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What is the least bought cat?

A Brief History of House Cats

David Zax

On any of the surprising number of Web sites dedicated entirely to wisdom about cats, one will find quotations like these: «As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat» (attributed to Ellen Perry Berkeley); «The phrase ‘domestic cat’ is an oxymoron» (attributed to George F. Will); and «A dog is a man’s best friend. A cat is a cat’s best friend» (attributed to Robet J. Vogel). Of course, there is such a thing as the domestic cat, and cats and humans have enjoyed a mostly symbiotic relationship for thousands of years. But the quips do illuminate a very real ambivalence in the long relationship between cats and humans, as this history of the house cat shows.

The Mystery of the Ancient House Cat

It has taken a while for scientists to piece together the riddle of just when and where cats first became domesticated. One would think that the archaeological record might answer the question easily, but wild cats and domesticated cats have remarkably similar skeletons, complicating the matter. Some clues first came from the island of Cyprus in 1983, when archaeologists found a cat’s jawbone dating back 8,000 years. Since it seemed highly unlikely that humans would have brought wild cats over to the island (a «spitting, scratching, panic-stricken wild feline would have been the last kind of boat companion they would have wanted,» writes Desmond Morris in Catworld: A Feline Encyclopedia), the finding suggested that domestication occurred before 8,000 years ago.

In 2004, the unearthing of an even older site at Cyprus, in which a cat had been deliberately buried with a human, made it even more certain that the island’s ancient cats were domesticated, and pushed the domestication date back at least another 1,500 years.

Just last month, a study published in the research journal Science secured more pieces in the cat-domestication puzzle based on genetic analyses. All domestic cats, the authors declared, descended from a Middle Eastern wildcat, Felis sylvestris, which literally means «cat of the woods.» Cats were first domesticated in the Near East, and some of the study authors speculate that the process began up to 12,000 years ago.

Civilization’s Pet

While 12,000 years ago might seem a bold estimate—nearly 3,000 before the date of the Cyprus tomb’s cat—it actually is a perfectly logical one, since that is precisely when the first agricultural societies began to flourish in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent.

When humans were predominantly hunters, dogs were of great use, and thus were domesticated long before cats. Cats, on the other hand, only became useful to people when we began to settle down, till the earth and—crucially—store surplus crops. With grain stores came mice, and when the first wild cats wandered into town, the stage was set for what the Science study authors call «one of the more successful ‘biological experiments’ ever undertaken.» The cats were delighted by the abundance of prey in the storehouses; people were delighted by the pest control.

«We think what happened is that the cats sort of domesticated themselves,» Carlos Driscoll, one of the study authors, told the Washington Post. The cats invited themselves in, and over time, as people favored cats with more docile traits, certain cats adapted to this new environment, producing the dozens of breeds of house cats known today. In the United States, cats are the most popular house pet, with 90 million domesticated cats slinking around 34 percent of U.S. homes.

God and Devil: The Cat in History

If cats seem ambivalent towards us, as the quotations from cat fan-sites indicate, then it may be a reflection of the wildly mixed feelings humans, too, have shown cats over the millennia.

The ancient Egyptian reverence for cats is well-known—and well-documented in the archaeological record: scientists found a cat cemetery in Beni-Hassan brimming with 300,000 cat mummies. Bastet, an Egyptian goddess of love, had the head of a cat, and to be convicted of killing a cat in Egypt often meant a death sentence for the offender.

Ancient Romans held a similar—albeit tempered and secularized—reverence for cats, which were seen as a symbol of liberty. In the Far East, cats were valued for the protection they offered treasured manuscripts from rodents.

For some reason, however, cats came to be demonized in Europe during the Middle Ages. They were seen by many as being affiliated with witches and the devil, and many were killed in an effort to ward off evil (an action that scholars think ironically helped to spread the plague, which was carried by rats). Not until the 1600s did the public image of cats begin to rally in the West.

Nowadays, of course, cats are superstars: the protagonists of comic strips and television shows. By the mid-90s, cat services and products had become a billion-dollar industry. And yet, even in our popular culture, a bit of the age-old ambivalence remains. The cat doesn’t seem to be able to entirely shake its association with evil: After all, how often do you see a movie’s maniacal arch-villain, as he lounges in a comfy chair and plots the world’s destruction, stroke the head of a Golden Retriever?

David Zax, a writer in Washington, D.C., recently wrote a brief history of Wimbledon.

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Most Common Cat Breeds In The UK

The UK’s beloved pet cats come in all shapes and sizes. Find out what our top five most common cats breeds are.

#1 Domestic Short Hair

By far the most popular cat breed in the UK is the Domestic Short Hair. Although not a recognised breed, and often referred to as ‘moggies’, they can come in an array of colours, shapes and sizes due to their mixed parentage.

Very rare coat colours are smokes, blues, silvers and unblemished clear coats, free from stripes and spots.

They tend to be highly social and playful and, due to their mixed genes, they’re much less vulnerable to genetic issues.

#2 Domestic Long Hair

Domestic Long Hair cats can have fur up to six inches long and sometimes have a mane, toe tufts and ear tufts.

