Domestic Longhair : Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts
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Technically, domestic longhair cats aren’t a breed at all. Instead, they are a domestic cat of mixed ancestry that happens to have long hair. Often, these cats come from unknown ancestry and are often very far removed from any purebred.
These cats should not be confused with British Longhairs or American Longhairs, which are actual breeds. The domestic longhair is not standardized at all, on the other hand.
With that said, they are the second most famous cat in the United States – right after domestic longhairs.
Typically, these cats can come in any color. Because they aren’t standardized, their fur tends to vary in length as well. In some cases, it is up to six inches long. Sometimes, they have a mane and ear tufts similar to a Maine Coon.
However, these cats do vary a lot due to their unstandardized nature. Any feline with unknown ancestry and longhair can fall into the “domestic longhair cat” category.
Domestic Longhair Cat Kittens – Before You Bring One Home…
3 Little-Known Facts About Domestic Longhair Cats
1. They aren’t really a breed.
Despite the official-sounding name, these cats aren’t an official breed. Instead, this is a catch-all term for longhaired cats that don’t belong to a specific breed. In other words, they’re a mixed breed, though you typically don’t know what exactly they’re mixed with.
It is also possible that these cats are descended from those that never really fit into a breed.
2. They are extremely popular.
Most longhaired cats in the United States belong to this breed. It is thought that one in ten cats in the United States is a domestic longhair. Most longhaired cats you run into likely belong in this category.
3. They vary widely.
These cats don’t have a set temperament, appearance, and health problems. They are a mixed breed, which means that they vary substantially. One cat’s specific genes will vary substantially from the next.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Domestic Longhair Cat
As we previously stated, these cats typically don’t have a set-in-stone personality. It varies substantially from cat to cat, depending on their exact genetics. Because of their mixed-breed background, you can expect a wide range of temperaments.
Some of these cats are incredibly playful, while others are timid. It isn’t odd for these cats to be independent to some degree. They are typically not as people-oriented as some breeds.
Of course, it does depend on the specific cat. Some cats will be highly people-oriented.
Much of this has to do with how the feline is raised and how their natural genetics. Extra socialization and plenty of handling from a young age typically result in a more loveable and people-oriented feline.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all cats can be made affectionate by socialization. Sometimes, cats are just born independent, and there isn’t much you can do about it!
This breed’s intelligence varies substantially. Most are decently intelligent – enough to be trained. However, their trainability also depends on how people-oriented they are. Just because a feline is intelligent doesn’t mean that they will readily take to training.
Most are not as people-oriented as dogs, after all.
More intelligent cats will require more mental stimulation. Sometimes, this can be done through training. Puzzle toys and play are also options, as they tend to wear out a cat’s mind as well.
Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪
They can be. In many cases, these cats are best suited for busy families. They are often entirely independent, so they don’t need a lot of attention.
Just be sure that you do have time to take care of their grooming needs.
Of course, you can’t just purchase a longhaired cat and forget about them. They do need some attention – just not as much as other cats do.
If you’re looking for a breed that will cuddle up to you every evening, this may not be the breed for you. While these cats do vary a lot, most of them are very independent. They are not nearly as cuddly as some other breeds, like the Ragdoll.
These felines do not have their personalities set in stone by any means. Therefore, some cats will be better for families than others – and there is no way to know until the cat is older.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
They can – but they can also not. It depends on their genetic makeup and their socialization. If you take them around other cats continuously from a young age, they will often get along with them just fine.
Of course, it does need to be new and unusual cats. It isn’t odd for cats to get used to one feline but not get along with others.
At the same time, regularly socializing your cat with dogs will often get them used to dogs. Of course, not all dog and cat pairs can get along. Sometimes, a dog’s prey drive is too high for them not to chase a cat. In these cases, all the socialization on your cat’s part isn’t going to help the relationship.
These cats do often have a prey drive. Therefore, you should not leave them alone with small pets. They likely won’t be friendly towards guinea pigs and hamsters.
Things to Know When Owning a Domestic Longhair Cat:
Food & Diet Requirements
These cats don’t have any specific dietary requirements. In many cases, they thrive on any high-quality cat food.
Be sure that you feed them food appropriate for their life stage. Kittens should be fed kitten food to ensure optimal growth. Otherwise, they may develop deficiencies that can lead to health problems later on.
At the same time, you should ensure that you feed your cat the appropriate amount of food. Many cats are obese, typically because they are fed too much. We do not recommend free-feeding, as this is likely to end up in an obese cat.
Sadly, obesity is prevalent amongst domestic cats.
Of course, your cat should be provided with fresh water daily. Many cats do not consume enough liquids with water alone, leading to UTIs and similar issues. For this reason, we recommend keeping an eye on your cat for dehydration and potentially switching them to wet food if necessary.
