Cats perch on windowsills and the tops of sofas in many homes across the country. The American Veterinary Medical Association indicated in its U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (2017-2018) that 25.4 percent of households owned cats, with a total of 58,385,725 cats residing in the United States that year. The Canadian Animal Health Institute says cats continue to outnumber dogs in Canada, where 8.1 million cats were kept as household pets in 2020.
Pet owners understand that there are a variety of dog breeds, each with its own behavior, size and temperament standards. For example, a golden retriever may behave much differently than a toy poodle. The same can be said for cats; cat breeds vary and each has its own notable characteristics. The following are a few popular cat breeds and what owners can expect if they open their homes to these felines, courtesy of PetHealthZone® and Cat Fanciers’ association.
- Abyssinian: A popular cat breed, abyssinians are elegant and regal-looking. While affectionate, they tend not to be lap cats, but are known for their curiosity and playfulness. These cats come in four different ruddy colors.
- American Bobtail: This cat has a short tail and tufted ears and toes. It resembles the wild bobcat. Some say these cats are dog-like in their personalities. They may enjoy greeting family and some can even be leash-trained.
- Bengal: Bengals look like a wild cat with their spotted coats. They are extremely intelligent and require much energy to stimulate them mentally.
- Burmese: Burmese cats like spending time with their families and bonding with people. They hail from Thailand, although it was rumored the cats were from Burma, and come in American and British variations.
- Devon Rex: With its oversized ears, the Devon Rex can look like a cartoon character. And a character he or she is, preferring to curl up on a warm lap or follow people around the house. The breed also has a hint of mischievousness, so watch out.
- Himalayan: Puffy and beautiful, these cats desire petting and grooming. They were bred by crossing Persian and Siamese cats to produce a striking mix. Himalayans are affectionate, intelligent and extroverted.
- Maine Coon: These cats got their name from the legend that they’re a cross between a cat and a racoon. This isn’t the case, but Maine Coons are among the largest cat breeds in the world and have fur and tails that resembles a wild racoon’s. People-oriented, intelligent and easy-going are some traits associated with this breed.
- Persian: Persians have scrunched faces and silky, flowing coats. They tend to be quiet and gentle, and will offer unconditional love to owners. They can take a while to warm up to new people.
- Siamese: These cats look similar to Burmese, and also hail from Thailand. Brown paws and blue eyes give them a striking look. They’re quite talkative and very intelligent.
With scores of cat breeds, people can undoubtedly find felines that fit their lifestyles.