latin name for the Jungle Cat, felis chaus. The Jungle Cat dates back to ancient Egypt, where they were apparently held in high regard – mummified Jungle Cats have been found in Egyptian tombs. Some cat fancier’s believe that the statues of the Goddess Bastet were modeled after the svelte Jungle Cat.
The Chausie breed is not recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) but was granted foundation registry status by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1995. Due to the effort of breeders and their work, the Chausie was given Championship status earlier this year.
Though certainly not the right pet for everyone – especially those who want a laid-back cat who demands little attention – the Chausie can be a wonderful pet for someone who understands this wild-at-heart feline’s needs and can meet them. Top and bottom photo by PiBeseth Middle photo by GorillazFanAdam
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.