Mixed Breed Cats: Jack of All Trades, Master of Anyone

cats of different breeds
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

Want to get the best of two, or three, or four, worlds? Get a mixed breed cat. These lovely felines take the trades of famous lineages and combine them in their own unique and awesome fashion. Not only does this provide you with a one of a kind cat, but also cheaper bills and fewer visits to the vet.

Purebred cats originated from breeding towards a very specific aesthetic, which has resulted in many such cats having severe health issues. Mixed breed cats are more robust and have better genes when it comes to staying healthy. If you want someone special in your life, and do not care for making a fuss about pedigree, there is sure to be a beautiful, four-pawed friend out there that cannot wait to curl up and purr in your lap.

In this article, we are going to discuss the pros and cons of mixed breed cats, as well as their health issues and general personality. We are also going to make a list of the most common mixed breed types. Hopefully, it will help you choose a new best friend, and even provide you with some good karma for adopting a cat from the shelter.

Why Choose a Mixed Breed

mixed breed cat

Mixed breeds, or simply domestic cats, are the most popular pets in the world. Sadly, this also means they are often abandoned by their owners for various reasons. Shelters are full of mixed breed cats waiting for a good home, and there is your first and most important reason—you’d get a lot of good karma for adopting a cat and giving them a forever home.

Secondly, cats that went through the whole shelter ordeal have usually been through a lot, and they know how to appreciate a loving home. They are very grateful to get a second chance and will love you to death. Every pet will, of course, but adopted pets have seen the other side of human nature and know good human should be cherished.

When it comes to finances, you should know that mixed breed cats cost less in general. The gene pool is much wider, so the cats are healthier, more resistant to disease, and have fewer genetic problems. They also rarely need “special treatment” with regards to food and maintenance. Most mixed breed owners see the vet only when it’s vaccination time.

See Also: Cat Vaccination Schedule

Speaking purely about aesthetics, there is much more variety to choose from when it comes to mixed breeds. The color, pattern, and length of the fur come in all possible variations and can be quite surprising. You can literally choose whatever you want, as long as the cat’s character fits your lifestyle.

There are also a couple of cons you need to consider. Firstly, if you are adopting a cat, you don’t know where she’s from. This can be a problem if you have kids or some special requirements regarding lifestyle.

There is only so much the shelter staff can tell you, and often, they don’t know a lot about the cat’s history either. Shelter animals sometimes come with a history of neglect, abuse, and traumatic experiences—consequences of which can only show after you’ve brought the cat home.

The other thing to consider is what your cat will grow into. With mixed breeds, there is always an element of surprise. Kittens can change their eye color, fur length and coloration, and you might end up with a cat weighing as much as a small dog! You just can’t know.

People usually say that the character of the cat can be a surprise too, but we beg to disagree. If you decide to adopt a kitten, go to the shelter or the litter owner and spend some time observing them. Watch how each one interacts with the littermates, humans, and other animals. See how the kitten responds to you.

Every animal has a unique character, yes, but when it comes to kittens, it is formed very early on and doesn’t change much during the years. So, if you see a troublemaker with a heavy case of zoomies, don’t just write it off as excess kitten energy. What you see is what you’ll get.

Mixed Breed Cat Types

In this section, we will present you with a list of most common mixed breed types. Of course, this is only a rough guide since these moggies come in all possible shapes, colors, and patterns. One thing they all have in common is good health and a long lifespan, typically between 15 and 18 years.

#1: Domestic Shorthair Cats

Domestic shorthair cat

The most common cat in the world. Domestic shorthairs come in all possible varieties of eye and coat color and patterns. They also come in many different shapes and sizes, from tiny to giant, and from lean to almost round-shaped.

They are generally considered to be low maintenance and easy to groom, with heavy seasonal shedding.

#2: Domestic Medium-Haired Cats

Domestic Medium-Haired Cat

These cats are usually medium-sized and heavily built. Their character can be anything from playful and rambunctious to calm and gentle.

