Caring for The Most Popular and Most Expensive Cat Breeds

What Are the Most Popular Cat Breeds?

  1. Exotic
  2. Ragdoll
  3. British Shorthair
  4. Persian
  5. Maine Coon Cat
  6. American Shorthair
  7. Scottish Fold
  8. Sphynx
  9. Abyssinian
  10. Devon Rex

Source: Cat Fanciers’ Association 2016.

Buying a pedigreed cat has definite advantages, with predictability being one of the biggest. Anybody who adopts a Maine Coon kitten knows that that kitten will grow into a large (possibly 20 pounds or more!) cat with long fur. Pedigreed cat breeds also tend to have characteristic personality traits. Some breeds, like the Siamese or Bengal are noted for their liveliness, while others, like the Persian are more sedate. Pedigreed cats, unfortunately, also tend to have certain health problems that the vigilant owner will have watch for.

Exotic

What is the temperament of the breed?

The Exotic, also called the Exotic Shorthair, is a relative of the Persian and has a similarly laid-back temperament. It is a lap cat with an affectionate and gentle personality. The Exotic will follow its owner around and then jump into their lap as soon as they sit down. The Exotic also has American Shorthair ancestry, so it is more active and playful than the Persian. The Exotic gets along well with both other pets and with children.

How much attention does an Exotic need?

While the Exotic doesn’t need as much grooming as the Persian, it still has a thick coat that needs brushing. It’s especially important to brush the Exotic in the spring and summer, for they molt in warm weather, and the loose hair can easily form mats if not brushed out.

Does an Exotic have specific dietary needs?

Like all cats, Exotics are obligate carnivores that get their nutrition from proteins and carbohydrates. Unlike omnivores such as humans, they cannot fully metabolize carbohydrates – which don’t do anything for them except make them fat. The amount of food an Exotic should be given will depend on the cat’s age, size, activity level, and whether or not it has been fixed. Exotics should be fed twice a day, and they usually like to take a few bites at a time.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

Exotics are often bred to have the same flat face and brachycephalic head as many Persians. They thus have the same health problems caused by that flat face, including various eye and teeth problems. They are also prone to eating and breathing problems. Exotics also often develop to a hereditary disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease. Fortunately, there is a simple genetic test that can detect it.

Ragdoll

What is the temperament of the breed?

Ragdolls are extremely docile cats that owe their name to their habit of going completely limp like a ragdoll when somebody picks them up. They are famously tolerant and even-tempered: They are the sort of cat that will allow a child to dress them up and wheel them around in a baby carriage. They are not particularly active or vocal, however. Ragdolls are intelligent and can learn how to play fetch.

How much attention does a Ragdoll need?

Ragdolls are large and can take four years to reach maturity. During this time, they will need to be fed more often than older cats. Once they stop growing, they should be fed somewhat less to prevent obesity. A Ragdoll’s long fur should be brushed at least once a week. They molt during the spring and summer, so they will need to be brushed more often to prevent mats. Ragdolls have a poor danger sense and tend to be too trusting and should therefore be kept indoors.

Does a Ragdoll have specific dietary needs?

Ragdolls are big cats and therefore need more protein than their smaller fellows and should therefore be given high-end wet food. Since they have long fur, they should be given food for indoor cats that includes a hairball control formula. Ragdolls need food formulated to promote joint health, for their size increases the risk of their developing arthritis as they get older.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

Ragdolls have a gene for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). It is the most common form of heart disease in cats, and it causes abnormal thickening of the heart muscle. Affected cats usually start showing symptoms as young or middle-aged adults, and the condition can eventually cause heart failure. Fortunately, there is a DNA test for the disease. Ragdolls are also prone to kidney and bladder problems; there are blood tests for these conditions.

Further Reading

British Shorthair

What is the temperament of the breed?

The British Shorthair is a calm and placid cat that can be quite lazy, especially as it gets older. It is a “four square” cat that prefers to keep all fours paws on the ground, so it may not enjoy being picked up and carried. Similarly, they are not lap cats. On the other hand, they do like to snuggle against a favorite human when both are sitting on a sofa.

How much attention does a British Shorthair need?

As a short-haired breed, the British Shorthair usually doesn’t need much in the way of grooming. As the cat ages, however, it will become less able to groom itself, so the owner should periodically brush it. A British Shorthair’s owner should also play with it to help it keep its weight at a healthy level. British Shorthairs enjoy laser pointers, teaser toys and games of fetch.

Does a British Shorthair have specific dietary needs?

The British Shorthair can easily become overweight, so its diet needs to be carefully monitored. Like other cats, it feeds mainly on proteins and fat; carbohydrates won’t do anything for it except make it fat. Too much salt is as bad for British Shorthairs as it is for humans. Some authorities claim that raw meat will make the cat’s hair silkier. A British Shorthair should not eat fish or shrimp more than twice a week, but it can have chicken, turkey, beef or rabbit more often.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

The British Shorthair has a slow metabolism that increases its susceptibility to obesity. Breeders’ use of DNA testing has reduced the incidence of a genetic disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease. Unfortunately, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy can still be a problem in some cats.

