What's Your Cat Breed's Superpower?

LAST UPDATED 10 MARCH 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Belinda Stancombe

Cats are amazing! They are independent, curious, adorable, loyal and make wonderful lifelong companions. No matter what the breed, cats have a range of different and wonderful personalities.

Cat breeds have been adapted over the years with certain skills and features that make them unique. Almost like super powers, these traits have been developed to give certain breeds that little bit extra, making them outstanding!

Discover the reasons behind these cat breeds "Superpowers".

Ragdoll: Super Cuddly

The Ragdoll is a relatively young breed and was developed in the 1960s by breeder Ann Baker who specifically selected for cats with gentle, placid personalities that possessed the 'point' genetics. They were named after their natural tendency to 'go floppy' or 'ragdoll' when picked up.

Ragdolls are incredibly docile, gentle, affectionate, and easy going. You'd be hard pressed to find a more tolerant, chilled out breed. They love company, and will tolerate being picked up and carried around, making them great for families with children and are known for greeting their owners at the door and cuddling up in bed. Generally the more love and affection you show your Ragdoll, the more love you will receive back!

Some other cuddly cat breeds include the Maine Coon, Persian, Siamese and Scottish Fold.

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Siamese: Super Talkative

The Siamese breed is known for being vocal and opinionated, and will happily have conversations with their owners, responding vocally to questions. They are agile, energetic and excellent jumpers, and love to frequent high places. Siamese are loving, affectionate and bond strongly with their owners, and because of this are not suitable to be left home alone for extended periods of time. They can be chatty little busy-bodies though, and should only be adopted by owners that love this unique quality.

The Siamese is believed to be one of the oldest cat breeds in the world. The exact origin of the breed is unknown, but it is suspected that the Siamese originated in Thailand as early as the 13th or 14th centuries.The Siamese cat is recorded to be the legendary temple cat of the King of Siam. Legend has it that Siamese were guardians for the King. They would perch on pillars around his palace and jump down onto individuals who threatened the King. The breed is easily recognisable with long limbs, a slender body, and a triangular-shaped face with large ears. The coat of the Siamese is always 'pointed', with darker markings around the ears, face, limbs and tail.

Other cat breeds that love to talk include the Oriental Shorthair, Sphynx, Japanese Bobtail and Burmese.

Bengal: Super Swimmers

Bengals are known for being fond of playing in water. It is not uncommon to find them trying to join their owner for a bath or shower and some Bengals will even swim if given the opportunity.

Originally bred by crossing a wild Asian leopard cat with a domestic shorthair, the Bengal first originated in the United States in the 1970s. It is this wild cat ancestry and naturally curious and confident personalities that make Bengals an active, full of energy and often mischievous breed. Highly intelligent, confident and friendly, they are generally easy to train, with many Bengals enjoying being walked on a lead.

Their high level of intelligence and naturally curious nature means they require lots of mental stimulation. They thrive on games and puzzles - and boredom is often the cause of their notorious mischief! These guys will need to keep their buzzing minds busy with a whole lot of interactive toys.

Other cat breeds that love the water include the Manx, Maine Coon, Turkish Van and American Bobtail.

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Sphynx: Super Bald

While the Sphynx may appear completely hair-free, they actually sport a very fine, short coat of fuzzy hair similar to a peach. This gives the skin a velvety soft, suede-like feel. With large bat-like ears, and inquisitive lemon-shaped eyes, they have a unique appearance which might be mistaken for a cute little elf .

This breed is incredibly social and loves being the centre of attention. Highly playful and energetic, Sphynx are well suited to families with children and are especially great for people that are prone to allergies.

The Sphynx was developed accidentally in Canada during the 1970s. A black and white female gave birth to a wrinkled, hairless kitten, who was affectionately named 'Prune'. Because of his special appearance, Prune was selected for breeding, and thus began the Sphynx breed.

Some other hairless cat breeds include the Bambino, Elf, Peterbald, Donskoy and Ukrainian Levkoy.

Maine Coon: Super Sized

The Maine Coon is the largest domestic cat breed in the world, reaching up to an average weight of 8kg and a body length of 40-80cm. According to the Guinness World Records the title of the World's Longest Domestic Cat belonged to Stewie, a Maine Coon measuring in at 123 cm in length!

