Friday 1 October 2021

Long domestic cat fur mainly exists because people like it

Long fur on domestic cats is non-functional. They don't need it. The longhaired cats and cat breeds would be better off with short fur if functionality was the sole reason for their anatomy. Long fur needs human intervention to keep it in good condition, to prevent it becoming matted. Matted fur leads to infections and infestations of the skin. Domestic cats often can't maintain their own coat if the fur is too long. The decorative Persian comes to mind. There have been some horror stories of matted Persians over the years. Note: this is a cross-post because it is an interesting topic.

Shorthaired cats in a colony in a warm place
Shorthaired cats in a colony in a warm place. Photo: Pixabay.

The Maine Coon has a medium-longhaired coat because they were barn cats living outside. The coats served a purpose. When a wild cat species has a long coat it is for a reason: they live in cold places. I am thinking of Pallas's cat and the snow leopard for instance. That's natural selection.

The very long fur on Persians is due to artificial selection (selective breeding). Human intervention is the main reason why domestic cats have long coats. It is about human preferences. Many people like domestic cats with long coats. This sustains them when under different circumstances they'd fade away and stop existing especially in warm countries such as in South America where a study supported this concept.

They say you rarely see longhaired feral cats. It is true. You might see them from time to time if they are new to the feral cat scene and strays. But long term feral cats are nearly always shorthaired for functional reasons: they can maintain their coat themselves.

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