15 Delightful Cat Breeds’ Origins


Here are the stories of how 15 delightful breeds started meowing.

1. Selkirk Rex


Most new breeds are built from the birth of just one or two special kittens—as was the case in 1987 with a feral cat mom in Montana. That cat had five kittens, with one standing out from the pack, thanks to her thick and curly hair. The special kitty ended up with a Persian breeder who steadily bred the feral cat into its own breed—the Selkirk Rex, which you might now know as “the poodle cat.”

2. Highlander Cats

There can only be one! At least, that was the thinking that went into the creation of the Highlander back in 2004. Breeders specifically aimed to make a new domestic cat breed that had the appearance of a wild “big cat,” and went about doing that by carefully crossbreeding other domestic felines. As big and powerful as the Highlanders may look, they are known for their amusing antics and affection. They are very high energy and are best amused with fun chase games and lots of human attention.

3. Scottish Folds


Originally called “lop-eared” or “lops” (like lop-eared rabbits!), all Scottish Folds spring from one lovely lady feline—a Scottish (obviously) white barn cat named Susie who was first found in 1961. Susie’s ears had a special fold in the middle, giving her a quizzical and owl-like look and when Susie had her first litter, two of them had that same fold!

4. Ragamuffin Cats


You may have heard of ragdoll cats, but have you met their “Ragamuffin” cousins? The breed first popped up in 1994 as a spin-off of the still new ragdoll distinction, one that was eventually beefed up by way of crossbreeding with Persians, Himalayans, and other domestic longhaired cats. Ragamuffins still share plenty of characteristics with the original breed—like being extremely affectionate with their owners, to the point that they “go limp like ragdolls” when being held. They love people so much that they’ll wait at the door for their family members to return before following them around the house.

5. Khaomanee

While the Khaomanee may have ancient roots, it’s taken whole centuries for this very special breed to be formally recognized. Originally from Thailand, it’s easy to spot a Khaomanee—after all, each of them comes with one blue eye and one eye of another color (all different variations of copper, yellow, and green) to offset their stunning white coats. Despite their intense appearance, Khaomanees are playful, social, curious, and remarkably adept at greeting and cuddling up with even new guests to their home.

6. Donskoy Cats


In 1987, a Russian professor rescued a kitten, only to have the cat lose all of her hair as she matured. When the cat had her first litter a few years later, some of her kittens were born completely without hair, and those who did have hair promptly lost it, just like their mom. One of her kittens was steadily bred into its own new breed—the Don Sphynx or the Donskoy—and the line has matured into a very smart, very affectionate new type of cat.

7. Minskin

There is nothing quite like a Minskin, a new breed of shorties with fur only at certain points. The result of careful breeding of Munchkins and Sphynx, Minskins are very affectionate and very agile, despite their short stature. What little fur they do have is extremely soft and comparable to cashmere (adorable!).

8. Ojos Azules


It’s easy to see where the Ojos Azules get their name—it’s Spanish for “blue eyes,” and that’s what sets this breed (in both shorthair and longhair versions) apart from others. First found in 1984 in New Mexico, it is believed that most known Ojos Azules spring from one female ancestor. This mother was bred to unrelated males who didn’t have such sparkling peepers, but all of her kittens displayed her bright eyes, distinguishing the trait as a dominant one (and one easy to breed for).

9. Napoleon

Another adorable shortie breed, the Napoleon also comes from breeding between Munchkins and another very special breed—in this case, the Persian. The first Napoleons were bred back in 1996, when a Basset Hound breeder attempted to make a cat version of his beloved low-slung canine.

Aiming for a cute kitty with little legs, he crossed doll-faced Persians with small-legged Munchkins to make Napoleons (who are, yes, named after the French general). The breed is distinguishable by its looks alone, but they are also uniquely gentle and affectionate. While some Napoleons still have long legs, all are recognizable by virtue of their big, round heads and big, round eyes.

10. Burmilla


A cross between a Chinchilla Persian and a Burmese, the British Burmilla was first introduced in 1981, reaching official breed status in the 1990s. Unlike other new breeds, the creation of the Burmilla was purely accidental—a left-open door allowed a Chinchilla Persian and a lilac Burmese to, ahem, meet up and make the cute new breed.

