For centuries, cats have proven to be purr-fectly wonderful companions and family pets for millions of people across the globe. The beloved house cats vary in size, shape, color, personalities and breeds. However, there are a few things to look into before choosing a cat from the below list to be your house pet. For instance, allergy sufferers will probably need to perform more in-depth research. Some cats are more solitary, others more vocal. Be sure to watch plenty of Youtube videos about the breed you are interested in….and ask questions!
We hope you’ll enjoy learning about all the breeds in The Ultimate Cat Breeds List with Facts. If you’re curious, there are 40 so far. With your help, we can make it bigger.
Before we start, please note:
- Shorthaired cats are more common.
- Longhaired felines tend to hold more dander.
- Longhaired and shorthaired are simply terms used to describe cats belonging to certain breeds.
- If you would like to contribute to our list, click here to submit a picture of your cat.
Named after the country now known as Ethiopia, the Abyssinians are domestic shorthaired cats. They are quite active and too playful to be considered as “lap kittens.” These busy little animals, who love to climb, can get bored easily if deprived of attention and activity. Their almond shaped eyes are copper, green, gold or hazel. The Abyssinian is slender with long legs befitting to their graceful body and have a slight break at the muzzle. They are prone to gingivitis and sometimes familial renal amyloidosis, a kidney disorder. Severe blindness problems may also develop, which is caused by a hereditary retinal degeneration. The Abyssinian cats are popular in the U.S.
Aegeans are one of the newer and rarest breeds and originated from the Cycladic Islands in the Aegean Sea in the early 1990s. Being skilled predators, these cats are appreciated as a means to pest control in rural areas and are viewed as a national treasure in Greece. Aegeans are semi-longhaired cats with a coat this is bicolor or tricolor. They are noted for their affinity for water and fishing, which would account for their tendency to hang around fishing ports. They are free from the majority of feline genetic diseases.
Legend has it that the American Bobtail is a result of crossbreeding between a bobcat and a domestic tabby. Although an uncommon breed, they were developed in the late 1960s. They have stubby bobbed tails, a full broad chest and take two to three years to develop, making them slower than the average domestic breed. Eye color varies with the color of their coat. Quick on their feet, these cats are capable of escaping a closing door within the blink of an eye. Bobtails are not too proud to beg for attention either. They will meow or hop onto laps to get what they want.
This silky haired breed is the 1981 product of two stray cats from Lakewood, California. The American Curl is noted for its ears, which curls back toward the center of the back of the skull and should be handled carefully to avoid damaging the ear cartilage. They can found be in France, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United States and are typically healthy. Again, the ears must be given particular attention with frequent cleaning to prevent infections. When mated with other cats, it appears the off-springs are dominated by the American Curl gene. The cat pictured above is half American Curl.
The Shorthair is believed to have been brought to North America from Europe by the early settlers on ships like the Mayflower to protect the cargo from being destroyed by mice and rats. They are the 7th most popular breed in the United States. This working cat is athletic, generally healthy and friendly with strangers. The males are larger than the females, often weighing up to three pounds more than the fairer sex. With proper diet and care, the American Shorthair can live 15 years or longer. These cats make good family pets and are helpful in catching pests and insects.
Native to the United States and more specifically upstate New York, the Wirehair first appeared in 1966 in Vernon, NY after being born to a pair of barn cats. The Wirehair is ranked among the top rare of breeds of the 41 Cat Fanciers’ Association and are similar to American Shorthairs. This feline has a wiry coat similar to dog breeds such as terriers and need little grooming. It should be noted that the lighter cats may require sunblock. They have round heads and a pronounced muzzle. Wirehairs are playful and active one minute and quietly laying in their owner’s lap the next. Most usually prefer to stay indoors.
The Arabian Mau is recognized as a formal breed of domestic cat by fancier and breeder organizations, World Cat Federation (WCF) and Middle East Cat Society (MECATS). They are native to the desert region of the Arabian Peninsula but can adapt to any extreme climate. Their bodies are normally large and firm, having round heads and green eyes. The animal is devoted, very affectionate and plays well with children. They make for reliable companions if treated well. The breed is usually healthy with a good immune system.
Once known as the Spotted Mist, this breed of cat was developed in Australia in 1976 by Truda Straede by crossing the Abyssinian, Burmese and various domestic short-haired cats. The name changed in 1998 after cats with marbled coats were accepted as part of the breed. Australian Mists require little brushing. Their life expectancy is 14 to 19 years. They are great indoor cats and are not inclined to scratch. The Mists have a playful nature, thrive on human contact and love attention. They have large expressive eyes and come in seven colors: blue, brown, caramel, chocolate, gold or peach.