Often dubbed 'gentle giants', Maine Coons are easy going and loyal with a playful and intelligent nature. They are highly adaptable and get along with other pets and children, making them an excellent family pet. Their high level of intelligence and moderate to high energy levels mean that Maine Coons enjoy interactive play and are well suited to learning tricks and commands.

Other large cat breeds include the Savannah, Norwegian Forest and Ragdoll.

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Abyssinian: Super Energetic

The Abyssinian is an outgoing breed that loves to play! They are intelligent, energetic and adventurous and will happily play for hours. They love to climb, jump, run and seem to have endless amounts of energy, living their life to the fullest. A very social breed, they love company, forming strong bonds with family members and other pets. Due to their high energy needs and social personalities, they do well in a household with another Abysinnian that can match their zest for life.

The Abyssinian has been around for over a century but their origins are still unclear. It is thought that the first of this breed were brought back to Europe in the 1860s from Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia, as kittens by British soldiers serving in the Abyssinian war.

Affectionately known as the Aby, this regal breed is known for its unique ticked coat pattern which has alternating bands of light and dark colours. This gives the Abysinnian the appearance of a small, wild cat.

Other energetic and playful cat breeds include the Japanese Bobtail, Siamese, Bengal and Maine Coon.

Sokoke Cat: Super Rare

If you have never seen or heard of the Sokoke Cat, that is not surprising. One of the rarest cat breeds in the world, the Sokoke is only a very recent breed originating in Eastern Kenya in 1977.

Wildlife artist, Jeni Slater found a litter of kittens in the Sokoke Forest where she lived and kept two kittens, a male and a female. Due to their unusual markings she believed that the litter may have been a cross between a wild cat and domestic cat. These kittens were part of the original Sokoke breeding program.

The Sokoke breed is friendly, intelligent, inquisitive and dog-like. They can be taught tricks and will even play games of fetch. They love attention and thrive in an active household. Perhaps one of their most unique characteristics is their 'tip toe gait'. Due to their longer hind legs, they often appear to prance instead of walk, which makes them even more adorable!

Some other rare breeds of cat include the Devon Rex, Burmilla, La Perm, Korat and Kurilian Bobtail.

Persian: Super Fluffy

The Persian breed are known for their long-flowing, soft coats and fluffy appearance. They have a distinct appearance with a round face, flattened muzzle, big eyes and widely set ears. They are known for their quiet and sweet personalities and while they are affectionate, they will reserve this for close family members. Due to their wonderful long coats, they require daily grooming to maintain their elegant appearance.

An old breed, the Persian originated in Mesopotamia, originally Persia, and was imported by Italian nobleman Pietro Della Valle to Europe in 1626. Years of breeding has given rise to the modern Persian breed appearance.

Other common breeds with amazingly fluffy coats include the Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest, Ragdoll and Siberian.

Norwegian Forest Cat: Super Climbers

Large and athletic, the Norwegian Forest Cat has long legs, a sturdy body and strong claws, making them excellent climbers. Adapted to live in cold climates, this breed has a water resistant top coat with a thick, woolly undercoat.

Affectionately known as the Wedgie, this breed is social, gentle, friendly and likes company. They are known for following their family members around the home. While not usually a clingy lap cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat loves a good head scratch and will be sure to respond with a head bunt and a purr. They are known for getting on well with children, and are great with dogs as they are a bit dog-like themselves.

Originating in Northern Europe, the Norwegian Forest Cat first appeared in history about 1000 AD. They were known to travel with the Vikings, keeping the ships free from vermin. It is believed that these early cats were the inspiration for the Skogkat, a mythical 'mountain fairy cat' in Norse mythology. The Norse goddess of love, Freya, was said to travel in a Skogkat-drawn chariot. Now the National Cat of Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a popular breed in Scandinavia and surrounding countries.

Other breeds of cat that love to climb include the Abysinnian, Bengal, Somali and Egyptian Mau.

Further Reading

Tick, Flea and Worming Guide For Cats

How To Calm an Anxious Pet

Dental Care For Cats

The Real Cost of Supermarket Food

Obesity Pet Facts

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