• Blog
  • Is “Japanese cat” different from “mongrel cat”? I looked up the definition of a Japanese cat!

Is “Japanese cat” different from “mongrel cat”? I looked up the definition of a Japanese cat!


Hello everyone!
ReCheri Writer chii (* ‘ω’ *)

Have you ever wondered the difference between “Japanese cat” and “mongrel cat”?

I had only vaguely thought about what “Japanese cat” was, and it was a light thought like “Since it’s called a Japanese cat, isn’t it native to Japan?” (; ‘∀ ‘)

But when I was thinking about buying insurance for my cat, I came across that question.

I couldn’t tell the difference between “Japanese cat” and “mongrel cat”, so I couldn’t tell the difference as I researched.

When I researched what “Japanese cat” is in the first place, I found something very deep and interesting.

There are a lot of “There are various theories.” in various literature and on the Internet, and there were various opinions on “Definition of a Japanese cat” depending on the article, so I wanted to organize my opinions.

In this article, I would like to summarize the difference between “Japanese cat” and “mongrel cat” and the definition of “Japanese cat”.

When I bought pet insurance, I couldn’t decide which type of cat to buy.

I think there are many owners who have pet insurance.

I have compared the web estimate of pet insurance with several companies before.

When you make an estimate of pet insurance, there is a column to choose the kind of pet you have.

At that time, I was going to make an estimate for a cat, so I chose “Cat”. Then, after that, a column to select a specific kind of cat appeared.

At that time, I was going to make an estimate for my family’s 3 cats, each of which is “Russian Blue”, “Cha tora” and “Black cat”.

I met and welcomed Russian Blue at a pet shop, and it was good that there was “Russian Blue” in the selection column, but the trouble was “Cha tora” and “Black cat”.

They had specific cat types to choose from, such as “American Shorthair” “Persia” and “Russian Blue” but they also had “hybrid” and “Japanese cat” options.

The 2 cats, “Cha tora” and “Black cat” were originally stray cats that were picked up or protected on the street, so I thought they were not generally called “pure blood” considering their appearance.

But I didn’t know which to choose between “Is it a Japanese cat because it was picked up in a Japanese street? But it’s a mongrel cat, isn’t it?” “Japanese cat” and “mongrel cat” and I looked into the differences between the two.

What is “Japanese cat”?

Even if you say “Japanese cat”, there is no specific breed.

The general definition of a Japanese cat is “A cat that has lived in Japan for a long time and has changed according to the climate and lifestyle of Japan.”.

Cats first appeared in Japan when foreigners from China and Southeast Asia brought them on board a ship.

The cats played a role in exterminating rats on the ship.

The cats we brought with us were bred and raised naturally in Japan, and as they adapted to the Japanese climate, they became like stray cats that we often see on the street.

Varieties such as “American Shorthair” and “Russian Blue” are so-called “purebred strain” in which humans have bred them by hand and kept them constant.

On the other hand, “Japanese cat” is characterized by a difference in breeding method called “natural reproduction without human intervention”.

Therefore, the reason why common stray cats have various colors and patterns of fur is that cats brought from foreign countries have naturally bred.

From this, “Japanese cat” can be said to be “a common hybrid cat that inhabits much of Japan”.

What is “mongrel cat”?

“mongrel cat” is a mixed breed bred by a combination of parents of different breeds.

The reason why hybrid is called “mix” in English is because it means “mixed and combined” between different breeds.

For example, a child born from a combination of parents “Russian Blue” and “Russian Blue” is a pure-bred cat called “Russian Blue”.

However, a child born through the combination of the “Russian Blue” and “American Shorthair” parents would be “mix”.

“mix” refers to a child born by a combination other than pure blood.

“Pure blood species x mix”
“Mix x Mix”
“Pure blood type A × Pure blood type B (a combination of different breeds)”

There are 3 patterns like this.

So, if your cat was not born in “Pure blood type A × Pure blood type A (same breed)”, it will be “mix”.

For this reason, a cat called “Japanese cat” can be said to be one of the “mongrel cat”.

Is there a specific difference between “Japanese cat” and “mongrel cat”?

Next, let’s look at what kind of mongrel cats are called “Japanese cat”.

Cat types classified as “Japanese cat”

I said earlier, “Japanese cats are mongrel cats”. Cats classified as “Japanese cat” in the category of “mongrel cat” have 4 characteristics of hair color and handle, and are called by each hair color.

Japanese cats grew naturally without human intervention, and in the process, hair color and patterns became established in several kinds.

Next, I summarized the 4 representative characteristics of “Japanese cat” and the names of each hair color.