The breed is also known as the Malayan and was developed ‘by accident’ in Britain in 1981 by Baroness Miranda von Kirchberg. This breed has the body shape of a Burmese but should have a difference in coat color. They have a muscular and compact body with a round face. The Asian cats are strong-willed, have loud voices, love to explore and demand attention. Asians adapt well to apartments so long as there are no poisonous house plants around and the apartment is not located in a city. This cat does not like loud outside noises. Their coats can be kept clean and shiny by rubbing it with a flannel cloth, chamois or glove and brushed once a week. Although they have next to no health issues, the Asians are prone to snoring because of their facial frame and renal problems. They also tend to live a long time.
Another name for this fine, silky coated breed is Tiffanie or Tiffany. The Asian Semi-Longhair was developed in the United Kingdom as a longhaired version of the Asian Shorthair during the 1980s. They are an active and curious bunch, who are attached to their owners. While they may get along with other animals, Asian Semi-Longhairs don’t necessarily get along with other cats due to their jealous nature. Asian Semi-longhairs expect lots of attention from their owners and don’t do well in small apartments.
The sleek Balinese, with their sapphire-blue eyes and graceful fine bones, were known since the early 1920s as purebred long-haired Siamese. At birth, they are white or pure cream in color and tend to darken with age. Sometime in the 1950s, Marion Dorsey of California and Helen Smith of New York, decided they would start a breeding program for the longhaired cats. Smith named the cats Balinese because the cats displayed the beauty and grace of Balinese dancers. The breed became popular and soon two separate strands were created. Balinese are intelligent cats and seem to have fewer problems with allergies than other breeds.
Bambino is a breed created as the result of a cross between the Munchkin and Sphynx breeds in 2006. The cat inherited its short legs from the Munchkin and hairlessness from the Sphynx. Bambino have pink or white skin, severely defined facial features, large eyes and large upright ears which make they seem rather mousy in appearance. They require regular bathing with mild soap and water due to not having any fur to absorb any natural oils. The lack of fur also means the cat is vulnerable to cold weather, heat and skin injury. The price tag for Bambino ranges from $800 to $2,500.
Registered with the International Cat Association (TICA)) since 1983, the Bengal has a sort of wild appearance with large spots and stripes which are reminiscent of the Asian Leopard Cat. However, they were developed to have a friendly temperament. Bengals are described as charming, stunning and very demanding about having their way. Their coats have an iridescent sheen, making it appear glittery. They love to play hide and seek. One word of caution. Whereas, most cats try to avoid water, the Bengals are drawn to it. Owners who have aquariums should be careful about securing its habitants. It has come to the attention of some that an early onset autosomal recessive disorder can be found in this breed. The disease appears to be a photoreceptor disorder and can lead to blindness within the first year of age.
This breed is also called the “Sacred Cat of Burma” and is said to have originated from Burma. Birmans have a striking appearance. They are long-haired, color-pointed with a silky coat, wide ears and deep blue eyes. They have an inquisitive nature and can teach themselves about the litter box. A diet of high quality dry food is recommended. As far as health issues goes, the Birman tends to be susceptible to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a severe but common heart disease seen in cats. The progressive disease can result in heart failure, paralysis of the hind legs due to clot embolization and sudden death.
Named after the Indian city of Bombay (now Mumbai), these are Burmese type black cats with yellow eyes. They are not independent, crave attention and hate being left alone for a long period of time. The Bombay cats love attention from anyone and everyone and love to snuggle and usually have one person in mind when it comes to giving their attention. They generally get along with other cats. The American breed was created in Louisville, Kentucky in 1958 when Nikki Homer bred an American Shorthair with a Burmese in hopes of creating a cat that looked like a wild panther.
Developed in Brazil in 1980, the Brazilian Shorthair can reach an approximate weight of 22 pounds. They are very agile and affectionate to the point of being clingy. Brazilian Shorthairs have a glossy, flat lying coat that requires minimal grooming. They quickly adjust to new environments, but are not really lap cats. With the exception of a few occasional issues like tapeworms, fleas and eye problems, this breed is basically healthy. The Brazilian Shorthair comes in all patterns and in six colors.
