The Domestic Longhair may not be an official cat breed, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made their mark on the cat world! Learn more about the history, grooming needs, and health of the Domestic Longhair. Does your Longhair Moggie need some TLF while you’re away? Find a Pet Sitter in Melbourne, Darwin, or any other Aussie locale!
Weight – 3.5 – 5.5kg
Lifespan – 15 – 20 years
Country of Origin: Undetermined, but likely northern Asia/Europe
Other names: Longhair Moggy
Best breed for:
- Owners who can spend time on daily grooming
- Owners looking for an independent cat
Domestic Longhair Breed History ♜
If you’re interested in well-documented cat breed histories, we’re sorry to say that the Domestic Longhair will not deliver. But if you like a good story about winter wonderlands, nautical adventures, and hard-won popularity contests, the Domestic Longhair is your cat breed. Allow us to elaborate.
To start, it’s important to understand that the Domestic Longhair is not really a breed at all. These cats are the cumulation of hundreds of years of unplanned crossbreeding and survival. So, it’s nearly impossible to pin down where the breed history starts.
That said, most of the cats we know today can be traced back to the Middle East and Africa. These early cats were perfectly adapted to warm climates and desert-dwelling prey.
At some point, a genetic mutation causing long hair in cats changed everything for the Domestic Longhair. With a longer coat, this cat could extend their territories to the north, namely Europe and Russia. But what spurred the move? Probably the common house mouse, which historians believe migrated to Europe as early as 6,500 years ago. Domestic Longhair-like cats followed the mice, and their perfectly adapted coats allowed them to thrive in regions with harsh winters.
Eventually, traders, farmers, and anyone with food storage saw the benefit of these still-wild cats. In fact, history tells us that Domestic Longhair cats were often found aboard trade ships throughout the 16th-20th century.
And everywhere these fluffy cats went, they contributed to some of our most well-loved modern cat breeds. The Maine Coon, for instance, is likely the result of Domestic Longhair cats who came over with British settlers in the 1600s. Norwegian Forest Cats, similarly, come from much older Domestic Longhairs who likely arrived onboard of Viking ships.
Domestic Longhairs are around because they were able to adapt to their environments. But, eventually, this cat breed would graduate from professional mouser to floofy housecat. And that might have something to do with convenience. By the time that we humans realised that we wanted cats to be our furry friends, Domestic Longhair cats were everywhere. You didn’t need to contact a breeder or worry about pedigree paperwork. A Domestic Longhair was easily accessible and, as we’ll see, exceedingly lovable.
Today, Domestic Longhair cats are some of the most common kitties in the world. You can find them, or one of their many decendents, in every corner of the globe. They even qualify in some cat fancier competitions!
Domestic Longhair Personality Traits ★
Unlike many modern cat breeds, Domestic Longhair cats were never bred to be exceptionally beautiful or overly affectionate or, really, anything else. They were never bred intentionally, at all. That means that their personalities can vary drastically. Some are very close in personality to their wild, forest-roaming ancestors. Others have whole-heartedly taken on the role of domestic housecat.
But, even with the personality diversity, there are a few traits that are common in the breed:
- Independence. These cats tend to form strong bonds with their loving Owners, but will also be fine spending some time alone. If you’ll be gone overnight, leaving your Domestic Shorthair in the care of a trusted Pet Sitter is recommended. But a few hours alone at home? They won’t make a fuss.
- Self-assurance. Some Domestic Longhairs can be quite shy, but in the right environment, they tend to be confident, curious cats.
- High prey drive. These felines have been feeding themselves for thousands of years. So you can be sure that they’ve still got some superior hunting skills. Owners of Domestic Longhairs will want to keep these kitties from wreaking havoc on native Aussie bird, reptile and rodent populations.
Now, you might have noticed that what we’ve just described is, well, a cat. And that’s a pretty good way to think about the Domestic Longhair. They’ve got all the stereotypical traits of domesticated felines you can think of. They are, after all, the original cats.
We wish that we could give you a more clear idea of a Domestic Longhair cat’s personality so that you can decide whether this cat is right for your family. If you want to get a better idea of a Domestic Longhair’s personality, you might consider welcoming an older cat into your home. That way, you’ll be able to know more about their playfulness, affection, friendliness and patience with children or other pets.
Trainability & Training Tips
As with personality traits, a Domestic Longhair’s trainability will vary cat-to-cat. But that doesn’t mean that you should give up if your furry friend is a bit hesitant at first. Training is a great way to bond with this long-haired beauty, and it will offer your cat some much-needed mental stimulation.
Because each Domestic Longhair is unique, you’ll want to spend time personalising your training plan. Figure out what really gets this cat excited, be it a special toy or gourmet treat. Once you’ve found this enticing reward system, you’ll have a much easier time training your feline friend.
Because these cats love to be outside, one brilliant focus of training could be leash training. This will include teaching your cat to wear a harness, come when called, and even jump in your arms or climb into a backpack when necessary. As far as actually walking, that will require some patience. Most Domestic Longhair cats prefer to sniff around and explore rather than go for a dog-like walk.
