Cats have been giving us that loving ‘feline’ since way back when. In ancient Egypt, Cleopatra was besotted with her cat, Tivali, while in more recent times, famous cat owners have professed their love and adoration for these magnificent creatures. Ernest Hemingway, for example, had a six-toed cat called Snow White. And Emily Bronte wrote an essay, simply titled ‘The Cat.’
Mark Twain waxed lyrical about cats when he said, “I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.” Then, there’s Thomas Edison’s short film from 1894, showing two cats boxing in a ring.
Take a look at our list of the 21 most popular cat breeds. Carefully put together by our team, they include felines from the USA and around the world.
21 of the Most Popular Cat Breeds
Before we jump in, we thought it best to include a disclaimer. This list is in no particular order because we feel every cat is absolutely ‘pawsome’. And there’s also a small chance we haven’t included your amazing moggy. If this is the case, please let us know in the comments below.
Oh, and one last thing, here’s a spoiler alert: our absolute favorite has to be No.21.
Aptly named, Ragdolls go all mushy and limp when they’re picked up by their humans, in the same way a ragdoll does when held. Although a relatively new breed, this breed’s docile nature and love for being loved, has already made them a popular choice for cat lovers worldwide.
And with their big blue eyes and silky soft coat, it’s almost impossible to resist the charms of this loveable lap cat.
2. American Shorthairs
The American Shorthair has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, making them a popular choice for families that want their children to grow up with a pet. And because of their friendly nature, they get along well with other pets and children, so adding new members (of the furry or human kind) to your family won’t leave them feeling stressed out.
Unlike some other breeds, the American Shorthair is absolutely devoted to its owner and will want to be around you all the time. It’s also worth mentioning that this particular breed is reasonably low maintenance, so you don’t need to spend too much time brushing them. They are quite literally floofy angels and an absolute pleasure to have around.
3. The Exotic
It’s easy to see why the Exotic was recently named the most popular cat breed in America by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Often referred to as the lazy man’s Persian, this unique breed of a cat requires a lot less grooming than a Persian, and their coat’s don’t get tangled or matted.
With its teddy-bear-like looks and calm nature, the Exotic is a loving, loyal, and affectionate companion that enjoys curling up on your lap for a nap, smooshing its nose up to your face, or perching on your shoulder while you give it loads of TLC. But they also give you your space, demanding very little attention.
This breed, as you can imagine, is also a firm favorite of ours.
4. British Shorthairs
Contrary to popular belief, not all British Shorthairs are blue; instead, they come in various colors and markings. But what is consistent with this breed is their demeanor. They are affectionate and adaptable and get on well with humans of all ages.
This breed’s easy-going nature means they are okay being left on their own for a few hours, and will happily entertain themselves while you’re away.
The most distinctive characteristic of a Bengal cat is the markings that resemble their wild cousins, namely leopards, ocelots, or jaguars. With a Bengal by your side, you could probably give Joe Exotic a run for his money.
But there’s more to this breed than just its beguiling looks. They are affectionate and confident and maintain their kitten-like curiosity even as they get older. Bengals love being a part of the family and do well with other pets when appropriately introduced.
6. Maine Coon
So here’s something you maybe didn’t know about this particular breed. Native to Maine, it was recognized as the state’s official cat in 1985. Known as the feline world’s gentle giant, the Maine Coon can weigh up to 20 pounds (sometimes more). Besides their size, this particular breed of cat is known for its uneven shaggy coat, very long tail, large tufted paws, and ears.
Not only are these cats magnificent in stature, but they are also incredibly charming. So while they won’t spend any time on your lap, your ball of fluffiness will happily keep you company, curled up close by. Although they are relatively independent, they are prone to serious FOMO bouts and will want to be a part of their human’s life as much as possible. Oh, and they love water. So don’t be surprised when your big puddy cat lands up in the shower with you.
Because of their outgoing, friendly personalities and intelligence, a Maine Coon is a popular choice as a family pet, forever friend, and even as a therapy animal.
From their unique colors and patterns to their child-like enthusiasm for just about anything, and anyone, there’s a lot to love about Orientals. This live-wire’s personality often resembles an overeager puppy and can sometimes even be a bit of a nuisance.
