Cats can be ideal playmates for children, provide comfort and companionship for the elderly, and give enormous pleasure to all the family.
It’s no surprise then to learn that cats are the 2nd most popular pet in Australia and are an integral part of around 2.7 million Australian households.
Because of the loving, playful natures of cats, many families view them as an essential member of their family circle.
The cheap and easy availability of the common moggie makes them probably the most common pet cat around but if you’re looking for something a little more special you might want to check out these special breeds that will have you falling in love at first sight.
The top, most popular cats in Australia include:
Also known as “Spotted Mist”.
The Australian Mist is an ideal family pet thanks to its very gentle friendly nature. The Australian Mist loves to be handled and will happily sit on your lap.
It’s quite happy living indoors and so is a great choice if you live near the bush and are concerned about the impact cats can have on native wildlife and birds.
They will adapt to training and will even go for walks on a lead.
This medium sized, short haired cat with a spotted coat is the result of a breeding programme that crossed the Abyssinian, Burmese and other short-haired cats.
The Abyssinian originated in Ethiopia or Egypt.
The Abyssinian is a sleek, medium-sized cat that boasts a dense, luscious coat. Its body has a fine elegant musculature with a long tail, a wedge-shaped head and large pointed ears.
They have deeply expressive green, gold, copper or hazel coloured eyes and are they are very vocal, intelligent, and energetic.
The coat of an Abyssinian features a colour characteristic called ticking; a band of colour crossing each hair.
They are very affectionate and loyal but do demand attention. Their curiosity and ability to climb will keep you and your children entertained for hours.
Their social natures allow them to make friends with everyone including the family dog.
Bengal Cats are the result of a cross between an Asian leopard cat and an unknown domestic cat in the early 19th century.
The mix of wild rosette markings and stripes highlight its wild ancestry but really the Bengal is a highly affectionate cat with a gentle nature. They love to play, climb and even swim and have lots of energy.
They do command a lot of attention but with such a beautiful regal appearance who will refuse their commands.
Despite their luxurious coat Bengals don’t shed much hair and need little in the way of coat maintenance and grooming. Bengal cats may not tolerate other pets such as dogs very well.
The British Shorthair is an ideal indoors cat that requires minimal maintenance.
Its gentle, sweet nature makes it tolerant towards young children but they don’t usually like being handled very much.
Their very stable nature makes them very unlikely to hiss or scratch.
In fact, they can be extremely affectionate giving you firm headbutts or twining around your legs.
It’s not a very active cat and this can cause obesity problems if you don’t control their diet. They are very intelligent cats and can be trained.
They are not highly vocal which makes them ideal for quiet-loving households.
The Burmese has long featured as one of Australia’s most popular cats.
Lithe and active with a wide range of coat colours, the Burmese are very sociable and affectionate as well as being vocal.
There are two versions of the Burmese; the more traditional British has a thinner body type whilst the newer American is more muscular. Both varieties feature short silky hair.
Burmese are super loyal and will display their devotion by sticking to your side and with affectionate mewing.
Beautifully expressive eyes make them impossible to ignore. Their intelligence and loving nature make for great family pets as they will never tire of playing with you or your family.
Also known as “pixie cats” or “alien cats”
The Devon Rex is a highly distinctive cat with its very soft, short-haired, curly coat, large elf-like ears and a short muzzle.
Highly intelligent, the Devon Rex is extremely loving and loyal to its human family as well as other pet members.
They will never tire of playing with your children.
It is quite trainable and will even perform tricks, walk on a lead or fetch items for you.
They can be suitable for people with smaller houses or smaller enclosures and they love climbing and jumping so be prepared to have a lovable fur bundle launch itself at your shoulders when you walk through the door.
The Exotic short hair cat is the result of crossing with a short-haired Persian.
A large round head features a flat nose and large round eyes which makes them resemble their Persian ancestors.
Even their temperament is similar to a Persian. Even though it is a short-haired coat the hair is very plush.
Exotic Shorthairs are highly affectionate, social and will love being in your company.
Their gentle, calm nature makes them great pets for your children.
They are highly playful but will also love to settle on your lap. They are not very vocal cats.
