Humans have long been fascinated by cats; in 2004, archeologists discovered a cat buried next to a 9,500-year-old human skeleton in Cyprus. The biggest cat breeds remind us of their wild ancestors, from the African serval descendants to scaled-down bobcats.
If you've ever tried to boot one of the largest domestic cat breeds from the couch, you know that they have big hearts and even bigger attitudes. Before adopting or buying one of these large cat breeds, do some research to make sure you're providing the right forever home for these feline friends.
According to The International Cat Association (TICA), "the goal of the Pixiebob breeding program is to create a domestic cat with a visual similarity to the North American Bobcat."
Like wild bobcats (Lynx rufus), the Pixiebob has a short tail and spots. While a real bobcat can weigh up to 40 pounds (18.1 kg), a Pixiebob is a medium-to-large cat breed weighing up to 17 pounds (7.7 kg).
TICA says the Pixiebobs make great pets and are "doglike in their devotion."
9. British Shorthair
With its chubby face and stocky body, the British Shorthair is one of the world's most iconic cat breeds. Adult males are large, weighing anywhere from 10 to 18 pounds (4.5 to 8.2 kg).
The "blue" (gray) British Shorthair is the most famous, but British Shorthairs come in all colors. There's even a longhaired version, the result of breeding with Persians.
The British Shorthair is one of the oldest recognized cat breeds. According to TICA, British Shorthairs are descended from cats Romans brought with them when they invaded Britain in 43 C.E. Personality-wise, British Shorthairs tend to be calm and independent.
8. Norwegian Forest Cat
If you like the look of the big, fluffy Maine Coon, but prefer a slightly smaller breed, the Norwegian Forest Cat might be the breed for you. (Learn more about Maine Coons vs. Norwegian Forest Cats).
Known as skogkatt ("forest cat") in their native Norway, Norwegian Forest Cats have long hind legs and dense, water-repellent fur with a "full ruff" that looks something like a lion's mane — or a very large beard.
Norwegian forest cats are slow to mature, taking up to five years to reach adulthood. Once grown, males can weigh anywhere from 16 to 20 pounds (7.3 to 9.1 kg).
Like Norwegian Forest Cats and Maine Coons, Siberian cats (also known as Siberian Forest Cats) have ruffs and a thick, water-resistant coat to protect them from harsh winters in their place of origin. They also take up to five years to mature and weigh up to 20 pounds (9.1 kg).
According to TICA, Siberians are intelligent cats with an affectionate nature.
6. Turkish Van
The Turkish Van is a large cat (males can weigh up to 20 pounds or 9.1 kg) famous for its markings. The Van's fur is white except for its tail and around its eyes (and, sometimes, shoulders).
According to TICA, Turkish Vans are highly energetic and love the water; their name may come from Lake Van, the largest body of water in Turkey.
Per the breed standard, "the strength and power of the cat is evidenced in its substantial body and legs."
Now That's Interesting
The newest cat breed recognized by the International Cat Association, the American Cat Fanciers Association and the Cat Fanciers' Association is Selkirk Rex, also known as the "poodle cat." It gets its name from its curly hair, the result of a genetic mutation.
According to the RagaMuffin Associated Group, RagaMuffins were developed in the 1990s by crossing different Cherubim cats — a category that includes the famous Ragdoll Cat.
Per the breed standard, the RagaMuffin is "a large breed" (weighing up to 20 pounds or 9.1 kg), "muscular and heavy with a fatty pad on the lower abdomen." The long, silky coat makes a RagaMuffin look even larger.
If you're looking for a big cat breed that's also snuggly, the Ragdoll may be for you. TICA calls the Ragdoll "one of the largest breeds in the cat fancy," as adult males regularly reach 15 to 20 pounds (6.8 to 9.1 kg).
Ragdoll Cats are also one of the most popular cat breeds. In 2022, the Cat Fancier Association named the Ragdoll the top breed for the fourth year in a row. Aside from their impressive size, Ragdolls are known for their laid-back demeanor, silky coat and "pointed" markings.
Like the Siamese Cat, Ragdolls often have darker faces, feet and tails.
3. Savannah Cat
Savannah cats are controversial because they are hybrid animals resulting from breeding a wild cat called a serval (Leptailurus serval) with a domesticated cat. While they are recognized by TICA as a domestic breed, Savannah Cats are illegal in some areas.
Prospective pet parents should think carefully before bringing a Savannah cat home. Their similarity to wildcats can make Savannah cats harder to care for than other domesticated cats.
In 2021, Guinness World Records named an 18.83-inch (47.83-cm) Savannah cat named Fenrir the tallest living domestic cat. The tallest cat of all time was his brother Arcturus, who was 19.05 inches (48.39 cm) tall and weighed 30 pounds (13.6 kg). Savannah Cats can get pretty big, but they typically weigh 12 to 25 pounds (5.4 to 11.3 kg).
The Chausie is a domestic cat descended from the wild jungle cat (Felis chaus). Per the breed standard, Chausies are tall, with long legs, a deep chest and tufted ears like their wild ancestors. Although a typical adult male Chausie weighs about 15 pounds (6.8 kg), they can weigh up to 26 pounds (11.8 kg).
These large domestic cats can be a bit of a handful. Cat lovers preparing to bring a Chausie home should know they can jump 6 feet (1.8 meters) into the air.
1. Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is the biggest cat breed of them all. With the biggest adult males weighing upwards of 30 pounds (13.6 kg), the Maine Coon is generally recognized as the largest domestic cat breed in the world.
According to Britannica, the Maine Coon is North America's only native longhaired cat breed. The name "coon" likely comes from its thick tail, reminiscent of a raccoon.
The Guinness World Record for longest domestic cat ever belongs to Mymains Stewart Gilligan, measured at 48.5 inches (123 cm) long in 2010. A Maine Coon also holds the title for longest tail on a domestic cat ever at 17.58 inches (44.66 cm), measured in 2016.
"Their nickname of 'gentle giant' is well-deserved," Sandra Cagain, owner of the Orlando Cat Café, says in an email interview with HowStuffWorks. "My two cats are each 20 pounds (9 kilograms), and they are the most gentle, sweet and loving cats I have ever had. They are very well-mannered and never use their claws inappropriately and will always let you pick them up and hold them — even if they would prefer not to be held."
Original article: 10 Biggest Cat Breeds to (Lovingly) Shed All Over Your Home
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