Living: Top Cats: Breeds Apart

From the cameo-smoke Maine Coon to the lavender-silver . Oriental Shorthair, there are approximately 50 hue and pattern variations of fur among the 33 breeds recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association. But differences other than the decorative are important to prospective owners. Personality, price, size and even voice guide selection. The following short alphabetical catalogue of standard and exotic breeds demonstrates the spectrum.

Probably the first domestic to appear in a painting (circa 2000 B.C., Egypt), the ruddy-coated Abyssinian is a playful and spirited shorthair. It is also one of the most expensive: a pet-quality red Aby kitten can cost $800, and...

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