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Breed Education
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American Domestic Cat
American Domestic Cat

American Domestic Cat

American Domestic cats are a delightfully mixed bag of adorable features and personalities. No matter what you're looking for in a feline friend, there's undoubtedly a Domestic cat out there that will meet your criteria.

Weight

8–15 lb

Size

Medium

Lifespan

12–18 yr

Breed Group

Western

American Domestic Cat History

Domestic cats are arguably the most familiar of all the cat breeds—and certainly the most common. In fact, people actually refer to them as "common cats," as well as housecats and alleycats. The result of random-bred cats, they are the "mixed-breeds'' of the feline world.

The longhaired variety of the Domestic cat likely originated in Western Asia. They lived there for several centuries before being imported to Europe in the 16th century. In the 1700s, these cats departed on ships for the United States, where they worked—along with their shorthaired counterparts—as dedicated rodent catchers.

Early pioneers adored American Domestics for their work ethic and keen hunting skills. They provided these cats with shelter and food in exchange for keeping the barns and food storage areas free from vermin. It wasn't long before Domestics worked their way fully into their owners' lives. They graduated from the clean-up crew to beloved family members and have never looked back.

Though Domestics aren't pedigreed cats, some cat associations allow them to compete in shows in a general "housecat" category.

American Domestic Cat Traits

General Appearance

Unlike other breeds recognized by their specific physical characteristics, Domestic cats come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and builds. Still, they’re typically medium-sized and muscular.

Coat and Coloring

The coat of a Domestic cat comes in all colors, patterns, and lengths. Any coat combination that's genetically possible is on the table for this breed.

Distinctive Physical Traits

Perhaps American Domestic cats' most distinctive physical trait is their uniqueness. There are no hard and fast rules for these cats, which means the average Domestic may display any number of adorable features.

American Domestic Cat Temperament

As with their physical appearance, American Domestic cats' personalities vary. Some cats are chatty and like to be the life of the party, while others make for quiet, calm, lap cats. And some prefer to interact with their humans on an "as needed" basis—these are the most independent and aloof of the bunch.

Because of their background as barn cats and rodent catchers, American Domestics are typically athletic and agile, with strong hunting instincts. Using feather toys and other items they can pounce on or chase gives them a much-needed outlet for their natural tendencies.

Domestics also tend to enjoy keeping an eye on the outside world. High perches where they can safely look out at birds and other wildlife will keep them entertained for hours.

American Domestic Cat Care

Nutrition

Domestic cats require a high-quality diet. Because nutritional needs vary for kittens, adults, and senior cats, opt for a formula that's age-appropriate for your pet.

Obesity is a growing health concern for cats. To keep calories in check, portion out meals using a standard measuring cup, and reduce amounts if your cat gains weight. Also, keep an eye on how many treats you're giving them. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of a cat's daily calories.

In addition to their meals, make sure there's plenty of fresh, clean water available for your cat at all times.

Grooming

Though American Domestics are excellent self-groomers, they still need regular brushing to keep their coats looking their best. Shorthaired cats can usually get by with weekly brushing using a rubber or steel comb. Longhaired cats are more prone to tangles and mats and may require daily brushing.

In addition to combing, trim their claws monthly to prevent overgrowth. Nails that get too long are more likely to get snagged on something and become torn or damaged. Overgrown nails can also grow into their paw pads, leading to pain or infection. In addition to clipping, a scratching post will help keep their nails in good shape and satisfy their instinct to scratch.

Finally, all cats need regular dental care—including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental exams and cleanings.

Health

Roughly one out of every three cats in the United States is overweight or obese. Extra weight can contribute to other health risks, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart problems. Your veterinarian is a great resource for tips on how to keep your cat at a healthy weight.

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American Domestic Cat Genetic Health Conditions

  • Factor XII Deficiency (Variant 1)

    Factor XII Deficiency is a common blood factor deficiency which does not result in an abnormal tendency to bleed but may have an effect on blood clot stability.

  • Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

    Pyruvate Kinase (PK) Deficiency is a disorder that causes anemia due to the breakdown of red blood cells.

  • Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII (Variant 2)

    Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII is a disorder causing weakness, growth retardation, facial and other skeletal abnormalities, and clouding of the eyes.

  • Glutaric Aciduria Type II

    Glutaric Aciduria Type II causes loss of appetite, vomiting and seizures in young cats.

  • Cystinuria Type B (Variant 3)

    Cystinuria is a condition that predisposes cats to form cystine crystals and stones within the urinary tract, which can then cause irritation and blockage.

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

    Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is the most common inherited disease in cats. The disease causes the formation of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure.

