4. The sphynx
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.
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.
The Siamese comes in a number of colors, but the points — the dark patches on the face, ears, paws and tail — are integral to the breed.
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.
This is a wilful, smart and extroverted cat that loves to explore and play. Its love of games is only matched by its love of water, so watch out for unsolicited bath partners in the tub! Despite its curious nature, the Abyssinian is generally shy and timid around strangers, though it's a good family pet and works well with cat-friendly pups. If you are in search of a show cat, this breed is probably not the best choice. The Aby is most comfortable in a home environment that best suits its loyal and people-loving nature.
Next Up: The exotic shorthair