Will my kitten be short or longhaired?

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How can you tell whether your kitten will be short or longhaired? Read more about how you can find out if your kitten will be shorthaired or longhaired.

If you are getting your kitten from a rescue centre then most centres will know the mother of the kittens they have for adoption, and so you can ask to have a kitten from either a shorthaired or longhaired mother, but the rescue may not know about the father. If a non-pedigree shorthaired mother cat has mated with a shorthaired non-pedigree tom, then all the kittens will be shorthaired.

However, you can not always guarantee just from seeing the kittens mother, whether your kitten will be short or longhaired.  Although the mother may look shorthaired, she may be carrying a hidden, or recessive, longhaired mutation. So if she mates with a longhaired tom, half the kittens will be longhaired. Or if she mates with a shorthaired tom carrying the same hidden longhaired gene, one in four kittens will be longhaired.

It gets even more complicated as lately some new longhaired mutations have been discovered in various pedigree breeds! Genetic tests are available.

However, there is an easier way! Many young kittens look fluffy whether short or longhaired and kittens should be at least eight weeks before you can see the signs of long hair. Pay special attention to the kitten's tail. If it is very fluffy, the kitten may be longhaired or semi-longhaired. The easiest way to be sure is to wait for the kitten to be about 12 weeks old before you adopt him. By then the hair length should be visible and if you are still not sure, ask the opinion of a vet or someone at the rescue centre.

Whether your kitten is longhaired or shorthaired it is important to keep on top of grooming. Their coats - no matter then length - do require some help from you to keep on top of shredding and knots. Longhairs should be groomed every day, whereas shorthairs should ideally be groomed two to three times a week. Read more on how to groom your kitten.

Article written by pet columnist and author Celia Haddon.