It’s really quite amazing how many types of cats exist considering their relatively recent evolution as pets.
Although the physical types of differences between cats don’t differ as much as those of dogs (size, for example) there are still fairly significant differences between the various feline types.
Even when discussing types of cats, the nomenclature can be confusing. “Types” can refer to the breed, the fur (short, long, or semi-long), the body style, or the coloring/markings.
For example, a tabby is not a breed–it is a fur pattern that is shared by many pedigrees; A Maine Coon for example is often tabby-marked, but can also be a solid color or tri-color.
Whether you’re deciding on what kind of pedigree is best for you and your family or if you are just curious about the different types of cats, this article is for you!
Types of Cats: Personalities
Besides a cat’s age, personality and temperament are also important factors to consider before selecting your new companion.
If you’re about to become a new cat mom or dad, then you should know some cat people lingo: a “Moggie” is a mixed-breed (like a non-purebred dog is called a “Mutt” or “Mongrel.”) I personally like the sound of “Moggie” better.
Whether you’re selecting from a shelter or out of a litter, you should spend as much time as possible interacting with the cats that catch your eye.
With moggie types of cats, you cannot go by a “standard” temperament-by-breed list as you can with pedigreed (see below) so the best personality indicator is just how they behave with you.
That being said, what should you look for when selecting a shelter cat or kitten?
That is up to you and your preferences, but if you want an affectionate “lap cat” then look for one that isn’t shy when you approach the enclosure, and seeks out your affection.
A cat that startles easily or runs away may be too high-strung to be the cuddler you’re looking for.
Some shelters have a room where many cats share a living space. While it looks overcrowded to us, these types of enclosures are actually preferable to them to being alone in cages, since they have more room to roam and companionship.
Types of Cats: Pedigreed Personalities
However, many generations of meticulously planned (or natural) breeding have made certain pedigrees known for certain temperaments.
This is especially true for types bred for temperament and behavior primarily, and appearance secondarily.
The following chart shows common breed personality types, but do take it with a grain of salt: If you’re looking to buy a purebred, it is always a good idea to meet with the breeder (and the Tom or Queen too) to get a better idea of what your kitten will be like.
Birman, Bombay, Chartreux, havana Brown, Nebelung, Russian Blue, Scottish Fold, Selkirk Rex
American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll, Snowshoe, Turkish Van
Active and People-Oriented
American curl, Balinese, Burmese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Javanese, Korat, Siamese, Singapura
Abyssinian, Bengal, Ocicat, Serengeti, Somali
Himalayan, Persian, Turkish Angora
Different Body Types of Cats
Most breed types are associated with only one body type, but with coat colors and patterns, some breeds can be “acceptable” with a variety of certain types of colors and markings, while other coat colors are “unacceptable.”
There are some individuals within a breed that are not accepted by TICA (The International Cat Association) if they have a certain coat pattern or color.
These rules are for showing and breeding purposes, but have no bearing on how wonderful these individuals are as pets!
Body types should not be your primary criteria for adopting a companion compared to temperament, but if you have your heart set on looks, here is some information on various types of cats’ appearances.
Cats Body Types
- Lithe and graceful yet muscular and firm; Athletic
- Types of cats include the Abyssinian, Russian Blue, Serengeti, and Turkish Angora
- Broad, round compact body type with broad heads and short legs
- Types of cats include the Persian and Exotic Shorthair
Semi-Cobby Types (aka “Robust”)
- Slightly less compact and round than the Cobby
- Breeds include the Chartreux and British Shorthair
Moderate Types (aka “Medium”)
- Also broad head and shorter legs, but to a lesser degree than the Semi-Cobby
- Types of cats include the Bengal, Birman, Traditional Siamese, and Maine Coon
Svelte Types (aka “Foreign”)
- Lean, fine-boned cats with slighter frames than the Slender variety
- Breeds include Extreme Siamese, Balinese, Oriental Longhair and Oriental Shorthair
- Rectangular and elongated, but not as long as the svelte. Also has smaller ears and shorter muzzles
- Types of cats include the Nebelung, Snowshoe, and American Curl
Types of Cats Listed by Breed
||Oriental Cat Breed List
|Exotic Cat Types
||Hybrid Cat Types
|Rare Cat Types
||Cats That Do Not Shed