12 Most Popular Cat Breeds for Feline Lovers
These twelve cat breeds are the most popular cats all over the world. Whether it be their unique physical characteristics, a feature in a movie, or their affectionate personalities, they have left a lasting, positive impression on cat aficionados globally.
A cat is either domestic, purebred, or a hybrid. Domestic cats do not have a pedigree history of their lineage, while purebred cats do. Hybrids are domesticated cats crossbred with wild feline varieties. The main pedigree certifying organization, the United States-based Cat Fanciers’ Association, recognizes 45 distinct purebred cat breeds.
Popular since the 19th century, this cat breed originated in Thailand (formerly known as Siam). The Siamese has been a foundational breed for the Oriental shorthair, sphynx, and Himalayan. Most Siamese cats have distinct markings called “points” that are the areas of coloration on their face, ears, feet, and tail. Two varieties of Siamese cats have an “apple” shaped head and chubbier body and the other features a larger head and slender body. The animated Disney film “Lady and the Tramp” featured Siamese cats singing a song, demonstrating their intelligence and vocal skills. Many Siamese cats that originated from Thailand had a kink in their tail—a trait bred out of most Siamese, but you can still see it in street cats in Thailand.
Also lovingly referred to as one of the “smushed-face” cats, the Iranian cat or Shiraz cat (named for a city in Iran), Persians have beautiful, long fur coats. They can come in almost any color and have a flat face when compared to most other breeds of cats. Persians are featured in many movies, artworks, and commercials and have been one of the most popular breeds of cats for decades. Their coats demand regular grooming, otherwise, matting will result. Like many purebreds, they are prone to a variety of diseases, including renal and cardiac problems.
03. Maine Coon
Known for its large stature and thick fur coat, the Maine coon is a cat that is difficult to ignore. Hailing from the state of Maine and the state’s official cat, the Maine coon is a gentle giant. They are great hunters and were popularized after the CFA recognized them as purebred in the late 1970s. They remain one of the most popular cat breeds. Many Maine coons have polydactylism, or extra toes, which makes their already large feet even larger.1 This great feature helps for hunting in the snow since large feet act as snowshoes. The classic Maine coon coloration is a brown tabby, but this breed can come in almost any color.
Ragdoll cats get their name from their docile temperament. They tend to go limp when picked up, much like a rag doll. At one time, people thought they couldn’t feel pain, but that is not true. Ragdolls look a lot like long-haired Siamese cats with pointed color patterns. They also have distinctive blue eyes and dog-like personalities, following their owners around the house.
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Bengals are wild-looking cats—literally. Their markings make them look more like they belong in the jungle rather than in your home, but they are domesticated. They are talkative and require a lot of exercise. They come in many colors with patterns like spots and rosettes. Their name comes from the Asian leopard cat’s taxonomic name, Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis. Bengals were initially bred from domestic cats and a wildcat. They also get their beautiful patterns from this wildcat.
Originally from Ethiopia (previously known as Abyssinia), the Abyssinian cat has a distinctive ruddy agouti coat that gives the Abyssinian its unique banded look. It has tall, pointy ears; a wedge-shaped head; and a slender and muscular body. Personality-wise, Abys are active, curious cats that frequently follow owners around. Their playful, dog-like demeanor endears them to their humans.
Birmans are another color-pointed cat like the Siamese and ragdoll. They have blue eyes and a medium-long coat but no undercoat, the primary trait that sets them apart from Persians and Himalayans. Birmans were the original stock for breeding ragdolls, so they look very similar, but they have slightly different markings and personalities. They are fun, social cats that love attention—from their chosen person. They are more of a one-person cat than others.
08. Oriental Shorthair
At a glance, you may think this slender cat looks like a Siamese, but the Oriental shorthair is a separate breed. Unlike Siamese cats, they usually have green eyes and many color patterns and colors. The Oriental can also have long hair. Oriental shorthair cats are prone to skin cancer and getting cold due to their lack of fur; they are often seen wearing sweaters.
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If you are looking for a cat that doesn’t shed, then the sphynx is for you. Sphynx cats look unique due to their lack of fur and are very social, active, dog-like felines. They look like they belong in the laps of royalty, but they are playful and goofy and act more like court jesters despite their regal appearance.
10. Devon Rex
Devon rex cats have wavy, soft short hair and slender bodies with enormous ears. The Devon Rex is a playful, active cat described as “a monkey in a catsuit.” This kitty will steal your heart with its lively, sweet disposition. They are also trainable and adept at learning tricks.
Like the Persian, the Himalayan cat is considered a sub-breed in some cat associations and a separate breed in others. Himalayans were bred from crossing Persians and Siamese to achieve their color points. They love attention and affection from their owners, have sweet personalities, and are playful.
12. American Shorthair
An all-American breed, the American shorthair cat is an intelligent shorthair feline that has a round face and short ears. They are often confused with domestic mixed-breed cats but are purebred. Its breed name changed from domestic shorthair cats in 1966 to differentiate them.4 This medium-sized cat has a gentle nature that makes this breed a great companion for families with children or other pets. The American shorthair is one of the most popular pedigreed cat breeds in North America.
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