Top 10 cat breeds

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For every type of person in the world, there is a breed of cat that will suit his or her taste and lifestyle. Active or laid back, fluffy or lean, massive or petite, there are so many cats to choose from that even "dog people" will find a cat that fits.

#1 The Oriental.

Related to the Siamese, this cat has big pointed ears and an inquisitive personality. Its sleek body is more muscular that it would appear. The Oriental cat is also smart and social and will bond deeply with its owners. It can be quite vocal and demanding -- a very "dog-like" cat. Whether you get the longhair or shorthair version, the Oriental is a loyal and playful companion.

#2 The American Shorthair.

This athletic cat was descended from the British Shorthair but is larger, leaner, and more powerful than its across-the-pond counterpart. Sort of like the American muscle car. The American Shorthair is healthy, gentle, easy going, and low maintenance -- grooming is not an issue with this breed. The American Shorthair comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. It’s also a very long-lived kitty, with a lifespan of 15 to 20 years not being out of the ordinary. Even better, the American Shorthair is great with kids and gets along well with dogs, too.

#3 The Birman.

This beautiful cat is thought to have originated from Burma. Legend has it that the Birman cat was the protector of the Burmese temples. It’s a large, long, sturdy cat with long silky hair (which isn’t as thick as a Persian’s) that does not mat. This cat is known for its blue eyes, dark points on its ears, face, legs and tail, and snow white boots on all four paws. This is a loving, gentle cat that loves to play, but can stay quiet and out of the way when you’re busy.

#4 The Sphynx.

We’re not talking about the legendary Egyptian monument or myth, but a real live, rare cat breed. The hairless Sphynx isn’t completely hairless; it has a fine peach-like fuzz over its body, which makes it very sensitive to the sun and elements. This sensitivity is also the reason the Sphynx should only be considered an indoor cat. It is warm to the touch, energetic, affectionate, and cuddly. The Sphynx will even snuggle under the covers with you. With its big pointy ears and curious nature, the Sphynx is a fun addition to any family.

#5 The Ragdoll.

Thus named by a breeder in the early 60s because the cat was very relaxed and floppy when picked up. The Ragdoll is a gentle and affectionate cat, and will often follow its owners from room to room like a puppy. The Ragdoll is not good at defending itself and shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets alone. In fact, it is careful not to use teeth and claws during play, which makes it ideal around kids. The hair of the Ragdoll is full and plush, requiring regular grooming, and although it is not as large as its coat would suggest, it is nonetheless one of the bigger cat breeds. This is a placid cat that really is satisfied with a relaxing lifestyle.

#6 The Siamese

Don't let the bad kitties in the film The Aristocats leave you with a bad image of this beauty. Yes, they can be verbally demanding in wanting attention, but they're also very loving, social and affectionate cats. The Siamese can be sensitive and nervous and is a creature of habit and routine — so if you're an international jet-setter who needs a cat that can travel (or plan to become one during it's 11- to 15-year lifespan), this is probably not the one for you. That said, their playfulness does make them only slightly less kid- and pet-friendly than the cats above it on the list.

#7 The Abyssinian

One of the oldest breeds of cat, the Abyssinian resembles an ancient Egyptian cat with its lithe build, large pointy ears, and slender legs. One of the smaller cats on this list, this fur baby only weighs in at an average of 6 to 10 pounds.

#8 The Exotic hair

This is the short-haired version of the Persian. With its squashed face and rounded ears, the exotic shorthair looks more like a cuddly teddy bear than a cat. While having a similar temperament to its long-haired cousin, this cat is a bit more lively and inquisitive, but can still be very calm and laid back. The exotic shorthair is a great choice for someone who wants a Persian but doesn't have the time or desire to devote to grooming.

#9 The Maine coon

This beautiful cat is a native to Maine and also the largest of the domestic cat breeds at an average size of up to 18 pounds, though some have tipped the scales at as much as a healthy 20. It looks very feline and takes three to four years to reach full physical maturity. It has very thick fur with a waterproof layer, large wide paws that act like snow shoes for walking easily across snow and a long, thick tail used to wrap about its face during harsh weather. The Maine coon is not only a popular breed because of its temperament, but it's also a great mouser. Plus, it's also healthy and hardy, and is great with kids and other animal, including dogs.

#10 The Persian

Everyone knows the Persian cat. Renowned for its long, silky fur, expressive eyes and squashed face, the Persian is also one of the oldest cat breeds. Calm and sweetly affectionate, this cat loves habit and serene environments (which means it's probably not the best kitty for families with small children or pets). Persians are the quintessential indoor cats; it is best to keep this breed exclusively indoors. The Persian does require regular baths and daily grooming, as its fur is too long for it to self-groom thoroughly and it is prone to matting. For Persian fanciers, grooming is but one of the many pleasures of having this cat as a companion.

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