Ancient Cat Breeds That Are Still Here Today

When it comes to cats, there are over 70 recognized cat breeds that are recognized today. But, not all of these cat breeds came from selective breeding. In fact, some of these recognized cat breeds have been around for centuries, and there is a lot of detailed information through history about them that tells of their journey to modern times. Some of these ancient cat breeds might not surprise you with their long history in the cat world, but you’ll be surprised to learn about a few of the ones on this list you may not have known. Keep reading to discover the oldest cat breeds in existence that are still here today.

The Siamese

These blue-eyed beauties have evolved over centuries. And there are two distinct looks of the breed, one with a thinner, longer face, known as the traditional Siamese look. Native to Thailand, which was formerly known as Siam, these cats are a favorite among many cat lovers across the globe. Known for their chatty nature, ballerina-like frames, and dazzling color points, it is believed that the first Siamese cats arrived in Europe as a gift from the King of Siam in the late 1800s.

These “Royal Cats of Siam” were held in high regard and were the preferred palace pet of choice for much of the royal family. And, it’s believed that they were the only ones permitted to own one of these adored kitties. All Siamese kittens are born white or cream-colored, and their distinct color points will be fully revealed by their first birthday.

The Turkish Van

If there’s one thing you might know already about Turkish cats, it’s that these kitties don’t shy away from water. And, there’s a reason, as these cats were surrounded by water when they were first domesticated. Many ancient Turkish Van cats enjoyed a dip in Lake Van because they would hunt for fish or use the lake as a means to reach the other side of the land they wanted to explore.

These large, muscular cats have bodies that enable them to swim with ease, and if you were to have one today, it’s very likely that they would still retain their natural affinity for all things water. These cats have an interesting look, with bodies that are mostly white, patches of color on their ears, and a tail which is typically orange with raccoon-like rings on them. The term “Van” in this ancient cat breed’s name refers to its countries of origin, which are Iraq, and Iran, as well as portions of Turkey as well as the Soviet Union.

When tracing the roots of Turkish Van cats, it’s believed that these cats have been around for nearly five thousand years. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the first Turkish Van cat was imported to Europe, and until the 1970s when this ancient cat breed made its way to the US.

The Turkish Angora

Another beautiful Turkish cat on our list of ancient cat breeds that are still here today is the Turkish Angora. The Turkish Angora cat is an ancient breed that originated in the Ankara province of Turkey. These cats were highly prized for their striking appearance, with their silky white coats and striking blue or green eyes.

The exact origins of the Turkish Angora cat are not clear, but they are believed to have been bred for centuries in Turkey. The breed was first introduced to Europe in the 16th century and became popular among cat enthusiasts for their beauty and intelligence.

In the 1900s, the breed faced a decline in Turkey due to a lack of interest in preserving the breed, but in the 1960s, a breeding program was established to preserve the breed’s unique characteristics. The Turkish Angora was also introduced to the United States in the 1950s and gained recognition by cat associations.

In recent years, the Turkish Angora has gained popularity as a companion cat around the world. However, because the breed is relatively rare, responsible breeding practices are important to maintain the health and genetic diversity of the breed. In addition, the Turkish Angora is recognized as a national treasure in Turkey and is protected by law.

Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau is a lovely spotted cat breed that’s been in existence for over 3,000 years. Their name pays homage to their Egyptian roots, and these rare spotted cats aren’t a cat you’ll see often. This naturally occurring cat breed is long and lean in stature and is remarked for its athleticism. In fact, these cats are some of the fastest domesticated cats that there are.

The Egyptian Mau is known as being a highly social cat breed that craves attention and interaction with those that they care about, four-legged or two-legged family included. It is believed that the Egyptian Mau cat may be related to a spotted subspecies of the African Wild Cat.

It is believed that these stunning felines were once worshipped by ancient pharaohs, and it should be said that these are the only naturally occurring domesticated cat breed, as the spotted Bengal cat breed is not naturally occurring but comes as a result of human crossbreeding with wild cats.


This flat-faced cat breed has been around for so long, that the origin of its roots is somewhat of a mystery. The history of Persian cats can be traced back to ancient Persia, now modern-day Iran. These beautiful felines were highly prized for their luxurious coats and friendly dispositions, and they were often kept as pets by the wealthy and nobility.

It is believed that Persian cats were brought to Europe in the 17th century by traders and explorers, and they quickly became popular among cat enthusiasts. Breeders began selectively breeding Persians to produce a variety of colors and patterns, including solid white, black, blue, cream, and tabby.

In the late 19th century, Persians were imported to the United States, where they gained widespread popularity and were recognized by cat associations. However, the breeding practices used to create the desired appearance of the Persian cat also led to health issues, such as respiratory problems and eye disorders.

Today, Persian cats are still a popular breed around the world, known for their beautiful long hair, gentle temperament, and loving personalities. However, responsible breeding practices and careful health management are important to maintain the well-being of these beloved felines.

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