Persian

What is the temperament of the breed?

The Persian is a docile, quiet and affectionate cat. It tends to be a lap cat. Like the British Shorthair, it is a “four square” cat that prefers to stay on the ground. It therefore won’t go exploring bookshelves or the like. While they like children, they don’t enjoy roughhousing or boisterous games.

How much attention does a Persian need?

Persians have the longest fur of all the domestic cats. They therefore need to be groomed every day to keep their coat from getting matted and to prevent hairballs. Persians should also be periodically bathed. If the owner starts bathing the Persian while they are still a kitten, the cat soon learns to enjoy it. After the bath, the owner should gently comb the Persian while blow-drying them. Persians have large eyes that can attract irritants that make them run, so the owner will have to wipe their eyes every day.

Does a Persian have specific dietary needs?

A Persian’s flat face can make eating difficult, so it will need cat food designed to accommodate it. There are dry cat foods with special shapes that enable the cat to grasp it with its tongue. Since Persians can be prone to hairballs, they will also need food with lots of fiber in it to promote digestion and reduce hairballs.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

There are two types of Persian: the traditional or doll-faced Persian and the Extreme or Peke-faced. The latter has more health problems because of its flattened face that can affect the cat’s teeth and eyes. Peke-faced Persians are also prone to eating and breathing problems. Some lines of Persians are also prone to heart problems, hip dysplasia and Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). At one point, PKD affected about 1/3 of the Persians and Exotics in England; genetic testing has reduced that number.

Maine Coon

What is the temperament of the breed?

While a Maine Coon’s size can make them look intimidating, they are very aptly known as the “gentle giants” of the domestic cats. They are affectionate, playful and love human attention. They do not enjoy being left along all day and need companionship from either their owner or another animal. Maine Coons are also very vocal, but they trill and chirp rather than meow. Maine Coons are among the cat breeds that enjoy playing with water.

How much attention does a Maine Coon need?

Maine Coons have long fur that needs to be brushed at least once a week. Their tails and stomachs especially need attention to prevent matting. Maine Coons also shed a lot. Maine Coons have historically been good mousers, and they enjoy toys that stimulate their hunting instincts. They thus like toy mice and balls that jingle or crinkle. Maine Coons also find laser pointers irresistible.

Does a Maine Coon have specific dietary needs?

Maine Coons are the largest breed of domestic cat; a big male can weigh over 20 pounds and reach four feet in length. Consequently, they need food with a lot of protein and extra vitamins. Dry cat food needs to be carefully chosen, for a lot of it contains fillers and carbohydrates that just make the cat fat. Wet food has the advantage of keeping the cat hydrated. Cat owners should also look for foods formulated for indoor longhair cats, for these can keep a cat’s hairballs under control.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

Maine Coons are susceptible to Hip Dysplasia and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. They can also develop Polycystic Kidney Disease. Kittens can develop Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a condition that causes paralysis in the rear legs.

Sphynx

($900 to $1,900)

What is the temperament of the breed?

Sphynx are “in your face” cats, for they are affectionate, sociable and demanding. A Sphynx loves snuggling with their owner and will insist on sleeping with them. The Sphynx hates to be left alone and is also very vocal; some of them will converse with their owners. They do best with another animal companion, preferably a fellow Sphynx. The Sphynx loves to play and is clever enough to learn how to play fetch.

How much attention does a Sphynx need?

A Sphynx’s skin can get very oily on account of their hairlessness. A cat’s skin produces oils that would normally be absorbed by its fur; since a Sphynx has little or no fur, the oil stays on its skin. They therefore need to be bathed once a week. Sphynx also need to be played with to keep them healthy and happy.

Does a Sphynx have specific dietary needs?

A Sphynx’s high body temperature means it will have a fast metabolism, and it will consequently have a massive appetite. To keep the Sphynx from becoming overweight, it should be fed several small meals throughout the day, rather than the two big meals given to other breeds. Sphynx do better with dry food than with canned food, and they need to be given lots of water to prevent dehydration.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

Some Sphynx do develop Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Their hairlessness also increases the chances of their developing skin cancer if they get too much sun. They are also vulnerable to temperature extremes, and their normal body temperature is four degrees higher than that of other cats.

Russian Blue

($500 to $3,000)

What is the temperament of the breed?

Also sometimes called the Archangel Cat, the Russian Blue is intelligent and reserved; it therefore takes a while to warm up to unfamiliar people. Once the Russian Blue has gotten to know someone and decided that it likes them, it will be a friendly and affectionate cat. The Russian Blue gets along well with other pets and children – once it has had a chance to get to know them. While the Russian Blue enjoys attention, it doesn’t demand it, and it can handle solitude better than demanding breeds like the Sphynx.

How much attention does a Russian Blue need?

