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6 Disney Cat Breeds

If there is something (or someone) that is truly capable of conquering the world without us even realizing it (and they have probably already done so, and we haven’t realized it yet), it’s the cat.

Whether long-haired or short-haired, small or gigantic like the Maine Coon, colorful, white, black, or spotted, cats have managed to become the kings and queens of the world without even making an effort. Some time ago, I had the opportunity to give a brief overview of some dog breeds in the movies “101 Dalmatians” and “Lady and the Tramp” (you can find those articles here and here), could I not do the same thing with cats? Dogs and cats have always competed for world domination, but there is no doubt that cats manage to win it by a wide margin. After all, they were adored by the ancient Egyptians, what else can we say? And speaking of cats, ancient Egyptians, and history, if you want to learn more about it, we recommend an old article of ours where we talk about it, which you can read here (it’s in Italian but we promise we will translate it soon).

As for the rest, from the cats in “The Aristocats” to the old and wicked Lucifer, and including Figaro and the Cheshire Cat, there is a wide range of choices. For now, I will only list 6 breeds, reserving the right to expand the list in the future. Disney cats are numerous, and if we were to mention all of them, we would end up talking about them for a good two days. Today, I will focus on the most well-known ones.

1 – The Turkish Angora

“Your eyes are like sapphires sparkling so bright. They make the morning radiant and light.”

I don’t know about you, but it’s impossible not to agree with Thomas O’Malley when looking at the regality of Duchess and her soft and fluffy beloved kittens. Duchess, Marie, Toulouse, Berlioz, Scat Cat, and possibly even Pinocchio’s Figaro are all likely Turkish Angora cats.

But what kind of cat is the Turkish Angora?

Well, the Turkish Angora cat is a true aristocat. Duchess and her kittens could only belong to a more aristocratic and noble breed than this. The term “Angora” comes from Ankara, an ancient city in Anatolia that is now the capital of Turkey. The Turkish Angora is a Turkish cat with ancient origins. It is believed to have been imported to Turkey long ago by the Tartars and is now considered a true national treasure.

It has a long body and a soft, silky coat of medium length. Most of these cats are white like the elegant Duchess, but they come in various colors, sometimes even mixed (I will explain more about cats with multi-colored coats later). In Europe, this noble-looking cat was introduced in the 17th century when several specimens were imported. And guess where it was introduced to a greater extent? Yes, in France, where it became a true star of high society at that time, dominating the salons of the nobility with its aristocratic coat. From there, it began to be bred on a large scale, eventually becoming the ancestor of many subsequent long-haired cats, including the Persian cat, which descends directly from the Angora cat. For this reason, quite often, all long-haired and semi-longhaired cats whose origins were not well known started to be incorrectly referred to as Angora cats, risking the loss of the true Turkish Angora cat’s trace. It was thanks to the intervention of the Ankara Zoo that the original breed was preserved. The zoo kept some original specimens, preventing their export as they were considered a national heritage, thus preserving this type of cat known today as the Turkish Angora cat.

As for their personality, the Turkish Angora cat is very affectionate, cuddly, and loyal to its owner. At the same time, it is also very dynamic and lively, as it loves to play and climb. In short, it is like a cute, noble-disguised mini cheetah.

Thomas O’Malley, European cat or Tabby cat?

When we talk about our Thomas O’ Malley the topic of cat breeds becomes tricky. Therefore, a small clarification is needed for the chapter on him. Our favorite tomcat is described as a simple street cat, and this is where things get complicated. A stray cat can belong to multiple types of breeds, so how do we determine what breed Thomas O’Malley is? While for many other Disney cats, with some research, we can discover which cat breed inspired the Disney artists in drawing our feline friends, with Thomas and others, it’s more of an intuitive process. Thus, after delving deep into the variety of feline breeds, where I risked getting confused between domestic cats, European cats, and colorful cats, I have concluded that Thomas is likely either a European cat or Tabby cat, two types of cats that are often confused. However, while the European cat is an officially recognized breed, the Tabby cat is not officially classified as such.

tuxedo cat
Tuxedo Cat – p.d.

Moreover, Thomas is almost certainly also a tuxedo cat. The term “tuxedo” refers to the coat pattern rather than the breed itself. A tuxedo cat has a coat with two or more different colors, just like Thomas, who has an orange coat but white on the face, belly, and paws. Cats with this type of coat pattern can belong to various breeds. Even Angora cats can be tuxedo cats (and if you notice, some of the aforementioned Disney cats are indeed tuxedo cats).

However, since talking and reading about cats is always enjoyable, I will talk about both the Tabby and the European breeds, so we are all happier.

2 – Tabby Cat 

In addition to Thomas O’Malley, likely, the lovable and dutiful Sergeant Tibbs and the sweet Oliver from Oliver & Company (possibly even Rufus from “The Rescuers” and Peppo, the Italian cat from Scat Cat’s gang) could also be Tabby cats.