Although it’s hard to speak in general, medium-haired cats are usually very strongly built and tend to enjoy rough play. If you notice this in your kitten, make sure to be consistent in discouraging it. Proper and early socialization is the key to a harmonious relationship, so make sure to introduce your kitten to kids, adults, and other animals as early as possible.

See Also: How to Socialize a Cat

#3: Domestic Longhair Cats

Domestic Longhair Cat

Longhairs usually have some purebred ancestry. Whether you care about your cat’s lineage or not, you should know that longhairs need a bit more maintenance than the average cat. Yes, their coat is absolutely fabulous, but to keep it that way, you need to brush at least twice a week.

Every long coat is different—it can have two or three layers varying in thickness and quality.

If you’re adopting a longhair cat, it is a good idea to visit a groomer just to get some professional advice. A good groomer will give you valuable advice about types of brushes, frequency of grooming sessions, and a few tips and tricks on how to keep the fur from matting.

#4: Tabby Cats

Tabby Cat

Probably the most common type of mixed breed cats in the world. They come in grey, brown, yellow, and red, with different combinations of stripes, dots, and swirls. Sometimes they have white markings on the chest, chin, forehead, and paws. The tail of a tabby is covered in rings, and they often have a necklace pattern on the chest.

Some tabbies have a look that’s almost wild, and no wonder—it is speculated that the first domestic cat looked very similar to the tabbies we know today. This type also varies a lot in size and personality, although a lot of people say that tabbies are generally good-natured and very social. They are also very energetic cats, so be prepared for daily play sessions.

#5: Tuxedo Cats

Tuxedo Cat lying

Clad in black and white, tuxedo cats are one of the most popular types in the world. The coat pattern often resembles a tuxedo, which gives these cats a very special appearance and exceptional elegance. On top of that, their fur is very silky and shiny—no wonder tuxedo cats are in high demand!

They usually have a white blaze across the chest, white “socks,” and white markings on the forehead and nose. The tuxedos are usually very mischievous and highly intelligent. They love to play fetch and hide and seek. Many owners of tuxedo cats tell us that they are a one human cat, giving all their love and affection to that one special family member.

#6: Solid Color Cats

black cat with yellow eyes

Is there anything more beautiful and elegant than a black cat? Hardly. Solid color cats (also known as “self-colored”) have a special kind of gracefulness to their appearance, and are relatively rare among mixed breed cats.

They usually come in all white, black, grey, or beige. It’s worth to mention that solid white cats often have heterochromia (different color of eyes). If one of the eyes is blue, the cat might be deaf on the same side.

#7: Bicolor Cats

Bicolor Cat

Bicolors are very common and come in all patterns and colors. Usually, it’s a combination of white and any other pigment, spread symmetrically or randomly on the body and the head.

#8: Calico Cats

calico cat

Now, this is an interesting type! Calico refers to a coat pattern with a white base and large patches of black and orange or cream and black fur. Calico cats are almost always female!

In cats, the locus on the X chromosome is deciding whether the color is going to be orange or not. Females have two X chromosomes. So, if one X chromosome allows orange, and the other one “carries” another dominant color, we get a calico.

This is not possible in (normal) males because they have only one X chromosome, so they will either have orange fur possibly combined with white (white is considered as no coloration), or no orange at all.

Now, these special females are considered to be even-tempered, good-natured, and family oriented. Having a calico as a family pet is a real treat.

#9: Tortoiseshell Cats

Tortoiseshell Cat

Just like calicos, tortoiseshell cats are almost exclusively female. The coat is a combination of black and yellow/orange or grey and cream fur arranged in uneven, small patches.

Many owners of the “torties” swear their precious queens have a very distinct character no other type has. It is called “tortitude,” and it’s a mix of vocal expressiveness, diva complex, and stubbornness.

These beauties are also very, very possessive of their human and don’t like to share—so if you plan on getting one, you better get a boyfriend first because this girlfriend might decide to kick out all your suitors.

#10: Bobtails

Bobtail tabby cat

Due to a natural genetic mutation, some cats are born without a tail or with a stub. This makes no difference to the quality of life, though, as the cat will adjust to it from the get-go.

