There are three types of general body fur on the cat. The down hairs are closest to the skin and they keep the animal warm. This underfur has a soft and curly quality to it that gives it its excellent heat-retaining property. These are the shortest, thinnest, softest, and most numerous of the hairs. The stiffer bristle hairs form the middle coat. They lie between the soft underfur and the guard hairs of the topcoat. These bristly hairs share the functions of the insulating down hairs and the protective guard hairs. The guard hairs form the protective topcoat.