The Tabby cat, in reality, is not officially classified as a distinct breed today, as I mentioned earlier. However, unofficially, the term is used to refer to the most common domestic cats found in our homes and stray cats. They are essentially mixed-breed cats, many of which have resulted from various crossbreeding between different cat types. This is why they are often not considered a specific breed, although they still possess specific characteristics. They are agile and resilient cats that adapt to any lifestyle, whether in the countryside or the city (just like Thomas O’Malley). They are called also “Soriano Cats”. The term “Soriano” seems to derive from Soria, an ancient name for Syria, where cats of this type were common. In English, they are called Tabby cats; the term Tabby is believed to come from Attabi, a region in Iraq where a fabric was produced that had the same kind of stripes and coloration resembling the coat colors of these cats.

Most Tabby cats have striped coats, but believe me when I say that there are numerous coat colorations, sometimes even with two or three different colors. As for their temperament, they are very independent cats with the typical personality you would expect from a cat. They are clever, well aware of their superiority over you, and, above all, they do not need to go out of their way to prove it!

3 – European Cat

european cat
European cat – wikicommons – Di Nick.mon – Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0

The European cat, although often confused with the Tabby cat, actually has a much older and specific history. The breed was officially recognized only in 1983, but it is believed to be a descendant of the African cat and was venerated as a deity in ancient Egypt. So, if you have a European cat at home, know that you are dealing with the descendant of a god, so act accordingly. From those distant ancient lands, it then arrived in Portugal, where it interbred with the European wildcat, giving rise to the European cat we know today. The Romans also contributed to its spread across the continent during their expansion, reaching as far as England. Throughout history, it didn’t always have a happy existence. During the Middle Ages, these cats were often considered the embodiment of the devil and were burned.

As for their temperament, European cats are very lively, playful, and highly intelligent. Unlike Tabby cats, they are very affectionate, and once they have chosen their favorite humans in a family, they establish an unbreakable bond with them.

4- Siamese Cat 

Both the piano-playing cat from Scat Cat’s band and the two villainous cats from Lady and the Tramp belong to the Siamese cat breed.

The Siamese cat is a type of short-haired cat originating from Asia, specifically Thailand (whose official name was Siam until 1939). They were first exported from their homeland to the United States in 1878 and to the United Kingdom in 1884. The first Siamese cat enthusiasts club was established in the UK in 1902. In general, Siamese cats are very attached to their human family and have a sociable and affectionate nature, unlike other types of cats. They are fond of children and can be very playful.

5 – Siberian Cat 

The first to mention belonging to this breed is undoubtedly him, the quintessential villainous cat and one of the first to make a worthy appearance in the Disney universe—we’re talking about Lucifer! Besides him, perhaps Billy Boss, the Russian cat who plays the contrabass in Scat Cat’s band, bears some resemblance to this breed.

Speaking of Lucifer, let me share an interesting tidbit: it is said that Ward Kimball (one of the Nine Old Men, the legendary Disney animators) had a beautiful Siberian cat named Feetsy, and it was Feetsy who served as the inspiration for Ward Kimball to draw Lucifer. Siberian cats originate from Russia and are believed to be the ancestors of many magnificent long-haired breeds. According to studies, they are thought to have originated from the crossbreeding of wild forest cats and domestic cats. As the stories go, Russians adored them, and farmers often used them as a weapon against mice in their granaries. Additionally, these cats appear in many Russian children’s stories. Today, the Siberian cat is one of the quintessential national cats of Russia. They are very sociable and energetic, playful and curious (and one cannot deny that Lucifer embodies curiosity, except perhaps for the energetic part, of course).

6 – British Shorthair 

It seems that for the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, the artists drew inspiration from both Lucifer’s features and a real existing breed of cat that inhabits Britain, from which it also takes its name: I’m talking about the British Shorthair, a typical domestic cat breed of the English countryside!

If you observe closely, the large eyes, round face, and body are truly reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat (especially the more recent live-action films). Like other breeds, this one also has ancient roots. Studies trace these cats back to ancient Rome! It is believed that the Romans brought the ancestors of this cat breed to the lands of Britain, where they eventually interbred with local cats, giving rise to the modern-day British Shorthair. It was in Britain that they became important as mouse hunters. In late 1871, the British Shorthair made its first appearance in a cat show in England, and its popularity grew in the following years. It faced the risk of extinction during the two World Wars, but fortunately, it was saved thanks to specific breeding programs.

As for their character, British Shorthairs are calm and affectionate cats. They enjoy companionship but, at the same time, may not be overly fond of human contact. They are very calm and tranquil cats, which makes them a perfect inspiration for our favorite Cheshire Cat! That being said, dear friends, we will pause here for now! As you may have noticed, there are still many Disney feline characters missing from the list. I have mentioned the most important and well-known ones so far, but in the coming times, I will gradually expand the list of our feline (semi-deity) friends!

In the meantime, if there’s any particular cat among these big cats that you prefer, let us know on our social channels! And if you also have a beautiful fluffy cat that resembles Disney characters in appearance or character, be sure to share your stories with us!