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18 American Cat Breeds with Pictures!

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

bombay cat sitting on grass outdoor

Considering the fact that about 45.3 million households1 in the United States have at least one pet cat, it’s safe to say that Americans love cats. There are numerous unique cat breeds all over the world, and many iconic and distinguished breeds are American natives.

There are many cats that originate from the US and they all vary in size, shape, and appearance. Let’s get to know some wonderful cats with American roots.

The 18 American Cat Breeds

1. American Bobtail

American Bobtail on green background
Image Credit: OrangeGroup, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 10 inches
Weight: 7 – 16 pounds
Life Expectancy: 13 – 15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, friendly, playful

It’s believed that the American Bobtail came into existence through natural selection in feral cat colonies. Expert breeders eventually started to select cats with the bobtail feature to develop the American Bobtail we know today.

While this cat breed shares the bobtail characteristic of the Bobcat, they’re completely different cats. American Bobtails tend to be very social and enjoy spending time with their humans. They can also be very easy-going and can often live harmoniously with other pets with proper introductions and early socialization.


2. American Curl

American curl cat lying
Image Credit: Scink, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 12 inches
Weight: 5 – 10 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 – 16 pounds
Temperament: Affectionate, cheerful, energetic

The first American Curl appeared in 1981 in California. A pair of stray kittens were dropped off on the doorstep of Joe and Grace Ruga, and they possessed curled ears. One of the cats stayed with the Rugas, and now all American Curls can trace back to this cat as their common ancestor.

This cat breed’s ears are actually a natural and spontaneous genetic mutation. American Curl kittens are born with ears pointing straight up, and the curls develop several days after birth. The degrees of curling change until the kittens reach about 4 months old and their ear cartilages set. The shape of the curl will vary from kitten to kitten, and some may not have any curled back ears at all.


3. American Shorthair

American shorthair cat
Image Credit: Thanakorn Kosalakorn, Shutterstock
Height: 8 – 10 inches
Weight: 10 – 15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 15 – 20 years
Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, strong prey drive

American Shorthairs descended from European cats that arrived in the United States in the early 1600s. They were selectively bred for strong hunting skills and became mousers that protected harvested grain from rats and mice.

Because of their mouser roots, these cats are extremely athletic and love to play. Their strong prey drive doesn’t make them ideal cats for homes with other pets, especially small pets. However, they’re known to be affectionate and very loyal to their humans and would much rather be the only pet in the home that receives all the attention.


4. American Wirehair

american wirehair cat sitting
Image Credit: Fernando Calmon, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 11 inches
Weight: 8 – 12 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10 – 16 years
Temperament: Easy-going, independent, playful

The American Wirehair hails from New York with the first recorded kitten of this breed dating back to 1966. Like the American Bobtail, the American Wirehair’s signature feature is a rare genetic mutation. The wiry and crimped hair runs all throughout the cat’s body, including its ears and face, and some cats also grow wavy whiskers.

American Wirehairs are excellent cats for first-time cat owners because of their easy-going nature. They enjoy playing with their humans and grow strong attachments, but they’re also content playing by themselves and doing their own thing. They’re a great cat breed for people with busy lifestyles to consider because they can be relatively independent.


5. Balinese

balinese cat in grey background
Image Credit: Pasiaflora, Shutterstock
Height: 8 – 11 inches
Weight: 8 – 15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 15 – 20 years
Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, vocal

The Balinese, or Long-Haired Siamese, is a luxurious-looking cat with a long and soft coat. The long hair was a recessive gene of the Siamese cat and wasn’t really appreciated until the early 20th century. The Balinese was finally recognized by the American Cat Fanciers’ Association (ACFA) in 1928 as the Long-Haired Siamese. However, it became its own distinguished breed in the 1950s.

Balinese dancers inspired this cat breed’s name. Although these cats have long silky coats, they may actually be a better option for people with allergies. They do shed a moderate amount, but they produce a lower amount of protein allergens.


6. Bengal

striped tiger bengal cat
Image Credit: Cressida studio, Shutterstock
Height: 8 – 10 inches
Weight: 8 – 15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 9 – 15 years
Temperament: Energetic, high prey drive, loyal

The Bengal is an exotic-looking cat that is a descendant of wild Asian Leopard Cats and domestic cats. It has a distinguished coat pattern with rosette markings that no other cat breed has. The first Bengal appeared through the efforts of the breeder, Jean Mill in 1963.

