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Unusual Cat Breeds

A New York City cat specialist introduces several types of cat breeds you may not have heard of. Find out which are best suited for you and your lifestyle.

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2007

Selkirk Rex
Interesting Facts
- Naturally curly cat with curly whiskers.
- Curly kittens can be born in the same litter with straight-haired kittens.
- You can tell which kittens in the litter are going to grow up with curly coats; just look at the whiskers. If the kitten has curly whiskers, it will have a curly coat.
- Curly hair is a dominant genetic mutation.
- Large, heavy-boned cat.
- Patient, loving and tolerant.

Scottish Fold
Interesting Facts
- What makes it unusual is its folded ears.
- First Scottish Fold was discovered on a farm in 1961. The original cat, Susie, had weird folded ears. She had kittens, and some of them also had folded ears. A nearby farmer asked the cat's owner if he could have one of the kittens. He bred the kitten to other cats, and before you knew it, a new breed was created.
- Often described as looking like teddy bears and owls because of their rounded heads.
- The folded ears are a spontaneous dominant mutation; if both parents carry the gene, their kittens will have folded ears.
- Sweet dispositions; adore human companionship.
- Undemanding cat -- it only needs a clean environment, proper nutrition, and love. It doesn't mind noisy children or a quiet apartment.

Interesting Facts
- Natural breed that's been around for at least 1,000 years.
- Originated in Siberia; thick, insulating fur helped it cope with harsh climate.
- National cat of Russia.
- First imported to the United States in 1990. It is still extremely rare in the U.S.
- Considered a semi-longhair cat; has rich full coat in winter and shorter, less-dense coat in the summer.
- Great problem solvers and, like dogs, are loyal to their owners.
- Good for people who profess to be dog lovers; greet owners at door and follow them around the house.
- Extremely agile; can jump amazing distances and heights.

Norwegian Forest Cat
Interesting Facts
- Natural breed that the Vikings may have brought to Scandinavia from England.
- Huge with bright, emerald-green eyes with a band of gold. Long, flowing hair.
- Tufts of hair on feet protect toes from snow or cold ground.
- Relative of the Maine Coon cat.
- Matures slowly and may not reach full stature until 4 years of age.
- In the spring, sheds "winter underwear," the warm undercoat, as well as the long outer guard of hairs that protects from rain and snow.
- Special claws allow it to climb rocks and trees.
- Very friendly and intelligent; needs lots of attention and room to play.
- Need to provide "climbing trees" in the house; it's their nature to climb.

Special Thanks
Arnold Plotnick MS, DVM, Dip. ACVIM, Dip. ABVP
Manhattan Cat Specialists
230 West 76th Street
New York, NY 10023

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