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Thanks to dog shows and competitions like Westminster, you probably know your fair share about the many different breeds of dogs. Our feline friends, however, don’t get as much attention, since they spend a lot more time indoors and out of the limelight. So while you might be able to tell an Affenpinscher from a Shih Tzu, distinguishing a Manx from a Pixiebob might be more of a challenge.
From the short-legged Munchkin to the affectionate Ragdoll, we've rounded up 11 cat breeds with fun and clever names. You might not be familiar with them, but they all deserve your attention.
Helmi Flick, Animal Photography
With his dwarf-like appearance, this short-legged feline is aptly named the Munchkin. In addition to being fun-loving and adorable, the breed has both a silly name and a funny (and surprising) nickname: the magpie. Munchkins love shiny things and won't hesitate to pilfer and hoard your valuables.
The curly-coated LaPerm looks like — well, like she just got a perm, hence her funny name. The breed's wavy locks are a result of genetic mutation (which is not unusual in the cat world). But don't be surprised if your LaPerm never develops a single ringlet — some are born with a straight coat and keep it throughout their lives.
Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography
With a rich, chocolate coat that resembles the wrappings of a fine Cuban cigar, the Havana Brown got his name from his striking tobacco-like fur. British breeders crossed chocolate- and seal-point-colored Siamese with black domestic shorthairs and Russian Blues to create these brown cats with the gorgeous emerald eyes.
Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography
What happens when you cuddle a Ragdoll? He goes limp with pleasure — just like a ragdoll! These affable cats love humans so much that when they're not curled up in your arms, they're following you from room to room. Their devotion to humans earned them an even funnier nickname: puppycats.
Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography
The word "ragamuffin" is synonymous with "vagabond" — but the Ragamuffin cat is nothing like her breed's name would suggest. In fact, this affectionate kitty loves nothing more than to cuddle with her favorite humans. It turns out that her rather inapt name was originally a joke made by one of the breed's founders. It stuck when the original registry couldn't be changed.
Some breeds get their names in a more personal way: In the mid-1980s, Carol Ann Brewer adopted a few bobtailed, spotted cats with extra toes. She bred one of the polydactyl felines with a neighbor's short-tailed cat and they produced a litter. One of the female kittens had a muted, spotted pattern on her coat, and Brewer decided to keep her and breed her. Can you guess the name of that special little bobtailed kitty? Pixie.
The Abyssinian's name is a bit of a misnomer — the Aby's ancestors didn't hail from Ethiopia, once known as Abyssinia. Instead, the intelligent and athletic feline, who is thought to be one of the oldest cat breeds, likely lived along the coast of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia.
Said to date back to the 18th century or earlier, the Chartreux is a beautiful blue cat with bright orange eyes who was bred by and named after the Carthusian monks in France. Known for its superior mousing skills, the breed helped keep the monasteries free of mice and rats.
The Manx takes his name from Britain's Isle of Man, where he was first found. Legend has it that the breed lost his tail because he was late boarding Noah's Ark and it got slammed in the door. More likely, the breed's taillessness is the result of a genetic mutation, enhanced by centuries of inbreeding on the small island.
The Cymric (pronounced kim-rick) is the longhaired variety of the tailless Manx. Other than their fur length (and breed monikers), the two breeds are identical. The gentle and playful feline takes his name from the Gaelic word for Wales.
You might not be able to own a tiger as a household pet, but thanks to one determined Bengal cat breeder, you can bring home a Toyger — a kitty that sure looks like the lord of the jungle, in miniature.
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