Bengals are extremely agile and athletic and do well in homes where people can offer a substantial amount of playtime and exercise opportunities. They can be shy towards strangers, but they tend to form a strong bond with one person and can be very vocal and playful with their family members.


7. Bombay

bombay cat sitting on grass outdoor
Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 13 inches
Weight: 8 – 15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 9 – 15 years
Temperament: Intelligent, playful, social

This cat breed was specifically bred to reflect the appearance of the Indian Black Panther. This appearance was accomplished by breeding Burmeses and Black American Shorthairs. Along with having a solid black coat, Bombays adopted the Burmese’s intelligent and social temperament.

Bombays love being around people and tend to follow their humans around from place to place throughout the home. They don’t like to be alone, so they’ll need to be in families where they won’t be left by themselves for too many hours.


8. Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Shorthair Cat sitting by the window
Image Credit: Wutlufaipy, Shutterstock
Height: 10 – 12 inches
Weight: 10 – 12 pounds
Life Expectancy: 8 – 15 years
Temperament: Calm, easy-going, patient

The Exotic Shorthair shares the same appearance as the Persian, but it has a shorter coat. This cat is often loved for its wonderful personality as well as its adorably round face. They’re very affectionate and easygoing, so they tend to do well living with children. Many owners also find good luck in having Exotic Shorthairs live harmoniously with other pets as long as they’ve been properly socialized.

Exotic Shorthairs appeared in the 1950s and are a cross between Persians, American Shorthairs, Russian Blues, and Burmeses. They quickly became beloved and popular pets. The famous cartoon cat, Garfield, was also inspired by this cat breed.


9. Javanese

a javanese cat sitting outdoor
Image Credit: Irondaru, Shutterstock
Height: 8 – 10 inches
Weight: 5 – 10 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, athletic, vocal

The Javanese came into existence through crossbreeding the Balinese and Siamese. Breeders named this new cat breed after Java, the sister island of Bali. Today, the Cat Fanciers Association recognizes the Javanese as a division underneath the Balinese.

Javaneses love to play and tend to be extremely curious. They also like spending time with their humans and can get pretty vocal if they don’t feel they’re receiving enough attention. 


10. LaPerm

Two LaPerm cats lying down
Image Credit: Philippe Sonderegger, Shutterstock
Height: 6 – 10 inches
Weight: 8 – 10 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 years
Temperament: Calm, friendly, people-oriented

LaPerms are a relatively new cat breed as they were developed in the 1980s. They have unique curly coats that come from a mutated gene. Their hair tends to be quite curly around their ears, neck, and stomach, and the rest of their coat is wavy.

LaPerms love being around people and often become affectionate lap cats. While they aren’t extremely vocal, they do love to purr when they feel content and enjoy being petted.


11. Lykoi

lykoi cat sitting outdoor
Image Credit: danilobiancalana, Shutterstock
Height: 8 – 10 inches
Weight: 6 – 12 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
Temperament: Friendly, intelligent, playful

The Lykoi has one of the most distinguished and memorable appearances of cat breeds. This cat breed is often referred to as the werewolf cat because of its wild appearance and wiry coat. Despite their feral look, Lykois are extremely sweet and friendly and usually get along with strangers and other pets.

This cat breed is also fairly new. The first litter of Lykoi kittens appeared in 2011 by breeders, Patti Thomas and Johnny Gobble. The International Cat Association (TICA) registered the Lykoi in 2012 and granted them eligibility for champion competitions in 2017.


12. Maine Coon

maine coon cat lying on the ground
Image Credit: DieGambe, Pixabay
Height: 10 – 16 inches
Weight: 8 – 18 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10 – 13 years
Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, intelligent

The Maine Coon is an American favorite and is one of the most popular cat breeds. It’s widely believed that Maine Coons arrived in New England with early explorers.

These cats are known for their large size and soft and luxurious coats. While they can grow to an intimidating size, they’re extremely friendly and love being an active member of the family. Maine Coons are often gentle and patient with children, and they can also get along with other household pets.


