Top 10 Cat Breeds

PetMD Editorial
Updated: November 08, 2013
Published: October 26, 2009
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Meow Monday


There are many different breeds of cats, and one to suit every single cat lover. Of course, Catwoman is not a breed, no matter how much you may wish it so. But if you’re thinking of investing in a purebred feline friend, then have a look at the top 10 cat breeds (based on CFA registration totals for 2008).

#10 Oriental

Related to the Siamese, the Oriental has big pointy ears and an inquisitive personality. The breed is smart and social, making deep bonds with its human family. It can be very vocal and demanding when seeking attention. In fact, because of this need of attention, it is also considered very “dog-like” -- a loyal, playful, and vocal companion.

#9 Birman

Legend has it the Birman was the protector of ancient Burmese temples. A large, long, sturdy cat with long silky hair (which doesn't matt), the Birman is known for its blue eyes, snow white boots, and dark points on its ears, face, legs, and tail. And although it is respectful of your quiet time, it is is a loving, gentle cat that loves to play.

#8 American Shorthair

This athletic breed is descended from the British shorthair, but is much larger, leaner, more powerful, and comes in a wide array of colors and patterns. Sort of like the American car. The American Shorthair is also healthy, gentle, easygoing, and low maintenance -- you rarely have to worry about intensive grooming sessions. It is great with kids and even gets along with dogs, too, and has a very long lifespan, with 15 to 20 years not being out of the ordinary.

#7 Sphynx

We’re not talking about the legendary Egyptian monument and myth, but a real live, rare kitty cat breed. The hairless sphinx isn’t completely hairless, though. It has a fine peach-like fuzz covering its body, which makes it very sensitive to the sun and elements. So yes, this is definitely an indoor cat. It’s warm to the touch and affectionate. It’ll even jump under the covers with you. With its big, pointy ears and energetic and curious nature, the Sphynx is a fun addition to any family.

#6 Ragdoll

Thus named by its breeder in the early '60s because it was wrongly thought this cat was not only very relaxed and floppy when picked up, but also unable to feel pain. Although the Ragdoll doesn't like to be over-coddled, it gets along well with children and is even careful not to use its teeth and claws during playtime. In fact, the Ragdoll will often follow its human family from room to room like a puppy. However, it should not be allows to roam the streets alone, as it does not defend itself well.

#5 Abyssinian

One of the oldest breeds of cat, the Abyssinian resembles the ancient Egyptian cats with its lithe build, large pointy ears, and slender legs. This is a willful, smart, and extroverted cat that loves exploring and playing. Yet it is shy and timid with strangers, which means not generally suitable for cat shows. Additionally, the Abyssinian, with its short, dense coat, absolutely loves water. So watch out out for unattended baths!

#4 Siamese

Don’t let the bad kitties in the film The Aristocats give you a bad image of this beauty. Yes, the Siamese can be demanding in wanting attention (in fact, like human babies, it can be very vocal and cry), but it also a very affectionate, loving, and social critter. However, international jet-setters beware, this sensitive and nervous cat does not enjoy being left alone. The Siamese comes in a number of colors, but the points -- the dark patches on the face, ears, paws, and tail -- are integral to the breed.

#3 Maine Coon

This beautiful cat is native to Maine and also the largest breed of domestic cat. The Maine coon enjoys playing with water and is great with kids and dogs. Its dense, water-resistant fur helps the Maine coon defend itself in harsh weather, and its large wide paws act like snowshoes for walking. Overall, a health and hardy breed that doubles as a excellent mouser.

#2 Exotic Shorthair

This is the short-haired version of the Persian. With the squashed Persian face and rounded ears, the Exotic Shorthair is not unlike a cuddly little teddy bear. However, while having a similar temperament to the Persian, this cat is bit more lively and inquisitive. It's perfect for someone who wants a Persian but doesn’t have the time to devote to grooming.

#1 Persian

Everyone knows the Persian cat. One of the oldest breeds, it’s renowned for its long, silky fur, expressive eyes, and squashed face. This cat is a calm, sweetly affectionate animal that loves habit and serene environments (sounds like a personal ad!). But remember, the Persian requires regular baths and daily grooming, as its fur is too long to be able to groom itself efficiently. Also, the Persian is definitely an indoor cat, so it’s probably not a good idea to take on walks.

So there you have it: the top 10 cat breeds. Of course, please don’t share any of this information with your cat. He thinks he’s the only cat worth it in the world.