Some of the best known Asian cat breeds are eponymously named for where they were originally bred. The sleek and soft Siamese, for example, was bred in -- you guessed it -- Siam. Some of the most elegant-looking cats come from the largest continent. If you’re after a housepet that’s especially beautiful, distinct, and a bit fancy, Asian cat breeds could be perfect for your tastes.
Persians are one of the most ancient and most popular domestic house cat breeds. They’re also one of the fluffiest long-haired breeds. They’re known to be easy-going and affectionate. They’re a favorite for a reason: Persian cats make great pets. That is, if you’re willing to keep a closet full of lint-removers. Persians are known to be prolific shedders.
Beloved for centuries, and made famous in Lady & The Tramp, the Siamese’s distinctive, sleek, short-haired beauty and blue eyes are undeniably elegant; but they’re more than just looks! Siamese cats are known to be friendly and extroverted as well.
Whether spotted or marbled, Bengals look more like exotic jungle animals than sleepy house pets. Another unusual Bengal trait: they love to play in water.
Orientals are a lot like Siamese cats of another color, and were in fact bred for this purpose -- to give their ancient owners more variety of choice. Colorful on the inside as well as the outside, they’re known to be outgoing and playful with big personalities (and big ears).
Charming and sweet, with seductive almond-shaped eyes, Burmese cats are great companions. Burmese cats are known to tag along while you walk the dog, or on errands that may be close to home. They have silky smooth coats, in a variety of colors, and require little human intervention in the grooming department.
With a distinctive, shimmery, silver-blue coat, Korat cats are believed to originate in Siam. They’re known to be good companions; they’re intelligent and affectionate. Unlike many other cat breeds, Korats can be easily trainable.
Japanese Bobtails can be found in paintings from Japan and Southeast Asia that date back centuries. They’re so named for their short, stubby, bunny-like tail. Whether or not you’ve seen a Japanese Bobtail in real life, you’ve probably seen their likeness in the form of a popular good-luck statue called a Maneki-neko that tends to adorn counters in local Asian restaurants.
Believed to be a natural breed -- that is, evolved without any human intervention -- Turkish Angora cats are descended from African Wildcats. Regarded as one of the most elegant and graceful domestic cat breeds, Angoras have long wispy hair. They’re primarily white, but can sometimes come in other colors. As compared to other breeds, health problems in Angoras are relatively low.
A fairly modern breed, Tonkinese were “invented” in the 1960s in Canada, when a breeder crossed a Burmese and a Siamese. The Tonkinese ended up with the best traits of both breeds. They’re loving, sociable cats with strong memories and strong wills.
More on Cat Breeds
Where Cat Breeds Come From - Infographic
The History of Cats
Wild Cat Breeds for Adventurous Cat Parents