Also known as Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Snowshoe Cat, Maine Shag, American Longhair, The Gentle Giants
The origins of the Maine Coon are unknown but it is certainly the oldest and largest of American domesticated cats and is the official cat of the State of Maine.
Despite their size they are prized for their loving, gentle and playful nature.
The coat is soft and silky with a medium to long length. They often feature a fluffy ruff on the chest.
They can be very vocal and although they are very affectionate they are not huge lap lovers.
Also known as Shirazi cat or Iranian cat
With its characteristic round face and flattened muzzle, the Persian has long been a favourite in Australian homes.
It’s quiet, undemanding nature is complemented by a gentle, affectionate yet laid back temperament making it a good choice for homes with young children and other pets.
Persian cats don’t need large amounts of space and so suit small homes and apartment living.
The only downside to Persians is that their long hair does shed and will need regular grooming to look its best.
The Ragdoll as its name suggests is a large powerful cat with medium length hair that tends to be very floppy and placid when handled.
Its gentle loving nature makes it an ideal cat for young children especially because it adores being picked up.
They love attention and are very playful but they also love to sit in your lap.
They will follow you around and thanks to their intelligence can be trained to do tricks such as fetch.
The Ragdoll usually has stunning blue eyes and a highly distinctive coat with colours that might include red, chocolate, cream, and blue.
Also known as Archangel Cat or Archangel Blue.
The Russian Blue is the true aristocrat among cats and it is believed that the Blue descended from the royal cats kept by the Czars.
Russian Blues have a dense plush silver grey coat that sheds very little and contains lower quantities of allergens than other cats.
The finely shaped body and elegant head make a very regal showcase for her brilliant green eyes.
Russian Blues have a very gentle nature and demonstrate unbreakable loyalty to her owners (usually one in particular).
They do tend to be shy around strangers but will shower love on your children. Blues are very quiet cats only mewing when need arises.
The Scottish Fold cat is a medium sized cat with the very distinctive feature of folded ears.
These complement her rounded face and large round eyes. Scottish Fold cats are very sweet natured and will be affectionate with the entire family.
Scottish Folds come in a wide range of coat colours but the coat does tend to shed quite heavily.
Scottish Folds are not highly active cats and you may need to monitor their food consumption to avoid problems with obesity.
Scottish Folds have a weakness in the tail that means you must play or move the tail with care.
For this reason it may not be the best breed for homes with very young children.
The Siamese cat has long been very popular with Australians and with its distinctive deep blue almond shaped eyes set against the darker coloured face and light coloured body it’s hardly surprising.
The short soft silky coat comes in a range of colours and highlights the fine whippy tail.
Siamese cats are very active and intelligent and they need a great deal of stimulation and attention.
They will richly reward your affection but they can be demanding and very vocal about it.
They love children but if you lead busy lives Siamese may not be the ideal choice as they don’t do well when left alone for too long.
The Sphynx cat is called a hairless cat but it is not completely hairless as it still has a fine down like a peach.
You will need to make sure they are kept warm if you live in a cold climate but the Sphinx absolutely loves its human family and will play happily with your children all day.
In fact, it is a real show-off and will perform crazy antics to get the attention it deserves.
They are highly active cats but they do require quite a lot of maintenance; weekly bathing and ear cleaning.
However, their lack of hair does mean they can be suitable for people who suffer from allergies.
Their lack of hair and tendency to sunburn quickly means they are only suitable as indoor cats.
American Bobtails are originated in the USA and they are noted for their thick bobbed tail that is half or one-third of a regular cat’s tail.
They can be divided into two varieties based on hair length – medium-long and short.
These cats are well-muscled, graceful with a rolling gait. American Bobtails are great family pets and get along with children and other pets.
They are subtle, affectionate, and not demanding.
The American Curls were developed in the US and they are most notable for their unusual ears, which are curled off their face to the centre of their head.
They only mature fully at around two to three years. These cats also have a soft, silky coat that is low maintenance.
American Curls are affectionate without being too demanding. They love to nuzzle their owners’ faces. They also like fetching games and love to play with children.
American Shorthairs were formally bred in North America, although they were acknowledged as an original landrace stock in Europe.
They have muscular bodies with well-developed chests, shoulders, and hindquarters. They are found in more than 80 colours and patterns.
American Shorthairs are affectionate, easy-going, and social even with strangers.
