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While Persian and Siamese cats represent dolls and divas of the cat world, the world’s most favorite cat is the humble and diverse "house cat", or officially the "Domestic Shorthair" (DSH). This is not a pure and recognized feline breed, but rather a cat of mixed ancestry. Thanks to the natural breeding, meaning a larger genetic pool, Domestic Shorthair cats actually account for the healthiest and smartest cats of all.
"You can keep a dog, but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals." – George Mikes
Due to their genetic variety, these kitties are very diverse in appearance and personality. DSH kittens of the same litter will likely look and behave completely different from each other. But they are all universally known for their loving and caring nature. In fact, they are so popular that it is estimated that Domestic Shorthairs account for almost 90-95% of all cats in the US.
The main features
Domestic Shorthairs come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Typically, they all have proportional bodies and are medium in size, males being generally larger than females. These felines feature round heads, medium length tails and round paws.
Domestic Shorthair cats have short, dense and sleek coat that widely varies in colors and patterns. Tuxedo (black and white), tabby (striped), tortoiseshell and calico coats (tri-color) are very common.
Since their fur is always short in length, they are considered to be low maintenance when it comes to grooming requirements. It doesn’t get matted or tangled, so weekly brushing is usually enough for appropriate care of the skin and coat. DSH felines will groom themselves thoroughly, and therefore bathing isn’t a necessity either.
Their warm and caring eyes can come in a variety of beautiful colors too, varying from blue and green shades to brown and golden. Some felines will even have two different colored eyes.
As mentioned before, the Domestic Shorthair is not a pure breed, but it is the result of many generations of mixed breeding of different type of cats. Therefore, the origin and ancestry of these kitties is impossible to track. It is widely believed that the African wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica from ancient Egypt, could be the true ancestor of the Domestic Shorthair.
These "alley cats" can be easily confused with cats of certain breeds. Tabby and black and white Domestic Shorthairs are often confused with the British Shorthair, American Shorthair or other standardized breeds with "Shorthair" names, which are breeds recognized by various registries, and are not closely related to these felines. Interestingly, these faithful companions actually made their passage to the US with the Pilgrims, as they were used onboard for their excellent ability to control the rodent population on ships! Yup, they are the working class of cats.
As mentioned above, due to a high genetic diversity among domestic short-haired felines, this cats personality widely varies from one cat to the other. Some kitties will make for shy and quiet friends, while others will be more talkative and outgoing. Some are energetic, while others are laid back. Despite different potentials, if loved and socialized from early days – any of these kittens can be expected to be extraordinary buddies to the humans they choose to win over.
Interestingly, the Domestic Shorthair pusses have strong hunting instincts and can spend up to 6 hours a day just hunting! They will spend time tracking down prey, even if it’s well fed and doesn’t need hunting for survival. These cats are active and they love every minute of it. It is not uncommon for them to bring "prizes" back from their trips for their humans. It may not be a pleasant one, but it is a gift your loving puss proudly brought for you!
These working cats are known for overall good health and long lifespan. Due to high genetic diversity, they are generally disease and disorder free cats. Some conditions that were occasionally seen among the cats of this group are: diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, and hyperthyroidism.
The bad news is – these beautiful creatures have the reputation for enjoying their food a bit too much. These felines tend to overeat, which makes them prone to obesity. The American Humane Association reports that obesity is now considered to be an epidemic for both dogs and cats. Obesity is implicated in a variety of diseases, including diabetes that has increased 16% in cats since 2006. Therefore, keeping an eye on your Domestic Shorthair cat’s weight and meal portions is very important. To guide yourself, you may expect your male Domestic Shorthair to weigh between 8 to 13 pounds, and females to range from 8 to 11.
The energetic Domestic Shorthair can live up to 10-15 years if it is properly taken care of.
Being the most popular cats in the world, it is no wonder many are famous internet sensations today. Here are some you should definitely check out:
1. Venus – the two-faced kitten;
2. Maru – the master of boxes;
3. Sam – the cat with the eyebrows;
4. Lazarus, the rescued vampire cat.
These captivating little dynamos may not come with expensive, gilded papers, but they are equally lovable cats who will own anyone whose leg they choose to brush against.
These delightful little creatures win the title of the most popular cat in the world fair and square - They are friendly, playful, low maintenance and fairly healthy.
Sadly, due to the overpopulation of cats, many shelters are filled with Domestic Shorthairs due to their abundance. If you want a healthy, loving, special cat, then try any local shelter to give one of these awesome kitties a forever home.