It's not hard to love cats, whether they're teeny tiny, medium-sized, or huge. While we all love kittens for their cuteness, there is something majestic and statuesque about a large cat. So let's take a look at five of the largest cat breeds!
The average domestic cat weighs around 3kg-4.7kg. Some larger breeds reach an average of around 10kg while the largest cats can hit an incredible 15kg!
While there are plenty of large cat breeds, including the Siberian, even some domestic short-haired cats can grow to be as big as some of the larger breeds. It's also interesting to note that some of these big breeds are also some of the most popular throughout the world!
Let's look at five of the largest cat breeds below.
1. The Maine Coon
It was said that the cats were introduced by seamen who sailed to New England. The cats that were carried on their ships most likely left the ship and bred with native cats, creating a breed of their own. The first published reference to a Maine Coon was named 'Best Cat' in 1895 at a cat show held in Madison Square Garden.
Maine Coons are known to be ‘gentle giants’, have a very sweet, kind and patient temperament, and respond well to children and even other pets. They are very vocal creatures and enjoy communicating with their owners. Maine coons have also been described as ‘dogs of the cat world’, being friendly, playful, intelligent and curious. They love to learn new tricks like playing fetch!
The outdoors is loved by these gentle giants, although they can adapt to be indoors if they have sufficient stimulation and human interaction. Maine coons are fascinated by water and may even enjoy going for a swim in the summer!
As one of the largest cat breeds in the world, Maine Coons mature quite slowly, reaching full growth and adulthood at around 3-5 years of age. The record for the longest cat in the world is held by a Maine Coon named Stewie, who measured 123cm in length! They typically weigh around 6-9kg while some can reach up to an incredible 15kg.
These beautiful felines have powerful, muscular legs, large paws, and big oval eyes spaced far apart, usually yellow or copper-gold colour. A Maine Coon’s coat is furry and contributes to their overall size. It is medium-long, very thick, and dense all over the body. There are two layers - longer guard hairs on the outer with a silky satin undercoat. One of the defining characteristics of the Maine Coon is its square-shaped muzzle and prominent cheekbones, accentuated by its fluffy, lion-like mane.
Maine Coons can typically live between 10-15 years.
2. The Norwegian Forest Cat
Not surprisingly, the Norwegian Forest Cat comes from Norway and has a long history spanning hundreds, if not thousands of years. It has been said that the breed arrived in Norway when Vikings brought them from the coast of the Caspian Sea during the eighth century. They were used to keep rats at bay on the Viking explorer ships.
Norwegians became strong felines with excellent survival skills, including a thick, robust coat for the cold climate. Today, the Norwegian Forest cat is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.
Despite their wild origins, Norwegian Forest Cats can be very homely creatures. While they like to maintain some independence, they also adapt well to the home environment, particularly with children and other pets. They don’t usually get too stressed but do love to call the shots and will let you know if they want a cuddle or a play.
Often likened to the Maine Coon in its appearance, this feline is a heavy-boned animal. The longer back legs are designed for agile hunting and climbing, while their strong feet are tufted to protect them from the cold and snow. The Norwegian cat's fur is longer around the neck, while the entire body sports a thick, two-layer coat designed to keep water off and the warmth in. This homely but independent cat usually reaches around 7kg making it one of the largest breeds of domestic cat.
The Norwegian Forest cat typically lives to be 14-16 years old.
3. The Ragdoll
The Ragdoll is a cool, calm and collected cat. Its plush-like appearance and large size make it both one of the largest, most popular cat breeds and can weigh up to 9kg! This noise-avoiding, docile breed gets its name from its lack of resistance when picked up - just like a ragdoll!
The Ragdoll can be traced back to a non-pedigreed, white, long-haired Persian/Angora cat, who was bred with several Birman or Burmese cats. Their litters produced docile, affectionate cats with the famous Ragdoll trait of going limp when picked up.
This is a particularly snuggly and quiet cat breed that enjoys the comfort of regular naps, both on and off the lap. Because of their extremely calm and ‘chilled out’ nature, they are known for getting along with other pets, including dogs, as well as children. They also adapt well to apartment life. Interestingly, Ragdolls tend to be more interested in humans than other cats. They love attention and will love to come and greet you at your door, sleep with you or just choose to be close to you.
Ragdolls are large, semi-longhaired cats and have captivating blue eyes. Their coat takes two years to reach its full colour. They are a ‘pointed breed’ which means the colour of their fur is lighter in colour than the points (legs, tail, ears and face).
A healthy Ragdoll can typically live to be 15 years old or more.
4. The Birman
Another of the most popular cat breeds, the Birman is a largely calm and dignified cat breed. When being social they like to follow their owner and other family pets around. Perhaps in addition to their large size, they are often referred to as 'dog-cats' and enjoy playing 'fetch'.
The history is highly obscure. One of the first historical records of the Burmese Sacred is attributed to Mrs. Léotardi in the city of Nice, France. The most commonly-held belief is that the Birman was created in France in 1920 through the unexpected results of breeding a white-gloved Siamese and a Persian. However, other stories suggest that cats similar in appearance to the Birman were known and considered sacred in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) for years pre-dating this time.
This is a calm and affectionate breed that loves spending time with its family - it can get immensely attached. Getting along with children and other pets doesn't seem to be an issue for them either. They love to play and can spend hours with simple toys and household items (cardboard boxes are always a winner!). These cats are said to be very talkative, but have a very soft and enjoyable voice.
Birmans have a long, powerful body and fully grown cats of this breed can reach 11kg in weight. They are born white with their common darker patches appearing slowly during maturity. Their coat is very silky, and since the Birman only has a fluffy overcoat, it doesn’t malt as much as you would think.
Birman cats are also known for their hypoallergenic qualities and can live to be 15 years old or older.
5. The Bengal
Originally from the US, this large breed was created by Jean Sudgen and is the result of a cross between a wild Asian Leopard cat and a domestic cat. The Bengal was developed to obtain a cat with wild-like markings, but with the disposition of a domestic cat.
The Bengal is known for its impressive leopard-like coat, making it one of the most popular cat breeds for homes around the world. Majestic cats, Bengals are very active, needing a lot of stimulation and exercise to expend their energy.
The Bengal is another dog-like cat, keen to play, swim, and learn new tricks thanks to their acute intelligence. This includes classic ‘dog’ training techniques such as ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, ‘roll’ and ‘high-five’. Some Bengals can also do other tricks, like open doors, turn light switches on and off and even lift up bin lids. They are also sensitive to their owner’s moods and will adjust their behaviour accordingly. Bengals are very chatty and will let you know when they need or want something, and if you ignore them, they will most likely become louder.
The Bengal’s coat is their most notable characteristic. The base colour can be speckled or marbled with different kinds of markings that decorate the coat. Some Bengals can inherit the glitter gene, which gives their coat an iridescent sheen, making it look like their fur sparkles in the sun!
Classed as a large cat, Bengals can weigh up to 8kg. They have a strong and muscular body with long legs that allow them to jump high.
These cats typically live between 12 and 16 years.
Which breed is your favourite?