Cat Breeds

Learn more about popular cat breeds

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The different cat breeds seen in homes around the world include everything from regular, everyday tabby cats to exotic cat breeds like the feminine, graceful Siamese cat and the hairless Sphynx. While rare cat breeds like the Sokoke and Kinkalow will set you back a bundle – if you can even find them – most domestic cat breeds are affordable, low-maintenance pets that will provide you with years of joy and companionship.

One of the most popular large domestic cat breeds is the Maine coon, a hardy and tough cat with raccoon-like facial and body markings and a trademark bushy tail. Despite their fierce appearance, Maine coon cats are gentle and highly intelligent and excel as family pets. If you want a unique pet, choose one of the rare cat breeds such as the American bobtail, an uncommon cat with a short tail and either a long-haired or a short-haired coat.

Small cat breeds are especially popular with people who have limited living space, and miniature versions of large cat breeds like the Persian are also available if you're willing to meet the high asking price for kittens.

Hypoallergenic cats are also specially bred for cat lovers who get wheezy and stuffy when exposed to the dander found in feline fur; however, most professionals warn that severely allergic people or individuals with extrinsic asthma triggered by cat exposure should not live with a pet cat for health reasons.

Consider the following list of cat breeds as a guide to help you start thinking about what type of cat would make a good match for you:

  • Ragdoll. Ragdoll cats are large, gentle and affectionate, tending to behave more like dogs than most other large cat breeds.
  • Bengal. Bengal cats are specially bred to bear the spotting pattern of its wild leopard ancestors with all the sweetness of a domesticated pet.
  • Abyssinian. Abyssinian cats are one of the world's oldest recognized breeds. Short-haired and active, these cats are the consummate feline, remaining aloof and taking regular jaunts outdoors.
  • Scottish fold. Named for their unique flat ears, Scottish fold cats are heartbreakingly adorable and highly sought-after. They make a good choice if you have other pets, particularly dogs, in your household, as they get along well with other animals.
  • Russian blue. Taking their name from their soft, silver-blue coats, Russian blue cats are popular show cats since they have a standard set of physical features that include not only their distinctive fur, but also their brilliant, piercing emerald-green eyes.

Of course, this list is just a sample of the dozens of different cat breeds you can enjoy. Your best bet is to spend some time getting to know each breed a little better so you can make an informed choice when the time comes to visit your local pet store or shelter.