Maine Coon Cat

10 Large Cat Breeds That Give You More to Love

These cats are large and in charge.
By Brendan Howard
January 21, 2021

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Whether you're thinking about adopting a big-sized house cat or just want to "ooh" and "aah" at cats on the internet, here's a sampling of some of the larger breeds around.

Portrait of British Shorthaired Cat
Even if they don't have blue fur, British shorthairs are instantly recognizable by their round heads and chubby cheeks.
| Credit: Angela Emanuelsson / EyeEm / Getty

British Shorthair

The British shorthair, which can weigh as much as 17 pounds, is a cat so cute it's been compared to a teddy bear. The funny thing is the United Kingdom's national cat didn't originate on the island: Roman invaders brought this fuzzy-furred, wide-faced feline with them, and the breed stuck around.

A bit short-legged, friendly, but maybe not a lap cat, British shorthair cats are independent and sport fur that doesn't get tangled like longhaired cats' coats.

Portrait of Chartreux cat relaxing on wood floor
Credit: Donsu Lee / EyeEm / Getty

Chartreux

Why should the British have all the fun? Just a bit larger than the average house cat, the Chartreux (pronounced "shar-TROO") is a rare French cat breed that enjoys a similar coat color as the British shorthair but tends to be a bit smaller. Dating back to the 1700s, this national cat of France was preserved from decimation during World War II by careful breeders.

Norwegian Forest Cat
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Norwegian Forest Cat

The national cat of Norway (they call it the skogkatt), the Norwegian forest cat is friendly, furry, and enjoys climbing. This breed is slightly smaller than the Maine coon, but even more furry, ready for its cold native homeland. Be ready for a lot of shedding, and make it a habit to brush excess fur with a brush you and your cat will like. Keep this explorer indoors to avoid disappearance around the corner or into your friendly neighbor's house.

Maine Coon Cat
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Maine Coon

Pound for pound, weighing from 9 to 18 pounds, this largest of the domestic breeds with big ears and ear tufts is truly a joy. While every member of a breed is different, Maine coon cats have a reputation for friendliness and patience.

Before adopting a Maine coon, make sure you're ready to brush and bathe them regularly and to give them lots of attention. Their friendliness with people and other pets will also make them lonely if they're left for long stretches on their own.

bengal cat sitting outside
Credit: andreaskrappweis / Getty

Bengal

The Bengal cat looks like it'd be at home in the jungle, with the biggest weighing in at 25 pounds. This exotic feline is descended from domestic cats, Egyptian Mau, and the Asian Leopard Cat, and at least one feline veterinarian group has gone on record against their breeding. The American Association of Feline Practitioners worries that breeding domestic cats with wild cats can be dangerous and cruel to the domestic cat parents, and that Bengals' behavior can be too wild, even down through the generations.

Some states ban private ownership of Bengals or Bengals of the first through fourth generations (F1 to F4), so read up on this breed and review your local law before adopting one of these large hybrid cats.

"Proceed with caution," advises Jeff Werber, DVM, who has practiced veterinary medicine for years in southern California and seen his share of wilder cats and dogs. Hybrid cats like these can exhibit wild behaviors and be too active, uncontrollable, and predatory for some.

Ragamuffin Cat
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Ragamuffin

Up to 20 pounds, the ragamuffin cat packs a big ball of friendliness inside the size of a small dog. If you like your cat hanging around with you all the time, this lap cat might be just what you need. These social cats don't like to be left alone for long periods of time and are best kept indoors as they're real friendly and may be likely to stray.

ragdoll cat with blue eyes looking at camera
Credit: JKristoffersson / Getty

Ragdoll

The ragdoll cat is a friendly, people-and-pet-loving larger breed with long, luxurious fur. This kitty is usually rather calm, is incredibly social with people (including kids), and comes in a variety of colors from breeders.

If you're a pet parent who doesn't enjoy cats up on your countertops, this may be the cat for you. The Cat Fanciers' Association calls them "floor cats" as they prefer to stay low to the ground, but may jump up on furniture to snuggle with you.

Savannah Cat Sitting on a Bed
Later generations of Savannah cats are further removed from their wild ancestor. They can retain the colors and patterns of earlier generations, but tend to be smaller and more docile.
| Credit: Pierre Aden / Getty Images

Savannah Cat

The up-to-25-pound Savannah gets its distinctive, long ears from its hybrid roots: It's a mix between the domestic Siamese and the wild Serval cat. These semi-wild felines need lots of mental and physical stimulation, so be prepared to entertain.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners has come out against hybrid cats from pairings of domestic cats and wild cats, arguing that the practice of breeding can be cruel and the resulting cats are never as calm, collected, and safe as domestic breeds. If you decide a Savannah is for you, check with your state, however, as some have banned the breed, depending how many generations removed the cat is from their wild ancestor.

Siberian Cat
Credit: Алексей Филатов / Getty

Siberian

Like the Norwegian forest cat, the Siberian cat is built for cold climates (namely, the frigid land that gives the cat its name). That luxurious, triple-layered fur, needs regular brushing to avoid massive shedding, overheating, and hairballs. All that brushing will be great for bonding with your pet because the friendly Siberian needs lots of togetherness time anyway.

The Siberian cat's skin, however, has a unique trait: While there's no such thing as a totally hypoallergenic cat, this breed's skin does produce less of the dander that causes a problem for allergy sufferers.

Turkish Van Cat
Credit: Evgenii Leontev / Getty

Turkish Van

This last (but not least) large cat breed is known for their propensity for swimming and being cuddly, which is quite a feat given that males can weigh up to 20 pounds. The Turkish van (once just called the "Turkish Cat") is rare, born from felines collected from cities in Turkey after wandering the wilderness for thousands of years and finally, most recently, bred in the United Kingdom. The so-called "van" pattern puts color on this friendly breed's head and tail, while the rest of the fur is a thick, warm white.