While most think of cats as small and petite, there are several large cat breeds that may remind you of their distant, more dangerous feline cousins. The myth that cats are always disinterested and uncaring is simply untrue because they can be one of the most loving animals you’ll ever meet. While many of these giant cats like the Maine Coone may seem fierce and mean, they’re some of the biggest softies ever.
Some of these large cats have soft, voluminous coats, while others are incredibly mellow and playful. Check out our list of the top 10 most popular large cat breeds and why these majestic creatures are so amazing!
What is Considered a Large Cat Breed?
Any domesticated cat breed that usually weighs over 12 lbs (male weight) is considered large. However, if you have a chubby cat that weighs more than 12 lbs, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a large breed. On average, these larger breeds are far bigger than the typical medium-sized cat.
Females of large breeds are usually slightly smaller than males. However, they are still considerably heavier and longer than the average cat.
Are Large Cat Breeds Easy to Care For?
Since there isn’t a drastic difference in sizes as there is in dogs, cat care for all sizes and breeds is generally about the same. Fortunately, soothing products like CBD catnip spray make feline care even easier.
Many cat owners will tell you that cats are wonderfully low-maintenance and easy to care for. They’re right! Cats often don’t need a lot of space to live in and are perfectly content with lounging around the house or apartment. They don’t need to be walked, and you won’t need to worry about constant barking.
Feeding a cat can also be less costly than dogs since they don’t require as much food. Cats also groom themselves constantly, reducing the need for extra grooming care. Cleaning up the litter box is also far more manageable than cleaning up after a dog.
Cats are very independent and don’t usually suffer from separation anxiety like dogs do. However, just because cats are low-maintenance doesn’t mean you should show them any less love! Cats crave and love attention just as much as any dog and their lovable, affectionate purring proves it.
Do Bigger Cats Have Larger Paws?
Not necessarily! Each breed of cat is unique and can have different-sized paws. For example, a large cat could have smaller paws, while a small cat could have large paws. Genetics can also play a factor in determining how big or small a cat’s paws are.
Most Popular Large Cat Breeds
In many ways, large cats are a lot like small dogs. Cats love to jump in your lap, waiting for you to pet them, and their larger builds make them easier to cuddle. Many large cats aren’t aware of their hefty size either, making cuddles that much more lovable and cute.
A few of these cat breeds have been selectively bred to create a hybrid of a domestic and wild cat, like the Savannah or Chausie. These cats may have slightly more energetic and lively personalities, making them perfect for more active families.
Check out our top 10 most popular large cat breeds!
Often referred to as the “dogs of the cat world,” Maine Coons measure up to 34-36 inches long on average. Maine Coons also stand 10-16 inches tall at the shoulder, towering over most cats and even some small dogs. Males can weigh a hefty 15-20 lbs, with some being recorded weighing up to 30-35 lbs.
Despite their large size and intense gaze, Maine Coons are one of the sweetest, gentlest cat breeds of them all. They have a lively and friendly personality that isn’t typical of most cats. Maine Coons are also one of the oldest, naturally-occurring cat breeds in America. “Naturally-occurring” means they were not born from any other breeds.
Chausies are second on this list as a hybrid cat, bred from domestic cats and ancient Jungle Cats. Many people believe that the first Chausies originated from Ancient Egypt, where the first Jungle Cats were domesticated.
Chausie cats typically have long limbs and slim bodies (around 28 inches) with short, bobbed tails. Male Chausies can weigh anywhere from 12-25 lbs.
As descendants of wild cats, Chausies tend to have more energy than most other breeds. They constantly seek attention and love to play. Many Chausie owners even say that the breed even has dog-like behaviors, making it one of the most popular and easy-to-love large house cats.
The Savannah cat is another hybrid, formed through a cross of African servals and domestic cats. Their beautiful spotted coats remind you of a miniature leopard or a cheetah. Savannahs also have a more outgoing and affectionate personality that is popular with many large cat owners.
Savannahs are extremely intelligent, but they can get bored quickly as a result. Boredom can often lead to destructive behaviors. Savannah cats demand plenty of attention and are not recommended for new cat owners.
Like Chausies, Savannahs have long limbs and bodies. The current world record holder for the tallest domestic cat belongs to a Savannah, standing 17.1 inches at the shoulder. That’s taller than most small to medium-sized dogs!
Norwegian Forest Cat
The pride of Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat, has a thick, fluffy coat designed to protect it against harsh winters. Norwegian Forest Cats are well-suited for the outdoors, though they are also perfectly content living indoors. The breed also excels at hunting rats, and the Vikings used Norwegian Forest Cats to keep rodents off ships.
Don’t be fooled by the cat’s thick fur because underneath the dense undercoats is an athletic, muscular body. However, Norwegian Forest Cats typically mature slower than most breeds, usually not reaching full maturity until about five years old. With their oversized fluffy coats and playful personalities, you can see why so many people like the Norwegian Forest Cat.
