How to Choose the Purr-Fect Breed of Cat or Kitten Breed To Suit Your Lifestyle and Tastes
Family-Friendly Cat Breeds
Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
Independent Cat Breeds
High-Maintenance Cat Breeds
Exotic-Looking Cat Breeds
The cat has certainly made his mark in history – he has been held in such high esteem that these animals have been worshiped as deities, revered as kings, and immortalized in art and literature. Who can resist the sleek and beautiful cat?
A single blink of her glass-green eyes and the world falls under her spell. Many different purebred cat breeds have evolved over the centuries – some ancient – and some very recent; selectively bred to produce desirable traits ranging from eye color to coat length, personality and temperament to size and longevity, and even some very unusual characteristics like baldness and short stature.
One of the most important parts of picking out a new kitten is finding the perfect little ball of fluff to win your heart. Remember that no kitten is alike but, much like purebred dogs, different breeds of cats tend to have their own unique traits that may or may not affect your decision. Some cat breeds tend to be better with children or other pets, while other breeds of cat are commonly more aloof and prefer a more solitary existence. Some cat breeds require a great deal of brushing and maintenance to keep them happy and healthy and others only shed twice a year.
How familiar are you with the different cat breeds? Here are a few examples:
Family Friendly Cat Breeds
The Japanese Bobtail Cat – Originating in Japan centuries ago, the Japanese Bobtail is the model for the famous “raised-paw” cat statues that are commonly seen in Asian culture. Wishing good luck and prosperity to visitors, the statues embody the outgoing and friendly nature of this unique breed. A very vocal cat, it‘s said that this breed likes to “sing,” play fetch, and are exceptional family pets.
The Maine Coon Cat – A native American longhair, the Main Coon cat is well-known for having a very friendly and loving nature. Highly intelligent and patient, these beautiful cats are recognized as being particularly good with children. This gentle disposition, coupled with their success in homes with dogs and other pets, has made them a popular companion in many homes.
The Ragdoll Cat – If one is looking for a very sweet-natured and docile cat, chances are that the Ragdoll may be just the cat to fit the bill. Non-aggressive and fond of human company, the Ragdoll earned his name because of his tendency to go limp when picked up. Very laid-back and placid, this breed is excellent for homes with children.
The Somali Cat – A very playful and active little cat, the ticked Somali is a descendant of the intelligent and ancient Abyssinian cat and is well-known as a beautiful ruddy-coated family cat. With his calm and even-temperament and his love of play, the Somali is well-suited for homes with children. They also do very well in multi-cat homes or in a family with other pets.
Cat Breeds for Allergy-Sufferers
Not everyone can easily enjoy the unique pleasure of owning a pet cat. For some, just walking into a home that has a cat can cause breathing problems and other problems that range from uncontrollable sneezing, to watery eyes, and hives. Fortunately, there are several breeds out there that are easier on the allergies than others (please note, however, that the term hypoallergenic means “less allergenic“ and does not mean 100% allergenic.
Different people are allergic to different things. While many people are allergic to pet dander, quite a few are also allergic to cat saliva, which cannot be prevented). Before purchasing any cat, just be sure to spend reasonable amount of time in the presence of several adult cats of your chosen cat breed, making regular visits and holding them, just to make sure.
The Sphynx Cat – The Sphynx cat is often referred to as a hypoallergenic cat breed though, in truth, even this nearly-nude beauty can set off allergies in the wrong person. For many who have problems with dander and fur, however, the Sphynx may be the perfect pet. Requiring frequent bathing, they tend to be far cleaner and suffer from less dander-related issues than their cousins.
The Croshca Cat Breed – The Siberian cat, also known as the Croshca, is a long-haired breed that is believed to be considerably hypoallergenic. Possessing a slightly oily coat, these affectionate felines require brushing a couple of times per week, but seem to cause little discomfort in those who are allergic to cats. One belief is the slightly oily coat tends to shed less and produce less dander than other breeds.
The Devon Rex Cat – A very mischievous cat, the Devon Rex is a soft and playful imp. His coat, consisting of a dense fuzz of short and crinkly hairs, sheds very little and is frequently referred to as hypoallergenic. These are very affectionate little cats, but can be a handful in their own right, due to their love of play and always being underfoot.
