The True North is strong and free and filled with a love for cats! We Canadians love our pets, and these statistics show how much our cats mean to us.
In 2016, 38.4% of Canadian households had pet cats. This number slowly continued to climb, and in 2020, 40.1% of households had a cat (compared to 35.4% of Canadian homes with dogs).
There’s no question that Canadians love cats, but what are the most popular breeds? Here are the best-loved cat breeds in Canada, along with the few cats that originated here.
The 11 Most Popular Cats in Canada
1. Domestic Shorthair
The Domestic Shorthair cat is not typically a recognized breed. They aren’t purebred but come in many temperaments, sizes, colours, and patterns. They are also sometimes called housecats, moggies (U.K.), and alley cats.
Domestic Shorthair cats should not be confused with the British Shorthair or the American Shorthair, which are both purebreds. They are also among the most common cats found in Canada, which is probably why they are number one.
2. American Shorthair
The American Shorthair is a purebred with a striking silver tabby pattern. They were lumped in with Domestic Shorthairs until 1966, when they were officially recognized as American Shorthairs.
These are affectionate cats that love hanging out with their families. They are also smart and inquisitive and make amazing pets for just about anyone, from noisy families to quiet seniors.
3. Domestic Longhair
These are similar to Domestic Shorthairs, except these cats have long coats. They aren’t purebred, have unknown ancestry, and come in various colours, patterns, and coat lengths and thicknesses. Just like with the American Shorthair, they shouldn’t be confused with the purebred British Longhair.
These cats can also have a variety of temperaments, so a longhaired cat with an unknown background can have just about any kind of personality.
The Siamese is an ancient breed known for their striking appearance, blue eyes, and chattiness.
They are intelligent and affectionate cats that make fabulous additions to any household. Just remember, if you like a quiet home, the Siamese will not make the best choice!
Ragdolls have sweet natures and soft and fluffy coats. They also have the appealing characteristic of going floppy in your arms, like a ragdoll.
Ragdolls are quiet, calm, and gentle cats that will play at times but are otherwise relaxed. They’ve been compared to dogs for being friendly and intelligent. You can even train Ragdolls to play fetch!
6. Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is famous for being the largest domesticated cat — and for their ear tufts. They come in many colours and patterns and have a great deal of shaggy fur and a beautiful feathery tail.
Despite being large, they are extraordinarily gentle cats that love living in big, noisy families and generally get along with other dogs and cats. They are also quite intelligent and will follow you around, but while loving, the Maine Coon is not known for curling up on a warm lap.
The Bengal is a gorgeous cat that resembles a small version of a spotted wild cat. They were originally developed from the crossing of domestic cats with Asian Leopard Cats, making Bengals the only domestic cats with those distinctive spots and rosettes that you see on Ocelots, Jaguars, and Leopards.
Bengals are known for their high energy. They are quite affectionate and are sometimes known to curl up on a warm human lap. But they are curious and intelligent cats that enjoy leaping, climbing, and investigating.
8. Russian Blue
There’s no mistaking that you’re looking at a Russian Blue when you see that beautiful, thick coat. This is the only kind of coat that you’ll find with a purebred Russian Blue: short, dense, and blue tipped in silver.
They are affectionate and friendly with the people they know and trust but can be more reserved around strangers. When they love you, though, they’ll show it by riding on your shoulders and following you around.
They tend to be quite vocal (though not as much as the Siamese, of course). They also do fine when left alone for short periods.
The Sphynx is a well-known hairless breed that is popular due to their origins in Canada and unique appearance. While they are called hairless, they do sport some peach fuzz. They come in several patterns and colours.
These are intelligent, inquisitive, and friendly cats that love snuggling up to their owners every chance that they get. They are sometimes called Velcro cats due to their desire to spend time with their families. They get along well with children and dogs, as well as strangers.
Persians are among the oldest and most recognizable breeds. They have enormously dense fur that needs regular grooming! They come in almost every pattern and colour, and while they are about medium-sized, they look larger because of their fur.
Persians are calm and gentle cats and do best in quiet households. They are fairly adaptable as long as they are treated gently and given attention and love. While they like to play and will have bursts of activity, they might need to be encouraged to exercise, as they are prone to gaining weight.
Himalayans are Persians with a colour-pointed pattern. They have dense and long fur coats and are medium in size but look bigger due to all that fur. But the only pattern that they come in is various shades of colour-pointed.
In temperament, they are loving and gentle, and do best in quiet homes. They’ll enjoy cuddling with you but must be encouraged to play for the exercise, as they tend to gain weight.
Cats With Origins in Canada
For as big as the country is, very few cat breeds originated in Canada.
The Cymric is essentially a longhaired Manx. They technically originated on the Isle of Man but only as a shorthaired breed. When a Manx was born with long hair, they were considered a mutant and weren’t encouraged to be bred.
But in the 1960s, Canadian breeders developed the longhaired Manx, which they called Cymric. This is a tricky breed to associate with Canada because technically, there were longhaired Manx cats before. But it was Canadian breeders who encouraged the breed, and we wouldn’t have today’s Cymric without them.
The Foldex is a cross between the Scottish Fold and the Exotic Shorthair. They were developed in the early 1990s in Quebec. They were accepted into the Canadian Cat Association in 2006 but are only a recognized breed in Canada. None of the other cat associations in other countries have recognized the Foldex as of yet.
Breeders continued to breed cats to encourage the trait. They were named Sphynxes due to their resemblance to the Egyptian Sphinx. The late ‘70s is when the Sphynx that we see today was established, and they’ve been recognized for over 20 years.
The breeds that are most popular in Canada are quite varied. But it’s interesting to note that two of the top three cats are essentially “mutts.”
This tells us that many Canadians aren’t necessarily concerned about the breed of their cat, but perhaps just the personality. After all, Domestic Shorthaired and Longhaired cats are as beautiful, intelligent, sweet, and funny as any of the purebreds out there.
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Featured Image Credit: Timur85, Pixabay