Cat Breeds

Don't Shop...Adopt!

With thousands of cats coming into shelters like Cat Haven every year, why not adopt a homeless cat instead of (or as well as!) buying a special breed? If you are buying a specific breed of cat, we highly recommend that you buy from a registered, reputable breeder - some useful breeders' assocation links below:

For a list of over 200 cat breeds, cat breed photos and their personalities see

Cat Breeds Australia - Cat Haven Domestic Cat Types

Domestic short hair (DSH), medium hair (DMH) and long hair (DLH) cats come in many shapes and colours. There are lots of terms used to describe the colour and pattern of a cat’s coat.  Here are some of the more common ones.


Cats can be white all over or have patches of white with other colours.  Some genetic variations of solid white cats can cause deafness but not all white cats are deaf. 


Black cats are the hardest to find homes for – it seems the old superstitions still hang around giving these gorgeous creatures a bad reputation.  Black coats can sometimes have underlying tabby markings and some black cats develop a reddish tinge when exposed to sunshine or as they age.

Grey or Blue 

These terms describe dilute versions of black.

Orange, Ginger or Red  

Cats described as being orange or ginger are technically called red in colour.  The gene for red colouring is sex linked so most red cats are male.  This colour is strongly connected with the tabby pattern.  A solid red coat with no markings at all is rare. 

Cream or Buff or Peach 

These terms describe dilute versions of the red colour.


Solid brown cats are not very common.  In some breeds brown colouring is referred to as chocolate.


This simply means there are two colours like black and white or grey and white. When white markings create a distinctive pattern this might be given a special name for example:

Tuxedo cats have white patches on a black coat which makes them look like they are wearing a tuxedo.

Harlequin cats are mostly white with a few larger patches of colour.  The patches can be a solid colour or a pattern like tabby.

Van cats are all white with just small patches of colour between the ears and on the tail. 

Tricolour or Calico 

Calico cats have three distinct colours: black, orange and white. Dilute calicos are the same, except they are the paler version, so you have grey, peach and white.


Tabby is the most common coat pattern.  There are four main types of tabby pattern.

Mackerel tabbies have narrow stripes that run in parallel a bit like a tiger (which is why some people refer to mackerel tabbies as tiger tabbies).

Classic tabbies have swirling, marbled patterns on their sides.

Spotted tabbies have spots on their sides and belly.  The spots may vary in size.

Ticked tabbies (sometimes called Abyssinian tabby or agouti tabby) don’t have stripes or spots on their bodies but they do have different bands of colour along the hair shaft, with the hair being the lightest or palest by the root and the ends ‘ticked’ darker.

The tabby pattern can be any colour so you can have a ginger tabby, grey tabby, brown tabby and so on.


Torties are black and orange swirled together in a blotchy pattern (sometimes called a brindle pattern). Dilute torties are grey and cream instead of black and orange.


In this pattern, the face, paws and tail (‘points’) are a darker colour than the rest of the body. The points can be various colours -  dark brown points are referred to as ‘seal points’; red points are referred to as ‘flame points’ and tabby points are sometimes called ‘lynx’.