We don’t see many feral cats with long fur

Why don’t we see many feral cats with long fur? It is about functionality. The suggested answer is that long fur is unsuited in most places because it requires human attention to keep it in good condition. Without human intervention the skin can become infested and infected as it becomes matted. Another less important issue is that the cat will overheat in warm climates.

3 cats in a cat colony
3 cats in a cat colony. Photo: Pixabay.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cats have medium-longhaired coats. Before they became pedigree cats, they were barn cats and moggies respectively. Chilly Norway has a climate suited to a random bred outside cat with longer fur. It makes sense. Both these cats need to be groomed by their human caregivers as domestic cat companions, often as full-time indoor cats in centrally heated homes. Under these circumstances the long fur is purely decorative as some people like longhaired cats.

A study of Latin American cats indicated that the preference of a significant section of cat owners for longhaired cats is a strong factor in their continued existence when otherwise they’d fade out. The climate is a lesser factor. This is a case of general human intervention affecting the anatomy of cats.

ASSOCIATED: Why do feral cats not meow?

In the wild, the only time we see wild cats with thick coats is when they have to have them to survive. I am thinking for instance of Pallas’s cat and the snow leopard as two good examples.

You’ll never see a feral cat with fur the length of the Persian as the coat is the result of artificial selection by breeders. This popular cat breed needs daily grooming I’d suggest to ensure the cat does not create a health problem through matting. You’ll see some horrors stories of matted coats.

I am sure that you know that cats cannot sweat through their coats. They can only control their body temperature by sweating through their paw pads and by panting. Thick, luxurious fur is attractive to many but it has an unwanted functionality for indoor cats like the Persian.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

1 thought on “We don’t see many feral cats with long fur”

  1. Not alway’s true,I had a long haired black/White feral cat whom I called scroungy and sadly several winters ago he just disappeared but on a happy note I have his daughter ‘Innis’ and she is a mirror of him,I miss him terribly but tis the way of ferals,they come and go but he always had a warm cat house and plenty of food and alot of love from me,the photo is him and his daughter.

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