Most popular cat breeds – An Overview of the Top Cat Breeds




Cats are one of the most popular pets in the United States, with over 94 million cats living in around 85 million households. With so many cat owners comes a demand for different cat breeds that fit specific needs and preferences. There are over 70 recognized cat breeds that vary greatly in temperament, appearance, size and care requirements. But what are the most popular cat breeds that capture the hearts of cat lovers? Here’s an overview of the top 5 most popular cat breeds based on registration statistics.

Top 5 Most Popular Cat Breeds

Most popular cat breeds Number Registered (2020)
Persian 43,465
Exotic 26,728
Ragdoll 17,903
British Shorthair 9,456
Maine Coon 8,102

Most popular cat breeds statistics source: The Cat Fanciers’ Association

Let’s take a closer look at what makes these cat breeds so well loved.

1. Persian

The Persian cat reigns as the most popular pedigreed cat breed in the United States, topping the list by a significant margin. Distinguished by their long, flowing coats, large eyes and sweet facial expressions, most popular cat breeds Persians have gentle, quiet personalities that make them ideal house cats. Their long fur requires daily grooming to prevent tangles and matting. Persian coats come in a wide array of colors and patterns including white, blue, black, red and tabby. Though cute and cuddly, Persians are prone to health problems like breathing difficulties and tear staining due to their flattened faces.

2. Exotic

Exotics are essentially shorthaired versions of Persian cats. They rank as the second most popular cat breeds with their stuffed animal faces and easy-care coats. Exotics have the same sweet, gentle temperaments as Persians but without the intensive grooming needs. Their shorter fur needs weekly brushing to remove dead hair. Exotics come in an array of colors and patterns and are at risk for the same health issues as Persians. Overall, Exotics make affectionate companions. Their calm demeanors and soft voices make them well suited to apartment living.

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3. Ragdoll

Ragdoll cats are best known for their docile, puppy-like personalities. Named for their tendency to go limp when picked up, they love to be carried and cuddled. Their semi-long, silky fur hardly tangles or mats. Most popular cat breeds Ragdolls have striking blue eyes and color patterns with white mitted or bi-color coats. They make ideal pets for families with children or seniors looking for a mild-mannered companion. Despite their large size, Ragdolls are gentle giants that get along with other pets. They do require regular grooming to minimize shedding and prevent fur matting.

4. British Shorthair

As their name suggests, British Shorthairs have dense, plush short fur that gives them a rounded appearance. Their eyes are large and round with a melted butter hue that provides an open, sweet expression reminiscent of most popular cat breeds Persians. Though laidback and easygoing, British Shorthairs are quite playful and social. They come in a wide palette of colors like blue, brown, cream, silver and golden. British Shorthair care is minimal with weekly brushing and occasional bathing. Their health is generally robust with few chronic issues. If you seek an affectionate yet independent breed, the British Shorthair is a perfect choice.

5. Maine Coon

The Maine Coon cat has gained popularity for its large size, shaggy coat and gentle personality. As the official state cat of Maine, they are well equipped for harsh New England winters with their dense, water-resistant fur. Most popular cat breeds Maine Coons have a rectangular, rugged build and kitten-like personality throughout their lifespan. They get along well with children, dogs and other pets. A distinguishing feature is their long, tufted tails. Regular brushing and grooming is advised to prevent fur matting. Maine Coons are also prone to certain genetic health problems like hip dysplasia and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Overall, these gentle giants make lovely, playful companions.

Other Popular Cat Breeds

While the top 5 comprise the most registered pedigreed cats, several other breeds also have notable followings and growing popularity. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Siamese – Active, vocal cats recognized by their pointed coat patterns and striking blue almond-shaped eyes. Require a lot of interaction and play. Prone to cross-eyes, heart problems and respiratory issues.
  • Abyssinian – Distinctly colored ticked fur; playful and intelligent. Need lots of exercise and stimulation. Prey drive makes them better suited to homes without small pets.
  • Scottish Fold – Medium-sized breed with forward folded ears giving them an owl-like appearance. Come in wide variety of colors and patterns. Laid-back, loving personalities. Prone to bone/cartilage disorders.
  • Sphynx – Striking hairless breed. Lack of fur makes them feel velvety soft and warm. Extremely affectionate and demands constant attention. Prone to respiratory problems.
  • Bengal – Resembles small leopards with their spotted or marbled coats. Very active, needs lots of play and exercise. Often dog-like in behavior. Not for inexperienced owners.
  • Rex – Curly-whiskered cats with short, plush, velvety fur that comes in many colors. Gentle, sweet-natured lap cats that thrive on attention. Higher grooming needs. Prone to bone disorders.

Most Important Factors in Choosing a Cat Breed

With so many most popular cat breeds to choose from, it can be difficult deciding which one best fits your lifestyle and preferences. Here are some of the most important factors to consider:

  • Activity Level – Active breeds like Bengals and Abyssinians require lots of play, exercise and interaction. More relaxed breeds such as Persians and Ragdolls better suit less active homes.
  • Grooming Needs – Long haired breeds require significant grooming while shorthairs only need minimal brushing. Shedding and hairballs should also be considered.
  • Temperament – Breed personality varies from very affectionate and social to more aloof. Vocalness, calmness, and intensity of attention needed also differs between breeds.
  • Health – Some breeds are more prone to certain genetic disorders. Responsible breeding minimizes these risks. Short muzzled cats often have respiratory issues.
  • Child/Pet Friendliness – Breeds like Ragdolls do very well with children and other pets. Others have stronger prey drives.
  • Indoor/Outdoor – Almost all pedigreed breeds are better suited to indoor-only living. Only a few breeds like Bengals tolerate being outdoors.

When selecting a breed, be sure to research their care requirements and temperament to ensure a good match with your lifestyle. Reaching out to reputable breeders is also important for understanding a breed’s particular health considerations. Responsibly bred kittens help minimize the risks of inherited diseases. With a little research, you’re sure to find a most popular cat breeds variety well suited to your home and family.


The Cat Fanciers’ Association


Hill’s Pet Nutrition





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