With so many breeds to choose from, it can be a challenge to decide what kind of cat is right for you. Many people base their decision on a cat’s appearance, and this is one good way of narrowing down the wide variety of options. Perhaps you like cats with long, fluffy coats, and you have the time to groom them. Maybe you’ve always had a soft spot for cats with flattened faces, or maybe you want a cat who will grow as big as a small dog. In this article we’ll help you make sense of all the choices by exploring the many different cat types and their corresponding breeds.
Potential owners are often captivated by the uniquely fluffy appearance of the longhair breeds, but it is important to know all of the facts about these cats before bringing one home for good. Longhair and semi longhair breeds have special grooming requirements including regular brushing to keep their dense coats free of mats and tangles, and blow-drying after baths for the same reason. Some longhair breeds -- such as the Birman and the Turkish Angora -- have silkier coats, and require less upkeep. However like all longhair cats, these easy-to-care-for breeds lose some of their coat in the summer months and will need more frequent brushing.
While grooming may seem like a chore at times, it is also an activity that brings you and your cat together, and can help to form a strong relationship. However if you find that you fall in love with a breed but just can’t commit to regular grooming, check to see if the breed is also available in a shorthair variety -- many are. Below are some popular longhair and semi longhair breeds.
Balinese Birman Maine Coon Persian
Semi Longhair Breeds
Burmilla Longhair Norwegian Forest Ragdoll Siberian
Chances are that the cats you see around most often are of the shorthair variety. A large number of breeds fall into this category, and they are a popular choice since their coats require minimal care. However, brushing your shorthair cat can certainly make for a healthier coat and less shedding.
Shorthair cats are a perfect choice for people with busy lifestyles, but if you really don’t want to deal with brushing of any kind, consider a hairless Sphynx! However, these cats require their own kind of grooming in the form of periodic baths to keep oil and dander at bay. Below are some popular shorthair breeds.
Abyssinian American Shorthair Bombay British Shorthair
Burmese Exotic Shorthair Havana Brown Korat
Russian Blue Siamese Somali
Cats with Flattened Faces
The flattened face is one of the most peculiar and endearing physical characteristics found in the cat world. Only a few breeds exhibit this feature, and it lends to them the appearance of a teddy bear or cartoon cat. While a flattened face is no doubt adorable, it can also result in health problems such as asymmetrical jaw or facial fold pyoderma, so talk to your veterinarian for more information before bringing one of these cats home.
Exotic Shorthair Persian Himalayan
Perhaps you’ve always liked the idea of owning a large pet, but you can’t commit the time or energy to caring for a dog. Some cats -- such as the Maine Coon -- can grow to be as large as 25 pounds! That’s one hefty cat (and equal to the size of many small dogs). Get more to love out of one of the below bigger breeds.
Maine Coon Norwegian Forest Cat Ocicat
Ragamuffin Ragdoll Siberian
Small cats are perfect for apartment living, and they are also a popular choice for owners who like the idea of a cat who stays looking like a kitten. While all of the below cats are on the small side, the Singapura is the smallest of all the domestic breeds, weighing in at just 5-6 pounds for an adult female and 6-8 pounds for an adult male.
Burmese Cornish Rex Devon Rex Singapura
For more cat breeds, head over to our Cat Breed Guides.
More on Cat Breeds
Where Do Different Cat Breeds Come From? - Infographic
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Easiest Cats to Care For