The Cat Fanciers' Association Inc. (CFA) — the world's largest registry of pedigreed cats — revealed the world’s 10 most popular cat breeds. The ranking is based on the number of cats that were registered in 2019. CFA officially recognizes 45 pedigree breeds as well as “non-pedigree” companion cats. Here is the list:
The most popular breed in 2019 is the Ragdoll, an affectionate plush breed with big, beautiful blue eyes. Developed in the 1960s, the Ragdoll maintains their dominant position in CFA largely based on their popularity in China, with a 25% increase in registrations over the previous year.
Landing in second place again is the Exotic. This breed was developed in the 1960s to resemble the Persian, meeting the Persian standard in every way with one very special exception: The Exotic breed has a thick, dense, plush, short coat that gives it a soft, rounded, teddy bear look. The Exotic is an ideal breed that produces a quiet, sweet, peaceful and loyal companion.
3. British Shorthair
Rounding out the top three is the British Shorthair, which CFA officially recognized in 1980. One of the oldest English breeds, the British Shorthair can trace its ancestry back to the domestic cats of Rome, when the breed was prized for its physical strength and hunting ability.
While Persians are the most popular breed within the United States, the breed comes in fourth place worldwide. Persians are one of CFA’s first breeds, recognized in 1906, and are known for their luxurious, long coats and big, expressive eyes. The breed was named for its “country of origin,” but hieroglyphic reference as early as 1684 B.C. shroud its exact beginning.
5. Maine Coon
The fifth most popular breed, the Maine Coon Cat, is CFA’s “gentle giant,” weighing from 10 to 20 pounds (or more). It is known for its sturdy, rugged appearance, which includes a shaggy coat and a long, well-furnished tail. The Maine Coon Cat evolved through nature’s own breeding program developing characteristics by following a “survival of the fittest” evolution.
6. Devon Rex
With an increase of over 50% in registration from 2018, the delightfully silly, curly-coated Devon Rex comes in sixth place. Man had no hand in developing this natural mutation discovered in Devonshire, England, in the 1950s — but man did step in and make it possible for the breed to survive and flourish. This fun-loving breed was recognized by CFA in 1983.
7. American Shorthair
Another of CFA’s “original six” breeds, the American Shorthair, comes in seventh place. The breed originated from cats that followed settlers from Europe to North America. Records indicate that even the Mayflower carried several cats to hunt the ship’s rats. Breeders selectively bred these cats by acquiring the finest examples to preserve the all-around working cat’s structure and to refine the beautiful face, the easygoing disposition and the striking colors present in today’s breed.
The Abyssinian, one of the oldest known domestic cat breeds, resembling paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats, comes in as the eighth most popular breed. Recent studies by geneticists show that the most convincing origin of the breed is from the coast of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia. Abyssinians were imported to North America from England in the early 1900s and were also one of CFA’s “original six” in 1906.
As the ninth most popular breed, the Sphynx is still considered to be exceedingly rare and unusual. The foundations of this breed, found worldwide, are naturally hairless cats produced by Mother Nature. Breeders in North America and Europe have bred the Sphynx to normal coated cats and back to hairless cats for over 30 years. The purpose of this trend is to create a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor.
10. Scottish Fold
The tenth most popular cat breed is the Scottish Fold, whose lineage can be traced back to one common ancestor, “Susie,” a folded-ear barn cat found on the McRae farm at Coupar Angus in the Tayside Region of Scotland, Northwest of Dundee. The Scottish Fold was recognized by CFA in 1978, but due to the rarity of the fold, and since not every kitten is born with folded ears, it is very hard for the supply to keep up with the breed’s demand.