Much like the Domestic Short Hair, the Domestic Long Hair is not a registered breed, so there is no set standard in terms of size, colour or shape. Generally speaking, males tend to be larger than females, but both have a thick coat that needs regular grooming to prevent matting.

The long hair gene in cats is recessive, meaning that if a short-haired and a long-haired cat mate, they will only produce short-haired kittens. However, if two long-haired cats mate, a handful of long-haired kittens might be born.

#3 British Short Hair

Not to be confused with the Domestic Short Hair, the British Short Hair is a recognised breed with a thick, dense coat and muscular, rounded appearance.

Loyal and easy-going, British Short Hairs form great bonds with their owners but will also happily play on their own. Originally coming from the farms and streets of Britain, the breed was decimated during both World Wars. However, it’s since back up the ranks as one of the most popular cats in the UK.

#4 Ragdoll

Ragdoll cats are highly sociable and thrive on human companionship. This relatively new breed first appeared in California during the 1960s, with the cat credited as the original Ragdoll being a white cat called Josephine. For that reason, Ragdolls are also known as the daughters of Josephine.

Ragdolls have a reputation for being ‘dog-like’, preferring to follow their owners around the house, cuddling up to them at every opportunity and occasionally even playing fetch with their favourite toys.

#5 Bengal

The Bengal cat is a wild/domestic cat hybrid with documentation of the breed reaching as far back as the 1800s. This adventurous cat loves to explore and, unlike most other breeds, enjoys playing in and around water.

Bengals are extremely athletic and need plenty of room to exercise and play. They’re highly intelligent and love constant attention from their owners.

Some even possess the so-called ‘glitter gene’ which gives their coat golden or silver flecks that shimmer in the sunlight.

If you want more information about cat breeds and their characteristics, speak to your vet.

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US

Maine Coon Cat Guide. Maine Coon Breed. Maine Coon Physical Characteristics. Maine Coon Size. Maine Coon Food. Maine Coon Health. Maine Coon Color.

If you are looking to bring home a new cat, then it may be a good idea to look at the top 10 most popular cat breeds in the US. There are dozens of registered cat breeds in the world, but the top 10 most popular breeds are known for their outstanding appearance and temperament. As of 2021, the most popular cat breed is the Ragdoll, taking first place for the third year in a row. The Maine Coon took second place, while the Exotic took third. The Persian and Devon Rex placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Finally, The British Shorthair, Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Scottish Fold, and Sphynx placed sixth through tenth. With so many wonderful cat breeds to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which breed to bring home. This is why we have compiled a list of ten super popular cat breeds in America, including information on their personality and appearance, so you can decide which cat breed is the best fit for you.

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US

The United States of America has a long history of loving cats, and these wonderful companions are only becoming more popular with each passing year. Today, it is estimated that about 25.4% of households own at least one cat. With over 58 million pet cats in the US, the total average of cats per household comes to 1.8, surpassing even dogs, which average 1.6 per household. The Cat Fanciers’ Association is the leading governing cat body in the world. This association focuses on preserving cat breeds, developing new breeds, and overseeing breeding projects and registration. The CFA has also compiled a top 10 list of the most popular cat breeds for several years, and in February of 2022, they finally released the most popular cat breeds of 2021. In actuality, the most common American cat breeds are the domestic shorthair and domestic longhair. Like all purebred cats, domestic shorthairs and longhairs come from the species Felis silvestris, known as the domestic cat. However, unlike purebred cats like Maine Coons or Persians, domestic shorthairs and longhairs are not a specific breed. As a result, they are not typically registered under the CFA, except occasionally as companion cats, so they can compete in friendly, more relaxed competitions than purebred cats. So, while the domestic shorthair and longhair are certainly the most common cats kept as pets in America, we are going to look at the most popular cat breeds as outlined by the CFA. The Cat Fanciers’ Association keeps track of every cat that is registered to a new home, and after each year, they calculate which breeds were the most popular. So, here are the top 10 most popular cat breeds in the US:

1. Ragdoll

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US

  • Size: 10-20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Coat Pattern: Colorpoint, mitted, bicolor
  • Coat Color: Seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, and cream

2. Maine Coon

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US

It should come as no surprise that one of America’s most popular cat breeds is the Maine Coon.

After all, the Maine Coon is one of the few cat breeds that actually originated in America!

The Maine Coon is famous for being the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, but do not let their size fool you; these cats are also incredibly gentle and loving.

  • Size: 8-25 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Coat Pattern: Virtually any pattern except colorpoint
  • Coat Color: Virtually any color except rarer dilutes like fawn or chocolate.

3. Exotic Shorthair

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US - Exotic Shorthair

The Exotic Shorthair is closely related to the Persian, but has a shorter coat.

In the 1950s, these cats originated by crossing Persians with American Shorthairs, and they were later crossed with various other breeds including the Burmese and Russian Blue, until it was finally recognized as a breed all its own.

Exotic Shorthairs have large, adorable eyes, and a flat face similar to a Persian.

