Do you know your cat’s breed? While many people associate cats with their appearances, such as tuxedos or tabbies, there exists a diverse array of rare and popular cat breeds out there.
We were curious about people’s relationship to their purry friends, the popular cat breeds, and how these charming creatures become part of our lives.
To gain insights, we delved into our database of US pet owners both online and offline and here’s what we discovered about the most popular cat breeds 2023 in America.
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It’s All About Personality
While color and appearance matter to potential cat owners, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Our findings reveal that the top two qualities sought by new cat parents are affection and playfulness.
Cat owners adore their feline friends, even when they find their mysterious behaviors puzzling. Many cat owners express happiness in having a cat by their side and enjoy caring for them, despite sometimes struggling to fully grasp their unique traits like purring, meowing, and scratching.
We’re passionate about learning all things feline here on this page. We’re not just dog people; we’re also cat people, and we’re captivated by the vast variety of distinctive cat breeds worldwide. That’s why we decided to unveil the 10 most popular cat breeds in the US. Continue reading to see which breeds made the list.
The 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds
Often mistaken for the American Shorthair, the Domestic Shorthair is considered the “mutt” of cat breeds due to its mixed and unknown heritage.
As a result, Domestic Shorthairs can exhibit a variety of physical characteristics, but they generally have medium-sized bodies with round faces, sleek and soft short coats, and come in a wide array of colors.
It’s believed that these cats were domesticated around 2000 BC in Egypt and later spread across the globe, including to North America, likely aboard the Mayflower and other ships.
Renowned for their skill as mousers and pest hunters, Domestic Shorthair cats have a lifespan of about 12-14 years, though some have been known to live much longer.
While American Shorthair cats enjoy snuggling on the couch, they’re also known as working cats—sturdy, muscular, and alert. They tend to adapt well to both humans and other animals and generally have a well-rounded temperament.
Though every cat’s personality is unique, the American Shorthair is typically sociable yet independent. Unlike the Domestic Shorthair, which results from a mix of unknown breeds, American Shorthairs are selectively bred to meet specific breed standards.
Like Domestic Shorthairs, American Shorthair cats made their way to North America from Europe, where they were employed by pilgrims to control the local rodent population.
Much like Domestic Shorthairs, Domestic Longhairs are simply cats with long hair and unknown ancestry. They are particularly common for this reason, as most cats are not purebreds.
Similar to their shorthaired counterparts, they were brought to North America from Europe via ships.
These cats come in a myriad of colors, from orange and white to black and grey. They typically have a few inches of coat length and distinctive tufts around their ears and paws. Regular grooming helps maintain their beautiful coats.
While their exact history remains a mystery, some speculate that the recessive gene for long hair was naturally selected in cats living in colder climates like Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Domestic Longhair cats are known for their excellent hunting skills, making them particularly attractive to humans seeking help in controlling rodents.
Maine Coons are characterized by their relatively large bodies and luxurious, heavy coats. Their sturdy, muscular stature gives them a regal presence.
Notable features include their large eyes, significant paws, and high cheekbones, setting them apart from other cat breeds.
Personality-wise, Maine Coons strike a balance between desiring human companionship and needing their own space. They are known for being undeniably attentive, and some may even follow family members around.
However, like many cats, they can be cautious around strangers. Unique among most other cat breeds, Maine Coons possess a dense, water-resistant coat, and some may even enjoy water-related activities.
The origins of Maine Coons trace back to North America, where they gained prominence during the colonial era. Legend has it that Marie Antoinette had several Maine Coon-like cats, which were brought to the continent during an expedition to save the queen from execution.
While the story’s accuracy is debated, Maine Coons became popular for their attentive and rugged personalities.
Due to the introduction of Persian cats and other long-haired breeds to North America, Maine Coons were mistakenly declared extinct in the 1950s. However, they made a triumphant comeback and now rank as the fourth most popular cat breed in America.
Among the most distinct breeds, Siamese cats often sport a cream-colored coat with grey-brown paws and striking icy blue eyes. Everything about Siamese cats appears more pointed than in other breeds, from their large, triangular ears to their delicate paws. They often have the same grey-brown coloring on their ears and face. Today, Siamese cats are bred in various colors and patterns.
Their personalities are typically active and talkative, making them great companions for equally energetic people. Siamese cats prefer not to be left alone for extended periods and may require more playtime than the average cat. Known for their high intelligence, they enjoy mental stimulation.
The name “Siamese” stems from their country of origin: Thailand, previously known as Siam. Siamese cats eventually found their way to Europe, particularly in the late 1800s, and later made their mark in North America, where Rutherford B. Hayes owned a Siamese cat during his presidency (1877-1881).
Russian Blue cats feature short, soft coats in shades of dark grey and silver. They may exhibit faint stripes but are mostly pattern less. Their double coats add a plush appearance to their otherwise dainty frames, and their yellow-green eyes and distinctive “smile” contribute to their charm.
Russian Blues are generally described as quiet and seek out cozy spots to sleep, though they remain social with their families. In larger gatherings, they may prefer to hide away.
The origins of Russian Blue cats are steeped in rumors, with some believing they descended from cats owned by Russian Czars. Imported to North America in the early 1900s, these cats gradually gained popularity, becoming the seventh most popular cat breed in America today.
