If you spent any time on social media Monday, you probably noticed that it was "National Puppy Day." But while puppy pics may have dominated Facebook and Instagram on Monday, the cat remains the undisputed king of the Internet age. But which breeds of cat are most popular?
If you spent any time on social media Monday, you probably noticed that it was “National Puppy Day.” But while puppy pics may have dominated Facebook and Instagram on Monday, the cat remains the undisputed king of the Internet age (Just ask Buzzfeed).
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that there are somewhere between 74 million and 96 million pet cats in the US. More than one-third (35%) of those cats were acquired as strays, and about 3.4 million cats are taken in by an animal shelter each year. The number of cute cat photos and videos posted to the Internet each day is likely too high to count.
Just like dogs, cats have been bred for distinctive traits over the years, and the result is a wide array of distinctive-looking animals. Which cat breeds are the most popular?
The answer comes from the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc., which bills itself as the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats. Last month, the association unveiled its list of the most popular cat breeds based on its 2014 registration statistics. The list is largely similar to last year’s list, though it does include one newcomer, and a new champion.
What follows are the 10 most popular breeds, according to the CFA.
10. Scottish Fold
Last Year’s Rank: 13
Scottish Folds are easily recognizable by their ears, which appear to be “folded” forward. The trait is the result of a dominant gene mutation. According to the CFA, the cats are born with straight ears, but the ears in many cats fold over within the first few weeks of life. Not every Scottish Fold cat will end up with folded ears, but only those with the trait are allowed to compete in shows, according to the association.
Last Year’s Rank: 9
Siamese cats are named for their roots in Thailand, formerly known as Siam. The cats are one of the most easily recognizable breeds, with their pointy ears and what the CFA describes as their “aristocratic” heads. They are also known as good pets. The association calls them the “quintessential people cat.”
Last Year’s Rank: 8
The Sphynx is definitely one of the more polarizing cats out there. They’re often referred to as “hairless,” though that’s technically not true. The cat has large ears, a wedge-shaped head, and skin that feels like chamois. And while they have the advantage of not shedding, they do require regular bathing to clean off the oils produced by the skin.
Last Year’s Rank: 6
The Abyssinian is so-named because the first such cats displayed in England were imported from Ethiopia, which was formerly known as Abyssinia. According to the CFA, the cat’s actual origins are the subject of some debate, though the cat resembles cats depicted in ancient Egyptian artwork and sculptures. The cat is slender with distinctive large ears and expressive, almond-shaped eyes.
Last Year’s Rank: 7
American Shorthairs are athletic pets who do well around families with young children. The cats have a rounded, wide face and short hair and come in a variety of color patterns. Despite its name, the cats originated in Europe, but were brought over the New World by European settlers and eventually bred into the current standard.
Last Year’s Rank: 5
Slightly more popular than the American Shorthair is the British Shorthair. And while the 2 breeds have similar names, they look quite different. The British Shorthair has a thick coat of hair, and its most recognizable coloring is “blue,” which is to say a bluish-gray hue. However, like their American counterpart, the cat is known to be a good pet for families due to its cheery disposition.
Last Year’s Rank: 4
Ragdolls are a relatively new breed of cat, developed in California in the 1960s, according to the CFA. Their bushy coats are silky to the touch, with colors at the “points.” The cats are relatively large, with males topping out at 20 pounds and females growing to around 15 pounds on the high end of the scale.
Last Year’s Rank: 3
The Ragdoll may be large, but it would look small next to the Maine Coon, a long-haired cat native to North America. The cat is the official state cat of Maine and is believed to have been treasured in part for their skill at capturing mice. Males can reach 25 pounds, and some cats reach a height of 16 inches.
Last Year’s Rank: 1
Though it fell from its perch at the top of the list last year, the Persian remains one of the most popular cats in the US. The longhaired cat has a puffy coat, short legs, and broad, short bodies, according to the CFA. Persians have a friendly disposition, but do best in an indoor, protected environment, the association noted.
Last Year’s Rank: 2
The Exotic breed moved up from second place to take the top spot this year. Described as having a “teddy bear look” by the CFA, the breed looks similar to a Persian, but with a shorter coat that requires less maintenance. The cats have oval heads, round cheeks, and short ears.
For a complete list of the top cat breeds, click here.