If you have a cat or two, and adore cats like so many do, then you probably have wondered once or twice about the different types of cats and why there are so many unique cat breeds.
Every cat is unique but the cat’s special traits and abilities are actually linked to a certain type of DNA which is present in cats.
But how many cat breeds are there in the world?
Let’s find out…
The History of Breeding Cats
When trying to answer the question of “how many cat breeds are there”?, we should first briefly look at the history and real reasons why there are so many types of cats around.
According to National Geographic, cats and felines started to be around us humans and our settlements around eight thousand years ago which is fascinating to think about.
The cats fed on pesky rodents that were causing troubles to people, eating their grains and ruining our food so having cats around must have been really helpful during those times.
It was only though in the nineteenth century when people truly began domesticating cats, and looking to achieve specific demeanor or appearances with their felines.
There are actually quite a few cats that look like, and have a resemblance to their ancestors from the Middle East deserts such as the Egyptian Mau cat breed.
Maine Coon cats tend to look like their ancestors from North America, and the genetic change in cats coming from the original wild cats is actually very little and minimal considering.
This is a stark contrast to dogs as cats are different from them in this manner, and their genetic variation over the many years is not so much.
The reasons why the cats variations are so subtle is that cat breeding was not as intense as it has been with dogs throughout history, and cats were not bred for herding or hunting purposes like dogs had been.
How Many Types of Cats Are There in the World?
When you are looking for information about the many types of cats and cat breeds, the source of this information tends to vary quite a bit and you may even find different answers to this question.
The international Cat Registries, as well as some other organizations give out different qualifications that determine the cat breeds they accept and what they consider to “count as real cats” on their lists.
Cat breeds in the world which are recognized are way fewer than the types of dogs we can look up.
In the Encyclopedia Britannica there are only fifteen different cat breeds listed there.
But at the same time the globe’s largest genetic registry of pedigree cats, the International Cat Association has seventy one different types of cats listed.
There are also other groups and organizations which give numbers that fall between fifteen and seventy one cat species and breeds as well.
There is the Federation Internationale Feline which recognizes 48 different cat breeds and types of cats and this particular organization uses four categories to group cats into.
It is a well respected organization which is spread to forty countries
On the other hand there is also the Cat Fanciers, which are the biggest cat registration body in America, and the CFA says there are 44 types of cats in the world.
They gave out that number in 2018 and as you can see there is some difference depending on your sources and who you ask.
Why is There Such a Difference Regarding this number?
You are very likely wondering and asking yourself why the numbers provided by all these well respected organizations differ so much.
Do people just like arguing about cats so much?
There are a few valid reasons for this actually and the main reason is the overall classification.
There are registers that don’t qualify and list non-pedigreed cats, whose breeds and line cannot be traced back to a certain number of generations and such.
There are also some organizations which classify many types of cats under one single classification while others separate them into different categories.
Because of this, it is difficult to put down a certain number on the cat breeds which are around and exactly how many there are. It depends on what source you decide to acknowledge.
The Different Types of Cats
The American Bobtail
Did you know that a genetic mutation is the thing that let to the creation of this particular cat?
The breed’s appearance was spontaneous and the cat’s appearance happened without any human interference.
These cats are not cross-bred and they have no relation to the Japanese Bobtail which is another species.
To grant this cat breed pedigree, humans pick cats with similar characteristics to each other, a short tail which defines this breeds features.
The American Bobtail may have some resemblance to a wild feline but the similarity is only in it’s appearance.
This cat is completely domestic.
The Abyssinian Cat
This cat is also known as the Bunny Cat which is a cute nickname. There are some people who like to compare this cat breed to the ancient Felis Lybica.
The Felis Lybica is an old ancestor of the modern domesticated cat which we love so much.
People claim this because of the Abyssinian’s large ears, eyes, the almond shape of their eyes, and the fact that their fur’s color could have been an inspiration behind many ancient Egyptian artworks and architectures.
The genetic code of these cats does show that they have South-East Asian ancestors, but no matter who the cat’s ancestors are we can all agree on the one thing that Abyssinian cat’s are simply magnificent and beautiful.
Abyssinian cat’s have a glorious regal appearance and a unique fur color which matches perfectly with their energetic and lovable personality.
