Whether exotic or plain, of long or short fur, of frisky or
lazy temperament, there are a few cat breeds that are most
commonly found in households. Adoption and rescue are always
recommended, and in most cases, your adopted kitty will not be
purebred. If you do opt for a pedigreed cat, it’s recommended
that you look for a breed that matches your own personality and
temperament. Here are some common cat breeds.
Otherwise known as “that cat” (or your standard alley cat)
domestics are not an officially recognized or pedigreed breed.
Then again, most modern cat breeds are descendents of one type
of domestic or another, and 95% of house cats in the US are
Domestics. Domestics come in all colors and sizes, and may have
long or short of hair.
Despite the need for daily brushing, Persians are a household
favorite. Persian cats are known to be calm and somewhat
sensitive. As such, gentle environments are recommended for
Large and playful, but gentle and intelligent, Maine Coons are
great with both children and dogs. Popular on farms, Maine
Coons tend to follow their people around both inside and
Popular among those who desire a pedigreed pet, the Siamese is
as vocal as they are playful. Known to be frisky and full of
energy, Siamese cats are a popular household choice.
Descended from European forebears, as are many of their human
counterparts, the American Shorthair is a very low-maintenance
cat. Personalities can vary from cat to cat, but overall
American Shorthairs are quiet cats.
Known for their colorful personalities, Abyssinians are
famously playful. Contrary to all our notions about cats, many
Abyssinians love to play in water.
The Exotic Shorthair resembles the Persian in just about every
way. Except one -- their hair is shorter and denser. Thus,
their coat requires far less maintenance. Exotic Shorthair cats
do require brushing at least weekly, or better twice weekly,
which is still far less than the Persian’s recommended
So named because they tend to go limp when you pick them up,
Ragdolls are the quintessential lap-cat. Ragdoll cats tend to
grow quite large. They can weigh upwards of 20 lbs, and
sometimes males weigh more.
Regarded as one of the most intelligent cats out there, Burmese
cats are also known to be fairly dog-like, with a propensity to
greet their people at the door the way a devoted puppy might.
Also like dogs, Burmese cats crave human attention, and
should not be left alone for long
periods of time.
Like Persians, Himalayan cats have long silky fur which
requires daily human intervention to prevent matting. Himalayan
cats may have short smushed-in faces (like the Pug dog breed),
or they may have a slightly longer and more traditional-looking
face. Himalayans are descended from Siamese, and so are
outgoing, active, and sociable companions.
American Cat Breeds
Like most American humans, most American cat breeds are a
mish-mash of global culture and history. Also like many
Americans, most feline predecessors arrived by boat! Several
still-existent cat breeds are native to the continent, but most
landed here with their European immigrant companions.
When boats arrived from across the drink, they brought with
them ship cats. These cats were often called on board to battle
vermin, but were also cherished by certain famous captains as
prized companions. When the ships docked, these cats ventured
out into the new world, where they mated with native breeds.
Many of our naturally occurring cat breeds are the ancestors of
these pioneering marauders.
Maine Coon, aka American
As the official state cat of Maine, Maine Coons are one of the
most popular cat breeds in the whole world. Although originally
known for their hunting skills, Maine Coons are now known for
their gentle personality. Traditionally, they’re brown tabby
with long hair and fluffy tails.
Formerly known as the Domestic Shorthair, the American
Shorthair is a version of the Domestic with
their best evolutionary traits enhanced through breeding. These
cats tend to be great companions, sociable, hardy, and healthy.
Entirely unrelated to the more common Japanese
Bobtail, both breeds do have one thing in common: a short
nubby tail. The tail’s length is the result of a genetic
mutation. In American Bobtails, the gene is dominant; meaning
all cats in the lineage can expect a short tail. Japanese
Bobtails have a similar gene, but it’s recessive; meaning the
short tail occurs like a lottery.
So named for ears that arc in toward the center of the head,
American Curl Cats have been show cats since the 1980s.
American Curls are not especially common as housepets, but if
one does come into your life, you should handle their ears with care, and clean
them from time to time.
As with the Oriental Shorthair, the California Spangled Cat was
bred for aesthetic reasons. Their spotted appearance was
intended to imitate wild spotted jungle cats. Originally bred
from a cross of a handful of other breeds, the California
Spangled fell a bit to the wayside when other spotted cats
began to appear in the fancy cat market.
American Polydactyl Cat
Like your standard housecat in most ways, the American
Polydactyl has one very special feature: extra toes!
Polydactyls can have six or even seven toes on each paw, though
mainly the extras are seen in the front paws. The original
polydactyls had a mutational “defect,” but some defects are
especially loveable, apparently. American Polydactyls are bred
specifically to produce cats with extra toes. The polydactyls’
popularity rose due to Ernest Hemingway’s love for the breed.
They can come in a variety of colors, and tend to be easygoing
This breed sounds like an 80s hair treatment, and with good
reason. The LaPerm cat has a fluffy coat of tight, soft curls.
Like many cat breeds, the original curly cat was just born that
way. People liked it, and eventually attempted to keep the
trait alive through breeding. Aside from their coat, LaPerms
are known to be all around moderate in temperament,
intelligence, and athleticism.
Named for the diminutive characters in The Wizard of
Oz, Munchkin Cats are, as you may imagine, little. They
have especially short legs. Originally a mutational defect,
first observed in Louisiana, the shortness spread through the
local feral population. Short legged cats started popping up in
the neighborhood, and before long, they were recognized as a
Bred for their good looks, Ocicats look wild, but are of
entirely domestic origins. They resemble Siamese cats in bone
structure, and wild jungle cats in coat. They’re known for
their distinctive spots, and come in a variety of different
More on Cat Breeds
Where Cat Breeds Come From -
The History of Cats
Wild Cat Breeds for Adventurous Cat