Domestic Longhairs

The Domestic Longhair is not a breed for the faint of heart! They have long, fluffy fur that requires daily brushing. Nail trimming will also be needed on a weekly basis. In addition, as the cat ages, shampooing may be required. In short, this breed has high grooming needs, yet moderate attention requirements. 

Their temperament can vary from cat to cat and each has its own personality, the variability stemming from a diverse gene pool. Your Domestic Longhair may be affectionate or independent, quiet or vocal, and relaxed or energetic.

All of them, however, are quite intelligent and affectionate and will get along with both family and strangers. This is an indoor breed with a requirement for special care being paid to ensure proper hydration. These cats are relatives of the Domestic Shorthair and do not hold a purebred status. Rather, they fall into the Household Pet category. 

The breed is suitable for adults, children, and families.

a domestic longhair laying outside in the grass

Domestic Longhairs Information

  • Average Height: 8 to 12 inches
  • Average Length: Medium Length
  • Average Weight: 8 to 20 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium to long length
  • Coat Appearance: The have a long, dense, and fluffy fur
  • Coat Colors: Their long fur comes in all varieties of patterns and colors – solid, bicolor, or tricolor; with or without markings.
  • Grooming Needs: High
  • Shedding: Moderate shedding
  • Brushing Requirements: They should be brushed daily
  • Sensitive to Touch: With family fine but not so much with strangers
  • Excessive Meow: Some can be calm and some vocal
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: Moderate
  • Good Pet: Yes, overall they are friendly and calm
  • Safe with Children: With training, yes!
  • Good with Other Cats: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Cat Owners: Yes but high grooming needs could be a concern. 
  • Exercise Needs: Medium need
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: They are mostly healthy and most cats do not seem to have any hereditary diseases or genetic conditions.
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 12 to 18 years
a tabby domestic longhair laying in bed

Physical Appearance of Domestic Longhairs

Just like their shorthair counterparts, the Domestic Longhair can come in all kinds of appearances. Some can look similar to other feline breeds like the Maine Coon, American Longhair, or British Longhair. This is just a resemblance because of the genetic characteristics inherited by their ancestors. Over the years, these cats have been bred by many breeders to maintain the long and fluffy fur.

The Domestic Longhair is basically a Domestic Shorthair with a fancier fur. They have a medium to long length fur that is thick and fluffy. Their fur can grow up to 3 inches long, though most will be a little shorter than this.  

These cats also come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Most have short legs and a medium-length tail. The eyes of the cats can come in several colors.

The color of the fur varies and can come in several patterns. Some popular patterns are tuxedo, calico, tabby, tortoiseshell, and tabby. The color can be a solid, bicolor, or tricolor that may or may not have markings.

Temperament of Domestic Longhairs

These cats can have varied temperaments. The fact that they have a diverse gene pool results in them having different personalities. Some can be quiet and some vocal with the majority being talkative with their owners. They can be affectionate or independent but generally most are affectionate towards the owners. But they all tend to be very playful when they are young.

Overall, they are loyal and friendly with the family members. These cats are intelligent and smart. Some cats are relaxed, some will have lots of energy but they mostly seem to be more active. Most Domestic Longhair can usually get along really well with other pets and strangers. 

Training a Domestic Longhair

These cats are intelligent and easy to train. As long as you have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside you should have no problems with them using it.  Just remember to keep it clean as this is the main reason why a cat may not use the litter box.

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but do not punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they use the litter box. This will help them to understand what kind of behavior is expected of them. 

To take care of their scratching habits, set up scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or any other object, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. This will take care of their scratching habits and also prevent damage to your furniture. It may take time for them to get used to it in the beginning but eventually, they will learn.

If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets.  After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, observe their behavior.  If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in and tell them no.  You want to do this before an existing pet tells the new one for you.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. Make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully will do it more frequently.

a cute kitten domestic longhair
a domestic longhair laying down and looking up

Their Compatibility with Children

Most Domestic Longhairs are friendly and love to spend time with children. This breed has a slight preference to being held.  So while more than half like it, it’s still quite common to find many of this breed which don’t care for it.

If you happen to get one that does not like being held you may need to remind your children of this to avoid having a cat that ends up avoiding the kids.  Because this breed is fairly forgiving you really should not have any long term issues even if the children repeatedly do some things it doesn’t like.  Fortunately the Longhairs cats are generally not aggressive towards children. 

You should teach your kids how to hold and behave with them. This will help the cats to get along better with children. Teach your kids not to touch or pet the cats when they are eating. Until you know how they will behave around each other it is often a good idea to have someone to keep an eye on them when they are together. This will reduce the chance of accidents from happening.