The Asian Cat Breed
The background details and information on this specific cat is:
- It has an average lifespan of around 15 years
- Female cats weigh around 3 kilos, while male cats weigh around 4 kilos
- It has a lively personality and is quick witted and adoring
These cats are known to be friendly and adoring, generally having a good relationship with other cats. These types of cats could benefit from having some company if they have to spend a lot of times indoors or alone.
The cat’s color depends on the family which they come from and belong to.
Asian Cats with silver colored or cream fur are Burmillas, but Tiffanies are medium in length, have fine coats and their tails are delicate and fluffy.
If an Asian cat has a mackarel pattern or is spotted then it is a Tabbie.
On the other hand, Smoke cats have a silvery white/grey undercoat and a contrasting topcoat and this can help you identify your cat better.
Smoke cats are actually a cross between Burmese cats and the Burmilla breed.
The Balinese Cat
The Balinese cat has been compared to a calmer version of a Siamese Cat due to their calming attitudes and lovely semi-long haired fur.
The Balinese cat breed is known to be exceptionally graceful in it’s movements and majestic to look at.
These cats are intelligent and have lively personalities, and they often focus intently on whatever they are doing.
They have been called absent minded at times but they are very clever despite that just like some humans tend to be in this same way.
They day dream at times just like you probably do, and many people love this unique personality trait with their feline friends and can relate more to them because of this.
Balinese cat’s have incredibly beautiful white fur and almost piercing blue eyes which seem intense and dream like.
This particular cat breed can be mischievous at times but they have an adorable and innocent face which makes up for their mischief-making ways completely. They are just adorable.
Also read: what are Maine Coon cats?
The Bengal Cat Breed
These types of cats tend to:
- Live around 10-15 years
- Have a smart, friendly and energetic attitude
- Become more playful with age often
- Male cats weigh around 6-9 kilos, while female Bengal cats weigh around 4.5 – 5.4 kilos
- They come in different colors, such as having brown spotted coats, snow spotting patterns and even brown marble colored furs as well.
Bengal cats are not your stereotypical cats, for they love water and are mostly drawn to it. Therefore, if you have a Bengal cat it is very important that you take extra precautions such as always closing your toilet.
Keeping the toilet closed will keep your Bengal cat more safe, as it cat become tempted to go for a swim in your toilet or taste it even.
And toilet water is not exactly the safest liquid for your cat to be playing around in. So keep this in mind.
If you are fortunate enough to have a fun Bengal cat in your life, you may also have noticed it sometimes trying to follow you into the shower or playing with the tap water as well.
These cats just love water and playing with it.
If you happen to be a fan of the Jungle book, and “Bagheera” from that adventure then you may enjoy getting a Bombay cat.
Bombay cats look like really small black panthers with a purely pitch black fur.
You won’t be able to see any white hairs on these cute cats. Bombay cats have intense bright yellow eyes which makes them hard to ignore and they rarely go unnoticed.
They live generally between 12-15 years on average and these cats have an endearing attitude to them.
The size of a female fully grown Bombay cat is around 12 inches, while males are also the same size as the female cats.
It takes around one year for Bombay cats to reach their adult size, which is pretty cool to know about.
The Females weight between 7 – 11 pounds just like the male cats. Their coat has a solid texture to it, always pure black.
If you are into the goth subculture, this is the right cat for you.
Bombay cats have short hair length on their fur and look very beautiful.
Although these cats are loving, they are mostly scared of strangers and distrustful of new people coming into their home.
However, with time and gentle behavior their curiosity will kick in, and it is only then when they can feel secure enough to approach visitors.
Bombay cats have different personalities and they can either be friendly or choose to stay solo depending on their current mood.
Do not try to force a Bombay cat to be on your lap or cuddle you, when they are ready they will come to you. Try to carefully earn their trust and respect.
Also read about how long cats live.
The California Spangled Cat
The California Spangled get their unique and peculiar name after their home.
They live between 15 and 20 years and their personality is witty, playful and loving. They have a short length coat and when they are around 18 months old they reach their adult size. (1.)
The fully grown female California Spangled Cat is 12 -14 inches long while the male cat is the same size.
The male cats also weight the same as the female ones, around 7 – 11 pounds each.
These types of cats come in different colors such as pale violet, chocolate, red and black even.
There are some California cats whose coats can be either blue, light brown or light yellow as well.
