Have you dreamed of having your very own pet tiger? Us too. They look beautiful, powerful and exotic and videos of them at zoos sometimes make them look cute and cuddly. But keeping big cats as pets isn’t always a good idea (for either of you), so larger breeds of house cats are the next best choice.
Domesticated cats are typically sought out as pets due to their small size and relatively low maintenance. Not all cats are created equally, though, and there are a handful of larger breeds that deserve just as much love as their petite counterparts.
If you prefer your cat not to bring you presents on the daily (like dead mice or birds), then keep them indoors around the clock. Larger cat breeds tend to be better hunters than smaller breeds. If you do keep your large house cat outside, be sure to add bells to their collar to make sure they can’t sneak up on prey.
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The strong, shaggy Maine Coon is a well-proportioned large domesticated cat. There are many stories of how this breed came to fruition, and some believe they originated in America as a cross between a house cat and a raccoon. That could be an explanation for the Maine Coon’s long, smooth coat and voluminous tail. This unique and affectionate breed is a great family pet known as gentle giants in the domesticated cat world.
Height: 10 to 16 inches
Weight: 10 to 18 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large, round paws; long, smooth fur; long tail; colors include brown, black, red or white often with tabby or tortoiseshell patterns
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The Ragdoll earned their name because of their docile, cuddly and affectionate nature. Ragdolls collapse into their favorite person’s arms when picked up, just like—you guessed it—a rag doll. Their history is shrouded in mystery and there are many claims of how they came to be, including CIA experiments. Nonetheless, the breed gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1990s and it was recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 2000.
Height: 9 to 11 inches
Weight: 10 to 15 pounds (female); 12 to 20 pounds (male)
Physical Characteristics: Large head with a rounded muzzle; long, silky coat; comes in a variety of colors including sealpoint and white, bluepoint and white, brown, cream, and tortoiseshell; muscular body; long tail; large, blue, wide-set eyes
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Imagine a wild, long-haired barn cat with wide yellow eyes and a muscular body. Got it? You are likely imagining the Norwegian Forest Cat. These large, sturdy cats were first bred in Norway when breeders crossed domestic cats with wild forest cats. Since the breed became domesticated, they have proven their worth as pets. They’re friendly, playful, and smart. And if you’re looking for a loyal pet to stay by your side, the Norwegian Forest Cat is the perfect choice.
Height: 9 to 12 inches
Weight: 13 to 20 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Colors vary greatly and every color and pattern is possible; unique double coat that includes a dense undercoat and a long, silky smooth overcoat; bushy tail that’s broader at the base; muscular and solid body; large, almond shaped, slightly angled eyes
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The most striking attribute of the Persian cat is their face. This long-haired cat has a round, often flat face and a distinctly short muzzle, giving them an almost squashed look. Persians are calm and sweet, with occasional bouts of playfulness. Most of all, they love lounging around the house and getting all the pets from their humans.
Height: 8 to 10 inches
Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Rounded face with a short muzzle; comes in a wide variety of colors including white, brown, and black; muscular body; large feet with long toes; hair can be either very long or relatively shortContinue to 5 of 10 below.
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An exotic-looking breed, the Chausie is a large, extremely active and intelligent cat breed whose history dates back to the ancient Egyptians. The Chausie got its name from the Latin name “felis chaus,” which translates to “jungle cat.” It was likely given this name because of its natural hunting skills and regal demeanor in combination with its large-and-in-charge appearance. The ancient breed was bred with house cats centuries ago and brought to America where they became popular as some of the largest domesticated cats.
Height: 14 to 18 inches
Weight: 15 to 20 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Tall, slender body; elongated snout; large ears; commonly black or brown with a tabby pattern
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Looking at its history, there’s no wonder this unique cat breed is large, sturdy and intelligent. Siberia, where this breed originated, has an exceptionally unforgiving climate with painfully short summers and long, harsh winters. The breed was domesticated and brought indoors, away from the elements, where its true colors could emerge. Siberian cats are notably affectionate and oh so playful, making great house pets.
Height: 9 to 11 inches
Weight: 10 to 20 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Come in all color combinations, especially white; long, thick overcoat with a tight undercoat; relatively short muzzle with rounded features; large, round eyes; muscular body
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The Savannah cat is a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, which is a medium-sized wild African cat with distinctly large ears. Its wild, leopard-like appearance makes the Savannah a commonly desired pet among big cat enthusiasts. Savannah cats are classified by the amount of each breed that they contain to inform owners of how truly wild they are. So-called F1 and F2 generations are usually the largest as they have more genes from the African serval.
Height: 10 to 17 inches
Weight: 12 to 25 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Coat often has a black spotted pattern; large, rounded, erect ears; extremely long legs; small head that is longer than it is wide; short tail with black rings; eyes have a hooded brow
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A distinctly short, stubby bobbed tail is what makes this domesticated house cat stand apart from all of the other breeds. The history of the American Bobtail is unique. They are thought to originate from a cat, Yodie, who was found abandoned at a motel in Arizona by a vacationing couple. Experts believe Yodie was dropped off at the motel by someone from the nearby Native American reservation, possibly the result of mating between a wild bobcat and a domestic cat. Their unique look and large size is certainly consistent with that tale.
Weight: 7 to 16 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Can come in any color or pattern; shaggy coat; stubby, bobbed tailContinue to 9 of 10 below.
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Cousin to the aforementioned Ragdoll cat breed, the Ragamuffin is large, lovable, and quite mellow. Ragamuffin cats are known for their docile nature and thick, luscious coat. In fact, their personality is quite similar to the Ragdoll. But their appearance is quite different as Ragamuffins typically have a friendly overall expression with larger, rounder eyes than Ragdolls.
Height: 9 to 12 inches
Weight: 8 to 20 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large, muscular body; short neck; fatty pad on belly; thick, bushy coat
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At first glance, it’s hard to believe the Bengal is a domesticated cat and not a wild one. With athletic bodies and a unique, patterned coat, the Bengal cat breed looks straight out of the jungles of South America. But Bengal owners say they are just as loving and friendly as other domestic cats. They’re very people-oriented cats who love to play and climb all day every day.
Height: 8 to 10 inches
Weight: 15 to 18 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large, wide-set, oval eyes; medium to small ears with rounded tops; colors include brown tabby, seal sepia tabby, seal mink tabby, seal lynx point, black silver tabby and other combinations with spotted or marbled patterns; short, dense coat; thick tail