Curiosity might not kill this cat, but it’ll certainly make for exciting moments. Sticking its nose in when you’re in the bathroom, taking a closer look at what you’re having for dinner, and ‘moewthing’ off at you when you’re late, this smart kitten will make its presence known. But we do need to warn you, Orientals have very little regard for your busy schedule, so be prepared to have a cat on your laptop while you’re trying to meet a deadline, or a ‘hey-I’ need-more-attention’ nudge umpteen times a day.
Intelligent, affectionate, and full of beans, this cat makes for a loyal and loving companion.
Laid-back (read lazy) and extremely photogenic, the Persian is definitely one of the most popular cat breeds in the USA and the rest of the world.
Hundreds of years ago, Persian cats were known for their gray coats. Still, with selected breeding over the years, there are now as many as seven accepted colors, including smoke and shaded, bicolor, particolor, tabby, silver, and golden and Himalayan. Persians are not only blessed with a magnificent coat, but they also have the personality and temperament to match.
Definitely an indoor cat, their coats require daily brushing, with the occasional bath. We recommend establishing a grooming routine to avoid any ‘catastrophes’ down the line as early as possible.
9. Norwegian Forest
No prizes for guessing where this breed originates from! Weighing up to 22 pounds, the Norwegian Forest is often mistaken for other breeds, including the Maine Coon. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice a few distinct differences.
Norwegian Forests have a triangle-shaped head and almond-shaped eyes, as well as a straight profile. Their waterproof coat and tufted paws are ideal for Norwegian climates, but they need a lot less grooming than other long-haired breeds.
Although they’re incredibly affectionate, Norwegian Forests aren’t demanding of your attention. And while they love having people around, they’re just as happy in their own company.
The gorgeous Himalayan or Himmie as it’s often called, with its bright blue eyes, is what you get when you breed a Persian cat with a Siamese.
Personality-wise, this feline is laid back (read lazy) just like the Persian and is extremely affectionate. They love being stroked and groomed, so you’ll usually find them curled up on their human’s lap.
A breed with major ”cattitude’ is the Siamese. They’re lovable, loyal, very vocal, intelligent, and all-round busybodies. It’s easily recognizable thanks to its bright blue and distinctive coat, and once they get talking, there’s no stopping them.
Siamese cats are smart, mischievous, and nosey, so don’t be surprised to see yours opening kitchen drawers to take a peek inside, or bathroom doors to let you know it’s dinner time. Some Siamese cat owners have taken to using child locks on cupboards to stop their kitties nosing around.
They’re great companions, but be warned – they’ll talk all the way through your favorite TV show.
While some cats are aloof and merely tolerate the company of those around them, the Abyssinian is exceptionally affectionate and loves being a part of the family. This breed is playful, even into its senior years, but is also content snuggling up on the sofa with whoever’s sitting there.
The Aby is as intelligent as it is independent and enjoys being outdoors. Whether it’s a bit of gardening or a game of fetch, this happy-go-lucky cat will join in with whatever’s going on. Having said that, they can also entertain themselves with toys, scratch posts, and climbing trees and other pets, but they don’t do well being left on their own for hours at a time.
Their distinctive smooth coats require very little maintenance, and a weekly brush is more than enough. However, daily petting sessions will be rewarded with loyalty and adoration.
13. Sphynx cat
Although this hairless breed isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it’s easy to see the appeal. And pawrents of this unique breed speak highly of the Sphynx, describing them as ‘part monkey, part dog, part child, part cat.’ They are inquisitive and playful, thrive on attention and loads of cuddles.
But take note, this cat doesn’t do well on its own. It needs companionship, from humans or other pets, and gets stressed when left on its own. They are also extremely vocal, letting you know when they need food or attention. The Sphynx is also quite high maintenance when it comes to its care. Regular bathing is a must, and keeping them out of the sun is essential. This breed also feels the cold a lot more than others, so making sure it’s warm is important.
14. Devon Rex
Half cat, half mischievous gremlin, your life will never be the same once you open your door and heart to a Devon Rex. Their oversized heads, big eyes, and enormous ears make them easy to recognize, and endears them to their humans. But be warned, this breed is go-go-go all the time. Jokingly referred to as the Demon Rex (okay, we call them that), they love pouncing on unsuspecting passers-by, climbing whatever’s nearby, hogging bath or shower-time, and hijacking the bed.
