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15 American Cat Breeds That Are Red, White & Cute

More than 45 million American households have pet cats. Many have more than one! Americans love their cats—so much so that a few have taken to breeding new types of felines over the years. The American cat breeds on our list were either bred in the good ole’ U. S. of A. or are native to our landscape. Funny enough, you’ll find several that are known to act a lot like dogs, eager to explore the outdoors and be around people. A few are fairly rare cat breeds. Interestingly, many began as scrappy outcasts born with unique traits that didn’t match their littermates. Innovative breeders took one look at these cats and said, “Let’s make you a star!” Does it get any more American than that?

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1. American Bobtail

Height: 9-10 inches

Weight: 7-16 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, friendly

Coat: Short or long

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 11-15+ years

American Bobtails are one of those rare cat breeds you won’t find on every block. Originally bred in Iowa in the late 1960s, the cat that started it all was actually a stray from Arizona with a blunt, bobbed tail. American Bobtails have short tails that range from one to four inches long. Friendly and affectionate, these kitties make excellent therapy cats and companion animals.

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2. American Curl

Height: 9-12 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Smart, sweet

Coat: Short or long, silky

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

American Curls are on the more expensive side—they could run you anywhere between $800 and $1,300 for a purebred kitty. Part of this is due to their uniquely shaped (and naturally occurring) ears that curl back away from their faces. The first American Curl emerged in California in 1981 and was subsequently used to breed more cats with the same ear style. Today, they are lovable, intelligent and expressive pets.

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3. American Shorthair

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 6-15 pounds

Personality: Loyal, social

Coat: Short, thick

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 15-20 years

It’s said that American Shorthairs earned their place in the U.S. by keeping ships clear of rodents and adapting well to any type of environment. Known as Domestic Shorthairs in the beginning of the 20th century, these cats were eventually bred specifically to retain certain traits like brains, brawn and beauty. During the 1960s, American Shorthair became their official name and these cats began to be more prominently featured at cat shows around the world.

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4. American Wirehair

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, even-tempered

Coat: Short, wiry

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

According to the Cat Fanciers Association, American Wirehairs are the rarest cat breeds around. Their wiry coats set them apart from American Shorthairs, though they are very similar in both size and personality. The wirehair variety first popped up (again, naturally) in a litter of farm cats from Verona, New York. These kitties make excellent family pets and even get along well with other animals.

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5. Balinese

Height: 8-11 inches

Weight: 5-12 pounds

Personality: Alert, outgoing

Coat: Long

Color: Variety of colors in pointed pattern

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

It’s possible an early version of the Balinese occurred in China in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that Siamese cat breeders in New York and California made a point to create a longhaired version of their favorite felines. The result is the sociable Balinese. The flowy coats on these active and smart cats reminded Helen Smith, the breeder from New York, of dancers she had seen in Bali, so she named them accordingly.

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6. Bengal

Height: Medium to large

Weight: 10.5 pounds

Personality: Adventurous, intelligent

Coat: Short

Color: Spotted, marbled tan and brown

Life Expectancy: 9-15 years

A lot was happening in California in the 1970s. Most importantly? The first Bengal cats were bred by combining several domestic breeds, including Egyptian Maus, with Asian leopard cats. The result is an athletic, spirited feline who enjoys entertaining, climbing and exploring.

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7. Bombay

Height: 9-13 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Curious, lively

Coat: Short

Color: Black

Life Expectancy: 9-13 years

You’ll never find a Bombay in a color other than black, and this is on purpose. Nikki Horner is credited with creating this new breed of cat in the 1970s by combining Burmese and American Shorthair felines. Developed in Kentucky, Bombays are still relatively rare, even in the U.S. Count your lucky stars if you see one (black cats are actually good luck in many cultures).

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8 Exotic Shorthair

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 9-12 pounds

Personality: Gentle, sweet

Coat: Short

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Exotic Shorthair cats are the result of breeding American Shorthair cats with Persian cats. The goal was to create a Persian breed with a more manageable (aka, short) coat that only came in a silvery white color. After achieving a wiry, short coat, breeders decided the vast varieties of colors and patterns could stay! These cats are known for their peaceful personalities and penchant for cozy laps.

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9. Laperm

Height: 6-10 inches

Weight: 6-12 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, doting

Coat: Curly, short or long

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

LaPerm cats hail from Oregon and are instantly recognizable by their curly-cue coats. Their coats, which do indeed look like they’ve been chemically treated to produce ringlets, are totally naturally occurring. The first known LaPerm was born in the 1980s—though the curly coat didn’t develop until six weeks after birth. It may take up to three years for a LaPerm’s true curls to grow in fully.

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10. Lykoi

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-12 pounds

Personality: Outgoing, smart

Coat: Sparse, short, soft

Color: Variety of colors and patterns, most often black roan

Life Expectancy: 12-17 years

Today’s Lykois are the descendants of feral cats adopted and then bred specifically to pass on their natural, partial hairlessness to future generations. Only just certified as an official breed in 2010, Lykois are still rare but gaining popularity quickly. Developed in Tennessee, Lykois are affectionate and social creatures.

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11. Maine Coon

Height: 10-16 inches

Weight: 12-15 pounds (females), 18-25 pounds (males)

Personality: Sweet, smart

Coat: Long, silky

Color: Various

Life Expectancy: 12-20 years

Probably the oldest naturally occurring American cat breed (or the oldest with the least amount of human interference) is the Maine Coon. Thought to be a product of domestic shorthaired cats and longhaired felines brought to North America by European settlers, Maine Coons are large, friendly and loving animals today. In 1985, they became the official state cats of Maine.

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12. Pixiebob

Height: 9-13 inches

Weight: 9-11 pounds (females), 11-14 pounds (males)

Personality: Active, loyal

Coat: Thick double coat, Long- and short-haired varieties

Color: Brown, tan, tabby

Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

Another dog-like feline, the Pixiebob is a large, athletic cat who enjoys nothing more than joining their family members on adventures. They hail from Washington in the Pacific Northwest and were officially recognized by The International Cat Association in 1994 after almost a decade of breeding work. Even though they look like wildcats, they love being near their people.

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13. Ragdoll

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 10-15 pounds (females), 15-20 pounds (males)

Personality: Sweet, patient

Coat: Long, soft

Color: White bodies, pointed markings

Life expectancy: 13-18 years

Ragdoll cats are yet another breed developed in California. Similar in look and temperament to the Maine Coon, Ragdolls are sweet, affectionate and easy-going. They love to lounge, but proper play and exercise will keep them active and healthy.

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14. Savannah

Height: 10-17 inches

Weight: 11-20 pounds (females), 13-23 pounds (males)

Personality: Energetic, outgoing

Coat: Short- to medium-length, coarse

Color: Black and brown spotted

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Savannah cats are about as close to wild as you can get when it comes to pet kitties. Bred by American breeders in the mid-1980s, these cats are close cousins to wild African servals. If you plan on adopting one, make sure you’re prepared with plenty of space (height for climbing), energy and money to fund their meat-heavy diets.

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15. Selkirk Rex

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 6-16 pounds

Personality: Even-tempered, friendly

Coat: Short or long, dense, curly

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

The Selkirk Rex’s curly coat is au naturel, thank you very much. Bred in the late 1980s in Montana by combining a curly-haired shelter cat with a Persian cat, these kitties have become loving and patient family pets. Unlike many mischievous American cat breeds, Selkirk Rexes will lounge all day and night if you let them.