Here’s the current list of 10 most popular cat breeds in the United States. Has your darling Chloe or Mr Boomer puss made the cut as top punks in this annual, heavily-contested catfight?
BY NABANITA DUTT
It’s a bit of a catfight out there, with 41 pedigree breeds in USA maneuvering for a Top 10 slot in the popularity charts every year. And with 74-96 million pet cats having adopted over 35 per cent of American households, the competition, needless to say, is pretty fierce. The latest Top 10 cat list, however, is an epochal one with the Persian Cat finally being ousted from its No. 1 slot, after having won the majority of American hearts for 31 straight years.
So which breed quietly slunk ahead of the Persian puss in the race to become America’s Next Top Cat? Find out…
SCOTTISH FOLD CAT
Scottish Folds were fore-mothered in the 1960s by Susie, a Scottish barn kitty who was interbred with other cat varieties to produce a signature pair of folded, nubby ears. Every Scottish Fold padding around the world today can trace its ancestry back to the original Susie. Large, bright, boot-button eyes are another attractive Scottish Fold feature and they have an endearing way of sitting upright in what is known as the “Buddha sit pose”, much like a prairie dog.
PERSONALITY: Inquisitive, intelligent creatures. Scottish Folds love human company and tend to be loyal, one-master cats. They get along well with children.
Kitty counterpart of the Chinese Crested breed of bald dogs. Suffices to say that the Sphynx Cat, with its wrinkly, hairless body is a very, very acquired taste. The absence of fur is a genetic anomaly that some hate and others love. The Sphynx Cat originated in Canada in the 1960s.
PERSONALITY: Extremely social and as rambunctious as any dog in a loving home environment. The need to keep their bald little bodies warm perhaps has something to do with their affectionate desire to stay close to humans. Not an outdoor cat on account of its exposed, hairless skin. Loves to be held, and will be thrilled if you let him/her sleep with you at night.
AMERICAN SHORTHAIR CAT
Despite its name, this shorthair breed isn’t native to America. European in origin, they arrived on American soil along with the first settlers, having paid for their passage across the Atlantic by hunting mice aboard the Mayflower. Like many immigrant communities, however, the industrious American Shorthair thrived in the land of opportunities, carving a niche out for itself as United States’ most prized `working’ cat. Originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, the breed was renamed in 1966 to better represent its all-American identity.
PERSONALITY: Low maintenance, with a sweet, mellow disposition. Hardy and healthy, with a life span of 15+ years.
The matriarch of this breed was Josephine, a domestic longhair cat, whose unusual litter was developed by American breeder Ann Baker in the 1960s and given the trademarked name: Ragdoll. Extremely soft and cuddly, these cats become limp and pliable as soon as they are picked up – much the like the homemade, stuffed play dolls they are named after.
PERSONALITY: Bred for a lap existence, Ragdolls are placid and laidback in nature. The limpness of their bodies and the lack of aggression in their temperament make Rags more suitable for the parlor than the great outdoors. They’re not big on climbing, they’re not so curious about the yard, and they generally like to stay close to the ground.
Persian Cats – along with Persian Carpets – are perhaps the two most ubiquitous exports from modern-day Iran that epitomize glamour and timeless luxury in an image-driven world. For 31 years, the Persian Cat has ruled as America’s favorite breed, until it was finally toppled in 2014 by Exotic Shorthairs, and now comes in second place. Persians are prized for their thick pile of soft fur that sometimes grows so profusely, it’s hard to find the animal inside…
PERSONALITY: The typical, flat Persian puss face wears a snooty, holier-than-thou expression that contrasts with its loyal, loving heart. They prefer to spend their time indoors, and are suitable for quiet, peaceful households.
One of the oldest breeds of domestic cats, the Siamese has cuddled many royal laps in the palaces of Thailand before commanding a devoted fan-following among cat-lovers from all over the world. `Ballet dancers’ of the feline race with elastic, supple bodies, the Siamese performs a neat pirouette and has a unique `singing’ voice too.
PERSONALITY: Siamese cats love to play and enjoy all the rattling, dangling new teaser toys they can get their paws on. Keep them in good exercise or they may display neurotic traits out of sheer boredom. Scratching posts are essential, if you want to keep your rugs and furniture legs intact.
With no prominent stripes or spots, this `ticked’ tabby may initially disguise its tabbyness – until you look closely at the facial markings and color-banded, agouti body hair. Ennobled by legend as descendents of ancient Egyptian cats, the Abyssinian certainly carries itself with a supine, almost Cleopatra-esque grace, its fur shimmering with a peculiar iridescence.
PERSONALITY: Abys, as they are affectionately called, are born explorers. Everything – from an interesting tabletop to an ordinary paper bag – is inspected with the thoroughness of Sherlock Holmes and there’s hardly a secret in the house that your pet Abyssinian is not already aware of.
BRITISH SHORTHAIR CAT
Born celebrities with oodles of acting talent, the British Shorthair is a hot favorite in the movie, TV and ad world. (Recall the silver tabby from the Whiskas ad…or Arlene in Garfield: The Movie…or Toby in Desperate Housewives…) And like any star worth his/her signing amount, the chubby-cheeked British Shorthair wears its fur with élan – thick and plush, the breed is famous for this delightful teddy bear attribute.
PERSONALITY: The British Shorthair’s starry appearance is matched with a starry attitude as well. Often, they like to remain aloof from hoi polloi, preferring to keep a lazy eye on domestic proceedings from the vantage point of a high perch.
MAINE COON CAT
Native American longhaired Coon Cats proudly represent the state of Maine, and are valued by locals for their clever mouse-catching talents. Sturdy in build and rugged in appearance, the Maine Coon wears a scruffy, shaggy coat set off by a beautiful, bushy tail that keeps them warm during harsh Northeast winters. From humble beginnings as a common barn cat, the Coon has risen in status to become a pedigreed Cat Fanciers’ Association finalist, in an unlikely rags-to-riches story.
PERSONALITY: Maine Coons have a soft, sweet temperament that belies their XL body proportions. (Full-grown males can weigh in at 30 lbs.) Known as “gentle giants”, they display a loving, dog-like personality and are pretty easy to train.
EXOTIC SHORTHAIR CAT
A cross between American Shorthair and Persian, the Exotic Shorthair Cat exhibits every sign of high pedigree, except that its coat is short, thick and dense. Not requiring constant grooming, the Exotic is fully capable of keeping its own appearance in good order. Because of this low-maintenance attribute, the breed is also called the “Lazy Man’s Persian.”
PERSONALITY: Regular out-crossing with Persians have endowed the Exotic with all the sweet character traits of a Persian. Quiet and gentle with a vocabulary of soft sounds, Exotic cats makes excellent playmates for dogs and children. They easily attach themselves to humans and can display signs of separation anxiety when left alone.