They have striped, spotted silver or spotted Tabby coat patterns on their fur and their eyes can appear in various different shades such as golden yellow or bright blue.
They have relatively large eyes but their eyes are short and the ends of them rounded. Their eyes are high on their heads and slightly turned backwards just a bit.
California Spangled cats are pretty large and have long legs as well, their paws being round and big with protruding toes.
The tail is moderately average in size and is uniform from the base to the tip. Petting these lovely cats is amazing, because they have such a smooth textured soft fur.
The origins of the Ceylon cats is the island of Ceylon, which explains their name and where it is drawn from.
Today, Ceylon is a part of Sri Lanka and these types of cats are actually extremely rare.
Ceylon cats first reached Europe in the year of 1984 in Italy and today there are a very few of these cats alive in Italy and France sadly.
They have a life expectancy of around 14 to 16 years and the female Ceylon cat measures between 10 and 12 inches, while their male counterparts are 12 – 14 inches.
These cats reach adulthood when they are one years old and have a very playful personality.
Males are 9 – 13 pounds in weight and the females tend to be 7 – 11 pounds, which is not too heavy.
Ceylon cats have a standard color, which is the most common one in the cat breed and it is a ashy grey color which is pleasing to the eye.
There are also those fur is more black or blue hued instead, and these cats have thick fur on them.
Their foreheads have distinct tabby patterns most of the time.
A Ceylon cat can have yellow or green colored eyes, and they have a muscular frame to them but are still rather slim cats. Their front legs are shorter than their back legs and this is also one way of telling them apart.
The Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex’s body is slender and long, resembling that of a greyhound in some ways. The texture of these cat’s hairs combined with their curled whiskers make them unique and cute looking.
They live around 12 to 15 years on average and their personality is intelligent, jolly and adoring.
Male cats of this breed measure roughly 12 inches while the female cat is around 11 – 12 inches so they tend to be around the same size almost. (2.)
The weight of a male cat ranges between 9 – 11 pounds while the female cat is around 7 and 9 pounds in comparison.
Cornish Rex cat’s have many colors varying between cream, pale violet, white, black or a warmer brown hue.
The pattern on their furs can be bi color, tabby, or stable and the length of their hairs is short.
They sport blue, green or even yellow eyes with orange tones and their eyes can be fiery and fierce at times while still being charming.
It is an average sized feline with long legs and a slender skeleton.
They have strong and powerful muscles though so they are not as frail as you would think, and by no means fragile.
Their fur is very soft and enjoyable to pet and stroke gently.
The Chinchilla Persian breed is named similar to Chinchillas due to their distinctive fur. The Chinchilla is one of the most popular Persian varieties and for a good reason.
They have a life expectancy of around 12 – 18 years and are known to be incredibly clever and calm.
Both the male and females are the same size or between 9 and 10 inches.
It takes for them to reach the age of eighteen to 24 months to become considered adults.
This cat breed’s coat is incredibly light base and the hair length which is colored is one-eight of the total hair length. The hair starting from the muzzle reaching the lower tail, spreading to the belly and chest is completely white.
Their fur is long and smooth, and their undercoat is thick and soft as well.
These types of cats are similar to the Persian when it comes to physical attributes.
There is a noticeable difference though of course.
The Chinchilla Persian cats are not as big and their noses are not as flat. They have more narrow heads and also have longer ears on their head.
They are an average sized cat species and their legs are a bit short. They have smaller tufted ears and round heads.
They are known to adore and love their human “owners” intensely and strongly but also need time alone and can be lazy at times.
These ones have a quite unusual appearance to them and many people are even taken aback by it’s look and at first glance.
There is however, a lot more to this cat breed than it’s unusual physique. (3.)
They are very caring and full of love and they deserve a shot at love just as much as any other kitten.
Here are their unique characteristics:
- Their life expectancy ranges between 12 and 15 years
- Both the male and female are around 10 and 12 inches in length
- They reach adulthood when they are 9 – 12 months of age
- A female weights around 4 – 7 pounds, while a male averages at around 9 – 11 pounds
- Their fur is nude colored, but the ears and nose are lighter
There is a certain reason why these types of cats loose hair, but Donskoy cat’s have a certain gene which causes this.