11. Sokoke

A native breed from Kenya’s Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Preserve, the Sokoke’s roots go back long enough that various tribes in the area all have experience with the exceptionally beautiful breed. They were first introduced into domesticity in 1978, when a pack of kittens were discovered by a local woman who eventually bred two of them together and started exporting the offspring to a friend who lived in Denmark at the time.

12. Pixiebob


The Pixiebob could stand out in the cat crowd simply thanks to its cute name, but the big and brawny cats have a full package of other traits to make them unique. The Pixiebob, which first originated in 1985 in an effort to get a bobcat look, is the only recognized breed that is allowed to exhibit polydactyly (extra toes, though the maximum allowed on each foot is seven) and they can use those extra tootsies for trotting along with their family, as they can be leash trained for maximum fun.

13. Serengeti

Much like the Highlander, the Serengeti was bred to emulate a larger, wild cat—in this case, the stunning African serval. A breeding program was put into place back in 1995, and it continues around the world, particularly in the U.S., the UK, and Europe. A combination of Bengals and oriental shorthairs, Serengetis do not actually have any serval ancestors. Serengeti cats can be shy upon first meeting, but once they warm up to people (and other pets!), they are very affectionate and involved. They are also big athletes, and will consistently run around the house at full speed.

14. LaPerm

It’s easy to see where the LaPerm gets its name—it sure looks like the soft-shagged breed has gotten a perm to give its fur such a gentle wave. The first LaPerm was born in 1982 when a kitten came into the world hairless with a tabby pattern clear on her skin. As she grew, her fur steadily grew in, only to eventually turn into a soft and wavy full-body mane. When she had offspring of her own, some straight-coated kittens shed their original fur, went bald, and then grew their own curly locks. LaPerms are classified as clownish and clever, and they enjoy being around people and participating in everyday activities. Their ringlets tend to make them look angelic, and their affectionate personalities only bolster that.

15. Toyger

If nothing else, the Toyger breed is a winner by virtue of their adorable name alone. Like the Highlanders and Serengetis, the Toygers were bred to resemble tigers, thanks to their “mackerel tabby” markings that look more like tiger stripes than regular tabby lines. Toygers were first bred in the late 1980s in an attempt to clarify such markings, and a new breed was born from the tiger-like ideal. While Toygers don’t look exactly like mini tigers, their fur color is typically an alluring combo of orange and black.

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job secrets
11 Secrets of Bodyguards
Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images
Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images

When CEOs, celebrities, and the extremely wealthy need personal protection, they call in men and women with a particular set of skills. Bodyguards provide a physical barrier against anyone wishing their clients harm, but there’s a lot more to the job—and a lot that people misunderstand about the profession. To get a better idea of what it takes to protect others, Mental Floss spoke with several veteran security experts. Here’s what they told us about being in the business of guaranteeing safety.


When working crowd control or trying to corral legions of screaming teenagers, having a massive physical presence comes in handy. But not all "close protection specialists" need to be the size of a professional wrestler. “It really depends on the client,” says Anton Kalaydjian, the founder of Guardian Professional Security in Florida and former head of security for 50 Cent. “It’s kind of like shopping for a car. Sometimes they want a big SUV and sometimes they want something that doesn’t stick out at all. There’s a need for a regular-looking guy in clothes without an earpiece, not a monster.”


An armed bodyguard pulls a gun out of a holster

Depending on the environment—protecting a musician at a concert is different from transporting the reviled CEO of a pharmaceutical company—bodyguards may or may not come armed. According to Kent Moyer, president and CEO of World Protection Group and a former bodyguard for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, resorting to gunplay means the security expert has pretty much already failed. “People don’t understand this is not a business where we fight or draw guns,” Moyer says. “We’re trained to cover and evacuate and get out of harm’s way. The goal is no use of force.” If a guard needs to draw a gun to respond to a gun, Moyer says he’s already behind. “If I fight, I failed. If I draw a gun, I failed.”


