5 min read

Top Cat Breeds Outside the U.S. in 2021


Written by Leslie Ingraham

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 10/08/2021, edited: 08/18/2022


Every culture has its favorite food, sport, music, dogs, and attire, so it’s not unusual that countries have a favorite feline as well. That's no surprise to anyone who has welcomed a cat into their heart and home. These purring furballs are fun, entertaining and loving, and have been human companions almost as long as dogs!

Want to find out which cats warm hearts in the UK, France, or India? Let’s explore the top ten favorite cats in the world outside the United States. 


At the top of the list is the Persian. Originally appearing in the Middle East in what is now Iran, this is truly a lap cat. Because of its large body and short legs, these felines are jumpers and are usually content to sit still. A favorite companion animal in the East, the breed moved westward as its popularity grew. 

The Persian’s unique beauty, with its round head, huge eyes and long, silky hair, made them favorites among Eastern royalty. Today, there are two types: the round-faced Persian with a slightly flat face and puffy cheeks; and the traditional Persian with more pointed features.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon Cat is popular all over the world. Formidable in size, coat, and intelligence, the Maine Coon originated, as the name suggests, in Maine, but love for the breed spread far and wide. While there are variations in color, including black coons, most of them are gray and white. They’re the largest domestic cats in the world, which may account for some of their popularity.

Some have named the Maine Coon Cat the ‘dog of the cat world” because of their temperament and personality. Assertive and territorial, Maine Coons have been known to defend their pet parents and other animals in the household, although many Coons make it clear they want to be the only four-legged family member.

Domestic Shorthair

The Domestic Shorthair category includes British Shorthairs. Often, these lithe and mischievous felines are tabbies with gray and white stripes, but other hues include the tortoise shell, which is black/brown with a touch of orange. Black, ginger and other colors are possible. 

Many domestic shorthairs descended from breeds that were known as “mousers.” Living in barns and stables, they were kept for their talent at finding and eliminating rodents. Eventually, they were moved inside the house where they gradually endeared themselves and were domesticated as pets.


Ragdolls are semi-longhair cats displaying “points” on their ears, paws, tails and faces that are a darker color than the rest of the coat. The points’ colors range from brown, gray and red to light violet. With their expressive blue eyes, Ragdolls feature among the most intelligent cat breeds. 

Ragdolls were developed in California during the 1960s. Their breeder combined free-roaming cats to arrive at the Ragdoll look we know today. Favored for their sweet purr-sonalities, attraction to children and laid-back attitude, they’re popular in most countries, with the exception of China and India.


Yes, that small leopard you see in your neighbor’s window is really a domesticated cat. Boasting spots, this cat comes from a combination of Asian leopards and domesticated cats. Two characteristics from their leopard ancestors that have carried over are the love of playing in water and their super-energetic personalities.

Bengals’ distinctive coats with their dark-colored spots, or rosettes, can be rust, brown, golden, ivory or sand. They have strong, muscular bodies, and their hind legs are longer than their front legs, giving them the appearance of speed even when they’re standing still. Fetch and “chase” are two of their favorite games.


Siamese cats first arose in Thailand, which was once called Siam. Some literature places their origin before the 14th century. They were revered by royalty, and even Queen Elizabeth II of England had one. Their regal demeanor and penetrating blue eyes set them apart from many other breeds. In Siam, it was believed that when a family member died, their soul became housed in a Siamese cat.

Siamese are known to be quite vocal, talking to their pet parents constantly with unique-sounding meows while following them around. They form strong bonds with their humans and are very affectionate. Their coloring is unique as well: a light brown body with points on their ears, paws, face and tail. 


You might reasonably expect that the Sphynx cat came to modern times via Egypt, where the huge sphynx sculptures reside outside the Great Pyramids. Would it then surprise you to hear that the Sphynx actually arose in Toronto, Canada, from breeding homeless domestic cats? 

The Sphynx has no hair except for a downy fuzz on its ears, face, tail, and feet. Their skin is colored white, gray or another base hue, and  their downy fur tends to be darker than the rest of the cat, but a pure white Sphynx isn't uncommon. 

The Sphynx personality is a vibrant one, and if their humans enjoy being chased, run at, and leapt at from high places, this might be the cat for them. Boundless energy requires parents that also love to be active and play. The Sphynx should be an indoor cat only because they get cold easily, and their bare skin can get badly sunburned.

Norwegian Forest Cat

Popular in France, Germany, Scandinavia and Japan, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a very old breed called “skogkatt,” which means “forest cat.” It was the Norwegian Forest Cat that the Viking explorers took on their voyages to keep their ships free of rodents. They were also working cats in the Scandinavian barns where many of them were born. Leif Erikkson may have even brought the breed to North America in the late 900s.

This is a large, sturdy cat with a double coat that makes them look even larger. Their coats range from snow white to midnight black with every possible color and pattern in between. The only markings that don’t appear on them are the points of the Siamese and Ragdoll. 

The Norwegian Forest Cat can change rapidly from lounging on a couch or your lap, then suddenly bolting to some high perch. Their healthy development relies on activity and puzzle games or toys to keep them mentally stimulated.

Russian Blue

It’s believed that the Russian Blue breed originated in the Archangel Islands in the north of Russia. Their extremely dense, bluish-gray coats make them appear bigger than they are, with their striking bright green eyes. Their popularity in Europe suggests that the Vikings played a hand in their spread from their Russian roots.

It’s thought that the Russian Blue has some Asian influence in them, which would explain their tendency to talk to their pet parents, informing them of mealtimes, playtimes and snuggle times. These cats also make excellent family pets.

Scottish Fold

Last but not least in any list of popular cats, the Scottish Fold is recognizable by the fold in their ears that lay them flat upon the kitty’s head. This breed can be traced back to Scotland, where a barn cat named Susie became somewhat of a local celebrity because of her folded ears. A shepherd bred Susie’s offspring with a British Shorthair, resulting in the Scottish Fold cat of today. 

Great family cats, Scottish Folds are intelligent and affectionate, and so sociable that they don’t do well when left alone for a long time. These purrfectly social cats would benefit from pet sitting services.

Regardless of how well you take care of your cats, they still may suffer from hereditary conditions. Secure pet health insurance today to avoid high veterinary care costs throughout the lifetime of your cat. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets Pet Parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like Figo and Spot. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

Your name




Add photo(s) of your petoptional