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What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds?

Updated on September 16, 2021
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There are dozens of different types of cat breeds out there. Determining the type that is best for you is an important part of responsible cat ownership. If you are thinking about adopting a cat or you would like to familiarize yourself with a specific cat breed, here’s some useful information.

What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 12

The three main cat associations that recognize purebred cats recognize between 43 and 58 different modern breeds. Most fit into one or more general categories, including:

  • Large
  • Small
  • Long-hair, medium-hair, and short-hair
  • High, low, and medium energy
  • Heavy, little, or no shedding

Within those categories are standardized breeds, including:

  • Abyssinian
  • American Bobtail
  • American Curl
  • American Shorthair
  • American Wirehair
  • Balinese cat
  • Bengal
  • Birman
  • Bombay
  • British Longhair
  • British Shorthair
  • Burmese
  • Burmilla
  • California Spangled
  • Californian Rex
  • Ceylon
  • Chartreux
  • Chausie
  • Chinchilla Persian
  • Cornish Rex
  • Cymric
  • Devon Rex
  • Domestic shorthair
  • Donskoy
  • Egyptian Mau
  • European Shorthair
  • Exotic shorthair
  • German Rex
  • Havana Brown
  • Highland Fold
  • Himalayan
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Javanese
  • Khao Manee
  • Korat
  • LaPerm
  • Maine Coon
  • Manx
  • Munchkin
  • Nebelung
  • Norwegian Forest cat
  • Ocicat
  • Oriental
  • Persian
  • Peterbald
  • Pixie-bob
  • Ragamuffin
  • Ragdoll
  • Russian Blue
  • Safari
  • Savannah
  • Scottish Fold
  • Selkirk Rex
  • Siamese Cat
  • Siberian cat
  • Singapura
  • Snowshoe
  • Sokoke
  • Somali
  • Sphynx
  • Thaï
  • Tiffany
  • Tonkinese
  • Toyger
  • Turkish Angora
  • Turkish Van

Which Breeds are the Most Popular?

Certain breeds of cats are more popular than others. This means that a great deal of the population has embraced these breeds and invited them into their homes. These cat breeds are popular for various reasons, from their personalities and unique characteristics to their appearances to their rarity.

The 10 most popular cat breeds, according to The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc., include:

  • Ragdoll - Long-haired, large, and with a lush, soft coat, the Ragdoll is known for its immensely blue eyes and gentle disposition.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 13
  • Exotic Shorthair - A short-haired version of the Persian cat, the Exotic Shorthair is affectionate, playful, and social but doesn’t demand a lot of attention from its owners.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 14
  • Maine Coon - The Maine Coon cat is a large domesticated cat that’s perfect for families. They are great with kids and are very friendly but are still independent. They are fondly referred to as “the gentle giants.”
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 15
  • Persian - Persians are one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. They have long luxurious coats, expressive eyes, and an easygoing disposition.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 16
  • British Shorthair - These cats have incredibly dense coats and they come in different coat colors: black, blue, cream, chocolate, lilac, red, and white. They are very strong cats and they possess exceptional hunting ability.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 17
  • Devon Rex - The Devon Rex cat has wavy coats that are exceptionally soft. Their eyes are expressive and their ears resemble that of a bat. These cats are cuddly, outgoing, and friendly.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 18
  • Abyssinian Cat - If you think these cats look quite familiar, it’s because they look like the cats found in ancient paintings found on Egyptian tombs. The Abyssinians are very active and they like to move around a lot.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 19
  • American Shorthair - This breed is playful and friendly. They exist harmoniously with other pets and are friendly toward people of all ages. American shorthairs are mellow and laid-back.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 20
  • Scottish Fold - Scottish Folds look like owls, with their huge eyes and folded ears caused by a gene mutation. These cats are chatty and affectionate homebodies who love staying indoors than out.
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 21
  • Sphynx - Sphynxes are nude cats with a hairless body. They possess an outgoing nature and attention-seeking character. They are loving, friendly, and gentle and they don’t want to be left alone. 
What are the Different Types of Cat Breeds? 22

Which Breed of Cat is Best for You?

Determining which type of cat is best for you can be challenging. Breed popularity might be based on personality or color of the coat or other factors, but there’s more to consider than these issues.

Taking a step-by-step decision will help you determine which breed of cat is best for you. If you are thinking of getting a cat and you aren’t sure about things, consider the following:

  • What’s your lifestyle like? Are you home a lot, or do you travel or work outside of the house full-time? Many people consider cats independent, but some breeds are more dependent than others. Also, assess who lives in your home, whether you have other pets, and how much time and money you have to invest in a particular breed. The last thing you want to do is bring a cat home that needs a lot of attention and not provide your cat with what it needs.
  • Are there physical attributes you like or dislike? The size of the cat and length of hair are the two most important factors here. But many people like the “look” of certain breeds.
  • Do you want an adult cat or a kitten? Kittens are great for assimilating in your home with ease, but full-grown cats have plenty of great attributes, too. Not to mention it might be inexpensive or free to adopt a full-grown purebred cat, whereas purebred kittens tend to be expensive.

When considering cat breeds, the most important thing to think about is whether or not a particular breed will fit into your family. There might be a breed you like, but if they are not known for a personality that suits your lifestyle, it will not be a good relationship for you and your pet. The breed you choose isn’t as important as whether or not you and your family can meet your cat’s needs and bond with the pet.

If you have a breed in mind, invest plenty of time learning about the needs of that breed. If you aren’t sure of a particular breed, consider taking an online test that evaluates your lifestyle and compares it to a variety of different breeds.

Cat Breeds by Coat Type

  • Long-hair cat breeds: Persian, Siberian, Birman, Selkirk Rex, Somali
  • Medium-hair cat breeds: American Bobtail, Abyssinian, American Wirehair, Balinese, Bengal
  • Short-hair cat breeds: Exotic Shorthair, British Shorthair, American Shorthair, Devon Rex, Scottish Fold
  • Hairless cat breeds: Bambino, Donskoy, Peterbald, Sphynx, Uranium Levkoy

Cat Breeds by Size

  • Large: Maine Coon, Selkirk Rex, Ragdoll, Bengal
  • Small: Abyssinian, American Curl, Balinese, Burmese

Cat Breeds by Personality

  • Energetic: Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Turkish Angora, Manx
  • Laid-back: Ragdoll, Persian, Russian Blue

What to Consider if You're Thinking of Adopting a Cat

If you’re thinking of bringing a cat into your home, it’s important to take your time, prepare your home and family, and make smart decisions about the inclusion process. For example:

  • Find a reputable breeder if you want a purebred kitten. If you are open to different breeds or adult cats, consider visiting a nearby shelter to see what’s available.
  • Meet your cat. Most breeders allow people to visit a kitten’s mother or parents and the litter of kittens from which they are adopting before the kitten is old enough to go home.
  • Assess the health history of the cat and its lineage as much as possible. If you are working with a breeder, you should receive information about your kitten’s parents, at a minimum.
  • Prepare your home for your cat. Invest in one or more litter boxes (at least one per cat in your home), research high-quality food, choose which one you’ll start your cat on, and make sure there are toy and enrichment activities on and for your new pet.
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“Cats.” The Humane Society of the United States,

 “Breeds – the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc.”,

 “Browse All Breeds.”,

Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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