Also known as Lowlander in the United States and Britanica in Europe, the British Longhair is almost identical to the British Shorthair. The coat is lustrous and the body is stout. Their legs are short, but strong. They come in colors such as: black, white, cream, chocolate, cinnamon or fawn. The patterns include: self, tabby, smoke, color-pointed and tortoiseshell. Since British Longhairs are less active, calm and easy going, they make good house pets. However, they are prone to obesity if kept as indoor-only cats. The Longhairs do require brushing or matting will occur, especially during autumn and winter seasons due to their coats thickening around this time.
History of the Burmese dates back to 1930 when a brown female cat named Wong Mau was brought to the United States from Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Rangoon, Burma). The Burmese range from small to medium in size and are described as super-smart with raspy voices. The females are considered to be highly curious while their male counterparts tend to be more placid. Burmese usually like to lounge about on whatever you happen to be working on. Not known for being independent, it is recommended that they not be left alone for extended periods of time. The British Burmese is predisposed to diabetes mellitus while some suffer from an acute teething disorder as young kittens.
This frisky little breed was created accidentally in the United Kingdom when a Chinchilla Persian and a Brown Tortie Burmese bred after a building cleaner left a door open. A balanced diet of raw meat, canned food or dry food is recommended for Burmillas along with weekly coat brushing to remove dead hair. Brushing their teeth once a week is also suggested. This breed’s most stunning feature is their eyes, which come in various shades of green and accentuated with dark penciling on the lids, making it appear as if they are wearing eyeliner. Burmilla cats love to be caressed. They are friendly, but do not take to strangers immediately.
Breeding of the California Spangled was inspired by the poaching death of a leopard. Originally bred in the 1980s by Paul Arnold Casey, the cat became extinct in the 1990s. A rare exotic breed, they are rather expensive and priced between $800 and $2,500. While that amount may seem jaw dropping, the Royal Asher sells for $125,000. The California Spangled loves to pounce and love to perch anywhere that is shoulder or eye level so as to make eye contact or to observe whatever is going on.
The Chantilly-Tiffany breed came about as a result of cross breeding the long-haired Asians and Burmese when a pair of longhaired chocolate cats named Thomas and Shirley took part in a breeding program in 1967. They originated in North America. Their eye color intensifies with age, becoming more golden. Known for their fluffy appearance, the Chantilly-Tiffany cat has a tendency to pull out their own hair, leaving them with noticeable bald patches. Developing a routine of brushing the feline every other day is suggested to help control the shedding hair.
This French feline is large and muscular, and often appear as if they are smiling. They are highly favored by farmers because of their great hunting skills. Legend has it that the Chartreux cats are descendants of feral mountain cats from Syria brought to France by crusaders. The Chartreaux are very quiet, yet observant and intelligent and can even be taught to fetch items. Some are actually mute. They are non-aggressive and affectionate to the point of following their favored person everywhere they go. The blue Chartreux happens to be the mascot of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
The Chausies are tall, leggy and lean with tall ears that set high on their heads. They come in three colors: solid black, black grizzled tabby and brown ticked tabby. Highly active creatures, they need human company or other cats around for companionship. They also do well with dogs. A diet free from cereal, vegetables, herbs and spices is suggested since these ingredients could serve as triggers for chronic intestinal inflammation. Chausies also seem prone to developing food allergies so high quality cat food is recommended.
The cross breeding between the Ocicat and Bengal results in this athletic yet graceful cat called the Cheetoh. In 2001, Carol Drymon of the Wind Haven Exotics researched and developed the Cheetoh with the first litters arriving in 2003. The Cheetoh has a wild big cat appearance and the walk of a stalking jungle cat. However, they demonstrate incredible social skills and show no signs of aggression. In fact, the male Cheetohs tend to exhibit maternal mannerisms towards younger cats and kittens. Cheetohs comes in colors and patterns such as: cinnamon spotted, brown spotted, silver spotted, brown marbled, blue marbled and snow.
Cousins to the Siamese, the Colorpoint Shorthairs come in 16 different point colors, including untraditional colors such as cream, lynx, red and tortoiseshell. They are playful, but also love to lounge around the house. The Colorpoints do not adapt well to strangers even though they do demand attention. They don’t handle changes to their environment well either. These cats are capable of making over 100 vocal sounds and unusual meows. The males are very territorial and will fight other cats if they feel threatened or that their space has been invaded.
This breed is known to be highly intelligent, affectionate, playful, and loyal to their people.
