Most popular cat breeds of 2022 and 2023
26th April, 2023
What’s the secret to a happy life with your cat? Choosing the right breed in the first place! Here’s how…
Did you know there are more than 10 million cats in the UK? An incredible 26% of households own at least one pet cat. And who can blame them?
Anyone with a cat in their home will tell you that felines are highly individual and do as they choose; however, certain breeds tend to have particular characteristics.
What are the most popular cat breeds in the UK, what difference does breed make and which breed of cat is right for you?
If you have a well-loved cat in your life or are thinking of taking in a rescue, you might be in need of cat insurance for older cats - a vital protection against vet expenses and more.
What is the most popular cat in the UK?
Let’s start by looking at some of the most popular cat breeds in the UK.
By far the most popular breed in the UK is the good old moggie, also known as the domestic shorthair. This breed has a long and mixed heritage, with some people claiming it’s not really a breed at all but a group of cats resulting from hundreds, if not thousands, of years of interbreeding.
Moggies come in many colours and are usually robust, friendly cats who don’t have some of the health problems associated with pedigree breeds. The typical moggy varies a bit from country to country due to the different breeding mixes.
This cat often has a gorgeous blue coat and orange eyes, but the breed does come in white, tabby or Siamese coat colourings, too. The chunky-looking cat has a round face and generally they are very affectionate, though they can be wary of children and strangers.
Shorthairs are happy to be indoor cats although a cat-secure garden will help to give them exercise for good health. They love spending time with their people and can be a bit lazy, so they need lots of games to get them up and moving to avoid weight gain. Health problems for pets can be expensive, especially in the senior years so make sure you have cat insurance for older cats.
Characterised by a fluffy colourpoint coat and piercing blue eyes, ragdoll cats are well-loved for their chilled personalities and silky-smooth fur. They’re happy to loll around for much of the day but also love hanging out with their owners.
Ragdolls are slow to mature, only reaching full maturity around the age of four. As a large cat, ragdolls need quite a lot of exercise but are unsuited to being allowed to roam, so they need a safe outside space to play. They also need daily grooming and don’t like to be left alone for too long, as they are so attached to their owners.
With their luxurious coats and squishy faces, it’s easy to see why people love Persian cats. This is a cat that likes a calm and cosy environment where they feel secure - they’re unlikely to appreciate a noisy family home. They need frequent grooming but they will reward you with lots of kitty love.
As a Pedigree cat, Persians can be prone to health issues including coat problems, kidney issues and dental decay. This makes it all the more important to have reliable insurance for your pet, including cat insurance for older cats when your kitty begins to age.
The sleek, strong Bengal looks like it would be at home prowling in a jungle. With a thick, spotted coat the Bengal has a tiger-like appearance. They are popular cats but take real commitment from owners and a certain type of home.
Bengal cats are highly intelligent and inquisitive, requiring lots of hunting-style games and play to keep them entertained. Bengals can be quite vocal, prefer a quiet environment and lots of outdoor space. Bengals are fascinating to watch but tend not to be the cuddliest cats. They can live up to 16 years, so make sure you have cat insurance for older cats!
These giants of the domestic cat world are large, powerful, intelligent and lovable. They have thick coats made of an undercoat and waterproof top coat and puffy tails they can wrap around themselves for extra warmth.
With a wide variety of colours and markings, Maine Coons were originally bred to work catching rats and mice on ships, possibly bred from thick-coated Scandinavian cats like the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Maine Coons are excellent hunters and need plenty of stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored. They are perhaps the most trainable breed of cat, and they love to be around humans. They can be quite demanding, which has led to them being seen as more doglike than catlike in their needs.
Instantly recognisable from their smooth silhouette and colourpoint coats, these graceful cats can be wonderful pets. With high intelligence and really unique personalities, Siamese cats can form a close bond with their humans - which might be delightful or clingy, depending on your perspective. They like to have people around most of the time.
Siamese demand lots of attention from their owners and like lots of company, so they’re not a cat to get if you have to be out for long periods or want a low-maintenance pet. Siamese cats are usually kept as house cats or kept within a secure garden or catio, mainly because of the risk that these highly valuable pets will be stolen.
This hairless breed is a bit of a Marmite cat, with some people loving its unique appearance and soft skin, others preferring a cat with fur. The Sphynx is not completely hairless, with a soft fuzzy down covering but it does need regular bathing and warm places to cosy up.