Domestic Longhair cats may also be able to learn some basic tricks, such as sit, roll-over, or even agility training. If you’ve got an enthusiastic Domestic Longhair, they’ll look forward to your training sessions!
Exercise Needs & Living Conditions ⌂
Unlike personality traits and trainability, there is one thing that all Domestic Longhair cats have in common: they need exercise. This might come in the form of fetch, chasing cat toys, engaged training sessions, or any other clever way that you can get them to run, jump, stalk, and pounce.
In general, you’ll want to exercise your cat at least twice per day for about 20 minutes. If you have a high energy cat, you’ll want to schedule more playtimes, not longer ones!
Some Domestic Longhair cats like to climb, so you can boost their athleticism with cat-friendly shelves and ledges. Be mindful that a climbing kitty without a designated space may knock over your plants and picture frames to make a space for themselves. So, you may need to accommodate your living space for them to enjoy their bird’s eye view.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Domestic Longhair cats are excellent hunters. They love to watch the world through the window, from an outdoor “catio” or on a leash. When they’re left to their own devices, these masterful mousers can negatively impact local wildlife, so it’s important to give them appropriate outlets inside the home.
Now, although these cats vary in terms of affection, they do tend to enjoy being around their favourite humans. To make your Domestic Longhair more comfortable, you might place a few lounging options for them in the room where your family spends the most time. This way, if your kitty is on the more independent side, they’ll still have a space to relax in the company of their two-legged family members.
Domestic Longhair Health +
The Domestic Longhair may not have any special pedigree titles, but their mixed heritage does have an advantage. With a varied gene pool, these cats tend to be healthy and free of most genetic disorders. That said, there are a few things that Cat Owners should know about the Domestic Shorthair:
- That long hair can make it difficult to notice weight changes. And this is a health concern for a couple of reasons. On the one hand, Pet Owners may not notice sudden changes in weight as the result of an underlying health condition such as intestinal parasites or food allergies. That extra fur can also make it difficult to notice when a Domestic Longhair is gaining weight, which could lead to obesity. With this fluffy feline, it’s especially important to provide healthy food and proper exercise, and keep an eye out for other signs of health concerns, such as changes in mood, activity levels, and litter box habits.
- They may be at higher risk for hyperthyroidism. Compared to other cat breeds, Domestic Longhair cats are at lower risk for most genetic disorders. The one exception is hyperthyroidism, which may be more prevalent in older, longhaired, non-purebred cats.
Like all cats, Domestic Longhair cats can suffer from some common infectious diseases, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) which is quite prevalent in Australia. These cats should also be protected from ticks, pests and parasites, and always kept up-to-date on their vaccines.
Grooming & Care ✄
In general, Domestic Longhair cats require daily brushing or combing to remove tangles and prevent matting. Without this regular grooming practice, knots in their fur can become uncomfortable and may need to be removed by a professional. If your furry friend has developed some mats, you can try combing them out gently and slowly. It’s not recommended to cut them, as you might accidentally cut your cat’s skin.
As important as grooming is for the Domestic Longhair, not all cats take to brushing sessions immediately. For cats who don’t appreciate being groomed, you can start out with plenty of treats and short sessions. And, you might try out a few different combs to see if there’s a particular style that they find comfortable. The most important thing, though, is consistency. Stick with it and your Domestic Longhair will become more accustomed to your grooming sessions. They may even start to enjoy the bonding time!
If you’re going to be leaving your Domestic Longhair in the care of a trusted Pet Sitter for more than a few days, don’t forget to pack up their favourite grooming supplies! That way, their coat can be silky and tangle-free while you’re away.
In addition to combing, you can stick with other cat grooming basics, such as keeping their nails trimmed and checking their ears and eyes for signs of infection.
Fun Fact about the Domestic Longhair ♥
Another common name for the Domestic Longhair is the Longhair Moggy. But where exactly did that odd name come from?
Apparently in certain parts of the UK, moggy used to be a term for mouse. If you had a mouse problem, then, you might bring in a moggy-catcher, aka a cat. Over the years, moggy-catcher was shortened to moggy and used to describe the cat instead of the mouse!
Today, the term Moggy refers to any mixed-breed cat, including the Domestic Longhair.
Final Thoughts on the Domestic Longhair
There are no black-and-white facts about the Domestic Longhair. With such a scattered history, spanning hundreds if not thousands of years, this cat cannot be described in any definitive terms.
In other words, everything from personality to energy levels to trainability, can vary within this group of cats. Some are outgoing, others are shy. Some are active, others are loungers. The breed as a whole is about as stereotypically cat-like as you can get, while individual kitties within the breed can have their own lovable quirks and personality traits.
But with everything we can’t tell you about the Domestic Longhair, one thing is for sure: they are some of the most popular cats in the world. In fact, maybe it’s thanks to this cat’s variability that they’ve continued to thrive alongside humans. Because no matter what kind of cat is right for you and your lifestyle, there is a Domestic Longhair out there who is your perfect match.