Top 10 Cat Breeds

By PetMD Editorial on Feb. 17, 2010

For every type of person in the world, there is a breed of cat that will suit his or her taste and lifestyle. Active or laid back, fluffy or lean, massive or petite, there are so many cats to choose from that even "dog people" will find a cat that fits.

If you’re thinking of going all the way and investing in a purebred feline friend, you have come to the right spot. Here is our look at the top 10 cat breeds. And just as with dogs, some cats shed very little. So if you are concerned about cat allergies, there are some breeds listed below that will suit your lifestyle.

#10 The Oriental. Related to the Siamese, this cat has big pointed ears and an inquisitive personality. Its sleek body is more muscular that it would appear. The Oriental cat is also smart and social and will bond deeply with its owners. It can be quite vocal and demanding -- a very "dog-like" cat. Whether you get the longhair or shorthair version, the Oriental is a loyal and playful companion.

#9 The American Shorthair. This athletic cat was descended from the British Shorthair but is larger, leaner, and more powerful than its across-the-pond counterpart. Sort of like the American muscle car. The American Shorthair is healthy, gentle, easy going, and low maintenance -- grooming is not an issue with this breed. The American Shorthair comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. It’s also a very long-lived kitty, with a lifespan of 15 to 20 years not being out of the ordinary. Even better, the American Shorthair is great with kids and gets along well with dogs, too.

#8 The Birman. This beautiful cat is thought to have originated from Burma. Legend has it that the Birman cat was the protector of the Burmese temples. It’s a large, long, sturdy cat with long silky hair (which isn’t as thick as a Persian’s) that does not mat. This cat is known for its blue eyes, dark points on its ears, face, legs and tail, and snow white boots on all four paws. This is a loving, gentle cat that loves to play, but can stay quiet and out of the way when you’re busy.

#7 The Sphynx. We’re not talking about the legendary Egyptian monument or myth, but a real live, rare cat breed. The hairless Sphynx isn’t completely hairless; it has a fine peach-like fuzz over its body, which makes it very sensitive to the sun and elements. This sensitivity is also the reason the Sphynx should only be considered an indoor cat. It is warm to the touch, energetic, affectionate, and cuddly. The Sphynx will even snuggle under the covers with you. With its big pointy ears and curious nature, the Sphynx is a fun addition to any family.

#6 The Ragdoll. Thus named by a breeder in the early 60s because the cat was very relaxed and floppy when picked up. The Ragdoll is a gentle and affectionate cat, and will often follow its owners from room to room like a puppy. The Ragdoll is not good at defending itself and shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets alone. In fact, it is careful not to use teeth and claws during play, which makes it ideal around kids. The hair of the Ragdoll is full and plush, requiring regular grooming, and although it is not as large as its coat would suggest, it is nonetheless one of the bigger cat breeds. This is a placid cat that really is satisfied with a relaxing lifestyle.


#5 The Siamese. Don’t let the bad kitties in the film The Aristocats leave you with a bad image of this beauty. Yes, they can be verbally demanding in wanting attention (almost like a baby; in fact, its mews sound very much like the cry of a human baby), but it’s also a very affectionate, loving, and social cat. The Siamese can be sensitive and nervous, and is a creature of habit and routine. So if you're an international jet-setter that needs a cat that can travel, this is probably not the one for you. 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.

#4 The Abyssinian. One of the oldest breeds of cat, the Abyssinian resembles an ancient Egyptian cat with its lithe build, large pointy ears, and slender legs. This is a willful, smart, and extroverted cat that loves to explore and play. Its love of games is only matched by its love of water, so watch out for unsolicited bath partners in the tub! Despite its curious nature, the Abyssinian is generally shy and timid around strangers. Although not completely antisocial, this breed is probably not the best choice for those looking to show the cat. The Aby is best suited in a comfortable, loving home.

#3 The Exotic Shorthair. This is the short-haired version of the Persian. With its squashed face and rounded ears, the Exotic Shorthair looks more like a cuddly teddy bear than a cat. And while having a similar temperament to its long-haired cousin, the Exotic is a bit more lively and inquisitive, but still very much laid back, serene, and calm. The Exotic Shorthair is a great choice for someone who wants a Persian, but doesn’t have the time or desire to devote to grooming.

#2 The Maine Coon. This beautiful cat is a native to Maine and also the largest of the domestic cat breeds. The Maine Coon takes three to four years to reach full physical maturity. It has very thick fur with a waterproof layer, large wide paws that act like snow shoes for walking easily across snow, and a long, thick tail used to wrap about its face during harsh weather. The Maine Coon is not only a popular breed because of its temperament, but it’s also a great mouser, is healthy and hardy, and is great with kids and other animal, including dogs.

#1 The Persian. Everyone knows the Persian cat. Renowned for its long, silky fur, expressive eyes, and squashed face, the Persian is also one of the oldest cat breeds. Calm and sweetly affectionate, this cat loves habit and serene environments. Do keep in mind that if you decide to get one, the Persian requires regular baths and daily grooming, as its fur is too long for it to self-groom thoroughly and it is prone to matting. For Persian fanciers, grooming is but one of the many pleasures of having the Persian as a companion. Persians are the quintessential indoor cats; it is best to keep this breed exclusively indoors.

So there you have the top 10 cat breeds. Of course, please don’t share any of this information with your cat. It probably thinks it is most special cat in the world and the only one worth talking about. But, isn’t that all of them? 

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