The Siberian cat is one of the oldest domestic feline breeds, originating from Russia around the 1500s. Siberian cats also have thick triple coats and a beautiful ruff around their necks to protect against the cold. Although they are one of the oldest breeds in existence, Siberian cats didn’t come to the United States until the late 1990s.
Siberians are playful and athletic, demanding constant attention from their owners. Siberians are also moderately hypoallergenic due to lower concentrations of allergenic enzymes in their saliva.
Some Siberians can weigh up to 25 lbs, but most weigh around 12-16 lbs. They are about 20 inches in length and approximately 10-12 inches in height.
The Ragdoll cat breed is named for its tame, laid-back temperament that is popular with many cat owners. Ragdolls also have stunning blue eyes you can’t miss and a long, beautiful, cream and white coat that is incredibly silky to the touch.
Ragdolls are typically very quiet and love to observe the room. However, in the arms of their owners, they become total softies and turn limp like a ragdoll. Ragdoll cats are fantastic cuddlers and love to show affection right back. Ragdolls are usually 12-20 lbs in weight, 18 inches in length, and about 10-14 inches tall.
Ragamuffins were bred from their close cousin, the Ragdoll, and have many similar qualities. The Ragamuffin cat has a wilder, rougher look compared to Ragdolls, but they love company and affection just the same.
Even though Ragamuffin cats don’t go completely limp when held, they still love attention from their owners. Their thick, silky coats can cause a ton of shedding, but the wide variety of colors and patterns makes them a unique breed.
Ragamuffins are very similar in size to Ragdolls, although they may be slightly shorter at about 16 inches in length.
Turkish Vans are one of the rarest cat breeds in the world, with only a few thousand in existence across the world. The term “van” is used to describe completely white cats with colors and markings on their head and tail. Unlike many breeds on this list, Turkish Vans are relatively skinny and rather long. Turkish Vans are almost 3 feet long while weighing only 10-15 lbs.
One unique trait of Turkish Vans is that they love to swim. They have long, athletic builds and a waterproof coat that allows them to swim freely in the water. Turkish Vans are very energetic and, while they may not be the type to jump in your lap, they love spending time with their owners!
Nearing the end of our list is the British Shorthair, which you might recognize as the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland! Their noses curl up on the sides, resembling an everlasting grin that matches their sweet, loving personas perfectly. British Shorthairs love to lounge around the house and sleep, enjoying peace and quiet.
As one of the oldest cat breeds in England, British Shorthair cats are a symbol of luxury and class. They have soft, plush coats that give them a bit of a chubby look. Don’t be fooled, however, because these cats are very athletic — they were even employed as rodent hunters in Britain!
At 8-16 lbs, British Shorthairs are relatively lighter than the rest of the cats on this list. They maintain a respectable 22-24 inches in length.
American Bobtails are a unique breed, easily recognized by their short, stubby tails. The origins of the American Bobtail cat are unknown, but many people believe they resulted from a wild bobcat breeding with a domestic cat. The wild blood in the breed may explain their boundless energy and playfulness.
American Bobtails have an almost dog-like mentality, as they love to bond and interact with their families. They can be particularly affectionate toward children as well and love to go outside and play.
At about 10-16 lbs and approximately 20 inches in length, the American Bobtail is excellent for all families.
Honorable Mention: Bengal
The Bengal cat is another hybrid cat, originating from a cross between a leopard cat and a domestic feline. It’s easy to spot a Bengal cat with its perky ears and brightly colored, spotted, or marbled coats.
As a hybrid cat breed, Bengals are playful and have a high activity level. Bengals are one of the most athletic cats on this list, having lightning-fast reflexes and immense jumping power. They are also considerably intelligent animals and love to show affection to their owners.
Bengals may seem extraordinarily lovable and cute, but they are not recommended for new pet owners. They crave attention, and their energy can often lead to mischief. The average Bengal is about 8-10 inches long and 15-18 lbs.
Which Cat Breed is the Largest?
The Maine Coon is the largest cat breed that currently exists in the world. They are often found atop “Biggest Domestic Cat” lists and rankings due to their long bodies and heavy builds. The longest domestic cat ever recorded in history was a Maine Coon nicknamed “Stewie,” which measured at an impressive 48.5 inches.
The current title for the largest cat in the world belongs to a Maine Coon cat that lives in Italy and goes by the name “Barivel.” He measures an eye-catching 47 in. That’s larger than most wild bobcats and lynxes!
Final Thoughts – Large Cat Breeds
Large cats prove that sometimes, bigger really is better. Many of these large cat breeds have a bit of wild blood in them, making them more active and energetic than your everyday house cat. Large cat breeds can be a lot of fun to raise, as long as you have the time and energy to do so!