Large and fluffy, Ragdoll cats belong to the pointed breed category, characterized by lighter-colored bodies and darker faces, legs, tails, and ears. While their coloring may vary slightly, their distinctive blue eyes are a hallmark feature.
One of the more affectionate breeds, Ragdolls often follows their humans around, greet them at the door, and seek a place in their beds. They are known for their easy-going nature and lack of excessive activity.
Ragdolls were primarily free-roaming cats until the 1960s, when Ann Baker, a breeder in California, developed the breed recognized today as Ragdolls.
The most notable feature of Bengals is their marbled coat, which is incredibly soft and accompanied by a muscular physique. Although personalities can vary within the breed, Bengals are typically active and playful, maintaining a kitten-like demeanor even as they age.
They require pet parents willing to keep them engaged and entertained, as they thrive in stimulating, enriched environments.
Bengals are considered a hybrid species, as they were bred with non-domesticated animals. The breed’s origins can be traced back to Jean S. Mill, who crossed a domestic cat with an Asian Leopard Cat, resulting in a cat with a mild, affectionate temperament and the striking appearance of a leopard.
According to The Cat Fanciers’ Association, “The Bengal is the only domestic cat breed that can have rosettes like the markings on leopards, jaguars, and ocelots.”
Bombay cats have a striking resemblance to panthers in their appearance. They were initially bred in the 1950s by crossing a domestic shorthair with a Burmese cat.
American breeders aimed to create a cat with the body type of a Burmese but with a black coat and copper eyes. The new breed was eventually recognized by The Cat Fanciers’ Association in the 1970s, and though not the most common breed, it has a dedicated following.
Many Bombays appreciate frequent affection and playtime, making them excellent companions for highly-engaged pet parents. They are known for their intelligence and ease of training.
While Bombays rank ninth on the list of most popular cat breeds, they are undoubtedly beloved by those who have them.
Persian cats have stocky bodies with flat, slightly scrunched faces, which is one of the qualities that often draw people to them. However, this feature can lead to the need for additional medical care.
Their long, soft coats come in a variety of colors, including white and black. Although they share some physical characteristics with Maine Coons, they are generally smaller and weigh between 7-12 pounds.
Despite their sweetness with their humans, Persian cats have a reputation for being somewhat standoffish with new people and are generally less demanding of attention than other breeds. They tend to be laid back and mellow in comparison to other breeds.
Persians are one of the oldest-known breeds, first spotted in Iran when it was known as Persia. The breed gained wider recognition at the 1871 Crystal Palace cat show and was also favored by Queen Victoria.
These were the 10 most popular cat breeds in the US, each with its own unique characteristics and histories.
Popular Cat Myths Busted
Myth 1: Cats have nine lives.
Bust: Cats, just like any other living creature, only have one life. The myth of cats having nine lives likely stems from their incredible agility and ability to land on their feet, which often helps them survive falls from great heights. However, this does not mean they have multiple lives. Cats are vulnerable to accidents and injuries like any other animal, so it’s essential to provide them with a safe environment and proper care.
Myth 2: Cats can see in complete darkness.
Bust: While cats have excellent night vision compared to humans, they cannot see in complete darkness. Like all animals, cats require at least some ambient light to see their surroundings. Their eyes have a specialized structure called the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light within their retinas, enhancing their vision in low-light conditions. However, in absolute darkness, they are just as blind as we are.
Myth 3: Cats hate water.
Bust: It’s a generalization to say that all cats hate water. While some cats may indeed dislike getting wet, there are exceptions. Certain cat breeds, such as the Turkish Van and the Maine Coon, are known to enjoy water and may even swim on occasion. Additionally, early positive experiences with water can make some cats more accepting of it. However, most cats do tend to groom themselves efficiently and may not enjoy being forcibly soaked or immersed in water.
Myth 4: Cats purr only when they are happy.
Bust: While purring is often associated with contentment and relaxation, cats may also purr in various other situations. Cats can purr when they are in pain or feeling stressed, as purring can be a self-soothing mechanism. Additionally, mother cats often purr to comfort and communicate with their kittens. So, while happiness is a common reason for purring, it’s not the only one.
Myth 5: Cats are solitary animals and don’t need companionship.
Bust: Cats are known for their independent nature, but they are not strictly solitary animals. Many cats form strong bonds with their human caregivers and can also develop close relationships with other cats or even other animals in the household. Social interaction and companionship are essential for a cat’s well-being. Some cats may prefer more alone time, but most benefit from regular interaction and stimulation.
Myth 6: Cats always land on their feet and cannot be injured from falls.
Bust: While cats are indeed skilled at righting themselves during falls, they are not immune to injuries from high places. Cats use their flexible bodies and unique inner ear structure to help them reorient and land on their feet, reducing the risk of severe injuries. However, falls from great heights can still cause broken bones, sprains, and other injuries, and it’s crucial to keep windows and balconies secured to prevent accidents.
Myth 7: Cats steal a baby’s breath.
Bust: This myth is purely a superstition and has no basis in reality. Cats do not steal a baby’s breath or pose any harm to infants. In fact, cats and babies can coexist safely and harmoniously with proper supervision and introductions. As with any pet, it’s essential to take sensible precautions when introducing a cat to a new baby to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
Remember, understanding and dispelling myths about cats can lead to better care and a deeper appreciation for these fascinating and mysterious creatures.