Best Climate for Domestic Longhairs

Like their cousins, the Domestic Shorthair, these cats are also most comfortable at room temperature (65-75 degrees). The long fur on the cats is designed to withstand cold temperatures. This allows them to better adapt to living in colder areas. 

Always have lots of water available for the cats to drink, especially if you live in hot areas. This will help them stay cool and keep them hydrated.

The Attention a Domestic Longhair Needs

These may need low to moderate attention from the owners. Many enjoy being lap cats where they will sit beside you and hope you will give them some affection.  Usually they can be coaxed into playing if you have a toy they enjoy.

But because this is a mutt breed, the most we can say about them are generalities.  It is possible that yours may be the one that likes to quietly observe the family from the edge of a room.  It is impossible to tell which kind you have before you bring them home and spend some time with them.

However, even the most antisocial cats usually still love to play with their owners if you provide them something interesting to play with.  Even if they don’t want to play with you, giving them a puzzle game where the reward is a treat should still keep them in a good mood and stimulate their mind.

Health Issues

The most common health condition is periodontal disease. It is a tooth and gum disease that results when the plaque build-up in the mouth enters the bloodstream. This can cause them to have liver and kidney diseases. Regularly brushing their teeth can help to maintain good dental hygiene and prevent the cats from having this disease.

Other general diseases that Domestic Longhair can have include arthritis, upper respiratory infections, cancer, kidney diseases, and skin conditions. 

Due to their mixed breeding, most cats do not have any hereditary or genetic conditions. This allows them to live healthily with a lifespan of between 12 to 18 years. 

Spaying or neutering the cat can help to further extend the lifespan. This is because it greatly reduces the chances of them developing cancers, or seeking out other cats to breed.  Having female cats go into heat twice a year is also very stressful for their body.  So if you don’t plan to breed them, get them fixed.
a beautiful white domestic longhair

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Domestic Longhair cats can have moderate to high grooming needs. This is because of their long and fluffy fur. This cat should be brushed daily.  This will help to keep their fur from tangles as well as keep it looking nice. This will also lessen the chances of them having hairballs. We suggest using a bristle brush to comb them. 

If your Domestic Longhair has a dense fur under their tail, it can have bits of poop stuck to it. Use water to gently clean the fur. Keep in mind that this is a sensitive spot here so try to be as gentle as possible.  

As the cat ages they may not clean themself as often or as well.  You may have to bathe them once a month to prevent the fur from becoming excessively oily. Use only a high-quality animal shampoo to bathe them.

Cats are known to have teary eyes. To take care of this, wipe the area around the eyes as needed with a cotton cloth. This will help to keep the area clean of stains.

Trim their nails once every week. This will prevent damage to your furniture and also prevent the cats from accidentally hurting anyone while playing with them.  This should also greatly minimize the amount that they try to claw your furniture.  

Check the ears of your Domestic Longhair every week for wax build-up. If there is any wax, use, use a wet cotton cloth to gently clean only the visible part of the ears.

Each week have a look at their paws, eyes, ears, and the skin under the dense fur once. This will help to identify any signs of redness or infection. Take them to the vet if you see any signs of infection. 

Feeding A Domestic Longhair

As with everything else, there is no specific meal size for the Domestic Longhair. However, you should serve them between ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality cat food that should be divided into two meals. 

The exact meal size will depend upon the activities that your cat does during the day. A high energy cat who spends a lot of time playing would need more food than a low energy cat who prefers to relax. Domestic Longhair have a tendency to easily gain weight, so you should not overfeed them or serve them table scraps. 

The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you serve has the necessary nutrients.

Related Questions:

How did the Domestic Longhair Originate?

It is believed that the Domestic Longhair are descendants of the Domestic Shorthair. They were a result of a spontaneous mutation where the fur grew longer and fuller. This allowed the cats to stay warm in icy cold temperatures of Russia, Turkey, and Persia. Just like the Domestic Shorthair, the long fur cats were often brought aboard ships to help control the rodent population. This eventually resulted in them being brought to reaching North America.

a large pile of multi colored cat food

Can a domestic shorthair produce a domestic longhair?

An interesting thing to note is that a Domestic Shorthair can produce a Domestic Longhair and vice versa. But the gene of long fur in Domestic Shorthair is recessive and only 1 in 10 will be born with longer fur. 

Is the Domestic Longhair a recognized breed by the cat associations?

No, just like the Domestic Shorthair, the Domestic Longhair is not recognized as a unique breed by the Cat Fanciers Association. They are also put under the Household Pet category by the association. It is a category in which cats are combined into a single group without any distinction based on fur length, age, color, or sex.

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