Feature Given name Hair color
1. Striped Kizitra Striped pattern on beige
Sabatra Striped pattern on gray
Cha tora / Cha siro striped pattern on an orange-brown color (can have white parts)
2. Single Color Black cat, White cat Full body is white or black. Black cats may feel blackish brown or have a faint stripe pattern.
3. 3 colors calico cat 3 colors, white + brown + black
4. 2 colors Sabi, Hachiwase, Buchi Sabi is black + brown marbled pattern.

Hachiware is a black pattern like a centered forelock on white.

Buchi is black to brown dots on a white background

The above is the characteristic hair color of typical Japanese cats. Cats with these characteristics fall into the “Japanese cat” category.

So, for example, the “Russian Blue x Persian Cat” combination is “mongrel cat” but not “Japanese cat”.

Many cats with these characteristics live in Japan, but they live not only in Japan but also overseas.

For example, Cha tora are called “marmalade cat” and “Ginger cat” in English, and pheasant tigers are called “Brauntaby” and many people have them.

Pure “Japanese cat” is decreasing

After the war, many purebred foreign cats were imported into Japan, and the number of stray cats with the combination of “Pure breed x Japanese cat” has increased.

One of the reasons is that people were less protective of stray cats a long time ago than they are now.

Therefore, if you trace the ancestor of the child, there is a possibility that purebred cats are mixed at some stage.

Cats are often inherited atavism (inheritance of characteristics through successive generations), so children may be born with characteristics of purebred cats.

For example, Japanese cats and American Shorthair may be mixed in some generations, but we may not be aware of them because their fur is similar to Sabatra’s.

Thus, the old “Japanese cat” and the present “Japanese cat” are, strictly speaking, slightly different.

Was “Japanese Bobtail” born overseas?!

There is a breed of cat called “Japanese Bobtail”.

It seems to be a Japanese breed because of the name “Japanese” but this breed was established in America.

The literal translation of “Japanese Bobtail” is “Japanese short tail”.

As the name suggests, the biggest feature of “Japanese Bobtail” is its short and curly tail.

In addition to its coat color, Japanese cats are also characterized as “Many children have short tails and many have bent tails.” for reasons rooted in Japanese culture and thought.

In the Edo Period, people believed that “If a cat lives for a long time, it becomes Nekomata (Cat Monsters).”.

Since Nekomata is said to have 2 tails, “a short-tailed cat” and “a crooked cat (Sharp tail)” became popular because they were thought not to be Nekomata.

That’s why many cats with short tails and bent tails started to breed.

On the other hand, cats with short tails are very rare overseas, and when I saw them, I was fascinated by the American creepy tails.

Then, the American took male and female cats with short tails back to their country and bred them while inheriting the short tails, and that was the beginning of “Japanese Bobtail”.

“Japanese Bobtail” is now recognized as an official variety.

The gene that produces a short tail is recessive, so it is difficult to inherit unless both parents have a gene that produces a short tail.

The American was able to breed as a Japanese bobtail because he brought back a male and a female with short tails.

Short tails are not the definition of Japanese cats.

Because “Japanese cat” naturally bred in Japan, some cats have short tails while others have long tails.

Therefore, it cannot be said that “Short tail = Japanese cat”, but it is a kind of characteristic.

However, some people overseas may think that a cat with a short and curly tail is an image of a Japanese cat.

The short tail must be unique for foreigners.

They would never imagine that cats with short tails were popular in the Edo period because they did not become nekomata.

By the way, the breeds of cats with short tails include “American Bob Tail” “Japanese Bobtail” in the US and “Kril Island Bobtail” in Russia.

It is said that these breeds were created by mating cats whose tails were born short by mutation.

As for “American Bob Tail” there is a theory that “Japanese Bobtail” is mixed, but these 2 varieties are determined to be different now.


When I researched about “What is a Japanese cat?” it was surprisingly deep and very interesting.

But my mind gets confused, so I’ll summarize briefly at the end!

“Japanese cat” is not a specific breed, but a “mongrel cat” that has lived in Japan for a long time and bred naturally.
It is a general term for varieties that are crossed by different varieties from “mongrel cat” and there are 3 combinations of “Pure blood species x mix” “Mix x Mix” and “purebred strain A × purebred strain B”.
“Japanese cat” is equivalent to “Mix x Mix” but since there were many crosses with purebred foreign breeds after the war, purebreds may be mixed somewhere.
The color and pattern of “Japanese cat” has 4 characteristics, and each color has its own name. However, these cats also live overseas.
Many cats in “Japanese cat” have short tails, but some have long tails.
“Japanese Bobtail” is a recognized variety that originated in America

As a result, my family’s “Chat ora” and “black cat” are “Japanese cat”!

Somehow I feel refreshed. (́ Д `)

And now we know that the history of cats and humans is inseparable.

I hope humans and cats will continue to coexist happily.

Please be aware of the “Japanese cat” and observe stray cats and local cats.

◆ あなたにおススメの記事 ◆