A Big Thank-you to Sophie_Kitty for this great photo of a Cinnamon Point Oriental Shorthair/Siamese.
With the exception of down, the Cornish Rex has no hair. Due to this lack of coating, they are best suited for warm, dry indoor living conditions. The Cornish Rex will hop onto a lap or shoulder in order to keep warm or hang around heated areas such as computer monitors and light bulbs. Some tend to have a mild cheesy odor due to the scent glands in their paws. Often referred to as the Greyhound, these cats often remain kittenish their entire life with a love for racing other pets and performing acrobatic jumps.
A few cat registries consider Cymrics to be a semi-longhaired variety of the Manx breed, originating from the Isle of Man. They are muscular and stocky in built with large full eyes and widely spaced ears. Cymrics have four different tail types, but the “rumpy” is most valued when it comes to cat shows. Rumpies are entirely tailless. Stumpies have a short tail stump. Rump-risers have a short knob of a tail. The gene responsible for these unusual tails can also be lethal. Cymrics born with a spinal deformity often exhibit a rabbit-like hop.
The Cyprus is believed to be a descendant of Egypt or Palestine cats brought to Cyprus to wipe out snakes and vermin from the island. Noted for their long necks, medium size and petite built, the Cyprus cats are energetic and athletic. Cyprus cats get along well with children and love to be around dogs. They love being spoiled and will stay in a person’s lap for hours if allowed to do so. Generally healthy, some Cyprus cats may come down with mild issues such as diarrhea, fleas or feline lower urinary tract disease. Yearly maintenance for them may cost up $1,200.
The Devon Rex emerged from England during the 1960s. They are known for their slender bodies, large ears, short whiskers and capability to learn difficult tricks. It is said that they can recognize their owner’s name as well as their own. This breed of cat has a soft, curly coat and is considered to be one of the most hypo-allergenic felines available. Devons are high jumpers and prefer to be perched in high places. Much like a dog, they can be trained to walk on a leash. A faithful companion, the Devon Rex loves to settle down by mounting upon his owner’s shoulder.
The Donskoy is another hairless breed of cat. While they may look like tiny aliens, they’re actually of Russian origin and were discovered in 1987. They are medium in size with huge ears, large wrinkles and webbed toes. Donskoys are slightly high maintenance in that they require frequent grooming despite their lack of coat. Even though their ears can attract dirt, too much bathing can cause the skin to get quite oily. Donskoys are also prone to tooth decay and gum disease. The cost for a Donskoy runs between $1,000 and $1,500.
Sometimes called Chinese Li Hua or Li Hua Mau, this breed of cat can be described as uniquely golden brown with a broken striped tabby pattern. They are thought to be from the wildcat subspecies of the Chinese Mountain Cat. The Dragon Li cats are not overly affectionate nor demanding. They do get along with other pets but are tolerant of children. However, they are not ideal for young children under the age of ten. The Dragon Li is best suited for homes with lots of space to play in.
Often referred to as “designer cats” or “munchkins,” these domestic cats have a condition known as dwarfism. Even though they have short legs, their heads and torsos are of normal length and shape. Dwarf Cats were discovered in 1983 in Rayville, Louisiana by Sandra Hochenedel, who found two short-legged cats hiding from a bulldog underneath a pickup truck. Still, there are indications that dwarfism in felines has been around since 1953. Naturally, the Dwarfs cannot jump or land properly because of their short legs and need special loving care. These little cuties should not be confused with Toy or Teacup Persians.
Egyptian Maus are one of the oldest breeds of domestic cats. They have spots on the tips of the hairs of their coat and come in five colors. They typically land on their back feet after leaping and can jump as high as six feet in the air. They are one of the fastest domestic cats thanks to their long hind legs, capable of running at a speed of 30 miles per hour. The Maus can change their facial expressions and eye color from green to turquoise. Maus supposedly have a long gestational period of about 73 days and tend to be sensitive to anesthesia and medicine. Egyptian Maus do best as the one and only pet since they don’t care for socializing or sharing their owners with others.
Also called the Celtic Shorthair, this breed originated from Finland/Sweden. They are of a muscular built with large round heads and a dense coat that is short and glossy. Interestingly, an outdoor European Shorthair’s life expectancy is 5 to 12 years, while an indoor cat can actually live up to 22 years. They get along well with dogs and other cats and are good at keeping mice away from homes and gardens.
