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The Daily Vet by petMD

The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets.

Meet the Mutts of the Cat World

National Mutt Day is scheduled to be celebrated on December 2. In the dog world, mutts are also known as mongrels; non-purebred dogs whose genetic heritage is made up of two or more breeds.

Rather than mutts, mixed breed cats are known as domestics. By definition, a domestic shorthair cat is a "cat with short fur that is not a pedigreed member of a recognized breed." Similarly, a domestic longhair cat is a "cat with medium or long fur that is not a pedigreed member of a recognized breed." In other words, our domestic cats are the mutts of the cat world.

Right off, let me say that I have absolutely nothing against purebreds or purebred breeders. Like many of you, there are many breeds of both dogs and cats that I particularly like and I would hate to see those breeds become extinct simply because nobody is breeding them any longer. If you are a responsible breeder and are breeding puppies or kittens through a planned breeding program with the intent of improving your breed, you have my full support.

I encourage anyone interested in purchasing a purebred puppy or kitten to find out what being a responsible breeder means before you buy that puppy or kitten, though. There is much more to a responsible breeding program than simply picking a boy and a girl and letting nature take its course. And please, please, please do not simply go to a pet store and purchase a purebred puppy or kitten. It is all too possible that you will be purchasing a pet that came from a puppy or kitten mill!

That being said, I love mixed breed cats. Each and every one of my six cats is a domestic shorthair. They’re all rescues and they’re all awesome. And most importantly, they’re all great pets. They are my favorite companions and my very best friends.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Cat Writers Association (CWA) annual conference and spending an entire weekend with some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable cat people I know. It was an amazing experience that I’m already looking forward to repeating next year.

Running concurrently with the CWA conference was the Westchester Cat Show, which I also had the privilege of attending. Seeing so many beautiful and often exotic-looking purebred cats was a great experience and there were some truly gorgeous cats on display. But still, I kept finding myself drawn back to the domestic cats offered for adoption by a local rescue at the show. Judging by the number of spectators that were always around the adoption area, many of the other attendees found them delightful as well.

For anyone thinking about bringing home a new cat, I recommend that you consider a domestic cat. They may not be the "bluebloods" of the cat world but, believe me, they have just as much personality and character. A "feline mutt" will make a great family member — one you’ll never regret adding to your home. I guarantee it.

Dr. Lorie Huston

Image: Molodec / via Shutterstock

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