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15 American Cat Breeds (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

July 9, 2021

Of the many cat breeds that exist in the world, more than a dozen originate from the U.S. They may have been intentionally bred or occurred naturally through the organic breeding of native cats. They could have been for a particular purpose, such as rat and rodent hunting, or to achieve a certain look.

There is a varied range of cats, in terms of their appearance and characteristics, that are considered American breeds. We have listed 15 American cat breeds to help you find the one that best fits your needs and desires.divider-cat

1. American Curl

White American Curl Kitten
Image by Chicsweet from Pixabay

Weight: 5-10 lbs.
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Character: Friendly, gentle, people loving

The American Curl is a relatively new breed. The breed is well known for their backward ears: a mutation that was first noticed in the early 1980s. Once spotted, breeders attempted to replicate it. this is a dominant gene, so as long as one of the parents has it, it will appear in the kittens.

The cat is considered friendly and will get along with people of all ages, as well as other cats and some dogs. This is an active breed that will fit in well in most households.

Related Read: 7 Cat Breeds with Short Ears


2. American Shorthair

American Shorthair
Image Credit: Tomo, Wikimedia Commons

Weight: 7-12 lbs.
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Character: Calm, sociable, hunter

The American Shorthair is descended from European cats that made their way over on boats as mousers and were used for rodent control. It has been shown since the turn of the 20th century, they have gone on to become one of the most popular cat breeds in the U.S. This is a pedigree breed that is now distinct from the Domestic Shorthair.

The American Shorthair retains their rodent hunting prowess but is an amiable cat that will get along with all family members. They are low-maintenance cats that are easy to look after.


3. Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Shorthair
Image Credit: Heikki Siltala , Wikimedia Commons

Weight: 8-12 lbs.
Lifespan: 10-13 years
Character: Playful, lively, sweet

Quite a new breed, the Exotic Shorthair was first bred in the 1960s, when breeders accidentally combined American Shorthairs with Persians.

The Exotic Shorthair is sometimes called “the lazy man’s Persian” and exhibits many of the same characteristics as the Persian. However, they require less grooming than the Persian. The flat face of the breed means that they are prone to tear stains. The breed is sweet and loving, and they will remain playful cats well into their adult years.


4. American Wirehair

american wirehair cat
Image Credit: m1ns3tth3in from Pixabay

Weight: 8-15 lbs.
Lifespan: 7-12 years
Character: Relaxed, loving, playful

The American Wirehair was bred in the 1960s in New York and was initially a spontaneous genetic mutation of the American Shorthair breed. A kitten born with natural wirehair was intentionally bred, and the mutation passed on. Although well known today, this is still widely considered a rare breed.

Wirehairs are genetically and characteristically similar to American Shorthairs. The wiry fur is considered easy to maintain because it requires little grooming. This cat is friendly and gets along with most people and other animals, although the Wirehair will be just as happy playing as curled up on a lap.


5. Bengal

Bengal
Image Credit: Uschi_Du, Pixabay

Weight: 8-15 lbs.
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Character: Confident, outgoing, friendly

The Bengal was first created by crossing small Asian Leopard Cats with Domestic Shorthairs. The breeding program, which began in 1963, was considered successful, and all Bengal cats today can be traced back to litters from this program.

The Bengal is a confident and chatty cat that always has an opinion on a subject. They will get along with other cats, dogs, and family members, and as expected from a cat so close to their wild lineage, they enjoy spending time climbing trees.


6. Maine Coon

Maine Coon
Image Credit: KlausHausmann, Pixabay

Weight: 10-20 lbs.
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Character: Happy, adaptable, prefers adults

The Maine Coon is widely considered the largest domestic cat breed and can grow to a weight of 20 pounds or more. It is believed that this is another breed that originated from European sailors’ cats, although some theorize that they are a cross between a domesticated cat and a raccoon.

Whatever the history, the breed is known for being a gentle giant. They usually get along better with adults, will follow you around, and are keen to spend time near, rather than on, you. Despite their long coat, the Maine Coon is easy to care for and typically only requires a weekly brush.


7. American Bobtail

American Bobtail
Image Credit: Rachel Davies, Wikimedia Commons

Weight: 15-18 lbs.
Lifespan: 13-17 years
Character: Playful, affectionate, loyal

The American Bobtail has a distinctive look due to their tail or rather, the lack thereof, although the actual length and shape of the tail can vary from one cat to the next. The breed was created in the 1960s when a Siamese was crossed with a short-tailed domestic cat.

Often referred to as the Golden Retriever of cats, the American Bobtail is loyal, loving, playful, and sweet. They get along with people of all ages and most animals, making them a good choice of pet for families.


