The Cat Fancier's Association has released its list of most popular cat breeds for the previous year. Persian cats are back in the top spot, a position the breed has held for more than 30 years. Keep reading to see what other felines are favored in households around the world.
Named after its country of origin, what is now called Iran, the Persian’s striking eyes and flat, curious face are distinct features. Known for having a calm and friendly demeanor, Persians are a good choice for apartment living or families, and do best when kept exclusively indoors. The cat’s coat needs a considerable amount of grooming to prevent mats; frequent baths are also recommended.
Like the look of a Persian cat, but don’t want the hassle of caring for its long fur coat? The Exotic Shorthair has similar features as the Persian, with a coat that is short and dense, giving it a cute, teddy bear look. The breed is also similar to the Persian in temperament. Exotics are easy-going and usually get along quite well with other pets and humans. It's an affectionate cat that enjoys sitting in laps.
3. MAINE COON
A true American, the longhaired Maine Coon cat is one of the the oldest breeds to originate in the United States and is the official state cat of Maine. However, its exact origin is one shrouded in mystery. Known for its excellent hunting skills, the Maine Coon was bred as a working cat that could survive rough winters in the Northeastern U.S. Despite having rugged abilities, Maine Coons are friendly and great with children. Unlike most other cat breeds, Maine Coons have a fondness for water.
The most striking features on a Ragdoll is the cat's bright blue eyes. The breed was developed to be a companion animal and its name comes from its tendency to go limp — like a rag doll — when picked up. Ragdolls also like to be around their humans and will follow them from room to room. It's a large and sturdy breed developed in the 1960s by Ann Baker of RIverside, Calif.
This year, the British Shorthair moves up three spots from number 8 to number 5 on the Cant Fanciers' list. With its large, round eyes and inquisitive face, the British Shorthair is — naturally — the most popular cat in Britain. These calm, affectionate cats are great for families and those with other pets, but they generally dislike being carried. Like the Exotic, the British Shorthair has a short, dense coat and wide faces that gives it a cute, teddy bear look.
Though the Abyssinian resembles images of cats seen in the art of Ancient Egypt, it’s exact origins are unknown. The name refers to the country Abyssinia — now Ethiopia — from where the breed were first imported for British cat shows. Genetic research hints that Abyssinians originated around the coast of the Indian Ocean. The breed has an elegant and sophisticated appearance with long limbs, large ears and a delicate bone structure. Abyssinians generally aren't lap cats, but they are interested in being around humans and curious about what people are up to.
An all-around crowd pleaser, the American Shorthair is the perfect family cat, with a tolerant personality and ability to get along with other pets and young children. The breed developed from short-haired cats following the immigration of settlers from Europe to North America. Settlers’ ships regularly employed cats to combat rat and mouse infestations. The American Shorthair is a low-maintenance breed prized for its handsome appearance and longevity. Very few health issues plague the cat, which has the ability to live upwards of 15 years.
The Sphynx has a unique appearance and is known to be playful, clumsy and intelligent. Its skin is prone to a buildup of oils since there is no fur to absorb it, making weekly bathing a must. The breed originated in Canada in the 1960s after a cat born hairless was discovered to contain a natural genetic mutation. With soft skin that is warm to the touch, many Sphynx cats have traces of peach fuzz-like fur. Their angular heads are expressive with wrinkled skin that gives them a somewhat worried look. Despite this look, the Sphynx is a confident and acrobatic cat with plenty of energy to keep you entertained.
This elegant breed was imported to Europe from Thailand — then called Siam — in the 1800s. A true “people’s cat,” the Siamese love to know what its human is up to and wants to get in on the action. These cats also thrive in pairs or with other pets, as long as they’re introduced from a young age. In addition to their friendliness, Siamese have a long, elegant body and limbs, with a striking, angular face and blue almond-shaped eyes. The breed first came to the U.S. in 1878, when the American Consul in Bangkok gifted one of the cats (named Siam) to then-President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Next: 10 Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
10. DEVON REX
The Devon Rex originated in Devonshire, England, in the late 1950s. It has an elf-like face, large eyes and ears, and short, wavy fur. The breed is curious and cunning, with a dog-like nature and appreciation for games like fetch. Known affectionately as "a monkey in a cat suit,” it loves being in high places and uses its adept climbing and jumping skills to get there. Devon Rex cats are also people-pleasers that will follow their favorite human from room to room.
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