Philippines Traditional Persian Tortoiseshell Cat

It is nice and unusual to be contacted by cat lovers and caretakers from countries other than those living in the West (essentially Europe and North America). On this occasion Marilen Alcebar from the Philippines contacted me about her cat. She wanted to know what breed she was. Her cat’s name is Penelope.

I thought that Penelope looks sufficiently special and interesting to do a short post about her and I have also created a simple collage image to show her and the place where she lives. I’d like the input of anyone who knows the cat breeds better than me. I don’t consider myself an expert but I do know cats pretty well.

Philippines Tortoiseshell Traditional Persian Cat

Philippines Tortoiseshell Traditional Persian Cat

Marilen says she bought Penelope. The seller told her that she is a Persian cat. My initial impression is that Penelope has been selectively bred and therefore the seller is a breeder

This is my opinion……I am open to correction and welcome it in fact.

Asian Persians

The Persian cat is one of the first breeds of cat in the cat fancy. It is one of the founding breeds. For this reason you’ll find Persian cats in Asia and other parts of the world where there are few purebred cats. The most common purebred cat in India is the Persian. They are often traditional Persians and sometimes what Indians called “punch-face Persians” (contemporary flat-faced Persians). This general background information helps me form my view that Penelope is a traditional Persian cat.


She also has a striking blaze (sharply demarcated line of fur color) on her face. This is a classic tortoiseshell blaze. She has an interesting and unusual tortoiseshell coat. The orange pigment is very dilute and almost “stains” the coat, while the black sections of fur have a “smoke” effect. “Smoke” is a type of cat coat in the cat fancy.

There may be some white in the coat too but I don’t think that qualifies to call Penelope a tortoiseshell-and-white (calico). Also the coat is very long. It is the length of coat that we see on highly bred Western flat-faced Persian cats.


The face is very typical (for me) of a modern traditional Persian cats. The face is quite square and solid. Going back 100 years the faces were more conventional or like a random bred cat’s face. This change is due to selective breeding.


The big issue is pedigree. In Western countries a cat cannot strictly be called a purebred cat or a cat of a certain cat breed without a pedigree. A pedigree is a family tree going back four years or more. With the family tree you can tell if a cat is purebred because the names of all the cats in the family tree will be listed and recorded at a cat association or registry. The records are then in order.

In Asia, or at least in India, purebred cats do not have pedigrees. You have to take the word of the owner/seller/breeder that the cat is a purebred. Despite that uncertainty, they almost certainly are purebred. And on appearance you get the impression that these cats are purebred. But normally there are no cat association records.

The lack of pedigree is a weakness. When a person buys a cat of a certain cat breed in Western countries you will receive a certificate. I have not seen one of these documents but it must confirm that the cat in question is certified purebred and registered at a cat association. This allows the buyer to know for sure that what they believe they are buying is in fact what they are buying; provided the certificate is genuine.

Just because there is no pedigree it does not mean that Penelope is not purebred and not Persian. It just means that by Western standards we cannot say that Penelope is a Persian cat. {Note: I have presumed there is no pedigree because Marilen is asking about her cat}


Penelope is a traditional Persian tortoiseshell cat with a very interesting coat pattern.

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Philippines Traditional Persian Tortoiseshell Cat — 8 Comments

    • Definitely the diva – good observation. I hope you agree, Dan, that she looks like a purebred. You don’t get that sort of coat length and overall appearance randomly.

  1. Excellent colouration, especially the face and Penelope is definitely a “Traditional Persian Cat” without a pedigree certificate, akin to all Persian cats in India. So , even in the Philippines there seems to be no registered Cat club akin to India.Just happened to see the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love” and have been surprised of the popularity of the Traditional Persian cat in the Film franchisee. The criminal organization “Spectre” always portrays its villain petting a Traditional Persian cat in most earlier James.Bond Movies.What surprises me most is the quiet, very docile Traditional Persian Cat being always portrayed as the villains companion pet, definitely not a Pit-Bull terrier of the Cat world in terms of ferocity and temperament.

  2. Michael,

    Penelope is beautiful – love the smoke effect on her coat.

    She has lots of colors and if she had a large litter, her kittens would probably come in quite the assortment of colors and patterns.

    She looks at least part Persian. I don’t know enough about the breed to assert a percentage amount.

    Think her face is pug enough?

    Thanx for the beautiful pictures.

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

  3. Wow she really is pretty and her nose is not so over the top stubby, but just nice the way it is. She still has a normal profile and it doesn’t look at all unhealthy. If I had a Persian this would be the kind I would want. She really is lovely looking – very nice all around.

  4. Gorgeous Persian & coloring is truly amazing, not a random bred cat at all.
    A real diva, a gem to behold, precious! Enjoy many years with her, please make her (if she’s not yet) an inside cat.
    Southeast Arizona (USA)

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