There are actually 4 different types of “nudity” present in cats:
Flock nudity makes a cat appear to be almost naked at first glance. You may even want to dress these naked cats up in little clothes when you seem them at first.
The feline is not actually naked though, but it’s fur is just extremely light and this gives the skin a certain texture that feels incredibly soft to the touch like silk.
Over time, this light fur may disappear though completely and it depends on the cat and it’s genes.
When it has disappeared completely, then the small animal is left completely nude.
With a rubber bald cat, it comes into the world as a kitten without any fur and is completely naked throughout it’s life.
These felines have a bald spot when they are born, but an overall woolen type of coat which gets rougher as the kitten grows older.
After around one year the hair will go away completely and permanently.
The tail, legs and face sometimes keep a few individual hairs but there is a possibility that velvet’s end up completely naked and without hairs.
Brush nudity is what causes a feline to slowly but steadily go bald with only a few hairs remaining.
The texture of the remaining fur or hair tends to be either soft, wavy or rough to the touch.
The Devon Rex
This type of cat breed has some similarities to the Cornish Rex thanks to the thin legs but muscular frame.
The real difference is that the Devon Rex has curly hair which almost reminds one of a sheep’s hair.
These felines have big round ears which are almost bat like and these features are what give the Devon Rex a very special and distinct look.
The life expectancy of this species is between 12 – 16 years and they are very fun characters.
Male and females measure approximately 12 inches both, but the weight of a male Devon cat is 7 – 9 pounds while the female is only around 4 and 7 pounds.
These felines are lovable and smart, but a bit jumpy at times.
These types of cats come in many different colors such as white, pale violet, warm brown, black, or even blue toned, and any visible fur patterns can be bi color, tabby or tricolor.
The pattern on their fur tends to be solid most of the time but it can depend as well.
A European Short Hair
To the untrained eye it can be a very challenging task to try to tell apart a European short hair cat from a common alley cat.
This breed of cats is one of the oldest cat breeds, originating all the way from Egypt.
The Romans and Greeks adopted this cat breed, and therefore spread it all across the European lands and countries.
This is probably the reason why the European Short hair is the most widely known and popular cat breed in that entire region.
Before being domesticated, these special cats guarded grain silos
This cat breed lives on average for around 12 years and this cat is exceptionally intelligent and calm.
A female European short hair is 10 – 12 inches big while her male counterpart measures between 12 – 14 inches. (4.)
The Males are between 9 – 15 pounds in weight while their lady cats are a lighter 7 – 11 pounds.
While the males are heavier, these types of cats are relatively average in size when you compare them to other breeds of cats around the globe.
The European short hair has a sturdy and strong frame, with short dense fur to keep it warm.
They also have round heads with protruding cheeks and are generally really cute and well liked.
The German Rex
The German Rex cat is yet another distinctive breed, and they have soft woolly fur which brings a lamb to mind.
This breed of cats came to be due to a mutation.
The German Rex belongs to the “Rex” family and their similarities to Laperm, Devon or even Cornish cats can make it a real challenge to properly identify and differentiate them from these other species.
German Rex cats tend to live around 9 to 14 years on average and they are very endearing felines.
Their fully grown size is about 12 – 14 inches for both genders and they also weight the same, 9 to 15 pounds.
The fur on them is wavy and short, and they have green or orange eyes.
Since they have such a exotic and woolly fur, they are very soft and pleasant to stroke and pet.
Exotic Short Hair
The exotic short hair cat is known as the exotic. These types of cats have similar characteristics to a bear according to many and let’s look into just why this is…
They have very dense hair which makes it an impossible task to resist touching them.
These felines are very tended and still, looking like cute little friends and are wonderful to be around.
They have great skills when it comes to adapting to a new environment and they can be the perfect pet for those who like the look of a Persian cat, but desire shorter hair.
The exotic short hairs have a life expectancy of around 12 – 15 years, and the colors of this cat breed is very alike to those of Persians.
Their coats have all sorts of patterns, and are short and dense.
An adult male Exotic short hair is around 12 – 14 inches in size, the same applying to females as well.
These felines are done growing when they have reached the age of one to two years.
Females weight between 7 – 11 pounds, but the male cats weight 7 – 13 pounds most of the time.
Now that you have read all about the many different types of cats, different cat breeds, and “how many cat breeds are there”, you may also enjoy reading our article about if cats can eat dog food.