They are perfect for people who want cats sitting on their lap but are not as demanding as other cats. They are adaptable, sociable, and trainable.
American Wirehairs originated in upstate New York in the US. They look the same as American Shorthairs, but with a wiry, springy coat, whiskers, and ear fur.
They have a moderate build, round heads, a pronounced muzzle, and high cheekbones. American Wirehairs demand for affection and attention.
They are affectionate, active, and keen on what’s happening in their surroundings. They are also said to be sensitive about their owner’s feelings.
The Balinese is of American origin. They have the same point colouration as Siamese cats but with long hair.
They are more petite than the Siamese with oversized ears, wedge-shaped head, and large, blue eyes. Males weigh around 7-8 pounds, while females weigh around 5-6 pounds.
They love people, like to follow their owners around, and opinionated. The Balinese is also athletic, agile, playful, and intelligent. However, these cats have to be kept occupied to avoid trouble at home.
Birmans originated in France. They have medium-long hair, deep blue eyes, and a pale body with darker points.
They also have small ears, a semi-cobbly body, and a Roman nose. Each of their paws has white gloves, which is rare among cat breeds.
Birmans are gentle, affectionate, and loyal companions. Being temple cats, they are used to being adored. They are social and generally curious of visitors.
Bombays are domestic shorthaired cats that were developed in the US. They are found in two varieties – American Bombay and British Bombay.
The American Bombay cats have golden or copper eyes and a jet black coat. They are called the “parlour panther.” The British Bombay cats have black toes, coat, and nose with deep rich copper to gold eyes.
Bombay cats are sociable, dependent, demanding of attention, and pay attention to a particular person. They love snuggling and can be distinguished by their purr.
The Chartreux was developed in France. These domestic cats have slender legs with a stocky body, earning them the nickname ‘potato on toothpicks.’
They have a blue-toned fur with a thick undercoat. Their fur is furry and of medium length. They have a round head with soulful eyes and a mysterious Ala-Mona Lisa smile.
Chartreux cats make wonderful companions. They are loyal, quiet, friendly, and love to sit on the owner’s lap.
Cornish Rexes are domestic cats that originated in the UK. They don’t have guard hairs so they have very short coats with distinctive large ears on an egg-shaped head.
They have hallowed cheekbones, a strong chin, and a high bridged Roman nose. Their body is long, muscular and slender. The Rexes’ legs are long and thin.
They are active, inquisitive, and love to joke. They treat everything as a game. They are also affectionate and devoted to the extent that they will sit with you at the dinner table.
Egyptian Maus were developed in Egypt. They are of small to medium size with a naturally spotted coat.
They are a shorthaired breed with a twitching tail, gooseberry-green eyes, and coats that are coloured bronze, silver, or smoke under their spots.
They are often confused with the Ocicat, although the Maus have a wedge-shaped head and a muscular body. Egyptian Maus can make a variety of sounds, are agile, intelligent, inquisitive, and low maintenance.
Havana Browns are of Thai origin. They are also called as non-blue eyes Siamese. They also have a lithe and muscular body covered with a glossy coat that can be a rich mahogany red-brown and lilac or pinkish grey.
These cats have erect ears, a corn cob muzzle, and a square chin. Havana Browns are playful, curious, and affectionate.
They love being with people and will extend their paw to get your attention.
Japanese Bobtails are domestic cats believed to have originated in Japan and Southeast Asia. They are known for their bobbed tail that looks more like a rabbit’s tail than a cat’s.
They should have an equilateral triangle for their head, large upright ears, medium sized body, and large oval eyes. They have five toes in front and four behind.
Their hind legs are longer than their forelegs. Japanese Bobtails are intelligent, active, alert, bold, and adaptable. They may even be annoyingly active with chirping voices that may seem like they are singing.
Korats originated in Thailand. They are domestic shorthaired cats with low body fat percentage. They have a semi-cobby and muscular body with a solid-coloured coat, meaning it does not have any shading or tabby markings at all.
However, their hair shafts tend to lighten at the roots. Their coat has that halo effect as their tips are coloured silver. Korats start out ugly until they bloom at the age of two to four years.
They are not vocal but they sure show what they want through action, such as nipping your shin if you don’t feed them fast enough. They are also playful, social, and hyper.
