The Dutch Cats of New York City
New York City Cats - Dutch Cats! Photo by dandeluca (Flickr)
When people move home they take their cat companion. That has been going on for thousands of years. It is how the domestic cat has spread throughout the world. For example, the Romans did quite a bit of empire building and moving which meant exporting the domestic cat far and wide. The first domestic cats of Britain where Roman cats.
There is an interesting anomaly in respect of the domestic cats of New England and New York City. New England was settled by English colonists. They brought their cats with them. The outcome is that the genetic makeup or profile (genotype) of the cats of New England are similar to those of England. I guess that makes sense. The cats of New England also have similar genotypes. If you keep a moggie in New England your cat has some English blood in her!
Modified Wikipedia Commons image, created by MissMJ.
The cats of the city of New York, however are different. You may know that New York was once called "New Holland". The city was founded by the Dutch in 1626. It was a Dutch colony until taken over by the Brits later in the 1600s. As can be expected the cats of New York have a close genetic affinity with the cats of Amsterdam in Holland. There are four New England cat populations that are similar to the cats of NY, however.
The people of New York have Dutch cats! Apparently, there are fewer ginger, tortoiseshell, calico (tortoiseshell and white) and long haired cats in New York than in the surrounding areas. There are more piebald cats in New York than in neighbouring areas. Piebald cats are solid colour and white cats. And there are no polydactyl cats in New York City. Is that true? Interestingly just down the coast in Maine the Maine Coon that originates there is known to be predisposed to polydactylism (more than the usual number of toes). This originates in the tendency of sailors to select polydactyl ships cats because they believed that they could walk on deck better and catch prey more efficiently. It seems odd that there are no polydactyl cats in NY because ships must have landed there.