This kitty cat also has somewhat of an identity crisis, with its dog-like wagging tail and its eagerness for a game of fetch. And just like dogs, they love affection and cuddles, and will happily reciprocate at every given opportunity.
The saying goes that the only thing better than having a Birman is having two, three, or four. This gorgeous feline has a silky-soft coat and beguiling blue eyes. As a breed, they are affectionate, friendly, and extremely intelligent, making them the perfect family pet, companion, or therapy animal.
Unbelievably, they don’t require a lot of maintenance. A brush every three or four days is more than enough, but because they’re indoor cats, it’s also a good idea to keep their nails clipped and furniture-friendly.
Definitely people-oriented, Birmans don’t only like being around humans, they need the company, and can get bored and lonely when left alone for too long. They also do well around other animals, so if you’re out during the day, it might be worth getting another Birman.
16. Scottish Fold
The first Scottish Fold was discovered in 1961, but the breed has become a lot more popular thanks to Taylor Swift. She is the proud pawrent to two Scottish Folds named Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson. (Yup, after the characters in her two favorite TV shows). Other celebrities that have fallen head over heels in love with this breed include Ed Sheeran, Patrick Dempsey, and Kirsten Dunst.
As their name suggests, the Scottish Fold’s ears are folded down and forward on the head, making it look more like an owl than a cat. Add to this unique (and dare we say cute) look, their sweet disposition, and easy-going attitude, and you have the perfect pet. Scottish Folds love their humans and adapt to new situations quickly.
Something we think is particularly interesting about this breed is that they’re all born with straight ears. But when the kittens are between three and four weeks of age, their ears will fold. Or not.
Considered to be an ancient breed, the Chartreux is as intelligent as it is elegant. Often referred to as France’s blue cats, they appear in literature dating back to the 16th century. And we’re smitten with its blue fur, big eyes, and round little body.
Although the breed is extremely popular here in the USA, they are still somewhat of a rarity. But those lucky enough to share their home with a Chartreux describe them as affectionate, calm, and friendly. And while they like being around people, they are not demanding in any way. They are also extremely intelligent and can be taught a few commands and even respond to their name.
Spoiler alert! You will fall in love with a Korat.
Sometimes referred to as the blue siamese, this breed is blessed with the most beautiful blue-grey coat, sweet little heart-shaped faces, and the most striking green eyes. And as if that’s not enough, they are an absolute delight to have around.
They are outgoing and playful and enjoy loads of interaction with their humans. They are independent and like exploring, but will never stray too far from your side. Oh, and did we mention they’re chatty-catties? While they’re not as vocal as a Siamese cat, they do like talking to anyone who cares to listen.
Looking like it’s stepped straight out of the 80s with a perm, this cat’s name says it all. Fans of this breed can choose a long-haired LaPerm, in all its floofy glory, or the shorthaired version that comes with tighter curls.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not high maintenance, needing a brush only once a week. And while their hairdo might be extreme, their temperament isn’t. This breed is laid-back and calm, and happy to spend time on its own. Of course, it loves cuddles and will snuggle up on the sofa with its human if given a chance.
20. Turkish Angora
Turkish Angoras are a national treasure in Turkey, and in a relatively short space of time, they have become treasured pets in the US. Not only are these cats strikingly beautiful, but they’re also playful, outgoing, affectionate, and extremely intelligent.
The breed is also adaptable to new situations and does well around children and other pets. Sometimes described as the ‘host with the most,’ the Angora will more often than not greet guests at the door, work the room, and socialize with everyone.
While it’s hard to believe it, their luxurious silky coats very rarely mat and requires very little grooming.
21. Selkirk Rex
Are you ‘kitten’ us? Isn’t this the cutest little cat you’ve ever seen? Looking as if it’s being crossed with a toy teddy bear, the Selkirk Rex has the most delightful curly coat. They can be short or long-haired, or if it’s a variant of the breed, the fur can be straight.
In a litter, 50% of the kittens will have curly coats, and the other 50% will be variants with straight fur. It’s easy to tell the difference from the moment they’re born by looking at their whiskers. Curly kittens have the whiskers to match.
Not only is the breed a sight to behold, but they also make excellent family pets. They ooze charm, are incredibly laid-back, and if they had a motto for life, it would probably be ‘Hakuna Matata’.
That’s it, folks, 21 of the most popular cat breeds. Did yours make the list? Let us know in the comments below.