Some people think bobtails are very cute, and will go to great lengths to find one. We agree, they are cute, and if you want one, you can probably find it in your local shelter.

Popular Pure Breed Mixes

Some cat breeds are very popular, which can sometimes lead to unwanted litters. Purebred cats that are allowed outdoors (and not spayed/neutered) can produce a surprising number of kittens, and that’s how we get some of the most usual mixes we know.

#1: Siamese Mix

Siamese Mix kitten

If you like the looks of this breed, but don’t want all the singing and jumping around, try to find a litter of domestic kittens with some Siamese ancestry. These cats are truly gorgeous.

Due to the Siamese genes, they are often very vocal and active, so be prepared for daily play sessions and a lot of exercises. Siamese mixes are also highly intelligent and insightful. They love their family and might get a bit overprotective, so it’s important to socialize them as early as possible.

#2: Persian Mix

Persian Mix cat

Another very common mix. If you want a longhair, docile beauty with fewer health problems, you should adopt a Persian mix. Although they might not suffer from severe respiratory problems or eye infections, you are still signing up for regular brushing and grooming, and should do regular check-ups at the vet.

Depending on the parents, these mixes can come in all colors and with different fur quality. Anyway, you should definitely invest in a good brush.

#3: Maine Coon Mix

Maine Coon Mix cat

Since the Coons have been around for a very long time, mixes of this breed are very common, especially on the East Coast. You can recognize a Maine Coon mix by looking at its build—these cats are robust, with medium to long fur, silky and dense undercoat, and a wide head.

Tufts are also a dead giveaway. Maine Coon mixes are almost always tabby, with grey, brown, or orange being the dominant color. If you decide to adopt one of these beauties, make sure to invest in a good vacuum cleaner because they shed like crazy.

#4: Birman Mix

Birman Mix cat

This mix is very popular because of the beauty of the Birman cat breed, but relative expensiveness. If the kitten from this mix has a strong resemblance to the purebred side of the family, it will be white with color point patterns in blue, chocolate, or lilac, sometimes even spotted. They might even inherit the wonderful blue eye color of the breed!

This mix has beautiful, silky fur that doesn’t need much maintenance. Another possible plus is the gentle and kitten-like character that fits perfectly into families with children and other pets.

#5: Ragdoll Mix

Ragdoll Mix kitten

What makes this mix especially appealing is the character. Ragdolls are very sweet, docile, and forgiving creatures, but hate being left alone. Mixing this breed with a domestic cat can improve its health significantly, while also bringing a little zest to the temperament.

You’ll also get a relatively big cat weighing up to 15 lbs. They do need regular brushing but the job is not as tedious as with purebreds.

#6: Burmese Mix

Burmese Mix

Do you want a brick wrapped in silk? Go for this mix. Burmese mix cats are very small but surprisingly muscular, making them weigh more than one would assume. They are also very playful, curious and intelligent, friendly with kids and pets, and need a lot of activity to stay healthy and content.

They just love big families and human-cat interaction. Also, be ready for long conversations. A cat with Burmese genes will give you an earful if something is not up to their (high) standards. Another plus is that the short, silky fur of a Burmese doesn’t shed much, so cats from this mix should be low maintenance and easy to groom.

Wrap Up

kittens of mixed breeds

There is a lot of discussion in the field of purebred vs mixed breed. We can’t really pick a side since there is not better or worse in this particular debate—there is only a question of what suits you best.

If you don’t have any specific needs or requirements your pet needs to fulfill, there is no reason to spend a large amount of money on getting a purebred.

The other important issue is adoption. Today, there are more cats in the shelters than there are homes, and we assure you there is a lot of variety to choose from. Saving a life is the most wonderful experience you can have, so why not treat yourself to it? We’d call that a total win-win.

How did you find this article? We hope we helped you decide if a mixed breed cat is for you or not. Check out our article on how to adopt a cat next if you’re interested in bringing home a furry friend from a shelter.

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.