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Finding the Right Purebred Cat

By: Kitty Angell

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You've made the decision. You want to share your life with a cat. Not just any cat, but a beautiful, purebred cat. According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc. (CFA), the world's largest cat registry, there are more than 35 breeds of purebred cat from which you can choose your "perfect cat."

Do you want a cat to curl up beside you as you sit quietly reading a book before a blazing fireplace? Do you want an energetic, vocal buddy that will learn to retrieve toys that you throw? Different breeds of cat meet the needs of different types of people.

Purebred cats tend to fall into various categories. Like humans, however, all cats are individuals. Their temperament in many ways depends on how they were bred and how they were handled prior to your arrival. Every once in a while, you might find a frisky, roustabout Ragdoll or even a quiet, lethargic Siamese. But this is the exception to the rule, not the norm for both breeds.

35 Breeds of Cats

These are the "general" characteristics of CFA's 35 recognized breeds of cat:

  • Abyssinian. The Aby is a shorthaired, medium sized cat. The breed is very active, mildly vocal and loves to cuddle and stay close to their owner.

  • American Curl. With longhaired and shorthaired varieties, this cat is medium to large in size but slender in build. The American curl is active and non-vocal with a gentle, even disposition.

  • American Shorthair. The American shorthair is a medium to large sized cat. The breed tends to be laid-back and mildly vocal. They love to cuddle. This cat has the look of a strongly built, "macho" cat.

  • American Wirehair. The American wirehair is a shorthaired, medium to large sized cat. The breed is active and mildly vocal with a loving disposition. The coat has the same wirey look as a wirehair dog.

  • Balinese. This exotic cat has semi-long hair with a head and body style similar to the Siamese. The breed is medium sized with tapering lines. Typically active and vocal, the Balinese also likes to cuddle.

  • Birman. The Birman is a longhaired, medium to large sized cat. They are semi-active and mildly vocal but extremely affectionate. The silky consistency of the coat doesn't mat as easily as other longhairs.

  • Bombay. The Bombay is a shorthaired, medium sized cat. The breed is vocal and somewhat active but generally friendly. This cat has the look of a small black panther.

  • British Shorthair. A shorthaired and large cat, the British shorthair is a laid-back, non-vocal breed.

  • Burmese. The Burmese is a shorthaired, small to medium sized cat. The breed is vocal, somewhat active and loves to cuddle.

  • Chartreux. The Chartreux is a shorthaired, large cat. The breed is mildly vocal, laid-back and very affectionate.

  • Colorpoint Shorthair. This breed is shorthaired and medium in size. The breed looks like a Siamese with different point colors. The colorpoint shorthair is vocal, active and cuddly.

  • Cornish Rex. The Cornish rex is a shorthaired, small to medium cat with a very slender build. The breed is active, vocal and cuddly.

  • Devon Rex. As with the Cornish rex, the Devon is shorthaired and small to medium in size. Active and vocal, this cat has an elfin look and wavy hair.

  • Egyptian Mau. With the look of a spotted, exotic wildcat, the Egyptian Mau is shorthaired and medium in size. The breed is active and vocal.

  • Exotic. This breed is shorthaired and large with the head and body style of a Persian. The exotic is non-vocal, laid-back, very cuddly and affectionate.

  • Havana Brown. This uncommon breed is shorthaired and medium in size. An active and mildly vocal breed, this cat has the look of an exotic cat.

  • Japanese Bobtail. The Japanese bobtail can have either longhair or shorthair. The breed is medium in size and slender. An active, vocal cat, this breed is easily identified by his pompom tail.

  • Javanese. This cat is a semi-longhaired version of the colorpoint shorthair. Active and vocal, the Javanese has a quasi-wildcat look.

  • Korat. The korat is a shorthaired, medium sized cat. Active and vocal, this breed has a silver blue coat.

  • Maine Coon. The Maine coon is a longhaired, large cat. Active and non-vocal, the Maine coon has an amiable disposition.

  • Manx. The manx is a medium sized, mildly vocal cat. This breed is very intelligent and loving, with a noticeable lack of a tail.

  • Norwegian Forest. This large, longhaired cat is laid-back and mildly vocal and always affectionate.

  • Ocicat. This large, shorthaired cat is athletic and active. Mildly vocal, the ocicat looks like a spotted wildcat.

  • Oriental. The Oriental looks like a Siamese with full body color. A medium sized cat, the breed is lithe, active and vocal.

  • Persian. The Persian is a large sized, longhaired cat. The breed is laid-back, non-vocal and cuddly.

  • Ragdoll. The ragdoll is a large, longhaired cat. Laid-back and non-vocal, the ragdoll loves to cuddle.

  • Russian Blue. The Russian blue is an affectionate, shorthaired, medium sized cat. The breed is active and mildly vocal.

  • Scottish Fold. Known for his folded ears, the Scottish fold is a medium sized, laid-back and non-vocal cat.

  • Selkirk Rex. This uncommon breed is large and active. Mildly vocal, this breed is a curly haired sweetheart.

  • Siamese. The Siamese is one of the more vocal breeds. Shorthaired and svelte, this breed is both active and very affectionate.

  • Singapura. The Singura is a shorthaired, small sized cat. Active and vocal, this breed looks exotic but loves to cuddle.

  • Somali. The Somali looks like a semi-longhaired version of the Abyssinian. The breed is medium in size, active and vocal.

  • Tonkinese. The Tonkineses is another active, vocal and cuddly breed. This breed's short haircoat requires little care.

  • Turkish Angora. This small to medium sized slender cat appears very graceful. Active and vocal, this semi-longhaired breed is also very affectionate.

  • Turkish Van. The Turkish van is an uncommon breed with semi-long hair. Large and strong, this breed is somewhat active, vocal and quite affectionate.

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