Domestic cats have been providing companionship to human beings for thousands of years. These feline pets are prized for their intelligence; their ability to hunt and kill rodents and other pests; and much more. In fact, they're the most popular house pet in America! Like other popular pets, not all domestic cats are created alike. In fact, there are many different cat breeds that pet owners can choose from.
The category of exotic cat breeds is a bit of a catch-all that is used to refer to many different and unusual cat breeds. Some of the more notable exotic cat breeds include the Bengal, which was created by breeding domestic cats with Asian leopard cats. The Chausie is a talented breed that comes from the mating of jungle cats and domestic shorthair cats. Chausie cats are quite smart and fast.
Persian cats are treasured for their exceptionally long hair, flat faces, and large eyes. These cats, which are of Near Eastern and Middle Eastern descent, can be found in many different colors. Because their fur is so long, Persian cats need to be groomed regularly to avoid matting and other problems that can arise. Keep up with cat care to keep Persian felines looking their best.
Maine Coon cats are extremely sociable and a lot like dogs in the way that they look for the companionship of human beings and genuinely love being around them. The Maine Coon is an affectionate and playful breed, which means that its feline representatives continue to act like kittens in many ways even after they are fully grown. Other characteristics of this breed include tufts of fur on the ears and feet, bushy tails, and longer-than-average fur. Many of these cats are also larger than average.
While many cat breeds will attach to one person in a family or home more than others, the British Shorthair cat is known for loving all family members equally. British Shorthair cats are affectionate, and they have an even temper. This makes them an excellent choice for households with children and easy felines for which to provide cat care. They get their name from the fact that they are native to Britain and display some of the stereotypical reserve in personality that many attribute to British citizens.
Undoubtedly best-known for having no hair, the Sphynx cat is truly an unusual breed. Yet even though these cats look and even feel as if they have no hair, they actually do have a coat of extremely short hair. Sphynx cats are known to be very active and lively, and they are also among the most affectionate of all cat breeds. Their exotic appearance makes them very popular with many people.
The Siamese cat was actually one of the first officially recognized domestic cat breeds. They have lived in East Asia for generations, and recently, many Western cat-lovers have adopted them. Siamese cats are identifiable by their light-colored fur that has dark "points," brown or black accents on the face, feet, and tip of the tail, as well as by their clear blue eyes. To call the Siamese talkative would be an understatement: This breed not only meows but frequently makes what some would call a chirping sound.
Hailing originally from Cornwall, Great Britain, the Cornish Rex breed has extremely short hair. As with some of the other cats on this list, the Cornish Rex exhibits what some might call "dog-like behavior." For example, they will play fetch with their owners. The colors and patterns of the coats of Cornish Rex cats vary considerably from one cat to another. They remain playful from kittenhood to old age.
Norwegian Forest Cat
One look at a Norwegian Forest cat is all that it takes to realize that these cats were bred to survive the long, cold winters of northern Europe. The long fur coat of the Norwegian Forest Cat makes it very suited to winter weather. The breed is known for periods of vigorous activity followed by long naps. These animals are particularly well-adapted to the coldest climates.
If one did not know any better, one might think that the Ocicat was a baby leopard or other spotted wild cat that happens to eat cat food. The Ocicat breed is best known for its markings, which resemble those of a wild cat. However, the breed is fully domesticated and makes for an excellent feline companion. The Ocicat looks wild, but it is as tame as any other domestic feline.
As one might expect from the name, the American Bobtail stands apart from other breeds in regard to the short length of its tail. These cats almost appear as if the ends of their tails have been lopped off. Despite their funny look, American Bobtail cats are very friendly, adapt to strangers well, and make excellent pets. Their adorable look also makes them popular with cat aficionados.
For more information on domestic cat breeds and taking care of cats, consult the following resources:
- A Brief History of House Cats
- American Cat Fanciers Association: Cat Breed Synopses
- Animal Diversity: Felis Catus
- ASPCA: General Cat Care
- Canadian Cat Association: Cat Breeds
- Cat Breedopedia
- Cat Breed Personality Chart
- Cat Breed Photo Gallery
- Cat Breeds
- Cat Breeds With Congenital Deafness
- Cat Care Essentials
- Columbia University: The Domestic Cat
- International Cat Association: Cat Breeds
- Man's Other Best Friend
- The Natural History of the Cat
- The Domestic Cat