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Home > Cats > How Many Breeds of Cats Are There? 2024 Update

How Many Breeds of Cats Are There? 2024 Update

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Have you ever wondered how many cat breeds there are in the world? While we wish we could give you a definitive answer to this question, the truth is it depends on who you are using as a source. Cat registries worldwide list different qualifications for the breeds they accept, and the total number varies from association to association.

For example, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 73 distinct breeds, while The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) only recognizes 45. However, that doesn’t mean there are only 45 or 73 cat breeds worldwide. Just because an association doesn’t officially recognize a breed doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Read on to learn more about the different cat breeds, including the five most common and the five rarest ones you’ve probably never seen before.

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The 5 Most Common Cat Breeds in the World

1. Domestic Shorthairs

An orange tabby domestic shorthair cat with iris melanosis or hyperpigmentation in its eyes
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Domestic Shorthairs are any cat with short fur that doesn’t belong to any recognized cat breed. They are distinct from other breeds with “shorthair” in the title, like the British Shorthair or American Shorthair. This is the most common cat owned in America, accounting for around 95% of all U.S. cats.

2. Domestic Longhairs

White Domestic Longhair Cat
Image Credit: Sabrinakoeln, Pixabay

Domestic Longhairs, like their shorthaired counterparts, do not belong to any particular recognized cat breed. They have coats of semi-long to long fur and are distinct from others with “longhair” in the title, such as British Longhairs and American Longhairs.

3. Ragdolls

lilac ragdoll kitten lying on a veil
Image Credit: cath5, Shutterstock

Ragdolls are the most popular cat breed in the world. These beautiful cats are known for their large size, plush long-haired coats, and piercing blue eyes. They are a docile, peaceful, and affectionate breed, making them the ideal lap cat and perfect companion. However, they can be a little needy as they spend much of their day seeking out your affection.

4. Persians

chinchilla persian cat standing indoor
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

Persians are the most popular pedigreed cat breed in the United States and the fourth-most popular cat breed in the world. Their incredibly gentle nature and relaxed personality are just part of what makes them highly sought after. Their beautiful, long, soft coats and large, expressive eyes set them apart from other cat breeds.

5. Maine Coons

maine coon cat resting at the top of the cat tree
Image Credit: VLADIMIR LVP, Shutterstock

Main Coons are the second most popular cat breed in the world. Weighing up to 20 pounds or more, these giant giants are known for their shaggy coats and tufted ears, but it’s not just their appearance that makes them popular. The Maine Coons are a friendly, intelligent, loyal, and affectionate breed that loves following their humans from room to room.


The 5 Rarest Cat Breeds in the World

1. Sokoke

sokoke cat head
Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock

The Sokoke is a natural breed, meaning it was created naturally. It was not created from specific breeds but is a descendant of free-roaming feral cats in Kenya. These cats typically have a blotched tabby coat in colors similar to the Bengal and Ocicat. The centers of their spots are usually hollow, giving their coats a beautiful ticked look.

Sokokes are the rarest cat breed in the world, with some estimates putting their numbers at less than 100.

2. Egyptian Mau

Egyptian Mau kitten playing on a white blanket
Image Credit: Anastasiia Chystokoliana, Shutterstock

The Egyptian Mau is a lean, athletic cat with a long, storied history. They are regal, intelligent, and one of the very few naturally-spotted breeds of domesticated cats. Around 7,000 Egyptian Maus are registered with the Cat Fanciers’ Association, making them rather rare by today’s standards.

3. Kurilian Bobtail

kurilian bobtail cat
Image Credit: lindarczyk, Pixabay

The Kurilian Bobtail is a rare breed originating on the Russian Kuril Islands. They can be either short or long-haired, and, as the name suggests, they have a distinct short and fluffy tail. Don’t be fooled by this breed’s slightly wild look; they’re incredibly gentle, friendly, and domesticated. While this breed is rather popular in the USSR, it remains very rare in North America.

The CFA does not recognize the Kurilian Bobtail as a breed.

4. Tonkinese

tonkinese cat with blue eyes
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

The Tonkinese is a beautiful cat just as visually striking as its two parent breeds– the Burmese and the Siamese. This rare breed doesn’t just share its appearance with its parents but many personality traits, too. They get their playful and lively personality from their Burmese side and their vocalness from the Siamese side. Despite the Tonkinese cat’s famous progenitors, it is a relatively rare breed that’s difficult for fanciers to find.

5. Korat

Korat cat
Image Credit: Gino Santa Maria, Shutterstock

Korats are an ancient breed hailing from the Korat province in Thailand. Despite its long history, this breed is likely the one that most closely resembles its original ancestors. These silvery-blue cats have a unique personality. They’re highly intelligent and have a fantastic memory. A Korat can be taken to a place it’s never been before and find its way home. If they live in a big group together, a clear hierarchical system is in place, with the group’s sergeant eating first and the others following behind him. The Korat is a rare breed in America due to its small gene pool.


The Remaining Officially-Recognized Cat Breeds

As we mentioned in the introduction, the CFA recognizes just 45 pedigreed cat breeds, while TICA recognizes over 70. Below is a list of all the recognized cat breeds between the two associations.

Those marked with an asterisk (*) are recognized by TICA but not by the CFA. Those marked with a plus (+) are recognized by the CFA but not TICA. We also did not include the 10 breeds mentioned above in this list.

Note: TICA and CFA are not the only cat registries in the world. Others, like the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) and the World Cat Federation (WCF), may recognize other breeds than those listed above. The FIFe recognizes 48 official breeds, while the WCF creates standards for the 68 pedigreed cats they recognize.

Turkish Van
Image Credit: BadMelody, Pixabay

Are There Other Breeds Than Those Listed Above?

If you can believe it, there are even more cat breeds out there. Just because the TICA or CFA does not recognize them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

These breeds generally fall into one of three types: natural, mutation, or crossbreed. Natural types originated naturally without the help of breeders. Mutation types exist due to various genetic mutations. Crossbreed types are the result of breeding two separate breeds together to create a new breed altogether.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many cat breeds worldwide, but just how many, exactly, will depend entirely on what association you use as a source. Not all associations recognize all breeds, and some breeds aren’t even officially recognized by any association at all.

Featured Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

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