How to Tell If a Kitten Will Have Long Hair

By Jen Davis

If you specifically want a longhair cat, there are several telltale signs you should look for when you are picking out the kitten you want to bring home with you. While some kittens may experience coat changes as they grow up, kittens who appear to be longhair typically will be longhair adults.

Purebred Cats

Specific breeds of cat are exclusively longhair. The simplest and easiest way to guarantee that your kitten will be longhair is to obtain a longhair kitten from a reputable breeder. Longhair breeds include Persians, Maine coons, Himalayans, ragdolls, Siberians, American bobtails and American curls. Any kitten who is registered or eligible for registration as one of these breeds will have long hair as an adult.

DNA Testing

You can have your kitten DNA tested to determine whether or not he will be a longhair or grow up to produce longhair offspring. The average house cat of unknown genetic lineage can be classified as either a domestic shorthair or a domestic longhair. Domestic longhair cats possess a specific gene, fibroblast growth factor 5, which is responsible for determining the length of a cat's coat. According to the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, longhair is a recessive genetic trait. Cats and kittens can be DNA tested to determine whether or not they, or their offspring, are longhair or will be capable of producing offspring with long hair.

Kitten Appearance

You can fairly accurately determine whether or not a kitten will grow up to be longhair by closely examining his appearance. Longhair kittens should appear fluffier than shorthair kittens by the time they are weaned from their mothers. Because longhair kittens can come from a wide assortment of genetic backgrounds, their coat textures and lengths can vary greatly. Longhair kittens generally appear significantly fluffier than their shorthair contemporaries. They are typically soft to the touch and may have long tufts of hair in the area surrounding their ears.

Caring for a Longhair Kitten

Longhair kittens are not well-suited for living outdoors because bits of debris can become tangled in their coats. Longhair cats require regular brushing and grooming. Routine flea prevention is also necessary to keep your cat's thick coat free of fleas. If you live in a hot climate, you need to be aware that your cat's long coat could be uncomfortable for him unless he is kept in a cool, air-conditioned environment. Some owners of longhair cats opt to have their cat's coats cut or shaved during warm months.