Natural breeds in cats: what is special about them?

What are natural breeds in cats and what distinguishes them? Naturally created breeds such as the Norwegian Forest Cat, Maine Coon or Turkish Van usually differ optically and often character-wise from domestic cat breeds. But what exactly does "naturally arise" actually mean? Handsome, robust and surrounded by a hint of the wild - the Norwegian Forest Cat - Shutterstock / Jan Faukner, which is a natural breed

Cat breeds that are assigned to natural breeds have a natural origin. This means that the cats did not originate from the targeted breeding of humans, but rather came from domestic cat populations in nature. Typical natural breed cats include Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Turkish Van, Turkish Angora, Siberian Cat, Neva Masquarade and the Abyssinian cat.

Natural breeds come from regional domestic cat populations

All natural breeds, including forest cat breeds, have in common that they come from regional domestic cat populations and were not bred by humans. So in a way they were just there at some point. When cats were increasingly kept as useful helpers by humans, for example to catch mice and other pests on a farm, the animals should be more "useful" than "decorative". The cats of those days were essentially left to their own devices, and the natural selection resulted in particularly robust and immune-strong cats that were well adapted to the demands and dangers of their surroundings.

Over the centuries, human demands on cats have changed. At some point, the animals should be beautiful, cuddly and people-friendly as hard-working and the term breed arose. Pretty or particularly loving specimens were deliberately paired, so that there was a development to the breed breed, in which the natural breeds fell by the wayside. By the way: Strictly speaking, typical cats named in the context of the term "natural breed" such as the Maine Coon or the Norwegian Forest Cat are also subject to certain breeding requirements. Due to the special natural basis of these breeds, however, they are still counted among the natural breeds.

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Natural breeds in cats: robust, fit and instinct-proof

In their developmental history, natural breeds mainly had to "struggle through" on their own and were thus exposed to particular dangers and circumstances in the wild, such as extreme environmental conditions or enemies. Natural breeds also have a very large gene pool with a very short breeding history. These and other factors ensure that velvet paws belonging to a natural breed are generally very robust and resistant. A good immune system, coupled with good fitness and condition, characterizes the tigers, which often grow larger than other breeds. In addition, the animals are particularly instinct-proof, as the instinct was not (yet) bred to a certain extent.