All cats need a decent amount of exercise. However, how active your domestic longhair will be can vary widely. Some are pretty hyperactive and will spend much of their time running around. Others are much more relaxed and may spend significantly more time sleeping. It just depends on their personality.
Generally, younger cats will be more active than older cats. As cats age, they tend to slow down. However, this behavior may lead to obesity.
Some older cats need to be encouraged to move. Climbing equipment, toys, and catnip can all be used to encourage extra movement.
In most cases, you’ll need to keep an eye on your cat’s body condition when determining the amount of exercise they need. When in doubt, ask your vet about the amount of exercise your cat may need. This “breed” of the cat varies so widely that it is impossible to determine a specific, overarching recommendation.
While we typically don’t think of training cats, most cats do benefit from some basic training. It stimulates their mind and can be helpful in some situations. For instance, a recall command is handy if your feline accidentally gets outside.
With that said, this breed is usually harder to train than others. They are often very independent, so they don’t always listen to commands or want to be involved in a training session. You often have to wait until they are ready.
Even though they aren’t the easiest to train, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. We recommend starting sessions early and often. The sooner the cat is introduced to training, the more likely they will take well to it.
Due to their long fur, this breed is prone to matting. We recommend brushing them daily. At first, your cat is likely to fight these sessions. However, if you start early and keep up with daily brushing, your feline will probably become used to it very quickly.
Use lots of praise and treats to help them associate grooming with positive emotions. You don’t want your feline to associate grooming with only negative things.
Generally, you’ll be spending much more time grooming these cats than other breeds. For this reason, we recommend ensuring that you have plenty of time for grooming. While they don’t need much attention or time in other cases, they need a significant amount of grooming.
On top of brushing, their coat should be carefully inspected for matts daily. If these matts are close to the skin, they may trap debris and moisture underneath them and rub sores onto the feline. These two combinations often lead to skin infections.
While skin infections are entirely treatable, they can lead to more severe issues if left untreated.
In many cases, these matts will need to be cut out. However, doing this yourself can potentially lead to damaging your cat’s skin. Therefore, we recommend seeking out professional help for extremely matted cats.
These felines are not good candidates for spending time outside. Their fur can easily snag on twigs and other debris, causing mats and pulling out fur.
You should clip your cat’s claws at least once a month. This prevents them from scratching you and your furniture, though all cats will still need a scratching post.
Sometimes, these cats will need a bath. They shouldn’t be bathed too often, as this can cause skin dryness and irritation. However, their fur can get incredibly dirty on some occasions. Cat wipes can be helpful for some situations, but they may not be enough for their long fur.
Health and Conditions 🏥
For the most part, this breed is pretty healthy. Due to their genetic diversity, they tend to have a minimal chance of inheriting genetic conditions. They are not like purebred cats, who are much less genetically diverse.
Currently, there are no genetic problems linked explicitly to these cats. After all, they aren’t technically a breed. What conditions a specific cat has a predisposition to will depend on their specific genetics and won’t be tied to the fact that they’re a domestic longhair.
In other words, different domestic longhair cats will be prone to different diseases.
However, these cats are prone to the same diseases that other cats are. This includes UTIs, which are sadly very common amongst domestic felines. The number one symptom of a UTI is inappropriate urination. If your cat suddenly starts peeing outside of the litter box, they may have a urinary tract infection.
Along the same vein, kidney disease and other urinary tract issues are also common. Often, these are linked to untreated UTIs, as cats are very good at hiding their discomfort.
Obesity is a huge problem for domestic cats and is linked with a variety of different diseases. If your cat is obese, they are more likely to develop arthritis, diabetes, and similar issues.
- Other urinary problems
- Skin infections
Male vs. Female
There is no significant difference between males and females of this breed. They vary genetically from one cat to the next, so that there are no specific divides between gender.
With that said, typical gender differences are apparent. For instance, females will go into heat unless they are neutered. For this reason, we recommend neutering them unless you’re able to deal with regular heat cycles.
Domestic longhair cats are not technically a breed. Instead, this term is a catch-all for longhaired cats with unknown ancestry – or who belong to lines that were never “purebred.”
In all technicality, you could call these cats a mixed breed. They aren’t standardized and don’t have any set traits – except for their long fur. For this reason, you never exactly know what you’re going to get.
Sometimes, these cats are outgoing and affectionate. Other times, they’re shy and aloof. It mostly depends on their genetics and how they are raised.
- Oriental Longhair Cat
- American Longhair Cat
- Domestic Longhair Cat vs Maine Coon: What’s the Difference?
Featured Image Credit: Stephen B. Goodwin, Shutterstock