The Sphynx can be a good cat for people with allergies to pet hair. They are usually house cats and need lots of enrichment and play to keep them entertained. If they get bored, Sphynxes can turn into minxes and cause mayhem by knocking things over and getting into places they shouldn’t.
This neat, medium-sized cat has a Siamese-like shape and a beautiful blue coat and striking green eyes. They can be a bit stand-offish when they first meet people, taking time to evaluate newcomers rather than leaping onto laps. Once bonded with their owners, they can be very affectionate and sweet.
Russian Blues like a quiet environment without too much noise. They are capable of going outside but their pedigree appearance makes theft a real risk, so it may be best to keep them indoors or in a secure garden or outdoor run.
How can you choose a breed that suits you?
If you’re thinking of getting a pet, it’s important to understand all the ways it will impact your life and how different breeds have different needs.
Some key questions you might want to consider include:
1. Do you want your cat to be able to go outside?
Some people want their cat to be able to explore the outdoors and have all sorts of adventures - even if it means they bring back the odd ‘present’ of a half-dead mouse for their owner.
Pedigree cats are valuable and can easily be stolen when allowed out to roam, or they might lack the street sense of common moggies and be at greater risk of accidents. Make sure this risk is covered under your cat insurance for older cats policy.
2. How much time can you spend on caring for your cat?
A cat is one of the least demanding pets to have in terms of time, but they still need owners who have a commitment to feeding, playing, clearing the litter tray, grooming and managing health issues.
Some breeds will struggle if they are left alone for long periods, while others are happy to play without any humans around - especially if they have another feline companion.
3. Is your home a quiet place, or a busy bustling place?
Some cats, like the Persian, love to have a chilled, quiet environment where they can snooze the day away. If there is lots of coming and going in the home, they might become distressed and hide away, become territorial and aggressive or develop stress-related health problems.
Other cats will be happy to have lots of people around to play with - so long as they always have places to retreat to if it becomes too much.
4. How much can you afford to spend on a cat?
You need to be confident you can afford everything a cat needs, before you take one on - not just the price of buying your pet but ongoing costs such as food, pet bills, toys and stimulation, and providing a suitable home environment.
Some breeds of cat are much more likely to have high vet bills, making cat insurance for older cats increasingly important as your pet enters old age.
5. How will your lifestyle change over the next two decades?
When you take on a cat, you should be committing to caring for the animal for its natural lifespan, which averages at around 15 years but can reach 20 years and beyond.
When taking on a cat, you need to think through your plans carefully - how will your pet fit with your plans for your career, travelling, having a family, moving to a new home or region?
If you want to take on a pet for a shorter amount of time, an older rescue cat could be better for you than a kitten - but make sure you take out cat insurance for older cats to protect you against vet costs.
6. How much space do you have for a cat?
Cat breeds vary in how active they are and how much exercise they need - a large breed like a Maine Coon is likely to need more exercise than a smaller breed, but all cats need to get their hearts beating regularly to stay in good health.
It is possible to keep an indoor cat healthy, but you have to put effort in to ensure your pet doesn’t become overweight and unhealthy.
If you have a home with outdoor space where a cat can play and roam free, this might influence your choice of pet. Being near a busy road is also a crucial factor in whether you decide to let your cat out to roam. In quiet but densely occupied areas, cats might be happier staying indoors or in a secure run rather than fighting with the neighbours’ cats over territory.
7. Do you have any other pets, or young children?
If you have a young family, or other pets such as dogs or birds, you might want to think carefully when choosing a pet. If a cat is in conflict with other members of your household, it could cause serious distress for your feline as well as posing a risk of injury to others, and making you feel pretty awful as well.
8. Do you have any health issues or allergies?
Having a pet allergy can mean you have no choice but to rehome a much-loved pet. Symptoms include watering eyes, sneezing, wheezing, exhaustion and hives.
Allergies are not all the same - you can be allergic to cat saliva, fur, dander (skin flakes). There are ways to manage mild allergies, and testing can help confirm what you are allergic to.
Where to find a cat
Once you’ve thought about how your home, circumstances and lifestyle will determine which breed of cat you choose, it’s time to start looking for a cat to welcome into your life.
Pedigree cats should be registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), Felis Britannica or TICA. This provides reassurance that the cat is the breed that is being claimed.
A pedigree cat should also have a registration certificate with a unique number and its registered name.