With the exception of having a short dense coat, the Exotic Shorthair is very similar to the Persian. Exotics have fluffy hair, oval shaped heads with flat faces and don’t like being left alone. Although weekly grooming is recommended to reduce shedding and hairballs, these cats are able to keep their own fur in pretty good shape. Owners may have to periodically wipe their faces since Exotic’s tears are prone to overflowing and leaving stains. They are also at high risk for inheriting feline polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which can lead to kidney failure.
The Rex breed can be traced back as far as 1930 or 1931. The first German Rex was discovered shortly after World War II by Dr. R. Scheuer-Karpin who spotted a female cat wandering around near a hospital in East Berlin. The German Rex bears an uncanny resemblance to the British Cornish Rex, but they are usually a bit heavier and have a slight curl in their whiskers. They are friendly cats and can easily learn acrobatic tricks. Fur density range from thin to thick. Fewer breeds are in existence these days.
The Havana Brown cat originated in England and is a result of breeding between Siamese and domestic black cats during the 1950s by a group of cat fanciers. This group was known as The Havana Group (later known as The Chestnut Brown Group). By breeding a Siamese cat, which carried the chocolate gene with a black cat, which also carried the chocolate gene, they were able to produce chestnut (chocolate) kittens. The Havana Brown cats use their paws to communicate with owners and examine objects. They are a curious breed but are generally nondestructive. Havana Browns love sitting on the shoulders of their owners and playing in their hair. No known genetic diseases are associated with this breed.
The roots of a Highlander are somewhat of a mystery since it’s not clear which cat breed it came from. Their existence, however, has been known since 1993. One of the Highlander’s most distinctive features are their curled back ears, which stands on top of the head and may have ear furnishings or tufts. The cat’s tail ranges anywhere from one inch to hock length and often has curls and kings in it. They come in most colors and patterns with the exception of bicolor. Highlanders can be either longhaired or shorthaired with thick, resilient coats. They are fun loving animals with a penchant for performing zany antics.
Perhaps the most characteristic feature of the Himalayans are their squashed-like faces. The bulk of fur is white or cream, but the points come in colors such as: black, blue, chocolate, lilac or red. Since both parents must carry the chocolate/lilac gene, the chocolate and lilac point Himalayans are more difficult to produce. Some of the felines may carry the gene that causes polycystic kidney disease (PKD). In order to keep their coats looking healthy, daily brushing is recommended. “Himmies” are calm and gentle cats who love to be petted and groomed.
Native to Japan and Southeast Asia, the Japanese Bobtail has an unusual bobbed tail. It almost appears to be bent or broken. Some have heterochromia, different eye colors. Although they come in many colors, the predominately white calicoes are favored by cat fanciers. This rare breed of cats has been around for at least 1,000 years. They are alert, active, intelligent and easy to train. Japanese Bobtails tend to have smaller litters than other breeds. They are a prominent feature in Japanese folklore. One legendary tale is that hundreds of years ago, one cat’s tail caught fire and it ran through town spreading flames everywhere. This prompted the Emperor to decree all cats have their tails cut short to prevent this from ever happening again. The popular fictional character, Hello Kitty, is a depiction of the Japanese Bobtail.
Javanese cats are svelte oriental-type longhair felines developed in North America. They have a long, silky coat, deep blue eyes and regarded as good mouse catchers. These cats desire constant attention, so owners would be well advised to keep them busy with toys or another Javanese cat in case human interaction has to wait a while. Baths are rarely necessary. However, combing should be done once or twice a week with a stainless steel comb. Javanese should be kept indoors to prevent them from contracting diseases from other cats. Although they are generally healthy cats, genetic defects and ailments such as cross-eye, deafness, early-onset arthritis, joint issues and hip displacement are possible. The cost for a Javanese cat ranges from $900 to $1,200.
Do you have one of the above cat breeds?
Every picture you submit makes our directory better.
- We re-use the pictures you provide to build our directory and promote our site
- The above cat is one of our first nominees, Hobbes, for 101 Best Instagram Cats to Follow 2015
- The title image is of an Abyssinian, photo by Dulcie Arnold: A big thank-you for contributing this wonderful high resolution picture!
- Click here to submit your cat’s best pictures
CBWP: An Educational Resource by Users Like You
The Ultimate Cat Breeds List with Facts is a directory of pictures of breeds contributed by volunteers and friends on the web. Please submit your cat’s picture if you feel it is higher quality than those provided for any particular breed below. We appreciate and honor our contributors.