What are the traits of the most common breeds of cats?

Persian, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Sphynx

If asked, most people would be able to name half a dozen dog breeds on the spot. In today’s world, different types of dogs are regularly discussed. Cat breeds, on the other hand, are not common knowledge. Part of the reason for this is likely that the most popular kind of cat is actually a blend of various breeds – the domestic shorthair. Unless you are a feline enthusiast, you might be unaware of the specifics of other kinds. If you’re interested in bringing home a particular type of cat, or simply want to expand your kitty knowledge, here are some of the most common cats and their dominant characteristics.

The Domestic Shorthair

Although not technically a breed of its own, the aforementioned “domestic shorthair” definitely deserves to be on any list of the most common cats. Due to their overpopulation, these are the animals you will most often see when visiting a shelter. Since they have such mixed heritage, their colors and other characteristics may vary widely. True to their name, they all have a short coat that requires minimal grooming. Spry hunters, their build is generally medium and muscular. Just like with “mutt” dogs, they often avoid the specific health perils that purebred cats are periodically prone to suffering. Having a wide genetic pool makes them less vulnerable to breed-specific weaknesses. While they may not be the flashiest of felines, these cats should not be overlooked. Across the board, these cats tend to have an easy-going personality, making them ideal for active and diverse family homes.

The Persian

In stark contrast with the modest appeal of the domestic shorthair, there is the elegant, sweet Persian. If you find grooming to be a tedious task, steer clear of this cat’s flowing coat. It requires daily maintenance from a dedicated owner, or else it will quickly mat up. Many Persian owners also bathe their cat, which can help reduce the plentiful shedding. They can be susceptible to excessive tearing, so regularly wiping under their eyes is also a good idea. While coloring can vary, all Persians have a recognizable snub nose, round face, and wide-set ears. That smushed-in nose can sometimes lead to breathing issues, and that thick coat can cause overheating. Since Persians are considered to be docile cats, they will often sit willingly for all of this maintenance, especially if you begin the routine while they are young. Though they require more diligent care than the average cat, they make up for these demands with their gentle nature and beauty.

The Maine Coon

Another breed of cat known for having a big heart is the Maine Coon. In fact, they are known for being big in general, sometimes weighing in at up to 20 pounds or more. Interestingly, these cats often do not reach full maturity until they are four or five-years-old. They have a lovely, long coat, but unlike the Persian, require only a once-a-week grooming. These clever and curious cats love to follow you around. Generally speaking, Maine Coons tend to get along better with dogs and children than other kinds of cats. Possibly due to their large size, these cats are predisposed to hip dysplasia issues. They are also prone to heart problems and spinal muscular atrophy, but responsible breeders do their best to weed out these genetic problems. If you’re looking for an amiable cat who is also not too needy, the Maine Coon might just be your guy (or gal).

The Siamese

For those who have a flair for style, the Siamese is undeniably one of the most charming looking cats out there. If the delicate dark spots on top of the creamy base coat don’t reel you in, those vibrantly blue eyes will. Their short coats are low-maintenance, requiring just a quick brush once a week. Their pointed and angular head can make them susceptible to respiratory and dental issues. Far from being “lap cats,” they love to be in the middle of wherever the action is. Playful and chatty, this cat will always let you know how he’s feeling. If having a quiet home is important to you, you’d best look for another kind of cat. Like the Maine Coon, the Siamese tends to do well with children and other pets. Thanks to the intelligent and active nature of the Siamese, they catch on quickly when being taught new tricks. Athletic and loyal, it’s no surprise that these are one of the most popular breeds of cats around.

The Ragdoll

Adorable and cuddly, the Ragdoll is another larger breed, weighing in at 10-20 pounds. They come in six different colors: chocolate, lilac, cream, red, blue, and seal. True “lap cats,” Ragdolls love to be wherever you are. They have a tendency to go limp and relaxed when picked up – thus the name. Sporting baby blue eyes, these cats are disposed to a serene, sensitive nature. Since they have no undercoat, they require minimal grooming. As far as health concerns go, they are more prone to bladder stones and heart disease than some other breeds. Thanks to their inherently sociable nature, they often make excellent family pets. Many Ragdoll owners have even had success teaching their cats to walk on a leash.

The Sphynx

The unique appearance of the hairless Sphynx is one people tend to either love or hate. Sure, cats with hair are the norm, but have you ever touched the warm, soft skin of a Sphynx? If not, you are missing out on a captivating cuddling experience. If you’re looking for a cat who is more of a roommate than a best friend, look elsewhere. This cat is known for his neediness and desire to play with his human friends. While the lack of hair might make this seem like the most low-maintenance cat you could find, in reality, the Sphynx needs to be bathed weekly. This is primarily due to the fact that they have no hair to absorb their naturally produced oils. Some cats never quite get on board with being bathed, in which case wet wipes can be used in between less frequent washes. They also need to be moisturized with an appropriate lotion or oil. Unsurprisingly, these cats are sensitive to the outdoor elements. Some sunscreen or a sweater, depending on the weather, can make the Sphynx more comfortable in supervised outside time. So if potbellied and bald cats that somehow manage to pull off being adorable are your thing, a Sphynx may be perfect for you.

Many Cat Breeds to Discover

There are so many different, well-loved cat breeds that it’s hard to scratch the surface in just one article. While every cat is an individual, choosing a specific breed will undeniably give you a better idea of the prominent characteristics to expect. Whether you are looking to bring a certain new kitty home, or simply enjoy learning about the unique kinds of felines out there, it’s worth exploring all of them.

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