Monday 2 June 2014

Cat Breed Head Shapes

Cat Head Shape

Cat breeders shape and manipulate the anatomy of their cats in order to differentiate them from another cat breed. The overall body shape varies significantly between the various cat breeds.

Another part of the cat's anatomy that cat breeders like to shape and stipulate in the breed standard is the head.
Cat breed head shapes -- extremes -
Photo RHS: copyright Helmi Flick

At one end of the spectrum you probably have the ball-shaped head of the Persian. The Scottish Fold has a particularly round head because the ears have effectively disappeared in lying flat to the head but the head is less rounded than the Persian's.

The cat breed standard for the Persian stipulates a round head but what is ironic about the Persian cat breed is that the breed standard also stipulates that the face is flat.  So the American cat fancy demands that the Persian has a rounded head but it cannot be rounded throughout the head because the face must be flat as if someone had punched-in the face.  That may be an unpleasant analogy but in India people who sell Persian cats call the cat a “punch face Persian". The Persian did not always look like this as 150 years ago the Persian had a more or less normal head shape (see a resume of the breed and the differences).

At the other end of the spectrum we have the long-headed cat breeds.  The best example of this sort of head is the modern Siamese cat.  Some people call the head “rat-like" and I can see what they are getting at.  This has been created through selective breeding.  The original Siamese cat did not have such an elongated face.  The idea was to make the Siamese look more elegant and refined but the process got a little bit out of hand!

In the middle, there are many cats and some cat breed standards insist upon the cat looking normal. They describe this as being not extreme.  These are my personal favourites.  The Bengal cat has a normal face.  The American Shorthair has a pretty normal head although it is a bit square and rounded at the same time!  That sounds peculiar but you might get what I mean.

The British Shorthair has a slightly rounded head with a face that is approaching the face of a Persian but far less extreme.

The Turkish Angora is interesting because the original in Turkey has a head shaped like a traditional Persian while in America breeders have elongated the head and made the body more lightweight to "refine it". I prefer the original by a mile. The same story applies to the Turkish Van. They are in fact the same cat!

If you click on the link at the top of this page will go to a full discussion on cat head shape.  This page has been written with the express intention of promoting the page on the main website because it is unique and it deserves top billing in my opinion.

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