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Top Cat Breeds of 2012

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Top Cat Breeds of 2012


Who's the fairest cat of all? What are the top 10 cat breeds of 2012?

Each year the CFA compiles breed registration totals for each of the 42 pedigreed breeds it recognizes. Since the CFA is the world's largest cat registry, these registration totals are good indicators of overall popularity.

Today, the cat is the most popular pet in the United States and in some parts of Europe. And why shouldn't they be? Cats more easily fit into busy lifestyles than dogs, and while you can't go to the park and play fetch with your kitty, you don't have to housetrain and walk her each day either. With their clean, quiet habits and relatively easy care, cats adapt well to apartment and indoor living. They come in a wide array of breeds with varied looks and personality-no matter what you like, there's a cat just right for you.

America's pet population has increased dramatically over the years. According to a study conducted by the Pet Food Institute, from 1981 to 2005 a staggering 30 million pets were added to U.S. homes. Pet ownership statistics supplied by the American Pet Product Manufacturer's Association (APPMA) 2012 survey noted that 37.3% of U.S. households own a cat, with a total of over 95.6 million cats! (The average number of cats per household is 2.21.)

The Cat Fancier's Association recently released their list of the Top 10 Breeds of 2012. On this list are some classic favorites, some unique breeds, and even a newcomer to the list.

Drum Roll Please

According to registration totals, The CFA's top ten most popular cat breeds in 2012 are:

Number One: Persian

To say the Persian is popular is an understatement. This breed, with its laid-back, affectionate personality and long, lovely locks, has held the number one spot for decades. Despite their special needs – the breed requires daily grooming to keep that long silky fur mat-free – the Persian has been a favorite since the cat fancy began in 1871. Fans say they prize these cats for their sweet personalities. Persians form strong bonds of loyalty and love with their owners, so it's no wonder they take the top spot for the 5th year running.

Number Two: Exotic

Called the Exotic shorthair by some cat associations, the Exotic is often considered a shorthaired Persian and is gaining popularity with people who love the Persian personality and body type but hate the drudgery of daily grooming. The Exotic's short, dense coat needs only a twice a week combing. But the Exotic has its own history, personality and growing group of devoted fans that swear by the plush, cherub-faced, solid-as-a-brick feline. Another longstanding favorite, this is the 5th year the Exotic has held this position.

Number Three: Maine Coon

Holding steady from last year, the made-in-America Maine Coon holds court in cat lovers' hearts yet again. Large, rugged, and hardy, these incredible hulks have hearts to match their size – their gentle, loving temperaments keep this breed high in the popularity polls. And although they have long fur, their coats don't require as much grooming as the Persian's.

Number Four: Ragdoll

Surrounded by myth and mystery, the Ragdoll is a large, laid-back, loving cat with a long, beautiful coat, lovely pointed pattern and big brilliant blue eyes. A hybrid breed, the Ragdoll was developed by years of selective breeding and remains a popular favorite.

Number Five: Abyssinian

Climbing up from #7 in 2011 is the beautiful Abyssinian, prized for her active, people-oriented personality and colorful ticked coat. The Aby is popular with cat lovers who enjoy busy, active, playful cats. Fanciers claim that you won't find finer home entertainment than one of these dynamic couch cougars. Allegedly, these cats are the descendants of the felines worshiped in ancient Egypt, although some dispute this.

Number Six: Sphynx

Once you get past the shock of seeing a naked cat, you'll notice that this breed has other distinctive traits. The Sphynx are lively cat as they like to perform monkey-like aerialist stunts from the top of doorways and book shelves. Devoted and loyal, they follow their humans around, wagging their tails doggy style and purring with affection. They demand your unconditional attention and are as mischievous and lovable as children. Although a decrease in popularity has dropped them from the top 5 in 2011, these remain a beloved breed among the discerning cat lover.

Number Seven: American Shorthair

The American shorthair (ASH), whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower (or so the story goes), is a national treasure that's as all American as the Fourth of July. The ASH is popular for her comfortably familiar, middle-of-the-road body style and laid back, affectionate personality. However, while the ASH may look a little like your average random-bred feline, she has a long history of selective breeding and is just as pure bred as any other pedigreed cat.

Number Eight: British Shorthair

A newcomer to the Top 10 this year is the continental counterpart to #7, the British Shorthair. Stockier and rounder than the ASH, these robust cats with water-repellent coats and striking eyes captured the heart of the CFA's founder Harrison Weir. A large and vigorous breed, the British Shorthair also has a calm and quiet nature with few health problems.

Number Nine: Siamese

Arguably the most widely recognized breed in the known universe, the Siamese has enjoyed a long popularity that's showing no sign of waning. This cat's distinctive pointed pattern, trim body, big ears, and gregarious, talkative nature continues to charm cat lovers world wide. Their "painted on" coats are very short and close-lying with no noticeable undercoat. Their favorite grooming tool is your hand, applied gently down their backs. The Siamese had been the most popular shorthair for decades.

Number Ten: Devon Rex

If you're looking for an intelligent and unusual cat to be your constant companion, look no further than the Devon Rex. Known for their wavy hair and ability to learn difficult tricks, these people pleasers are sometimes called "pixie cats" due to their wide eyes and rounded ears. They are a relatively new breed and were discovered in 1960 when a litter of kittens found near a mine shaft developed softly textured fur without the ample guard hair typical of many other breeds. Although similar in appearance, the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex are genetically distinct breeds.

The remaining 32 registered breeds are ranked as follows:

1.         Oriental
2.         Burmese
3.          Birman
4.         Cornish Rex
5.         Devon Rex
6.         Tonkinese
7.         Scottish Fold
8.         Ocicat
9.         Russian Blue
10.         Egyptian Mau
11.         Somali
12.         Manx
13.         Color point shorthair
14.         Selkirk Rex
15.         Chartreux
16.         American Curl
17.         Japanese Bobtail
18.         Turkish Angora
19.         European Burmese
20.         Siberian
21.         Singapura
22.         American Bobtail
23.         Norwegian Forest Cat
24.         Javanese
25.         Turkish Van
26.          Korat
27.         Balinese
28.         Havana Brown
29.         Ragamuffin
30.         Bombay
31.         American Wirehair
32.         LaPerm


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