There are many different ways to find a cat:
1. Rescue cats
You might choose to take on a rescue cat. You could try a local all-breeds rescue centre or contact a breed-specific centre. Rescuing a cat can help you skip the kitten stage if that’s what you would prefer, as older cats are often a bit more settled and calm. It also potentially saves a cat from being put down or not living their best life by spending extended time in the rescue centre.
Rescue cats sometimes come from difficult pasts and might have health problems or behavioural issues that will take extra time, patience and support. For this reason, many rescues cannot be placed in homes with young children or other pets. Make sure you have cat insurance for older cats if you take on an older moggie.
2. Reputable breeder
Breeders who are well-informed, experienced and know how to manage paperwork are often worth the extra investment. You can find one through the GCCF or ask your vet or other connections about reputable breeders in your area. There might be a waiting list for kittens from particularly popular breeders.
A good breeder of pedigree cats will be able to tell you about the cats lineage, provide a registration certificate and tell you about health screening for breed-specific conditions, such as PKD for Persians or Hypokalaemia for Burmese cats. They should also be able to provide information about healthcare, feeding, training and settling your new pet.
3. Informal breeder
There are plenty of informal sales sites where people advertise kittens and cats for sale, including pedigree breeds. The animals for sale on these sites often cost substantially less than those sold by more professional breeders, but beware: you might save money in buying your pet, but end up paying more in vet costs if your cat has health problems.
Experienced breeders are careful in choosing which cats to breed from, providing good vet care and giving the kittens the best start in life. Informal breeders might be unscrupulous people operating a ‘kitten farm’ style breeding centre, or they might be well-meaning but uninformed about how to breed kittens well.
You should be able to see kittens with their mother, be given information about the father, and be told about health screenings, vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, training, socialisation and the circumstances of birth.
Red flags that should put you off a cat breeder:
Spotting a kitten with poor health
You can tell a lot by just observing the kittens - don’t get bowled over by the cuteness and fluffiness, you need to be looking carefully to see if the cats have been well cared for and are healthy.
If they are not, you could be risking heartache and expense with a pet that gets sick, needs a lot of vet care or operations, or even dies prematurely.
Use the Cat Group’s Kitten Checklist to help you make a wise choice. Key signs to look out for include:
- Movement - Does the kitten move freely (from about 8 weeks)? Do they have a limp?
- Cleanliness - Check the eyes, ears and nose. Are they goopy or dirty? Does the bottom area look soiled or sore?
- Coat condition - Is the coat healthy, without any sores or scratches? Are there any fleas or parasites?
- Behaviour - Is the kitten playful and energetic? Are they friendly, or do they hiss, spit or growl? A kitten showing these behaviours could have been poorly socialised, or may be in poor health.
What are the extra costs of owning a pedigree cat?
If you decide to go for a particular breed of cat rather than a good old moggy, it’s worth considering whether this could cost more. Here are some of the things you should consider:
- Theft risk - pedigree cats cost more to buy, which makes them attractive to thieves who might try to sell them on or breed from them. Good security and microchipping your cat can help, as well as checking theft is covered under your pet insurance.
- Health problems - purebred cats can be at higher risk of breed-specific health problems, ranging from breathing issues to skin problems and joint pain. Testing and choosing a good breeder can help rule out some of these risks, but treating a cat for a health condition can be costly, especially if it isn't covered under your cat insurance for older cats.
- Higher insurance costs - the higher risk of theft, likelihood of illness and value of your pedigree cat will probably mean that your insurance premiums will be higher.
- Cattery/cat sitter costs - if you take on a high maintenance, fussy cat you might find it harder and/or more expensive to find holiday care for your pet. Some cats get distressed when their usual human is away, or find the environment at a cattery distressing.
- Pricey preferences - pedigree cats might be more highly strung and have marked preference for particular brands of food, medicine or litter. Inevitably, they may prefer the more expensive types!
- Managing a house cat - if your pet is going to be an indoor cat or limited to a catio, you’re going to have to invest more time in keeping them entertained. This could impact your ability to work. If your cat gets bored or stressed, you might find they become more destructive in the house, scratching furniture, spraying, or knocking things over. As well as being unpleasant for you and your pet, this can prove expensive!
Find quality insurance you can rely on
If you’re bringing a cat into your home, you need to be sure you can take care of them. Pet insurance is essential to make sure you can protect your moggy for the long term.
If your cat is a little older, cat insurance for older cats is a great way to ensure you can manage vet costs if your pet develops an age-related condition.
Why not get in touch with Petwise today to discuss your needs?
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