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15 American Cat Breeds: An Overview

Cats have been in the United States since its early roots with the first true American cat breeds arriving with the pilgrims. And since then, the United States has produced some of the most intriguing breeds around.

Let’s take a quick look at 15 different American cat breeds and their characteristics.cat face divider 2

1. American Shorthair

American Shorthair
Image credit: karikdickinson, Pixabay

The American Shorthair has one of the most unique color patterns out of any cat in the world. They’re often a gray or silver color with black markings and patterns striped across their bodies. These cats are directly descended from the cats that came over to the United States with the Mayflower colonists who landed at Plymouth Rock. American Shorthairs are exceptionally skilled hunters lending to their patience and tolerance exhibited towards children or other pets.

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2. American Curl

American Curl
Image Credit: Casey Elise Christopher, Shutterstock

The American Curl is one of the youngest cat breeds with their lineage dating back only to the 1980s. They get their name from their distinctly backward curled ears—the result of a spontaneous gene mutation. They’re a very playful breed and be sure to keep you busy as a proud parent.

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3. Exotic Shorthair

Brown Exotic shorthair cat
Image credit: Mos Kosalakorn, Shutterstock

The squished face and look of a Persian are desirable traits among cat lovers. However, their long high-maintenance coat isn’t. The solution to that issue comes in the form of the Exotic Shorthair. These cats were first created by crossbreeding the American Shorthair with the Persian. They often carry the loving temperament of the Persian as well compared to the more independent American Shorthair.

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4. American Wirehair

American wirehair
Image Credit: Boyloso, Shutterstock

This breed is very closely related to the American Shorthair. They have a very similarly marked coat that is much lighter in both color and body. Instead of a thick smooth coat, the American Wirehair has a coarse, wiry coat and whiskers. This is believed to be from a genetic mutation. Also, the breed has a very different facial structure than the American Shorthair, having much higher cheekbones and a flatter nose.

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5. Ragdoll

Ragdoll cat
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These lovers are straight out of California. Bred in the 1960s, these cats are known for their extremely affectionate and friendly temperaments. They actually get their name from their behavior. While most cats are very picky about being carried, the Ragdoll seems to just go limp in anybody’s arms. But it wasn’t until 1993 that they were recognized by the CFA.

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6. Maine Coon

ginger Maine coon cat
Image Credit: Meriluxa, Shutterstock

Despite their size, the Maine Coons have been dubbed “the gentle giants of the cat world”. They are the longest domesticated cat breed in the world with one even holding the world record at 48.5 inches long! Although they’re relatively enormous, Maine Coons are a low-maintenance breed and just love human interaction.

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7. Bombay

bombay cat in the grass
Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

When a black cat crosses your path, there’s a good chance it could be a Bombay. This breed was originally developed in Kentucky back in the 1970s in order to resemble a small black panther. However, the breeders must have lost its ferocity somewhere along the way because they’re as affectionate and loving as they come. There’s nothing they love more than to be curled up in your lap taking a little snooze.

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8. Balinese

Portrait of a balinese cat
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Often confused with the Siamese cat, the Balinese is a beautiful breed in its own right. What sets this breed apart is its long, flowing coat. The Balinese originally came to be as long-haired genetic mutations of the Siamese. But they’ve grown into their very own breed classification over the years. But why Balinese if this is a distinctly American cat? That’s because their long, graceful bodies garnered comparisons to Balinese temple dancers.

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9. Javanese

Javanese cats from Yogyakarta_zeedane ferdian_shutterstock
Credit: zeedane ferdian, Shutterstock

The Javanese is another long-haired variety of Siamese cats. You can easily see their wedge-shaped heads and are susceptible to cross-eyed appearances. Like their Siamese and Balinese cousins, the Javanese is a very opinionated cat, unshy to give their opinion on any given matter. They’re also super loving and affectionate with no qualms about getting your attention when they so desire. They’re called Javanese cats due to being “sister cats” to the Balinese. And since Java is the sister island to Bali, so the name came to be.

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10. Bengal

brown spotted bengal cat
Image credit: Cressida Studio, Shutterstock

These sleek, exotic-looking cats are much more related to their wild ancestors than other domesticated breeds. That’s because they were first bred in the 1970s by successfully crossing an African Leopard Cat with a domesticated cat. The domesticated cat breed was in itself a cross between the American Shorthair, Egyptian Mau, and Abyssinian. And while they retain the wild markings of a leopard, they’re sweet as any housecat you’d find.

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11. LaPerm

LaPerm tri-colored cat
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

These mischievous little hooligans have some of the biggest personalities in the cat world. They’ve got a clownish sense of humor, and they’re always finding new ways to adorably get into trouble. LaPerms have a unique curly-coat due to a spontaneous genetic mutation. The first LaPerm was recognized in Oregon in the early 1980s.

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12. Selkirk Rex

14Selkirk Rex
Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay

The Selkirk Rex is another curly-haired cat breed that was first born out of genetic mutation. And their curly coats aren’t just dedicated to one length either. They can have both short and long hair. It’s also entirely possible that the Selkirk Rex doesn’t have a curly coat at all. However, that’s what they’re most known for.

This breed is currently a work in progress to becoming bred exclusively from same breed parents. Breeders predict that by 2025 that Selkirk Rex cats will all share a common lineage. Until then, the developing breed still requires the help of British Shorthair, Exotic Shorthair, and Persian crosses.

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13. American Bobtail

red american bobtail cat
Red American Bobtail | Image credit: Ievgeniia Miroshnichenko, Shutterstock

The American Bobtail gains its name from its very unique tail. Instead of a long, slender tail, this breed sports a much shorter tail that appears to have shortened or docked. However, this is not due to surgery or body alteration. There is no specific breed standard when it comes to their tails either. They can be straight, curved, or even kinked.

But it just isn’t the tail that this breed is known for. They make excellent family pets with their lovable, patient temperaments. And they are quite robust as well. American Bobtails suffer from fewer inherited diseases than most other breeds and don’t experience many common health problems.

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14. Pixie-Bob

Pixie Bob
Image Credit: DaveFrancis, Pixabay

The Pixie-Bob is another bobbed tail variety with a wilder look. They bear a striking resemblance to wild bobcats particularly in facial structure, body shape, gait, and color pattern. Many believe that the Pixie-Bob actually came to be by the crossbreeding of a domesticated cat and a wild bobcat.

However, in 1995, the breed was officially registered by the International Cat Association as a new breed native to the United States.

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15. Lykoi

Lykoi cat
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Don’t be alarmed by the spooky appearance of this breed! This “werewolf cat” originated in Vonore, Tennessee, and can be off-putting due to its sparse, rough coat and round copper eyes. But don’t let it fool you. It’s an extremely loving, playful breed that makes for an excellent house pet. This one-of-a-kind look is formed through a very recent genetic mutation in domesticated cat breeds. First noticed in 2010, the Lykoi is now a Championship breed with The International Cat Association.

Although the Lykoi is the newest cat breed to come out of the United States, we highly doubt it’ll be the last. Domesticated cats are just as American as apple pie, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

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Featured Image Credit: InnovativeImages, Shutterstock