  • Lipoprotein Lipase Deficiency

    Lipoprotein Lipase Deficiency is a metabolic disorder that causes decreased body mass and reduced growth rates in affected kittens and can cause stillbirths in affected queens.

  • MDR1 Medication Sensitivity

    MDR1 Medication Sensitivity is a disorder caused by a defect to a drug pumping protein that may result in a cat having severe adverse reactions to some commonly used medications.

  • Cystinuria Type B (Variant 2)

    Cystinuria is a condition that predisposes cats to form cystine crystals and stones within the urinary tract, which can then cause irritation and blockage.

  • Cystinuria Type B (Variant 1)

    Cystinuria is a condition that predisposes cats to form cystine crystals and stones within the urinary tract, which can then cause irritation and blockage.

  • Factor XII Deficiency (Variant 2)

    Factor XII Deficiency is a common blood factor deficiency which does not result in an abnormal tendency to bleed but may have an effect on blood clot stability.

  • Myotonia Congenita

    Myotonia Congenita is a condition that results in stiff movement and delayed relaxation of muscles after exercise.

  • Acute Intermittent Porphyria (Variant 2)

    Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP) is caused by faulty enzyme activity and results in brownish discoloration of the teeth and urine in affected cats.

  • Acute Intermittent Porphyria (Variant 5)

    Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP) is caused by faulty enzyme activity and results in brownish discoloration of the teeth and urine in affected cats.

  • GM1 Gangliosidosis

    GM1 Gangliosidosis causes muscle tremors, uncoordinated movements, and blindness.

  • Hyperoxaluria Type II

    Hyperoxaluria Type II is a kidney disorder leading to severe weakness and kidney failure in young cats.

  • Vitamin D-Dependent Rickets

    Vitamin D-Dependent Rickets results in skeletal abnormalities caused by low blood calcium levels.

  • Hemophilia B (Variant 2)

    Hemophilia B, or Factor IX Deficiency, is a blood clotting disorder that can result in tiredness, decreased appetite, fever, lameness, and prolonged bleeding times after injury, trauma or surgery.

  • Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI Modifier

    Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI Modifier causes a mild degenerative joint disease, but only if one copy of Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI is also present.

  • Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria

    Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria (CEP) is caused by faulty enzyme activity and results in brownish discoloration of the teeth and urine in affected cats.

  • Mucopolysaccharidosis Type I

    Mucopolysaccharidosis Type I is a disorder causing failure to thrive, facial and other skeletal abnormalities, tremors, and clouding of the eyes.

  • Sphingomyelinosis (Variant 2)

    Sphingomyelinosis causes progressive incoordination and tremors, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and changes in the lungs.

  • Hemophilia B (Variant 1)

    Hemophilia B, or Factor IX Deficiency, is a blood clotting disorder that can result in tiredness, decreased appetite, fever, lameness, and prolonged bleeding times after injury, trauma or surgery.

  • GM2 Gangliosidosis

    GM2 Gangliosidosis causes muscle tremors, uncoordinated movements, difficulty eating, and blindness.

  • Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI

    Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI is a rare disorder causing dwarfism, degenerative joint disease, and clouding of the eyes.

  • Dihydropyrimidinase Deficiency

    Dihydropyrimidinase Deficiency is a condition that causes tiredness, weakness, vomiting, and high levels of ammonia in the blood.

  • Sphingomyelinosis (Variant 1)

    Sphingomyelinosis causes progressive incoordination and tremors, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and changes in the lungs.

  • Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII (Variant 1)

    Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII is a disorder causing weakness, growth retardation, facial and other skeletal abnormalities, and clouding of the eyes.

  • GM2 Gangliosidosis Type II (Discovered in Domestic Shorthair cats)

    GM2 Gangliosidosis Type II causes muscle tremors, uncoordinated movements, difficulty eating, and blindness.

  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

    Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia is an endocrine disorder which leads to aggression, abnormalities of the genitalia, and excessive drinking and urination.

  • Earfold and Osteochondrodysplasia (Discovered in the Scottish Fold)

    The Earfold and Osteochondrodysplasia variant results in the breed defining folded ears of Scottish Fold cats and is associated with skeletal malformations and arthritis.

  • Acute Intermittent Porphyria (Variant 1)

    Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP) is caused by faulty enzyme activity and results in brownish discoloration of the teeth and urine in affected cats.

  • Cystinuria Type 1A

    Cystinuria is a condition that predisposes cats to form cystine crystals and stones within the urinary tract, which can then cause irritation and blockage.

With more than 45 health tests, Wisdom Panel™ Complete for Cats screens for these and other important genetic conditions—allowing you to better plan for your cat's lifelong care.

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