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Top 10 cat breeds

Vladimir is a regular contributor to PetMD, the largest global source of pet health information. PetMD's content is created by veterinary professionals and covers 9 different species.

Are you a cat person?

For every type of person in the world, there is a breed of cat that will suit his or her tastes 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. There are several suitable breeds that will make your heart purr.

If you're thinking of going all the way and investing in a purebred feline friend, you have come to the right spot. Here is our look at the top 10 cat breeds, which include cats not known to cause allergies.

1. The oriental

Related to the Siamese, this cat has big pointed ears and an inquisitive personality. The Oriental cat is smart and social and will bond deeply with its owners. The cat can be a loyal and playful companion. Its sleek body is more muscular than it would appear. It can be quite vocal and demanding — a very "dog-like" cat. In fact, these cats play well with other pets and are kid-friendly.

With an average adult weight of 5 to 8 pounds, the oriental has an average lifespan of about 15 years, though it can be plagued by dental problems and is prone to a hereditary disease of the liver and kidneys called amyloidosis.

2. The American shorthair

This athletic cat is descended from the British shorthair, but is larger, leaner and more powerful than its across-the-pond counterpart. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns and is also a very long-lived kitty, with a lifespan of 15 to 20 years not being out of the ordinary. The American shorthair is great with kids and even gets along well with dogs, too. The American shorthair is healthy, gentle, easy going and low maintenance — grooming is not an issue with this breed, which weighs in at an average of 8 to 15 pounds, with males being significantly larger.

3. The Birman

This beautiful cat is thought to have originated from Burma. Legend has it 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, which makes it the perfect kitty for families with children or other animals. The average Birman weighs about 8 to 12 pounds.

4. The sphynx

Window Wendell

A photo posted by Emily Denlinger (@hugo_and_wendell) on

We're not talking about the legendary Egyptian monument or myth, but an exotic cat breed. The hairless sphynx isn't completely hairless — it actually 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, cuddly, energetic and affectionate. 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, whether you have kids or even other pets.

The sphynx weighs between 8 and 15 pounds, but weight gain can be a serious problem if it's not monitored.

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, often following its owners from room to room like a puppy. This kitty 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. It's good with other animals, too, but shouldn't be left around aggressive animals because of its low self-defensibility.

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.

Generally, they weight between 10 and 15 pounds, but large males can easily get up to 20 pounds, so if you're looking for a smaller pet, bear that in mind.

Next: 5 More of the top cat breeds


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