As cute as they look, however, it is important to note that their flattened face is due to brachycephaly, a condition that constricts their airways, makes their brains smaller, and generally shortens their lifespan due to health complications.

However, this breed does come in both traditional and extreme “looks.”

Traditional Exotic Shorthairs have a more rounded face, which causes less stress on their airways.

  • Size: 7-12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8-15 years
  • Coat Pattern: Solid, tabby, shaded, bicolor, colorpoint
  • Coat Color: White, blue, black, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, silver, gold

4. Persian

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US - Persian

The Persian is a luxurious, long haired cat breed known for its flattened face and docile nature.

Persians are the ultimate lapcat, as they love to cuddle and they are not particularly active.

These cats are often called “floor cats,” because they strongly prefer hanging out on the couch or floor to climbing or exploring up high.

Like the Exotic Shorthair, however, the Persian flat face is caused by brachycephaly. This condition constricts their airways, making it difficult for them to breathe, and making them prone to:

  • Respiratory Conditions
  • Eye Problems
  • Skin Issues
  • Other Health Problems

Persians do come in two different “looks,” though; the Peke-faced and the Doll-faced.

Doll-faced Persians have less squashed faces, making it easier for them to breathe.

  • Size: 7-12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Coat Pattern: Solid, tabby, shaded, bicolor, colorpoint
  • Coat Color: White, blue, black, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, silver, gold

5. Devon Rex

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US - Devon Rex

The Devon Rex originated due to a genetic mutation, which caused a kitten named Kirlee to be born with a wavy coat.

All Devon Rex cats today can be traced back to Kirlee, although the breed has changed a lot since then.

They have large ears and large, expressive eyes.

These cats are incredibly social, and like to spend time hanging out on your shoulder or sleeping under the covers with you.

6. British Shorthair

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US - British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is a beautiful breed with a cobby body type and thick, plush blue fur.

These are quiet, social cats that have a distinguished manner.

They prefer to be petted on their own terms, and do not typically appreciate being picked up, but love to follow their owners around and sit right next to them.

Once they have outgrown kittenhood, they usually like to lay around on the couch, but they can also be very silly and like to “perform” for their owners when the mood strikes them.

7. Abyssinian

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US - Abyssinian

The Abyssinian is an energetic, dog-like breed.

These cats need lots of exercise, as they love to run around, climb anywhere they can reach, and play all sorts of games.

The intelligent Abyssinian can also be trained to learn tricks or even play fetch!

These cats can be a challenge, though, so they are best suited to owners who can keep up with their endless energy.

  • Size: 6-10 pounds
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
  • Coat Pattern: Ticked tabby
  • Coat Color: Ruddy, sorrel, blue, fawn, and silver, more rarely tortoiseshell, red, cream, lilac, and chocolate

8. American Shorthair

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US

American Shorthairs originally developed among sailors, who prized these cats for their remarkable hunting abilities.

Today, they are adaptable, easygoing companions with a sturdy body and personality.

They are moderately social and moderately playful.

Some can be quite cuddly, but most prefer to not be picked up.

  • Size: 7-12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Coat Pattern: Virtually any pattern except colorpoint
  • Coat Color: Virtually any color

9. Scottish Fold

Kid Friendly Cat Breeds - Scottish Fold Cat

The Scottish Fold is known for its folded ears and enormous, expressive eyes.

They are social, sweet cats that will not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time.

This cat breed are also quite intelligent, and enjoy puzzle toys and interactive toys.

They have an unusual habit of sitting in odd positions, laying splayed out or sometimes sitting like a meerkat!

  • Size: 6-13 pounds
  • Lifespan: 11-14 years
  • Coat Pattern: Virtually any pattern except colorpoint
  • Coat Color: Virtually any color

10. Sphynx

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds In The US - Sphynx

While there are a number of hairless cat breeds, the Sphynx is the most well known.

Sphynx cats are incredibly active, intelligent, and doglike.

They love being the center of attention, and they will perform all sorts of goofy tricks to make their owners smile.


The 10 most popular cat breeds in the US include the Ragdoll, Maine Coon, and Exotic Shorthair, among others.

While there are dozens of different cat breeds to choose from, the top 10 most popular breeds are beloved for their unique personalities and appearances.

If you are interested in getting a cat, this top 10 list of most popular cats is certain to have a breed that fits well with your personality and lifestyle!

Related Questions

What Is The Most Popular Cat Breed 2022?

The Cat Fanciers Association has not yet released the most popular cat breeds of 2022, but there is a chance it will be the Ragdoll, as this breed has been the most popular for the past three years.

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a CRAZY CAT LADY! I’ve been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 10 years ago. We called him ‘Pippin’, but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he’s a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man’s True Best Friend! UPDATE: We recently adopted two 4-year-old male Maine Coon cats. They are named Mika and Bali.

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About Me

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self-confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I’ve been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 10 years ago. We called him ‘Pippin’, but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he’s a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man’s True Best Friend! In Dec 22 we adopted TWO more Maine Coon cats, named Bali and Mika — they are 4 years old. Sadly, Pippin died from poor health 4 months later. We greatly miss him.

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