The 10 Oldest Cat Breeds In Existence

| Published on July 12, 2014

Cats have been depicted as pets in paintings as long as 3,600 years ago. Therefore, it’s no surprise that there are some very ancient cat breeds. Have you ever wondered how long some of these felines have been around? Check out our gallery below!

#1 – Turkish Angora

Turkish Angoras are a natural breed of cat, originating in Turkey and being documented as early as the 1600s. In fact, Angoras are believed to be the source of the dominant genes for both white coloration and long coats.


#2 – Chartreux


This breed of cat originated in France and was mentioned in literature for the first time in 1558. There is also a 1747 painting that depicts the breed as a pet, something quite rare for the time period. Chartreuxs are still prized by farmers for their excellent hunting skills.

#3 – Persian


Persians originated in Iran, formerly known as Persia. The first documented ancestors of Persian cats are said to have been imported into Italy in 1620.

#4 – Japanese Bobtail

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Some believe that these short-tailed cats arrived from the Asian continent around 1,000 years ago. In 1701, a German doctor wrote his account of the animals, plants, and landscape of Japan and mentioned this breed to be the only one kept as pets.

Photo by Mike Lawson on Flickr.

#5 – Siberian Cat


The Siberian Cat, or Siberian Forest Cat, originated in Russia centuries ago. While the breed was first mentioned in 1871, it is believed to be one of the ancestors of all modern long-haired cat breeds.

#6 – Abyssinian


There is some debate as to where the Abyssinian originated, but genetic research suggests it comes from Egypt. The modern version of the breed is believed to have come from a single kitten taken from Alexandria to England in 1868.

#7 – Siamese


This unique feline originated in Siam, now known as Thailand. Similar looking cats from Siam were illustrated and written about in manuscripts known as “Tamra Maew,” or “Cat Poems.” These manuscripts are said to have been written from 1350 to 1767 AD.

#8 – Korat


Another breed from Thailand, the Korat is also thought to have been referenced in the “Tamra Maew,” and first appeared in Britain in 1889.

#9 – Manx


This tailless breed originated in the Isle of Man, and have been exhibited in cat shows as early as the 1800s. In fact, the first official breed standard was created in 1903.

Photo by BEV Norton on Flickr.

#10 – Norwegian Forest Cat


Native to Northern Europe, this breed is said to have originated from short-haired cats brought to Norway by the British around 1000 AD. Mixed with long-haired cats imported by Crusaders, these ancestors evolved to create the Norwegian Forest Cat as we know it today.

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