Top Ten Domestic Cat Breeds

Of the top 10 best domestic cat breeds, the Himalayan and the domestic cat-opposite ends of the spectrum-are unquestionably the best pets.

Characteristics of Cats
While there are about 71 different breeds, fewer than 40 are true house cats. Of that number, about half are longhaired and half are shorthaired. Some shed worse than others do. Some, like the hairless Sphynx, don't shed at all but require daily moisturizer.

Cats make excellent company for the right owner. It is said that cats choose their owners, not the other way around. And often, when a cat is unhappy, it will wander off to another house where things are more to its liking. At the same time, cats seem to know when they've found a friendly face, and alley cats often end up curled in a ball on the lap of the master they choose. Cats seem to know who will take them in and who won't, and they have an uncanny ability to find the correct house and master when looking for a home.

Top Ten Best House Cats

  1. Alley Cat: This cat is a domestic short hair (DSH), not to be confused with the American Shorthair, though the only real difference is that the American Shorthair will consistently give birth to kittens with all of the same qualities. An alley cat cannot do the same. Each litter an alley cat delivers will generally be different.
    The alley cat often exhibits some throwback qualities, including long hair or additional toes, such as polydactyl cats or mittened cats, also known as Hemingway cats. Though extra toes on each paw have long been known as a byproduct of inbreeding, many people seek this cat for its uniqueness. In fact, at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, approximately 60 polydactyl cats, descendants from Hemingway's original ship cats, still carry on the extra-toed tradition. Alley cats appear to have the best temperaments, are long-lived and come in an array of beautiful colors. However, this cat prefers to be an indoor/outdoor cat. The problem with letting your cat roam is that it can be injured or pick up illnesses from other outdoor cats. Once you get a cat, it is best to keep it indoors.
  2. Himalayan or Persian: Longhaired and good-natured, this cat makes a perfect lap cat. The breed offers several colors, including everything from solid red to cats with multicolored points. This cat is an indoor only cat, and its long hair requires brushing on a regular basis. Mats will occur from time to time and require a visit to the vet. While there may be some maintenance involved, the Himalayan generally is a sweet cat with few issues.
  3. Maine Coon: Longhaired and good-natured, this native of Maine is one of the oldest natural cat breeds of North America. While there is no proof, legend claims the cat bred with a raccoon, hence the markings. This cat is built for outdoors and cold climates. Extra-thick fur and a long, bushy tail help protect it against the elements. Maine Coons reach their mature size by around five years of age, but-especially males-tend to retain kitten qualities throughout their lifetime. Occasionally, a polydactyl will appear in a litter, as was common in the beginning, but breeders have done a good job of eliminating this benign inbreeding deformity.
  4. Exotic: This breed includes several favorites, such as the Bengal, a leopard-spotted cat that looks just like the wild cat it's named after. Because its hind legs are longer than its front legs, this cat has a graceful stride that is also reminiscent of a wild Bengal Tiger.
    The Savannah is another exotic breed that is sought after. This breed has been around for about 10 years; it is a cross between an African Serval and a domestic cat. Tall and lanky, with solid, dark spots over a tawny basecoat, these cats look wild and some still act the part. However, as the cats are further domesticated, the breed as a whole is expected to become more docile.
  5. Siamese: Shorthaired cats with dark points (similar to the Himalayan) were transported in from Thailand in the 1800s. With deep-blue, almond-shaped eyes and clean, sleek lines, this cat is known for its grace and elegance. The Siamese cat, however, has changed over the years. Today's Siamese, the Modern Siamese, is a mere shadow of its former self, the Traditional Siamese, which was a well-rounded cat with beautiful blue eyes and a disposition to match.
  6. Ragdoll: This breed is semi-longhaired and adorable. This laid-back cat has captured the hearts of many across the globe because of its affectionate nature. Less finicky than your usual cat, Ragdolls enjoy and seek out human company, whereas many cats will not. This cat is well-behaved and does not shed much.
  7. Abyssinian: A shorthaired cat that resembles the Egyptian cats of old. No one is quite sure where the Abyssinian breed came from. With its arched neck, almond-shaped eyes and muscular body, the Abyssinian is as graceful as it is beautiful. Its large ears, dark upper body markings and lighter underbody markings make this cat strikingly handsome.
  8. Sphynx: This breed is hairless. These cats may have eyebrows and ear hair and some peach fuzz on their body. The Sphynx is intelligent, curious and generally very active. Because they do not have hair or fur, they tend to be great cuddlers.
  9. Oriental: A shorthair with wide, large ears and a whippy tail. The Oriental is usually devoted to its owner, staying close by throughout the day. As long as this cat gets the attention it requires, it will be playful and spirited throughout its lifetime.
  10. Birman: This longhaired breed originated in Burma. Markings are similar to that of a Siamese or Himalayan, except that this cat's fur is silkier and doesn't mat like a Persian. Strikingly, the cat's front toes are pure white. With rounded eyes the color of a beautiful blue sky, this cat has very expressive face, framed within a dark mask. Considered sacred in its homeland, the Birman is playful and inquisitive, but with a knack for understanding when it's playtime and when its master is busy.
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