Long haired cats are known for their beauty and lustrous but labor-intensive coats. Popular breeds include the glamorous Balinese, the affectionate Himalayan, the almost dog-like Maine Coon, the water-loving Turkish Van and the quintessential Persian. If you’re a lover of long haired cat breeds, keep reading for 10 fun facts about long haired cat breeds.
1. Long haired cats were first spotted in Europe in the early 16th century. The first known longhair, the Angora, was named after the Turkish city of the same name. Meanwhile, Persians weren’t imported into Europe from Persia until 1620.
2. The Maine Coon is the largest domestic, non-feral cat breed and regularly grows to over 20 pounds. This hardy and robust cat originated in Maine and is known for its love of snow and unique willingness to “play fetch.”
3. The Norwegian Forest Cat is another long haired breed known for its size. These winter-loving, independent and robust cats will reach up to 22 pounds and are believed to be ancestors of the popular American Maine Coon.
4. The Turkish Van is one of the oldest cat breeds and unique because of its love of water. Vans are known for enjoying the occasional swim and love to get into bathtubs, puddles and any other body of water they can find.
5. The Persian cat, a longhair, is the most popular purebred cat breed in North America. Beloved for their sweet and gentle dispositions, these cuddly felines could win their way into anyone’s heart.
6. Most long haired cat breeds are known for their docile and sweet dispositions. Because so many long haired breeds, like the Himalayan and Persian, are very passive, it’s important to keep these gentle and kind cats inside and safe from potential predators.
7. The Javanese, a cousin to the popular Balinese breed, is a longhaired breed known for its intelligence. Hailed by breeders and fans of the cat, the Javanese is often touted as the most intelligent feline. These frisky cats have been known to open doors, break into cupboards, and track down hidden treats in safely locked drawers.
8. The Birman, a popular Asian longhair, is believed to have sacred origins in its homeland of Burma and Thailand. The legend goes that Sinh, the first Birman cat was owned by a respected and renowned priest named Mun-Ha and was appointed guardian of the temple of Lao Tsun. The legend says that one day Mun-Ha was killed during an attack on the temple. When he died, Sinh put his feet on his fallen master and his legs turned brown like the Earth, his eyes blue like the sky and where his feet touched his master turned pure white.
9. The Cymric, a close long haired relative of the Manx, is known for its small and sometimes absent tail. This unique breed is known as “the rabbit” thanks to its bobbed tail and tufts of fur on its neck and belly. This playful breed also has a reputation for chasing anything that moves.
10. The Ragdoll, a fairly new large long haired breed, was first bred in 1960s in California. Bred specifically for their gentle personalities, the Ragdoll is often considered the gentlest breed.