A security guard stands by a door

Workplace violence has raised red flags for companies who fear retribution during layoffs. Alan Schissel, a former New York City police sergeant and founder of Integrated Security, says he dispatches guards for what he calls “hostile work termination” appointments. “We get a lot of requests to provide armed security in a discreet manner while somebody is being fired,” he says. “They want to be sure the individual doesn’t come back and retaliate.”


For protection specialists who take on celebrity clients, news and gossip site can prove to be a valuable resource. “I love TMZ,” Moyer says. “It’s a treasure trove for me to see who has problems with bodyguards or who got arrested.” Such news is great for client leads. Moyer also thinks the site’s highly organized squad of photographers can be a good training scenario for protection drills. “You can look at paparazzi as a threat, even though they’re not, and think about how you’d navigate it.” Plus, having cameras at a location before a celebrity shows up can sometimes highlight information leaks in their operation: If photographers have advance notice, Moyer says, then security needs to be tightened up.


A bodyguard stands next to a client

Because guards are often seen within arm’s reach of a celebrity, some think they must be having the same experiences. Not so. “A big misconception is that we’re living the same life as celebrities do,” Kalaydjian says. “Yes, we’re on a private jet sometimes, but we’re not enjoying the amenities. We might live in their house, but we’re not enjoying their pool. You stay to yourself, make your rounds.” Guards that get wrapped up in a fast-paced lifestyle don’t tend to last long, he says.


For some, being surrounded by a squad of serious-looking people isn’t a matter of necessity. It’s a measure of status on the level of an expensive watch or a fast car. Firms will sometimes get calls from people looking for a way to get noticed by hiring a fleet of guards when there's no threat involved. “It’s a luxury amenity,” Schissel says. “It’s more of a ‘Look at me, look at them’ thing,” agrees Moyer. “There’s no actual threat. It’s about the show. I turn those down. We do real protection.”


A bodyguard escorts a client through a group of photographers

Because guards will scope out destinations in advance, they often know exactly how to enter and exit locations without fumbling for directions or dealing with site security. That’s why, according to Moyer, CEOs and celebrities can actually get more done during a work day. “If I’m taking you to Warner Bros., I know which gate to go in, I’ve got credentials ahead of time, and I know where the bathrooms are.” Doing more in a day means more money—which means a return on the security investment.


When evaluating whether or not to take on a new employee, Kalaydjian weeds out anyone looking to share in a client’s fame. “I’ve seen guys doing things they shouldn’t,” he says. “They’re doing it to be seen.” Bodyguards posting pictures of themselves with clients on social media is a career-killer: No one in the industry will take a “buddyguard” seriously. Kalaydjian recalls the one time he smirked during a 12-year-stint guarding the same client, something so rare his employer commented on it. “It’s just not the side you portray on duty.”


A bodyguard stands next to a client

High-profile celebrities maintain their visibility by engaging their social media users, which often means posting about their travels and events. For fans, it can provide an interesting perspective into their routine. For someone wishing them harm, it’s a road map. “Sometimes they won’t even tell me, and I’ll see on Snapchat they’ll be at a mall at 2 p.m.,” Kalaydjian says. “I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”


The next time you see a performer surrounded by looming personal protection staff, don’t assume he or she is footing the bill. “A lot of celebrities can’t afford full-time protection,” Moyer says, referring to the around-the-clock supervision his agency and others provide. “Sometimes, it’s the movie or TV show they’re doing that’s paying for it. Once the show is over, they no longer have it, or start getting the minimum.”


A bodyguard puts his hand up to the camera

Few bodyguards will actually refer to themselves as bodyguards. Moyer prefers executive protection agents, because, he says, bodyguard tends to carry a negative connotation of big, unskilled men. “There is a big group of dysfunctional people with no formal training who should not be in the industry,” he says. Sometimes, a former childhood friend can become “security,” a role they’re not likely to be qualified for. Moyer and other firms have specialized training courses, with Moyer's taking cues from Secret Service protocols. But Moyer also cautions that agencies enlisting hyper-driven combat specialists like Navy SEALs or SWAT team members aren't the answer, either. “SEALs like to engage and fight, destroying the bad guy. Our goal is, we don’t want to be in the same room as the bad guy.”

