So the time has finally come for you to get a cat! Maybe your friend has a kitty, and every time you go over, you pay more attention to the cat than your friend. Or perhaps you finally moved into your own apartment and are seeking a feline friend. Whatever the reason, the question you may be asking is, “What cat breed is right for me?”
There are many considerations when choosing a cat breed, but don’t worry — we’ll explain what you need to know so that you’re one step closer to getting the purr-fect housemate!
What Types of Cats Are There?
When choosing a cat breed, the first thing you need to decide is if you want a pedigree or non-pedigree cat.
Pedigree cats are pure breed felines, meaning they are one of the 50 or so established breeds recognized by various breed associations. They have been selectively bred for physical and behavioral characteristics, so you know exactly what you’re getting. For example, if you get a Ragdoll cat, you know that you’re getting a cat with soft, silky fur, blue eyes, and a quiet demeanor.
However, there are a few downsides to pedigree cats. Because they need to be purebred, they are generally only obtained from specific breeders and tend to be more expensive. Also, pedigree cats need to have specific characteristics, so this often results in some degree of inbreeding and a smaller gene pool, which can lead to health problems.
Non-pedigree cats are mixed breed cats and make up the majority of cats out there. These are the cats usually found at the shelter or a friend’s accidental litter. Also known as “moggies,” mixed breed cats do not have established characteristics because the parents and lineage are unknown. But for many people, that’s the fun of it!
Also, non-pedigree cats are usually less expensive, have fewer health problems, and come from a larger, more diverse gene pool.
Does a Cat Fit Your Lifestyle?
Although relatively low maintenance compared to other pets (like dogs), cats still require constant care. They need food, water, housing, toys, a litter box, vet check-ups, and the list goes on.
Before committing to a new cat, it’s best to assess your situation to see if you have the time to care for a cat, adequate space, and the extra income to care for a feline tenant. If you rent a home, pets are sometimes not allowed, or an extra pet fee is required. Additionally, with cats (or any pet for that matter), chances are they will break or destroy things in the house, which you’ll have to pay to replace.
On the other hand, cats are great pets because they don’t need much training, clean themselves, and even go to the bathroom in the same place every time.
How Many Types of Cat Breeds Are There?
Depends who you ask! There are a few major cat breed associations that keep track of this, but they are not always in agreement. Generally, there are approximately 50-60 different recognized cat breeds.
What is the Most Common Type of Cat Breed?
The most common type of cat in the United States is the domestic short-haired cat. This is a general term for a domesticated mixed breed cat (moggie) with a short fur coat. They are very prevalent, accounting for 90 to 95% of cats in the US.
Domestic short-haired cats are also known as “house cats.” Other nicknames include “alley cats” if they’re particularly feral or “tabby cats” if they have the tabby coat pattern.
What to Consider When Looking for the Right Cat Breed for You
All cats are beautiful, but some might be better suited for you and your lifestyle. Different breeds have different characteristics and tendencies, which you should be aware of before making a decision. Some of these include:
- Size: Large or small? Some bigger breeds may need more space.
- Fur type: Short or long hair? Long-haired cats need more grooming than short-haired ones. Also, some cat breeds shed more than others.
- Allergy issues: Many people have some degree of cat allergies, so a cat that sheds a lot may cause more unwanted sneezing among your friends.
- Health issues: Does the breed have common health issues? For example, Persian cats have more respiratory issues because of their flat noses.
- Indoor or outdoor: Do you want your cat to be indoors, outdoors, or both? Some breeds have sensitive skin and cannot be left out in the sun.
- Social inclination: Some cats like to be left alone, and others want to be around people.
- Playfulness: Certain cat breeds tend to be more playful than others, which is desirable for families with children.
Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
Low allergy or hypoallergenic cats are felines that produce less pet dander than other breeds. There is no completely hypoallergenic breed. This is because all cats produce some dander, which is a common allergen for around 10% of the population.
Hypoallergenic cats allow you to hold onto your dream of being a kitty owner even if you have cat allergies! These are some popular hypoallergenic cat breeds:
- Devon Rex
What is the Healthiest Cat Breed?
The American Shorthair is one of the healthiest cat breeds. They’re a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a fairly large cat that can live upwards of 15 years.
They also have a great story — they’re decedents of the cats that originally came over to North America from Europe (like on the Mayflower)! They were brought on the ships to kill the mice on board, and when they landed in the New World, they developed distinct characteristics to survive in the new country.
These are some notable features of the American Shorthairs:
- Round faces
- Short ears
- A large, powerful body
- Low maintenance
What about the American Shorthair’s size? Males can weigh up to 15 pounds, while females average around 10 pounds.
Cat Breeds That Are Best With Children
Children are an important consideration when choosing a cat breed because some cats cannot handle those adorable balls of energy (kids). If you’re planning to introduce a furbaby to a home that already has human babies, you need a social and playful cat that can handle noise, curious prodding, and pestering.
These are some suitable options for households with children:
- Ragdoll: An easygoing cat that enjoys people and loves being picked up and carried around (like a ragdoll!).
- Manx: The Manx is a sweet and active cat with a dog-like personality, even to the point of playing fetch.
- Burmese: A social butterfly of a cat; they love being around people and curling up on an unsuspecting lap.
- Birman: A loyal and patient cat that accommodates humans; they are active when you want to play but leave you alone if you’re busy.
- Abyssinian: They’re high energy, curious, and always up to something; they’ll keep your family entertained for hours.
Which Cat Breeds Are the Friendliest?
If you have roommates or expect a lot of people to come over, you may want to consider a cat with a friendly temperament. Certain breeds are more friendly and enjoy the company of people, including:
- Persian: Snub-nosed and adorable, Persian cats are sociable, gentle, and love snuggling with humans.
- Maine Coon: Confident, loving, and friendly, these are chill cats that won’t demand your time and can even coexist with dogs.
- Exotic Shorthair: A gentle cat that will make gestures to get your attention, and Exotic Shorthairs love to curl up with you!
- Sphynx: The iconic hairless feline, Sphynx cats love to play and will try to get as much affection and attention as they can.
- Moggies (mixed breed): Moggies are kind of a blank slate. If you treat them right and give them affection, they can become extremely friendly and loving cats.
What Cat Breed is Right for Me?
Only you know which breed fits you right, but fortunately, you now have all the information you need to make that choice! The best cat depends on:
- Your living environment
- Job obligations
- Family situation
- Social tendencies
Whatever is going on in your life, you can find several breeds that will mesh perfectly with your lifestyle. Whether it be a hypoallergenic kitty, a lazy feline, or a cat that’s good with children — you can find the right one for you!
How Do I Choose the Right Cat Breed for Me?
As I mentioned before, the right cat depends on what you want and need in a feline. But if you’re not sure where to start, here are some qualities most people want in cats:
- Active and playful
- Seeks affection and attention
- Adaptable to changes and new environments
- Can handle noise
Final Thoughts – What Cat Breed is Right for Me?
With over 50 cat breeds and endless varieties of moggies, it can be hard to decide which cat breed is right for you. But when you consider your lifestyle and what you want in a cat, the right breed for you becomes a bit more clear.
All cats have the potential to be good cats, so make sure you have the time and energy to be the best owner you can. If you put in the effort, the cat you choose might very well become a close companion for years to come.