While most people may choose a cat simply on their looks, there’s a whole world of rare and popular cat breeds with individual characteristics and personality traits. A cat is either domestic, purebred, or a hybrid. Domestic cats do not have a history of their lineage, while purebreds do. Hybrids are domesticated cats bred with other wild feline varieties. Let’s take a look at the five most common cat breeds and some rare cat breeds. Understanding the different types of cats is the key to choosing the right pet for you and your family.
Domestic Shorthair is the most common cat breed, making up about 90-95% of cats in the United States. These felines are lovingly referred to as the “mutt” of the cat world due to their mixed and unknown heritage. They can have various physical attributes but are generally medium-sized with sleek, short coats and can mix colors. The Domestic Shorthair cat traces its roots back to the early days of pilgrim settlement in North America, hunting rodents and other tiny pests. They generally live about 12-14 years and sometimes have been known to live even longer.
American Shorthair cats came to North America from Europe and were often used by pilgrims to keep the local rodent population under control, just like the Domestic Shorthair cats. They are known as hardworking - hearty, muscular, and alert. They also love to snuggle up on the couch and are perfect for those who want a cat that enjoys being in your lap but not constantly needing attention. The expression “happy medium” describes these felines as they are sociable, easily trained, and adapt well to both humans and other animals.
Like Domestic Shorthair cats, Domestic Longhair cats are simply cats that have long hair and are of unknown ancestry. They come in a wide range of colors, such as orange, white, black, or grey. Their coat is typically a few inches long, with tufts around their ears and the bottoms of their paws. Because of their long coats, these cats require regular grooming every week to keep them mat and hairball-free. The Domestic Longhair is believed to date back 400 years to the cold regions of Persia, Russia, and Turkey, where their long, warm coats helped with survival. They are the second most popular cat breed in the United States and make great family pets.
The aptly named Maine Coon originated in Maine, where they were popular mousers, farm cats, and ship’s cats, dating as far back as the early 19th century. These furry felines are one of the friendliest cat breeds, known for being attentive and following family members around. They can sometimes be cautious around new people, but overall, they love interacting with other humans.
Unlike most cat breeds, they may enjoy a water fountain or even playing in the water as they have a thick, water-resistant coat. The Maine Coon is muscular and sturdy, and its most distinctive features are its large eyes, massive paws, and high cheekbones. The friendly, laid-back Maine Coon is a perfect choice for families with children and even cat-friendly dogs.
The Siamese cat hails from Thailand, which was once called Siam. These cats eventually made their way to Europe and then North America, when Rutherford B. Hayes had a Siamese cat during his presidency. The beautiful Siamese is perhaps the most recognizable breed with its cream-colored coat, grey-brown paws, and icy blue eyes. These cats also have many pointy characteristics, such as triangle-shaped heads, triangular ears, and pointed tails. They make excellent companions for active people, as they are swamped, talkative felines. They prefer not to be left alone for long periods and may require more attention than other cat breeds.
Rare Cat Breeds
Only two to four percent of household cats make the pedigreed cut, so all purebred cats can be considered rare. There are a wide variety of rare cat breeds - some with unique color combinations and exotic markings. Newly developed breeds may also be irregular, along with ancient and foreign breeds, which can be impossible to find. The rarest cat breed in the world is the Sokoke, which originated in the forested Sokoke area of eastern Kenya. Another scarce cat breed is the LaPerm, which has curly hair and a mischievous personality. Even though these cat breeds may be rare, they have fun personalities and would be great family pets if you can find them.
Between mixed breeds, different pedigree regulations, and genetics, it’s tough to say how many different types of cats exist in the world today. No two cats are exactly alike, and they can each have different colors, markings, and personality traits. Most cats adore humans and love to cuddle, from the most common domestic shorthair to the rare Sokoke. If you’re planning to adopt or purchase a kitty, it does help to do some research about the breed’s traits, health, and grooming care to decide if it is the right pet for you and your family.