LaPerm cats are of American origin. They are called as such because of their curly fur, with the smallest curls on their belly, base of the ears, and throat.
They have a medium to long body with long legs, wedge-shaped head, and stand out ears and eyes.
They have low shedding so they are low maintenance. LaPerms are inquisitive, mischievous, outgoing, active, and affectionate.
Manx cats are domestic cats that originated in the Isle of Man. They have naturally short tails, though many are even tailless.
Manx’s tails can be classified as rumpy (completely tailless); riser (with a bump); stumpy (with an inch-long vertebrae); stubby (with a tail half a normal cat’s tail); and longy (with a tail that is half or the same size as a regular cat’s tail).
They are of small to medium size, lean and muscular with longer hind legs than the fore legs. Their coat can be long or short, although all of them have a dense, double coat.
Manx are widely considered as social, attached, playful, intelligent, but stranger shy cats.
Norwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian Forest Cats originated in Norway. They are domestic cats were built to weather cold places with their glossy and water-shedding top coat and a woolly undercoat.
They are strongly built, large cats with a bushy tail, a triangle-shaped head, and ears that extended the triangular head. These cats are intelligent, friendly, energetic, and demanding, but they also use a quiet voice.
They are good hunters, but can be trained as indoor pets too.
Ocicats are domestic cats that originated in the US. They have spots like wild animals do, but are completely of the same temperament as domestic animals.
Their most notable feature would be the thumbprint-sized spots covering their entire body. Ocicats are nosy, interactive, and talkative. However, they can be demanding, which is why they need basic obedience training.
They can also recognize their names, but prefer to stick to one person instead of the entire family.
Orientals are of American origin. They are a part of the Siamese family. They have a sleek and sturdy appearance, large ears, a lanky body, and a wedge-shaped head.
They are also found in over 300 colours and patterns. Orientals can be shorthaired or longhaired, although shorthairs are more common. They want attention and would meow loudly to get it.
They also need human interaction and should be raised with other Orientals or any other active breeds.
Ragamuffins originated in the US. They have a thick fur comparable to that of a rabbit. They are heavily boned and mature only at 4 years old.
They have a round head, broad shoulders, broad chest, and a fatty pad on the abdomen. The Ragamuffins have longer fur on the outer edges of their face and their neck.
They are docile, attention seekers, and function well with other pets. However, they don’t want to be left alone for hours and love being with kids.
Selkirk Rexes are different from the other Rex breeds. They have normal-length hair that is thicker and plusher than that of a LaPerm cat. Their coat is soft and curly.
They are found in longhaired and shorthaired varieties. Selkirk Rexes have a semi-cobbly and muscular body with a round head. These cats are social, loving, and affectionate.
They like spending time with people and behave like kittens even during their adulthood.
Siberians were developed in Russia. They have three layers of fur – guard hair, awn hair, and down. Their coat is coloured tabby, tortoiseshell, solid, and colourpoint.
These cats are of medium to large size, around 8-17 pounds. They have medium-sized ears with a lot of fur, nearly round eyes, and a rounded head. Siberians are playful and love to play with water.
They can be handled and are still agile despite their size.
Singapura cats are believed to have originated in Singapore. They are among the smallest breeds of cats known for their large ears and eyes, blunt tail, and brown ticked coat.
They only come in one colour – rich warm sable brown with an ivory background and yellow tones. Singapura are extroverts, curious, interactive, intelligent, and affectionate.
Tonkinese are of Canadian origin. They are muscular and trim cats with a wedge-shaped head, oval paw, and large ears. Their coat colour is found in three patterns – solid, pointed, and mink.
They are demanding and less high strung than the Siamese. Tonks like conversations and have a less piercing voice. They are loyal and loving.
They love to play with interactive toys, such as the owner’s finger or the tail of other cats.
Turkish Angoras originated in Turkey. They are among the ancient breeds from central Turkey. These cats have a medium-length coat, a silky tail, but no undercoat.
They are found in more than 20 colours. Their eyes are coloured green, blue, yellow, amber, or odd-eyed (different colour for each eye). Angoras are attached to their cats as well as to their human families.
They need to play and get into action. They also pounce on anything that catches their attention, from their owner’s feet to scraps of paper.