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11 Most Popular Cat Breeds

Nicole Cosgrove

July 1, 2021

Even though most people claim to be dog people, cats are actually much more popular as pets. With there being around 88.3 million pet cats in the United States alone, it is easy to see that they are an integral part of many people’s homes.

Although cats as a whole are incredibly popular, only being beat out as the number one pet by freshwater fish, certain breeds are more popular than others. Breed personality and appearance are two factors that make certain cat breeds more popular than others.

Let’s take a look at the 11 most popular cat breeds today.divider-cat

Top 11 Most Popular Cat Breeds:

1. Domestic Shorthairs

domestic shorthair cat biting into a pink ribbon
Image Credit: Carsten Reisinger, Shutterstock
Weight: 8–10 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 12–14 years
Coat Length: Short

Even though Domestic Shorthairs are not an official breed, they are still the most popular type of cat today. Domestic Shorthairs, which are completely different from American Shorthairs, are the cat versions of mutts. Their origins are mixed and unknown, which is why they aren’t an official breed.

Experts believe that the Domestic Shorthair became domesticated around 2000 BC in Egypt. Since then, the Domestic Shorthair has traveled the entire globe. Today, they are great pets, but they are also known for having avid hunting skills.

As mutts, Domestic Shorthairs come in many shapes and sizes. Most commonly, they are medium-sized with short and soft coats. They can come in just about any color too.


2. American Shorthairs

Gray American Shorthair
Image Credit: PxHere
Weight: 11–15 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 15–20 years
Coat Length: Short

Distinct from the Domestic Shorthair is the American Shorthair. This breed is incredibly sweet and cuddly, but it is also known to be hearty, alert, and muscular. Something people love about this breed is that they tend to be sociable and kind to humans while still being independent.

Because the American Shorthair was bred for working purposes, these cats are very muscular and athletic. They love to chase mice and other small animals, like birds. If you get an American Shorthair, it’s a great idea to invest in an interactive toy to keep them entertained.

As their name suggests, American Shorthairs come with a shorter length coat, but their coloration range is much more limited than the Domestic Shorthair.


3. British Shorthairs

British Shorthair Cat
Image Credit: Blue-Heaven, Pixabay
Weight: 9–17 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 20 years
Coat Length: Short

One incredibly old breed is the British Shorthair, and it is just as popular today as it was centuries ago. Many people believe that the British Shorthair was brought to England by the Romans around the time of the 1st century. At this point, the cat likely existed and bred with native breeds of England. After that, the British Shorthair was bred with Persians, creating the cat we know and love today.

British Shorthairs are one of the most popular breeds, likely because they are one of the most popular cats to be featured on television, in movies, and in books. Different forms of entertainment, ranging from Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery to the Cheshire Cat and Alice in Wonderland, showcase British Shorthairs.


4. Domestic Longhairs

domestic-longhair-cat-breed_Todorean-Gabriel_shutterstock
Credit: Todorean-Gabriel, Shutterstock
Weight: 11–22 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 13–17 years
Coat Length: Long

Domestic Longhairs are comparable to Domestic Shorthairs, except they have long hair, as you probably figured. Just like Domestic Shorthairs, these cats are mutts, meaning they don’t have a known ancestry and they aren’t purebreds.

It is believed that Domestic Longhairs were bred by people who lived in Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Since then, the breed was likely brought over to the Americas via ships where they were used for controlling the rodent population.

Since this breed is not purebred, their long fur can come in just about any color, ranging from white to black to orange. Because of their long hair, they will likely need regular grooming.


5. Maine Coon

Maine Coon cat
Image Credit: Kanashi, Pixabay
Weight: 8–18 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 13–14 years
Coat Length: Long

Maine Coons are easily one of the most noticeable purebred breeds. They have an incredibly heavy coat, which allows them to survive the harsh Maine winters. More so, they have a really large body that makes them larger than the average cat.

Despite their large size, Maine Coons are gentle Giants. They love to be around their owners and people in general. Something else that’s really unique about this breed is that their water-resistant coat means that they love playing in water.

Because Maine Coons were bred in the wild, they have a very distinct and wild-looking coat. The coat is very long, and it tends to have multiple colors of white, brown, grey, and black, allowing them to fit in with the environment.


