So, which breed of cat should you get?
That is a tricky question to answer as cat breeds are so wide and varied, and cat lovers have different tastes.
In this article we will look at the 12 most common cat breeds pet owners go for when choosing a domestic cat and give information that may help you to make your choice.
Table Of Contents
Affectionately described by many owners as big fluff balls, these chilled out cats are relatively large, long and powerful with medium to long length hair and busy tail.
Ragdolls have a famously calm, gentle and laid back nature.
This, combined with their natural floppiness –their nickname is ‘floppy cat’ – makes them a great cat to have around children as they don’t mind being picked up and stroked a lot.
They are also happy in the company of other pets, e.g. dogs.
Despite the long hair, Ragdolls are not prone to shedding a lot. However, they will appreciate regular grooming to help discourage knots forming in their soft coat.
Find out more in our Ultimate Guide to Ragdoll Cats.
Maine Coon cats
The Maine Coon cat is known to be the only long-haired cat native to the USA.
They are the largest of all domestic cats with a muscular body and thick coat, which really adds to their imposing figure.
But, their imposing figure does not match their personality as this gentle giant of a cat is sweet-natured with a particularly adorable meow, which is more like a chirrup.
Their wide and tufted front paws and back paws can develop extra toes, allowing for expert prey stalking even in harsh winters.
Originally, they were used as hunting cats to help control rodent populations, but became sort after by the elite in the early 1900s and made popular pets.
Perhaps thankfully, given their size, Maine coons are not considered to be lap cats.
However, they do like to be around people, enjoy being picked up for a cuddle and will follow you around from room to room.
Maine coons enjoy company and have no problem interacting positively with other pets. Their patient and gentle nature around humans makes them ideal pets for children.
The oldest cat breed (they have been referenced in hieroglyphics), Persian cats love humans and are exceptionally affectionate to their owners and will gleefully snuggle up on your lap.
They often show dog traits such as running to the door to greet your return or coming to you when you call their name.
However, they can be aloof around visitors and are also regarded as the laziest of all cat breeds – some cats spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping.
Persian cats have a thick, long coat and come in a wide range of colors. To keep this lustrous and glossy fur from matting, daily grooming is required.
With a long slim body, round head, flat face and round eyes, this docile cat is very cute to look at. Though, sadly, their flat faces are a likely cause of why this breed has high levels of dental and eye problems.
Domestic shorthair cats and Domestic longhair cats
The most common and most popular cat breed you will find in households of North America, with estimates of up to 95% of all house cats being Domestics!
They are are non-pedigree with mixed or unknown ancestry.
Affectionally known by cat owners as moggy cats, this incredibly popular breed appears in a range of colors and patterns and do not have specific markings.
Commonly, they are a medium sized cats with round faces and very much their own personality.
Kittens are playful and curious and adult cats grow up to be friendly, low maintenance, practical cats with good general health.
Unlike some pedigree breeds, moggies are not needy and treasure their independence.
Having two kittens is usually fine, but choosing to have two cats by trying to introduce a new cat to your already established one is not ideal.
Both your male cat and female cat will enjoy the freedom to roam between your home and the outside world. This can occasionally get them into trouble if feral cats or a neighbor’s pet cat approaches, which may result in some expensive vet visits.
If these handsome cats make you think of Leopards there is good reason for that.
Their marbled coat with splendid spots come from way back in the day when domestic cats bred with wild Asian Leopard cats.
This then puts Bengal cats in the classification of hybrid and their boundless energy and muscular physique is no doubt a remnant of those wild cat genes.
A Bengal cat’s life would be happiest with an owner that is able to provide them with a lot of entertainment, stimulation and an outdoor space.
They are affectionate and loyal cats, but do require a lot of attention and are not independent like Domestics. They will get lonely and disruptive if left alone for ours on end.
Bengal cats are also not best suited to a household with young children.
Extremely talkative cats originating from Thailand (Siam), these ‘musical cats’ would make the perfect companion for someone who likes to indulge in a chat over breakfast with their feline friend.
Well, breakfast; lunch; dinner; while staring blankly into space. Whenever. These cats really do enjoy working out their vocal chords.
Siamese cats can be easily recognized by their customarily light colored coat (though different colors and patterns are now bred) with dark face, ears, tail and feet.
These ‘points’ and incredibly blue eyes make this breed very distinct.
Historically, Siamese cats were often cross-eyed with a kink in their tails, but those characteristics were bred out. Fortunately, their high intelligence and curiosity was not.
This breed shows some dog-like characteristics as a Siamese cat will follow you around your home and can even be trained to walk on a lead.
They can be prone to overeating and their slim, elegant legs are not really built for supporting a pot belly, so be careful attention should be paid to their diet.
British shorthair cat
Seen in many a cat food commercial and as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, their sumptuous, plush coat and happy faces make them look so cuddly and huggable.
