How Many Cat Breeds Are There? Cat Owner's Guide To Furry Friends!

Martha Martins
Feb 29, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Nov 17, 2021
Purebred maine coon cats on a white background
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

Your cat's tufted ears, golden eyes and every gesture are unique, helping to identify its breed.

A vet may be able to tell you about your cat, but cat breeds also have certain expected behaviors. Subtle differences are seen between different breeds of cats.

There are a total of 71 cat breeds, and the number keeps on increasing when new cat breeds are accepted into the list. The list of admissible cat breeds is kept by The International Cat Association (TICA). There are 44 cat breeds recognized by The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA)

If you enjoy learning about how many cat breeds there are, then you may also enjoy learning about the smallest dog in the worldand how many months cats are pregnant for.

How many cat breeds are there in total?

Some of the common cat breeds include the domestic shorthair, American shorthair, domestic longhair, Maine Coon, Russian Blue, Ragdoll, Bengal, Bombay, and Persian. We also have to remember that not all breeds are purebred.

The Egyptian Mau, though not a new breed, is a purebred domestic cat and one of the best of the different cat breeds available. Let's take the example of a domestic short hair. It is not strictly categorized as a breed but rather as a way to identify it for humans. Its heritage is mixed and unknown, and thus, it is known as a 'mutt' among the breeds. Since they have mixed heritage, they show a variety of physical attributes. In general, they have round faces, sleek and short coats with a medium-sized body, and can be a mix of colors. They live for an average of 12-14 years, but sometimes even longer.

Apart from the above-mentioned common cat breeds, there are cats who come under the definition of cool. Which cats are cool? For cats, being independent, confident, knowing what they stand for, and not trying to impress may be characteristics of being cool. So which cat breeds come under this category? Siberian cats, with their origins in Siberia, Russia, are pretty cool; British shorthair cats who are laidback, intelligent, and independent are cool; Persian cats are gentle and happy being on their own, and of course, they have gorgeous blue eyes! The Norwegian Forest cat and the Russian Blue cat, with their luxurious silvery coats and sweet tempers, are also well-loved pets.

The Egyptian Mau is another exotic breed. The Savannah cat is known as the world's tallest cat breed. The Japanese Bobtail, which is known for bringing luck, was once adored by the Japanese Imperial Family. Lastly, many people believe that the politest breed (which is saying something) is the Chartreux cat breed. The amount of space needed by a cat depends on the breed and your pet's individual habits. For instance, a Maine Coon requires more space than other breeds because of its huge size. Others that are more energetic and enthusiastic need more space to chase, jump around and play. Generally, cats prefer to have areas where they can hide or have a small space to themselves.

A large open area makes them feel uncomfortable. Now you know why cats find those boxes irresistible! A preference for small, enclosed spaces doesn't automatically mean that our felines can be shut in small rooms. We know that cats are comfortable with apartments, finding their place in cupboards or closets or even a room of their own. If you have an apartment, one thing to make sure of is that the main living area or the family room is at least 18 sq ft (1.67 sq m).

How many domestic cat breeds are there?

Apart from The International Cat Association (TICA), other associations keep track of and accept cat breeds, and each one has a different number of cat breeds that are approved.

The organizations define the distinct characteristics of each breed and host competitions, much like those used to assess dog breeds. Domesticated cats come in three varieties, namely, house cats, semi-feral cats who come and go as they please, and truly feral cats. Domesticated cats have evolved from wild cats, and their lineage includes the Palla's cat and Chinese desert cat from Asia, the jungle cat, sand cat and black-footed cat from Africa, and wild cat from Europe, Africa, and Asia. The ancestors of domestic cats are European wild cats that live in the Middle East and Africa.

House cats have an average life span of 14-17 years with acute senses of hearing and vision. They keep themselves exceptionally clean while displaying excellent balance and control of their body. House cats are not necessarily as stoic as they are portrayed. Despite having ancestry from wild cats, they don't have to search for food as their wild ancestors did. In places like farmyards or even cities, food is available to support them. They don't compete with each other for it. Instead, they form teams and work together; for instance, females have been observed assisting their sisters, daughters, or even granddaughters.

Next time you are wondering how many breeds exist, there are a total of 73 breeds recognized by the International Progressive Cat Breeders Alliance (IPCBA). While there are several new cat breeds in the list of cat breeds, Ragdolls are among the most popular cat breeds with long hair, dominating the cat world with their looks. Highlander, Aphrodite, Minskin are some common cat breed types from the new kitty list.

Sphynx (Canadian hairless) kitten

How many wild cat breeds are there?

Forty breeds of cats are known to be wild ones. They come under the family of Felidae that consists of seven big cats and 33 small cats.

Coming under the subcategory of Pantherinae, the big cats include the lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, Sunda clouded leopard, and clouded leopard. Apart from the Panthera lineage, the other roots are the bay cat, caracal, ocelot, lynx, puma, and leopard cat line. Let us look at two cats from these lineages. First is the puma, and the second is the colocolo. The puma is also known as a mountain lion or cougar and can be seen across South America, the United States, Mexico, and parts of Southern Canada. It is known to be a secretive cat.

On the other hand, colocolo can be found in most of Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Brazil. They were previously recognized as three different species and are nearly endangered. Wild cats are bigger and stronger than house cats. They are aggressive when threatened or when hunting. They are territorial and seem aloof like all other cats. They depend on their instincts and observational powers to guide themselves through jungles. They show exceptional personal hygiene, as is evident from their immaculately groomed fingernails and hair.

Did you know that the rarest wild cat breed is difficult to ascertain? It is because of how little we know about the various species. Still, the Amur leopard is one of the rarest, with no more than 90 individuals still living in the wilds of Russia. The Iberian lynx, fishing cat, flat-headed cat, Borneo bay cat, and the tiger are counted among the list of endangered felids. The jaguar, Asiatic golden cat, margay, Palla's cat, rusty-spotted cat, marbled cat, and colocolo are cats that are nearly threatened.

Which is not a breed of cat?

There are no strict rules or standards that everyone uses to identify cat breeds. When a cat is bought from a pet store or a breeder, we can know which variety of cat it is. But the process becomes arduous when we adopt it from a shelter or off the street.

There are times when cats are a mixed breed and not from a particular lineage. Even pure breeds are tricky when it comes to identification since no two cats are the same. At the same time, purebred cats are clear to identify compared to mixed breeds. It is because they have specific characteristics that help define them, whereas mixed breeds are an amalgamation of features. Some clues can help you to identify your cat's breed.

Each kind has specific traits that help define it. Sadly, not all traits of all species can be listed together here, but the clues can help narrow down the search. For instance, there are two types of faces: flat and narrow. Then three types of ears: curled ears, tufted ears, and folded ears. Even coats can be used to put them into categories, like longhaired, curly-haired, shorthaired, and hairless cats. The size and weight of your cat, eyes, color, patterns or markings, tail, and personality are also used as clues. How can you use this information to find out your cat's breed?

Probably the fastest way would be to type the specific traits that you see in your cat into a Google search. For example, it might look something like a cat that is kind, calm, large, short, fur or tan. Unlike dog breeds, many people don't have the knowledge of breeds of cats, mix breed cats, or how many breeds there are. Before people become cat owners, you may want to know how many breeds exist, all about domesticated cats, small cat breeds, new cat breeds, pedigreed cats, and so on.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'How many cat breeds are there?' then why not take a look at 'Predators of moose: know all about the most common animal predators', or 'Quetzalcoatlus size: amaze-wing facts on flying giant revealed for kids'?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

Read full bio >