The Basics of Capitalization

Capitalization is an important aspect of writing that helps readers identify the beginning of a sentence and gives emphasis to proper nouns. In English, proper nouns like names, places, and organizations are always capitalized. However, there are some areas of uncertainty when it comes to capitalization, especially when it comes to cat breeds.

Capitalizing Cat Breeds

Cat breeds are a type of proper noun, which means that they should be capitalized, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Unlike proper nouns like names and places, there is no universal rule for capitalizing cat breeds.

The decision of whether to capitalize cat breed names is not always straightforward, as there is no universal rule. Some cat breeds named after specific places or people are capitalized, while others with generic names may not be. It’s important to check the breed’s origin and consult relevant style guides, be consistent, consider your audience, and use your best judgement. [Some commonly capitalized cat breeds](https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/67629/capitalizing-the-names-of-different-animal-breeds) include Siamese, Bengal, and British Shorthair, while commonly uncapitalized breeds include Domestic Shorthair and Tabby. It’s also important to follow other capitalization rules, such as always capitalizing the first word of a sentence and proper nouns.

The Case for Capitalization

Some cat breed names are derived from proper nouns, such as the Siamese cat breed, which is named after the people of Siam (now Thailand). In these cases, it makes sense to capitalize the breed name.

The Case Against Capitalization

On the other hand, many cat breed names are not derived from proper nouns. For example, the British Shorthair, the Persian, and the Maine Coon all have generic names that do not originate from specific places or people. In these cases, it may not be necessary to capitalize the breed name.

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The Conflicting Usage

Despite the lack of a universal rule, many cat breed names are commonly capitalized in English writing. This is likely due to the fact that many people consider cat breeds to be proper nouns, regardless of their origins. As a result, it is not uncommon to see cat breeds capitalized in articles, books, and other forms of writing.

However, it’s important to note that not all style guides agree on the capitalization of cat breeds. The Chicago Manual of Style, for example, recommends capitalizing cat breeds that are named after specific places or people, but not capitalizing breeds with generic names. The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook, on the other hand, recommends capitalizing all cat breed names, regardless of their origins.

Tips for Capitalization

If you’re unsure about whether to capitalize a cat breed name, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Check the breed’s origin – if the breed is named after a specific place or person, it may be appropriate to capitalize the name.
  2. Consult relevant style guides – style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook offer guidance on capitalization rules for cat breeds.
  3. Be consistent – whatever style you choose, make sure to apply it consistently throughout your writing to avoid confusion for your readers.
  4. Consider your audience – if you’re writing for a specific audience or publication, it may be helpful to follow their established style guidelines.
  5. Use your best judgment – ultimately, the decision to capitalize a cat breed name is up to you as the writer. Use your best judgment and consider what will be most clear and effective for your readers.
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Commonly Capitalized Cat Breeds

While there is no definitive list of capitalized cat breeds, here are some breeds that are commonly capitalized:

  • Siamese
  • Bengal
  • Devon Rex
  • British Shorthair
  • Persian
  • Maine Coon
  • Sphynx
  • Scottish Fold
  • Russian Blue
  • American Shorthair

Commonly Uncapitalized Cat Breeds

Similarly, here are some cat breeds that are commonly not capitalized:

  • Domestic shorthair
  • Domestic longhair
  • Domestic medium hair
  • Tabby
  • Calico
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Tuxedo

Other Capitalization Rules to Keep in Mind

While we’re on the topic of capitalization, here are some other rules to keep in mind when writing about cats (or anything else):

  • Always capitalize the first word of a sentence, as well as proper nouns like names and places.
  • Do not capitalize common nouns like “cat,” “kitten,” or “breed” unless they are part of a proper noun (e.g. the Siamese cat breed).
  • Capitalize acronyms like CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) and TICA (The International Cat Association).
  • Do not capitalize generic terms like “feline,” “pet,” or “animal.”

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your writing is clear, consistent, and easy to read.

FAQs on Cat Breed Capitalization

Are cat breeds always capitalized?

In general, cat breeds are capitalized when they are used as proper nouns. For example, the Siamese cat is named after the region of Siam (now Thailand) where it originated, so “Siamese” is capitalized. Similarly, the British Shorthair is named after its place of origin, so “British” and “Shorthair” are capitalized. However, when a cat breed is used generically to refer to a type of cat, it is not capitalized. For example, “There are many different breeds of cats, including Siamese, Persian, and Maine Coon.”

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What about when a cat breed name is used in a compound word?

When a cat breed name is used as part of a compound word, whether it should be capitalized depends on where it falls in the compound word. If it comes at the beginning of the compound word, it should be capitalized. For example, “Siamese-mix” or “Siamese-cross” should both be capitalized. However, if the cat breed name comes after another word in the compound word, it is not usually capitalized. For example, “tabby cat” or “black shorthair” would not have capitalized breed names.

Are there any other rules to follow when capitalizing cat breed names?

It is always best to follow the rules of grammar and style that are set by your publication or organization. Some style guides, for example, might prefer that only the first letter of a breed name is capitalized (e.g. “maine coon” instead of “Maine Coon”). However, if you are writing in a more informal setting, you could choose to capitalize the entire breed name if you wish. Just be consistent throughout your writing.

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