That glorious coat was thickened further when they were bred with the aforementioned Persian cats. Their bodies are chunky with rounded ears, face and head.
While a British shorthair would prefer to sit next to you than on your lap, they are very loyal pets that will befriend every member of the household.
Their loving, placid and tender nature means they are comfortable around children.
Also quite vocal, they will let you know when it is time for food or to be let out, but are pretty low-maintenance when compared to other pedigree breeds.
British shorthair cats are low-energy and don’t let things faze them too much.
Male cats are a little more open and less reserved than female cats, so if you would prefer a British Shorthair that settles into the rhythm of your family quickly, go for a male over a female cat.
Neutered males are also unlikely to show any aggression.
American shorthair cats
While looking very similar to the Domestic shorthair, these cats are in fact pure breed pedigrees.
They are from the same family as Domestics but have to be standardly bred with specific traits unlike the Domestic.
Personality wise, new cat parents will likely find that American shorthair cats tend to be independent.
They can be left alone for several hours at a time as they enjoy taking themselves off to find a quiet place in the sun.
With limited health worries and fewer genetic problems than some other pedigrees, these resilient creatures have an average lifespan of about 15-20 years.
American shorthairs are not perturbed by other animals and will get along with your other cats and pets quite well whether introduced as adult cats or kittens.
Many cat owners are drawn to this shorthair cat because of its regal appearance and a look that resembles wild cats, such as pumas.
This look is down to their curious ‘ticked’ coat, which gives a tabby color effect as each of the hairs is banded with 4-6 different colors contrasts – darker at the tips, lighter at the roots.
This ‘wild’ color is the most common and is called usual or ruddy. Other colorations include red, blue and fawn.
Abyssinian cats are know to be intelligent, curious and playful with a natural athleticism that fuels a love of climbing and being very active.
A dog-like attachment to their owners means they are incredibly affectionate cats that love human company, but will demand and crave a lot of attention – they are known to enjoy playing fetch and follow their owners around.
Without enough stimulation and interaction, they can get bored and could suffer from things like depression or separation anxiety.
Therefore, they are best suited to cat lovers who have ample time to play and interact with them and multiple exercise outlets, such as a safe outdoor space, scratching posts, toys and high areas to perch upon.
Exotic shorthair cats
This relatively young breed of a cat has quite a complex history of how it came to be with a breeding lineage that includes the American shorthair cat, Persian cat, Russian blue cats and Burmese cats.
As it turns out, after all this breeding amongst different cat breeds, the Exotic shorthair (commonly referred to simply as exotic cats) is nearly identical to Persian cats only with a shorter coat.
This has led to sometimes being described as the lazy person’s Persian as they look the same but don’t require daily grooming.
The shorter hair makes their slightly squashed looking faces with big, round eyes and flat nose seem even more pronounced.
These features are a bit unfortunate because they give the impression that Exotic cats are not happy or approachable. And the fact they aren’t very vocal doesn’t help either.
But, this could not be further from the truth.
While being laid-back and easy-going like Persians, they are a lot more energetic, playful and fond of company.
They don’t love being picked up and carried about, but enjoy a nap on a lap and are happy to interact with children and other pets, which makes them delightful family cats.
Scottish fold cat
If you are looking for an indoor cat then a Scottish fold could be for you. However, they are not that easy to find and can be expensive when you do.
The reason for their relative rarity is that these cats are not bred together as doing so can lead to kittens being born with degenerative problems.
So, for ethical reasons, they are bred with other breeds – usually American shorthair or British shorthair.
Therefore, not all of the kittens in a litter will have the folded ears (forward and down) that give these cats their name.
The Scottish fold is a medium sized cat that is exceptionally adaptable, which allows them to be equally comfortable in a home full of children and pets or one with just a single owner.
They have a calm and friendly temperament, are soft-spoken, easy to care for and enjoy human company. Though, most cats tend to favor one family member in particular.
Devon Rex cats
These cats are unique in that the ‘wavy’ style of their fur is not found in any other breeds. This rippled wave mutation is not found in all Devon rex kittens, though – just ones born with two recessive genes.
Other striking physical characteristics include a lightweight body with big eyes, large ears and unusually short whiskers that often curl quite dramatically.
In fact, they sometimes curl so much that it gives the illusion that the cat has no whiskers at all.
They are intelligent, playful animals that can be taught to do tricks and fetch things. They have a lot of energy and like to be involved and can be quite mischievous at times, so you may need to keep an eye on them.
But, that is all part of the fun and they are so sweet and delightful as they purr loudly when happy.
For people with allergies that still want to have a feline companion, owning a Devon rex could be a good choice.
While no cats are 100% hypoallergenic, Devon rex cats only have the bottom layer of fur for their coat which consists of fine hair that sheds very little.
This fur also absorbs the proteins that cause allergies.
If allergies are an issue for you then you could also consider Sphynx cats that have almost no hair whatsoever.