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9 Wild Moments from Winter Olympics History
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Allsport/Getty Images

With the Pyeongchang Olympics nearing their final weekend in South Korea, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the wildest and most unpredictable moments of Winter Games past.


Knowing he was overmatched by his fellow athletes during the 1000 Meter Short Track Speed Skating competition at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Australian Steven Bradbury devised a strategy of waiting in the back of the pack on the off chance that his competitors might trip up. Amazingly, the strategy worked when a disqualification in the quarterfinals got him through to the semis and a crash sent him to the finals.

In the final, favorite Apollo Anton Ohno and the three other competing skaters collided in an epic crash; the trailing Bradbury was close enough to the pack to cross the finish line before any of the fallen skaters, becoming Australia's first gold medalist in the Winter Olympics.


In downhill alpine skiing, skiers travel at extremely high velocities (typically 60 to 85 miles per hour) down courses that closely follow the mountain's fall line.

In 1998, Nagano Olympics race officials were worried about the downhill course—specifically, a steep angle between the 6th and 7th gates. They altered this portion but the section still posed a danger.

Austrian Hermann Maier finished first in the World Cup standings before the Olympics but had a reputation for recklessness within the skiing circuit—in fact, according to Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, “caution was not a word in Maier's vocabulary." Maier didn't slow down before the aforementioned dangerous turn in Nagano and went flying off the course at 70 miles per hour, tumbling to a halt some 50 meters away. In a sport where injuries—and even deaths—aren't unheard of, Maier shocked TV audiences by getting up and walking away with nothing more than a bruised shoulder.

Benefiting from a 24-hour weather delay on his next event, the Super-G, Maier used the extra rest to get back in full form and took home the gold. He also came in first in the Giant Slalom three days later.


Wikimedia Commons

There have been a limited number of cases of cheating in the Winter Olympics (far fewer than in the Summer Olympics), but that doesn't mean it’s an impossibility. Just ask Ortrun Enderlein.

Enderlein, the defending luge champion, and her two East German teammates aroused suspicion by showing up just before their runs and leaving the scene hastily after. Enderlein won gold and her teammates placed 3rd and 4th, but upon closer inspection, it was discovered that their sleds had been heated immediately before the races, which reduced friction with the ice and resulted in faster times. The three were disqualified and the East German Olympic Committee blamed the affair on a "capitalist revanchist plot.”


English plasterer Michael Edwards traveled to Lake Placid, New York two years before the 1988 Calgary Olympics to fulfill his dream of making the event as a downhill skier. When money ran short, he decided to switch to ski jumping because it was significantly cheaper and there would be no competition at the national trials. Edwards became the first Olympic ski jumper in British history, but was far below the standards of the rest of the field.

Edwards crashed at the World Championships the year before the '88 Games and was ridiculed by the international press, who dubbed him “Mr. Magoo” due to his thick-rimmed glasses and heavy frame.

To the British, however, Edwards became a great source of fascination, which turned into a full-fledged national craze as he became the first Olympic ski jumper in the country's history and successfully landed his attempt at the Calgary Games. Although he didn't even score half the total points of any other competitor, he earned admiration worldwide and was given the nickname "Eddie the Eagle" by the President of the International Olympic Committee during the closing ceremony.

Sadly, many others in the Olympic community did not take him seriously, and they raised the qualifying standards to prevent Edwards from participating in the future. This didn't stop him from trying, but he failed to qualify on three successive occasions. Today, Edwards still plasters for a living and estimates that 70 percent of his income comes from speaking engagements.

In 2016, Eddie the Eagle, a biopic about Edwards’s life featuring Hugh Jackman (not playing Edwards), was released in theaters.


At the 1998 Nagano Games, snowboarding was introduced in an effort to make the Olympics more appealing to a younger audience. Still, there was some trepidation about the perceived rambunctious lifestyle of the snowboarding community and how it would fit in with the formality of the Olympics.

Nothing better illustrated this clash of values than when Canadian Ross Rebagliati became the inaugural winner in the Parallel Giant Slalom and was promptly stripped of his medal three days after the event for testing positive for marijuana.

