You’re set on getting a cat but you’re not sure whether to get a longhaired or a shorthaired cat. In general, a longhaired cat whether pedigree or mongrel — will require much more grooming, and probably bathing, too, than a shorthaired one, and so will demand considerably more time and dedication from a devoted owner who has plenty of time at his or her disposal. A longhaired cat is also likely to moult more around the house.
A longhaired cat can be a very beautiful animal, but — make no mistake — it is likely to cause a lot more mess in the house than a shorthaired cat and is also much more trouble to groom.
You’ve decided to get a cat but you don’t know whether you’d be better off with a longhaired or shorthaired cat. No one can answer this question other than you. Your decision will depend on personal taste, your reasons for having a cat, and the time you have at your disposal to devote to the needs of your cat.
Compared to a longhaired cat, a shorthaired animal is more likely to be able to groom itself efficiently, without much extra help from you.
The coat of a longhaired cat is often its owner’s pride and joy, and it undoubtedly looks very glamourous. There are, however, two major disadvantages to its gorgeous coat, which are that it makes a lot more mess in the house and demands to be groomed daily, and this means one or two sessions lasting between 15 and 30 minutes every day.
In the wild, a longhaired cat moults only in the winter, but the artificially lit and heated environment of the domestic cat means that it moults all year round. If a longhaired cat isn’t groomed regularly, its coat will mat. If the matted balls of fur aren’t dealt with promptly, they become painful for the cat and you may have to ask the vet to shave them off under anaesthetic.
Loose fur is also likely to cause regular fur balls to develop in the cat’s stomach. These can eventually obstruct a cat’s bowel, which will probably require veterinary treatment.
A shorthaired cat does not require daily grooming, partly because its coat is so much easier to manage and partly because it will be better at grooming itself. Shorthaired cats actually have longer tongues than longhairs, which means that they are more efficient self-groomers.
For a shorthaired cat, two half-hour grooming sessions a week are usually sufficient. So your decision – whether to get a longhair or a shorthair – will also depend on how much time you have available, and on how much you actually enjoy grooming your cat yourself. For some people, grooming a cat is a hobby and is part of the joy of owning a cat.
The hairs that come from black and dark-coloured cats are much less obvious on upholstery or carpets in the home than those of white and pale-coloured animals – though this, of course, also depends on the colour of the furnishings themselves.
Longhaired cats tend to be less fertile than shorthairs, and to have fewer kittens in a litter. They therefore tend to be more expensive as a result.
Wildcats are basically shorthaired, although Wildcats with longer fur have evolved in cold parts of the world, such as Russia, in order to cope with the harsh climate.
Most longhaired cats moult very heavily in the spring.