Russian Blues have short and thick fur that needs to be brushed once or twice a week. Combing them will remove loose hair and keep the cat from getting hairballs. While Russian Blues can entertain themselves, they do enjoy attention from their owners. Petting and playing with a Russian Blue will keep the cat from becoming depressed or anxious.

Does a Russian Blue have specific dietary needs?

Keeping a Russian Blue’s weight under control can be a challenge. It should be fed twice a day. Depending on the cat’s size, age and activity level, it should be given ¼ to ½ cup of food per meal. While Russian Blues can be given dry or wet food, the food needs to be high in protein with no carbohydrates. Meat should be the primary ingredient.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

The Russian Blue loves eating and is thus prone to obesity. The most common inherited disorders in Russian Blues are Hip Dysplasia and Hyperparathyroidism. Aside from that, they are generally healthy cats.

Peterbald

($1,700 to $3,000)

What is the temperament of the breed?

The Peterbald has been described as “aggressively affectionate,” for they are demanding, active and vocal. They will spend all day with their owner if allowed to do so: They will sit with them while they drink their coffee and “help” them do chores or work on the computer. At the end of the day, they will crawl into bed with their human. Similarly, a Peterbald is the type of lap cat that will spend all day there if permitted to do so.

How much attention does a Peterbald need?

Peterbalds have coats that range from virtually hairless to a normal short hair coat with most of them tending towards hairlessness. Its grooming needs will therefore depend on the type of coat it has. For example, a hairless Peterbald will need the same kind of care a Sphynx gets; it will need to be bathed once a week to keep its skin from getting too oily. Also like the Sphynx, it will need to be protected from temperature extremes and too much exposure to the sun. Peterbalds are also active cats that love to play. They enjoy climbing and should have a cat tree, so they don’t try climbing the drapes or screen door.

Does a Peterbald have specific dietary needs?

Like the Sphynx, the Peterbald has a faster metabolism than most other cats. It should be given several small meals of wet food throughout the day.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

Peterbalds are extremely rare. So far, the only genetic disorder they might be susceptible to is Feline Ectodermal Dysplasia that causes deformed teeth and problems lactating. Hairless Peterbalds are vulnerable to sunburns and also have an increased chance of developing skin cancer.

Bengal

($1,500 to $5,000)

What is the temperament of the breed?

The Bengal is a lively and intelligent breed. Unlike many cats, they like water, so they will watch the toilet flush or play with a dripping faucet. Some Bengals will even join their owner in the shower. Bengals also like high places and enjoy climbing. They can be rambunctious and curious and will get into everything – especially if they’re bored.

How much attention does a Bengal need?

Because the Bengal is such an energetic and active cat, it needs a fair amount of companionship in the form of its owner and/or another pet. While Bengals enjoy the outside, letting them go outside unsupervised is hazardous. A safer option is to erect an outdoor exclosure or “catio” to keep the cat safe while it plays and explores. As shorthairs, Bengals usually don’t need much in the way of grooming.

Does a Bengal have specific dietary needs?

Bengal cats need lots of protein and therefore should not be given cheap cat food that contains fillers made from corn or other carbohydrates. Protein should make up at least 50 percent of the Bengal’s diet with the vitamins, minerals and fiber making up the rest. Some people give the Bengal raw meat, which should not sit at room temperature for more than half an hour.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

Bengals are generally healthy and have no diseases peculiar to their breed. Genetic defects that can occur in Bengals include Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a degenerative eye condition that can lead to blindness, and Flat-Chested Kitten Syndrome (FCKS), in which the kitten is born with abnormal ribs. Bengals can also suffer from Hip Dysplasia or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

Savannah

($1,000 to $20,000)

What is the temperament of the breed?

The Savannah is an active and lively cat that hates to be left alone. It is not a lap cat, however; instead, it will give headbutts to favored humans or follow them around the house. Savannahs are playful and enjoy games like fetch. They also like play in water and can be leash-trained and are often described as having dog-like personalities.

How much attention does a Savannah need?

As a short-haired cat, the Savannah doesn’t need much in the way of grooming; it just needs to be combed once or twice a week with a metal comb that will remove loose hair. Since Savannahs are active cats that love to climb, they should be given sturdy perches and cat trees. They are also smart enough to learn tricks and respond best to a clicker and reward-based training. Savannah cats also enjoy toys; since they like to chew, the toys need to be tough enough to withstand abuse.

Does a Savannah have specific dietary needs?

Savannah cats need more taurine in their diet than do other cats and will thus need taurine supplements. Taurine is an amino acid found only in meat, and taurine deficiency can cause serious problems like tooth decay, heart disease and blindness. Some authorities recommend that a Savannah be fed raw meat that is at least 32 percent protein. Savannahs get fed twice a day, and they can be given both dry and wet food.

What are the most common health issues of the breed?

Veterinarians have found that Savannah cats have proportionately smaller livers than other cats their size. Therefore, if the cat needs surgery, the vet should not use the anesthetic ketamine which is metabolized through the liver and can therefore cause complications.

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