13. Nebelung

nebelung cat
Image Credit: mama_mia, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 13 inches
Weight: 7 – 15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 11 – 18 years
Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, peaceful

Nebelungs are a rare cat breed that appeared in the 1980s. They’re often mistaken as Russian Blues because of their blue-gray coats, but they’re a distinctive breed. They look very graceful with their soft and silky coats, and they usually have stunning green eyes.

Nebelungs are a calmer cat breed, and they prefer living in quieter, peaceful homes. While they’re gentle and tolerant, they may not appreciate living with younger children or in homes that have a lot of disruptions. These cats like to know what to expect and usually thrive when they have a routine.


14. Ocicat

ocicat cat in brown background
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 11 inches
Weight: 6 – 15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 – 18 years
Temperament: Adaptable, brave, social

Ocicats were bred to look like an ocelot, but they don’t have any traces of wild cats in their lineage. They were actually bred by crossbreeding the Abyssinian and Siamese.

Ocicats often get mistaken as Bengals because of their exotic appearance but they don’t share the Bengal’s unique rosette markings. However, similar to Bengals, Ocicats only have a wild appearance. Their personalities are sweet, and they make excellent pets. They’re pretty flexible and can live with people of varying lifestyles as long as their exercise needs are met. These cats are exceptionally agile and athletic and love to climb.


15. Pixie-Bob

Pixie-bob cat portrait
Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 13 inches
Weight: 9 – 17 pounds
Life Expectancy: 13 – 15 years
Temperament: Brave, intelligent, playful

Pixie-Bobs are often mistaken for being a crossbreed of a bobcat and a Domestic Shorthair. However, these cats may only share a small resemblance to a bobcat. They don’t have any traces of bobcats in their DNA.

Pixie-Bobs are extremely intelligent and can even learn a few tricks. They love to play and enjoy being around their family members. They’re also known to learn to walk on harnesses and love going on adventures.


16. Ragdoll

ragdoll cat in a park looking off to the side
Image Credit: Aaron Zimmermann, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 11 inches
Weight: 10 – 20 pounds
Life Expectancy: 13 – 18 years
Temperament: Gentle, loyal, patient

Ragdolls are a large cat breed with a gentle personality. They aren’t very vocal, but they love receiving attention from their humans. It’s important to make sure that they’re getting enough playtime since they aren’t known to be very active. In fact, they tend to go limp when they’re picked up, which is how they got their name.

Ragdolls thrive on human companionship, so they’re definitely not a cat breed that can stay home alone for long hours. They’re extremely loyal and would prefer to always be in the same room as their people.


17. Savannah

savannah cat looking up
Image Credit: kuban_girl, Shutterstock
Height: 14 – 17 inches
Weight: 12 – 25 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 – 20 years
Temperament: Active, curious, shy

Savannahs are a large cat breed that was developed through crossbreeding an African serval cat and a Siamese. The Savannahs we know today tend to be very intelligent and playful. They aren’t very social and are shy around strangers. They usually form strong bonds with one or two people and become very attached and will follow their favorite humans all over the house.

Savannahs are extremely athletic and aren’t known to be lap cats. They have high exercise needs and love to climb. So, it’s important for houses with these cats to be well-stocked with plenty of toys and fun cat trees.


18. Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex
Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay
Height: 9 – 11 inches
Weight: 6 – 16 pounds
Life Expectancy: 15 – 20 years
Temperament: Curious, friendly, intelligent

Selkirk Rexes are a relatively new cat breed that appeared in the 1980s. They’re known for their thick and wavy coats that often get compared to sheep’s wool.

While they can be calm and mild-mannered, these cats are very smart and will get bored easily. So, they’ll need plenty of ways to play and keep themselves entertained. They also tend to be pretty social and love receiving attention. They will do well in homes where they aren’t frequently left by themselves.

Conclusion

Many fun and interesting cat breeds originate from the US. They all have unique features and temperaments and can live with people of all kinds of lifestyles. So, if you’re thinking of bringing home a pet cat, make sure to get to know the breed. As you do, you’ll be sure to find one that shares your preferences and will become your new best friend.


Featured Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

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