8. Pixie Bob

Pixiebob
Image CRedit: DaveFrancis, Pixabay

Weight: 9-12 lbs.
Lifespan: 12-17 years
Character: Intelligent, social, playful

The Pixie-Bob is believed to have originated from a natural cross between the Bobcat and a barn cat in the 1980s. The breed has been officially recognized since 1994 and is, to all intents and purposes, the same as an American Bobcat but a little smaller.

This is a breed that makes a good family pet because they combine playfulness with a loving nature.


9. Ocicat

OCICATT
Image Credit: T. Bjornstad, Wikimedia Commoins

Weight: 7-15 lbs.
Lifespan: 15-18 years
Character: Graceful, expressive, affectionate

The Ocicat originated as a mistake in 1964, when breeders attempted to create a Siamese with the coat of an Abyssinian. The breed developed quickly, being registered in their first show in 1965 and being officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1966.

The Ocicat looks like a wild cat and shares the same grace and elegance. This intelligent breed can learn to respond to their name and are usually affectionate with their family members. They will usually bond with all members of the household but may choose a single individual to enjoy a particularly keen bond with.


10. Balinese

Balinese
Image Credit: Mary Desmond, Wiimedia Commons

Weight: 5-10 lbs.
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Character: Athletic, intelligent, loyal

The Balinese cat is essentially a long-haired Siamese, although purist breeders would never call them that, and was first seen in the 1940s. Breeding programs were introduced in the 1950s, and the breed was first recognized in 1961. Despite the name, the breed has nothing to do with Indonesia but was named as such because breeders believed that the grace of the breed reflected that of Balinese temple dancers.

The breed is intelligent and can be taught recall and basic tricks. They are also loyal cats and will form close bonds with you and the rest of their family.


11. Bombay

Bombay-black-cat-portrait_Viktor-Sergeevich_shutterstock
Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

Weight: 7-12 lbs.
Lifespan: 12-16 years
Character: Dominant, intelligent, sociable

The Bombay was bred to look like a small black panther, although occasionally, a sable kitten may be born. They were bred in the 1970s in Kentucky, as a cross between a Burmese and a black American Shorthair.

Bombays are adaptable and inquisitive. They will form a close bond with their owner and are playful. As they age, these cats will become more likely to be found in hot and warm zones around the house.


12. Lykoi

Lykoi-werewolf-cat_Nynke-van-Holten_shutterstock
Credit: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock

Weight: 8-12 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Character: Sociable, affectionate, sweet

The Lykoi is a mutation of a Domestic Shorthair and was only discovered in 2011. The breed stands out for their coat, which can range from being completely bald to sparsely coated. It gives the breed the appearance of a werewolf.

The Lykoi is a friendly, sociable, and loving animal. They are also intelligent and quick to learn, which makes them great family pets, and they are happy to learn games and tricks with their family.


13. Ragdoll

Ragdoll
Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay

Weight: 10-17 lbs.
Lifespan: 12-17 years
Character: Cuddly, affectionate, intelligent

The Ragdoll was developed in the 1960s by eccentric breeder Ann Baker, who made many wild claims about the breed, including that the Ragdoll had human genes and that there had been either alien or CIA involvement in their development.

The breed is considered friendly and loving, enjoys cuddles and time with their owner, and is intelligent and keen to please their owners, so they can learn tricks and games quickly.


14. Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex
Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay

Weight: 10-16 lbs.
Lifespan: 13-16 years
Character: Sweet, mellow, laidback

The Selkirk Rex is a breed that was made by accident, due to a naturally occurring genetic mutation. The Rex mutation created a cat with curly hair. They were further developed using British Shorthair, Persian, and Exotic Shorthair breeds.

Typically described as laidback, the Selkirk Rex is friendly and affectionate. They get along with people of all ages, as well as other cats and friendly dogs. This is a mellow animal that is easy to own, and they are known to produce less of the Fel D1 protein that causes allergic reactions in cat allergy sufferers.


15. LaPerm

LaPerm
Image Credit: Bebopscrx, Wikimedia Commons

Weight: 5-8 lbs.
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Character: Active, intelligent, somewhat clownish

The LaPerm was the result of a spontaneous mutation during the breeding of pest control breeds. They first appeared in the early 1980s in the U.S. and have now made their way to other countries around the world. The LaPerm is so named for their perm-like coat.

Often described as being fun and entertaining, the LaPerm can also be a little clownlike. Their long coat does not require much care, and a weekly brushing should be sufficient to keep the cat looking great and to prevent too much of their hair from shedding.

divider-pawAmerican Cat Breeds

These 15 cat breeds are known to have originated from the U.S. There are unique cats on the list, including the werewolf-like Lykoi and the pantherine Bombay. Whether due to simple curiosity or because you are hunting for the perfect breed for your next feline family companion, we hope that you have found the list useful.


Featured Image Credit: karikdickinson, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.


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