The Allerca Cat – Not an actual breed of cat, this feline strain has still made the news and has people clamoring for kittens. Toted as the only true hypoallergenic cat, the Allerca cat came into being when researchers discovered that they could pinpoint the gene that was responsible for producing the protein that many allergy-sufferers are allergic to. While this cat may be the answer for many who wish to own a friendly feline, at $4,000 a kitten, combined with a strict screening process, not everyone can get an Allerca cat.
Independent Cat Breeds
Not everyone is looking for a family feline. While some breeds are not popular in homes with children or multi-pet households, they still make wonderful pets and prefer to bond with a single person. Intensely loyal and affectionate to the person they pick as their human, these breeds are well-known for producing one-person cats:
The Chartreux Cat – This beautiful blue-grey cat does well in a family household, as well as with other pets, though he is still well-known for bonding with a single person within the household. While he may play fetch with other members of the home, the Chartreux cat prefers to stay where he can see his chosen person and will quite often follow them from room to room.
The Manx Cat – Well-known as the “tailless cat,” the Manx is a very playful and extroverted feline. Often resorting to almost dog-like tendencies, such as burying toys or carrying them in their mouth and playing fetch, the Manx is also well-known as a one-person breed of cat. This bond can be so strong, sometimes, that this breed of cat suffers horribly when attempts are made to place him in another home. If a Manx interests you, be sure to take this unique bonding tendency into consideration.
The Snowshoe Cat – Resulting from the selective cross-breeding of Siamese cats and bi-colored American Shorthair cats, the end result was to produce a beautiful pointed cat with just enough white markings on the face, chest, and feet to set them apart as a breed all their own. While the Snowshoe tends to be friendly with everyone, they often have the Siamese tendency to bond with a single member of the household.
High Maintenance Beauties
The Birman Cat – One of many color-pointed breeds that have stemmed from the crossing of Siamese, Burmese cats and Tonkinese cats with those possessing longer coats, the Birman is a very beautiful and sweet-looking pointed long-hair. While his coat is not as lengthy, nor as high maintenance as that of the Himalayan or Persian, he still requires a brushing, every few days, in order to ensure his coat stays clean and free of mats.
The Himalayan Cat – As well-known for their tendency to be somewhat standoffish, as they are for their beautiful looks, the Himalayan is a relatively new breed, but one that has certainly captured the hearts of many people across the world. Coupling the beautiful pointed coloration of the Siamese with the gorgeous long coat of the Persian, these unique beauties are worth every minute of the daily grooming that they require.
The Persian Cat – Everyone recognizes this long, silky-haired beauty with the flat little face. The blunt-nosed cat of the feline world, the Persian manages to take what might otherwise be a rather comical expression and turn it into a look of aloof class and arrogance. Beautiful to behold, these wonderful cats require almost daily brushing, but are the ideal cat for someone who enjoys a lot of hands-on care for their cat.
Exotic Cat Breeds
The Bengal Cat – The result of cross-breeding select domestic cats, such as the Egyptian Mau, the Ocicat, American and British Shorthairs, and Abyssinians, with Asian Leopard Cats and varieties of ALC-crosses, the Bengal is truly a sight to behold. With coats of either marbled or rosettes, they have all the wonderful qualities of a domestic shorthair, coupled with the exotic appearance of a wild cat.
If you’re a fan of wild felines, such as the Ocelot, you might be interested in this breed or the scruffier bobcat look-alikes, the Desert Lynx cat or Pixie Bob cat.
The Munchkin Cat – Whether you’re looking for an exotic shorthair or a unique longhaired breed, the Munchkin is sure to make you do a double-take. Created back in 1983, the breed stems from a short-legged cat by the name of Blackberry and a litter of kittens that she delivered, half of which were also born with short legs. While this dwarfed breed is not always recognized by various registries (many question the quality of this breed’s health), they are still a favorite amongst cat fanciers.
The Russian Blue Cat – Named both for his origins and his uniquely blue coat, the Russian blue is a favorite exotic shorthair. His coat is well-known for its blush density and silvery sheen and he is quick to capture the heart with his sweet disposition. Said to be the cat of the Russian Czars, the Russian Blue is definitely a noble and unique feline.
Whatever you desire, there is a cat out there that will fit your personality and lifestyle. Some cat breeds are low maintenance, while others require frequent brushing. Some cat breeds are people-pets and there are other cats breeds out there who prefer to be aloof and independent.
Even within the different cat breeds, remember there are always exceptions to the rule, as well. While this is meant as an introduction to some of the different variations in cat breeds, it’s important to realize that, like humans, every cat is an individual and no two are alike.