How to Tell What Breed My Cat Is?

A common question that new cat owners often ask is 'how to tell what breed my cat is?'. With so many recognized breeds, figuring this out can be tricky. Noting the physical and character traits can help you narrow your results and figure out what breed she is.
How to Tell What Breed My Cat Is?

Have you adopted a new kitty and are eager to learn more about her ancestry? If so, you probably asked yourself “how to tell what breed my cat is”?

With so many recognized breeds of domestic cats, figuring out what breed is your kitty can be tricky. Unless your cat came with certification papers upon adoption, chances are she isn’t purebred.

Purebred cats also end up in shelters, and so determining what breed your cat is, might have some interesting results.

Besides being fun, figuring out what breed is your cat can help you identify potential breed-related health problems. Recognizing these issues early on can have a significant impact on your cat’s health and prolong her lifespan.

Observing your cat’s physical characteristics and behavioral traits can provide an answer to your question “how to tell what breed my cat is?”.

Difference Between Domestic and Purebred Cats

Pedigreed cats are bred by cat breeders and must meet breed standards set by cat associations. The breed standard defines the appearance of a particular breed and describes size, body shape, and head type among other things. A purebred cat will have papers that state its breed and trace its lineage back four or five generations.

Domestic or random bred cats usually have unknown parentage. They also vary a great deal in the following areas:

  • Size
  • Body shape or head shape
  • Coat color
  • Coat length

Generally, all cats without papers are considered to be random bred.

How to Tell What Breed My Cat Is?

If you have adopted or bought a cat that came with official papers, then you have a purebred kitty. These papers will also state what breed your cat is.

If you got a kitty without papers, there are a few ways you can try to determine what breed your cat is.

Look at Your Cat’s Size and Shape

Official cat organizations like The International Cat Association or The Cat Fanciers Association set standards for pedigreed cats. The breed’s standard includes all aspects of a breed’s appearance, including the size and the body shape. 

Your cat’s size and body shape are the starting point to determine what breed she is.

For example, if your cat has a long, large, and muscular body, she can be the Ragdoll. If she is medium in size, and has a sturdy and stocky body she could be an American Shorthair.

Furthermore, if your cat has a svelte, muscular body she can be the Oriental Shorthair or Bengal. Generally, breeds from Asian group share these physical characteristics.

Check the Cat’s Head and Eyes

Once you have a better understanding of your cat’s body and size, take a closer look at the shape of her head. The shape and color of the eyes are also good physical indicators of your kitty’s breed.

Does your cat have a round head, short muzzle, full cheeks, and round eyes? These traits are characteristic of Persian and Himalayan Cat. A triangular shaped head and almond-shaped eyes point to Siamese Cat.

The color of the eyes can also tell you what breed your cat is. For example, different eyes (one blue and one gold eye) are a common trait of Turkish Van Cat. Some breeds feature distinctive eye color like the Korat Cat and the Havana Brown Cat that have green eyes.

Observe the Coat Length, Pattern and Color

A cat’s coat length, color and pattern are its main identifiers. Thus, it is important to check your cat’s coat if you want to identify her breed.

Most cats are either short-haired or long-haired, however, some breed have both hair lengths. According to CFA, Oriental cats can have a long and short-haired coat.

Now check out the color of your cat’s coat. The Russian Blue and the Nebelung breeds are solid gray in color.

Some breeds can come in various colors and patterns which can make identifying your cat a lot harder. The most commonly seen patterns in pedigreed cats include tabby, pointed, ticked, bi-color, etc.

With its exotic looking coat, the Egyptian Mau is a great example of a spotted tabby breed. For other cats, specific color points are easily recognizable and are signature traits of the Siamese and the Birman Cats.

Still, some breeds come in all patterns and colors and aren’t easily recognizable like the hairless Sphynx or curly Devon Rex. Keep in mind your cat’s physical traits to narrow your options.

Personality of the Cat

Every cat is an individual with its distinctive personality and quirks. However, pedigreed cats are bred to possess certain character traits.

Siamese Cats for example like to talk and demand constant attention. On the other hand, the British Shorthair is calm, quiet, and won’t mind spending time alone at home.

Observe your cat and her behavior to narrow down your options even further. Is your cat shy or outgoing? Does she like to play or is she more of a couch potato? Answer these questions and you will be one step closer to figuring out what breed your cat is.


If you asked yourself how to tell what breed my cat is, you aren’t alone. Adopted cats usually don’t have formal certificates, which leaves the owners guessing their cat’s ancestry.

Purebred cats always have official papers that clearly state the breed. If a cat doesn’t have papers, she is considered random bred.

However, by observing your cat’s physical traits like size, body and head shape, coat length and color you can get an answer to “How to tell what breed my cat is?”.

Knowing that your kitty is from an American Shorthair and a neighboring tom can help you understand her personality better too. Furthermore, you will be aware of any potential health problems linked to her breeds.

At the end of the day, keeping your kitty healthy and happy is most important.

Affiliate Disclosure:

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We may receive a commission, or some sort of compensation, when you purchase using links on this page. Read disclosure.

      The Dutiful Cat