If there's any kind of cuteness scale, kittens are at the top. Kittens are adorable doing just about anything, but especially when they're doing something for the first time. Kittens grow fast, and if you want a kitten that grows up to have certain characteristics, like long hair, there are some ways to tell before you bring him home.
How to Tell If a Kitten Will Have Long Hair
Long-haired kittens are especially adorable. Psychology Today says that stroking their soft fur is relaxing in a way that is akin to meditation. Long-haired cats certainly have a higher soft fur-to-body ratio.
We can't help but love them
Human brains are wired to take care of infants; it's just a genetic fact that forms the basis of our survival as a species. If humans didn't take care of babies, our species would not survive for very long. According to New Atlas, we think of human babies and their big eyes, small faces, and tiny hands as irresistibly cute so we don't ignore them. Kittens and their big eyes, squeaky voices, soft fur, and tiny paws make us feel the same way.
Will my kitten be short- or long-haired?
If you don't know the breed of your cat, see if you can determine anything about his parentage. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says a cat's genes determine what its hair will look like because the gene carrying the long hair trait in cats is recessive. When a short-haired cat mates with a long-haired cat, the result will only be short-haired kittens. However, if those short-haired kittens were to mate with each other or with another cat known to be a longhair, some long-haired kittens would be born.
Traits of long-haired cats.
The coats of long-hair cats are long and fluffy. That's just one trait of long-haired cats given by VCA Hospitals. The coat color of long-hair cats varies quite a bit but is often smoke-colored, or in a tabby pattern that is usually striped but also whorls of color, or tortoise-shell pattern, which is a tabby pattern but in oranges, blacks, and cream colors.
Long-haired cats have hair that is generally two-to-six inches long. If your kitten has ear tufts, that could be a sign that she is a long-hair. Also look for tufts on the bottom of her paws. Ancestors of today's long-haired cats probably had longer tufts of fur covering their feet to help them survive in cold climates. If your kitten has paw tufts, he will likely grow up to have long fur.
VCA Hospitals also notes that the long-haired cat is noted for its hunting skills. So while your long-hair kitten will grow up to be just like any other cat, you can expect an increased desire to hunt.
Care for your long-haired cat
Mercola says to expect to help your long-haired cat a little more in the grooming department than you would with a short-haired pet. But the amount of grooming that your cat will need can vary a lot based on the type of hair they have and how well they do their own grooming.
The softer, silkier, and longer the hair, the more he will need help keeping that beautiful hair tangle-free. Get a pet grooming brush and spend some time each day keeping his hair silky smooth. It'll be good bonding time, and you can remove extra hair, which may also help keep down the development of hairballs that can get stuck in his throat.
If your cat's fur does get matted, resist the urge to cut the furballs out. You could inadvertently cut her tender skin. Instead, see your vet or groomer for professional help with her matted fur.