6. Ragdolls

Ragdoll
Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay
Weight: 8–20 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 12–15 years
Coat Length: Long

For people wanting the ultimate lap cat, the Ragdoll is where it is at. This breed is large and fluffy. Even though they are on the larger side, they get their name from the fact that they are often carried around like Ragdolls.

Often classified as one of the friendliest breeds, Ragdolls love to follow around their human companions. They are even known to greet humans at the door and sleep in bed with them. Ragdolls also make perfect cats for apartments since they aren’t the most active breed.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that Ragdolls were specifically bred. Since then, the breed has a darker face and darker points, but the entire body tends to be lighter.


7. Persians

persian cat
Image Credit: uadrienn, Pixabay
Weight: 7–12 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 13.5 years
Coat Length: Long

Persian is another breed that is known for being loyal to their owners, though they’re often standoffish to newcomers. This adorable breed has stocky bodies and scrunched-up faces, which makes them downright adorable.

Many people love Persians because of their mellow and laid back personalities. Even though Persians certainly do love their owners, they aren’t as demanding for pets and food. This makes them a great breed if you want a cuddly yet laid back cat that can do its own thing.

Interestingly, the Persian cat is actually one of the oldest breeds in recorded history. The breed’s first spotting was in Iran, which was called Persia at the time. It wasn’t until 1871 that the breed was introduced to a wider audience. In that year, the cats were featured inside the Crystal Palace.


8. Siamese

Siamese_webandi, Pixabay
Image Credit: webandi, Pixabay
Weight: 8–15 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 12.5 years
Coat Length: Short

To this day, Siamese cats are one of the most noticeable and distinctive breeds. This cat often has a cream body with blue eyes that are icy and piercing. More so, the breed has a pointier body than other cats, including triangular ears and slim paws.

Siamese cats are perfect for active households. Unlike certain cat breeds, Siamese cats need a lot of attention and stimulation. For this reason, they are perfect for households with children and other animals.

Something else that’s unique about Siamese cats is that they are very vocal. They do not like being left alone for long periods of time. They will easily communicate their grievances with you and demand attention when they want it.


9. Russian Blues

russian blue cat
Image Credit: Pixabay
Weight: 7–15 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 15–20 years
Coat Length: Short

Even though Russian Blues are not the most people-friendly of cats, their breed is highly popular for its quiet and calm demeanor. They love to hide in cozy places and sleep all day. Though they likely hide from newcomers, Russian Blues are known to be loyal to their family.

As the name suggests, Russian Blues are believed to have descended from cats that were raised and kept by the Russian czars. In the early 1900s, the cats were imported to North America, where they were bred into what we know them as today.

Now, Russian Blues have short and soft coats. Their color ranges from silver to dark grey. Individual cats may have a few faint stripes, but almost all are patternless.


10. Bengals

Bengal
Image Credit: Irina_kukuts, Pixabay
Weight: 8–15 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 12–16 years
Coat Length: Short

For people who want a domesticated cat that looks like it belongs in the wild, the Bengal is for you. This cat is incredibly playful and active. Even into older age, Bengals are known to act like kittens. These cats need a whole lot of stimulation, or else they could cause a lot of mischief in your home.

Bengals are different from other cats on this list in that they are a hybrid species. They were bred with both domesticated and non-domesticated animals, resulting in a unique appearance, wild personality, and gentle demeanor. The breed came about whenever a domestic cat was bred with an Asian leopard cat.

Today, Bengals have the body of a domesticated cat but the coat of a wild cat. The body is muscular and agile, whereas the coat is striped, looking much like the coat of a wild leopard.


11. Abyssinians

Abyssinian kitten
Image Credit: Dmitry Tsapenko, Pixabay
Weight: 8–12 lbs.
Life Expectancy: 15 years
Coat Length: Short

Finally, the last cat on our list is the Abyssinian. This cat originally comes from Ethiopia, which was previously known as Abyssinia. This cat has a unique coat that has a red orange color. The cat also has longer ears and a striking face.

In addition to having a unique appearance, Abyssinians are considered a really friendly breed. They aren’t particularly known to hop in your lap and cuddle, but they love their owners and follow them around pretty loyally.divider-cat

Final Thoughts

As the second most popular pet in America, cats are loved by millions of people. Although certain breeds are more popular than others, cats make a great furry addition to your home. Whether you are looking for a relaxing, cuddle-buddy or an interactive playmate, you are sure to find a cat breed that fits your home perfectly.


Featured image credit: tsapenkodg, 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.