Rebagliati claimed to have ingested it second-hand at a party and the Canadian Olympic delegation successfully appealed the IOC's decision on the basis that marijuana isn't a performance-enhancing drug. He got his medal back before the Games ended.

Today, 20 years after the controversy, Rebagliati has moved on from his snowboarding past and is trying his hand at entrepreneurism: he’s the founder of Ross’ Gold, a cannabis business.


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Tonya Harding was an ice skating prodigy from a broken home who ascended to the world stage in the early '90s. As her financial security and world ranking started to decline in the months leading up to the Olympics, Harding became frustrated and directed her anger at fellow American Nancy Kerrigan, who was ascending in the world standings and landing lucrative commercial endorsements.

Harding's on-again-off-again husband Jeff Gillooly conspired with two other men to attack and injure Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics. They carried out the hit after Kerrigan's practice skate before the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. Shane Stant, Gillooly's hired man, hit Kerrigan on the knee with a police baton as she was talking to a reporter in a stadium hallway. He escaped by diving through a plexiglass door before running to a getaway car.

The attack resulted in a bruise, but because there was no bone or ligament damage, Kerrigan was able to perform and was selected (along with Harding, who was under investigation for the attack) for the U.S. Olympic team. At the Lillehammer Games, Kerrigan famously skated to a silver medal after terrific back-to-back performances while Harding, disgraced, finished in eighth place. Harding's life, and the scandal surrounding her competition with Kerrigan, has been turned into the Oscar-nominated film, I, Tonya.

According to Olympic Historian David Wallechinsky, when CBS executives thanked their staff in Norway for the great ratings (the figure skating finals were the one of the most watched events in television history at the time), a CBS employee wrote back: "Don't thank us. Thank Tonya."


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Controversy erupted before the 1948 Olympic Games in St. Moritz over whether the American Hockey Association or the Amateur Athletic Union was the chief governing authority for hockey in the United States. American Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage refused to sanction the AHA because of their commercial sponsorships, but the International Ice Hockey Federation officially ruled that the AAU was to be replaced by the AHA.

Amid the confusion, both teams made their way to St. Moritz to compete. Before they were set to march in the Opening Ceremony, the Swiss Olympic Organizing Committee banned the AAU. Because they were favored by Brundage, though, the AAU team got the honor of representing the U.S. in the opening ceremony, while the AHA team—which was actually allowed to compete by the organizing committee—had to sit in the stands.


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Luge racers regularly hit speeds of over 95 miles per hour, meaning that even the smallest shift in body position can easily result in catastrophe. This was evident before the 2010 Vancouver Games, when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili careened off the track during a training run and died of his injuries.

It was an eerie replay of the luge's first-ever appearance at the Olympic Games. Two weeks before the Innsbruck Games in 1964, Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki, a British RAF pilot who was inexperienced in the sport, flew off the track and died during a training run. Additionally, a German doubles luge team was injured on the track in a separate accident. The track had had several fatal accidents when it opened decades before, and although it was modified thereafter, Olympic participants had to lobby for further safety precautions to reduce some of the danger.


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The pairs figure skating competition at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics resulted in a massive scandal that gave wind to the long-standing notion that figure skating judges can be swayed. Russian competitors Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze made noticeable errors in their long program, while Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier performed a flawless routine that had the crowd chanting "Six! Six! Six!"

When the judges ruled 5-4 in favor of the Russians and loud boos rang from the arena, the Canadian Olympic officials filed a protest. Protests filed by the losing party have become relatively common in the Olympics and the exercise is often a symbolic and ultimately fruitless gesture. But in this case, some dirt actually turned up.

In the subsequent investigation, it was revealed that the swing vote, French judge Marie-Rene Le Gougne, was up for a seat on the International Skating Union's powerful technical committee, and reports surfaced that she confided to a British referee a few days earlier that she had been pressured by her own national committee to throw her vote for the Russian pairs.

Le Gougne changed her story a few days later in an effort to save face, but her contradictory statements only exacerbated the coverage into a full-blown media frenzy dubbed “skate-gate.” In the end, Le Gougne was suspended for three years, the Canadians were awarded a second pair of gold medals, and the sport underwent reform with judges' scores being kept secret and chosen at random.


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