Resisting a tiny, cute kitty is hard, but resisting a big, fluffy cat with bear-like paws? Next to impossible. If you’re in search of a big, gorgeous feline pet to add to your family, here are the 10 largest domestic cat breeds to consider.
A bit of a warning though; many big house cats – including the Savannah and the Norwegian Forest Cat – although undoubtedly beautiful, come with their unique set of physical traits and quirks. So, before getting all excited about owning a giant cat, make sure you can keep up with the extra energy and extra shedding. If you’re up for the challenge, here are some of the biggest domestic cats with equally big personalities!
The 10 Largest Cat Breeds In The World
1. Savannah Cat
A cross between a wild African cat – also known as serval – and a domestic cat, the Savannah is the tallest breed, standing just over 17 inches tall from shoulder to toe. Despite their slim build, they can weigh quite a lot, between 12 to 25 pounds, depending on the cat. These gorgeous, big felines boast unique-looking coats – something akin to a cross between a leopard and tiger – and large, expressive eyes. They are intelligent and highly energetic, so they need regular exercise that is both physically and mentally stimulating. Because they’re a hybrid breed, they can be quite stubborn and sometimes aggressive too, so early socialization and exposure to different environments is a must.
A domestic cat with wild roots, Chausie is a large and athletic cat. Its name is derived from Latin word Felis Chaus, which means jungle cat – this should tell you plenty about the energy level of this breed. Indeed, Chausies are highly active so they need lots of exercise to be healthy and happy. If they don’t get it on a daily basis, they can easily turn aggressive. Still, this is a domestic, not wild cat, so their temperament is mostly docile, affectionate and playful. These big cats tend to form deep bonds with their human families, so they can make for wonderful pets. Nevertheless, the Chausie breed is not recommended if you’re not ready for a highly active pet or you live in a very small apartment.
Fluffy, cuddly, beautiful and friendly, the Ragdoll is one of the best big cat breeds for novice pet parents. These gorgeous big house cats have a well-balanced temperament with no extreme features, so they make for perfect pets for families with children. With their soft and silky coats and captivating blue eyes, these big domestic cats are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful felines out there. They’re also very cuddly – one of the rare large house cats that actually like being held. In fact, the name Ragdoll itself is an indication of this – when picked up, they tend to go limp, like ragdoll toys!
4. Maine Coon
Known as the “gentle giant” and biggest domestic cat breed, the Maine Coon can weigh up to a whopping 25 pounds. This beautiful cat is extremely intelligent, playful and excellent at hunting (which is why you may want to keep them inside!). In fact, the Main Coon is so smart, they can be trained to do all kinds of tricks, including opening doors by themselves! Interestingly, they can also be taught to play fetch. While generally healthy, do they have some genetic health concerns, including polycystic kidney disease and hip dysplasia.
Hailing from Siberia, this large domestic cat is one of the oldest breeds – according to TICA, the earliest reference is from 1000AD! With its thick, hardy and glossy coat, and big, bear-like paws, the Siberian is truly majestic. Like the Ragdoll, this breed too can have blue eyes, but they can also be odd-colored. They’re typically very healthy and do well in all climates if kept inside, however, they love the outdoors, so keep that in mind if you’re considering getting a Siberian. Lastly, they’re quite playful and affectionate, and they tend to be good with both children and other pets.
6. The American Bobtail
Looking for large cat breeds that are as playful as dogs? The American Bobtail is for you. This adorable, large cat loves playing games of all kinds and can even be taught how to play fetch. This is because they’re also very intelligent and affectionate towards their humans, which makes them want to please them. The Bobtail comes in two varieties: dense short hair and medium long hair coats. Both require relatively minimal care as all they need to look good and fresh is regular light brushing and an occasional bath. The Bobtail’s defining characteristic, is, of course, its short, slightly curved, “bobbed” tail.
7. Norwegian Forest Cat
Hailing from Northern Europe, the Norwegian Forest Cat has adapted to very cold weather thanks to its muscular body and thick, semi-long, waterproof coat. Although they look quite wild, these cats – also known as Wegies – are very much docile homebodies who enjoy the company of their human family and other pets. That said, the Wegies do have a mind of their own – while they like sitting on laps, they’re the ones who decide when they get off, not you. This is to say, while affectionate, the Wegie does everything on its own terms.
Sweet, friendly and gentle, the Ragamuffins love nothing more than napping on the laps of their human parents. These fluffy, beautiful cats are known for getting well with pretty much everyone, including human family members, guests and other pets, so they’re a good choice if you’ve never owned a cat before. That being said, they do shed a lot, so serious cleanup is absolutely necessary.
9. Turkish Van
The Turkish Van is a large, domestic cat easily recognizable by its plush coat with unique coloring: white with color on the head and tail. This sturdy cat loves water and it’s not unusual to find them playing in or around any body of water – even water bowls are not safe from this playful cat! They’re also very smart and active, so they’re the cat to get if you’re looking for a fun, playful and inquisitive pet. However, if you want a giant kitty for cuddling and carrying, stay away – the Turkish Van has a strong personality and do not appreciate being treated like a baby.
10. British Shorthair
Dignified, intelligent and easy-going, the British Shorthair is the ideal pet of working people. While affectionate, this big cat is also quite self-sufficient and doesn’t require a lot of attention. With their sturdy, square build and dense coat that comes in many different colors, these cats are truly gorgeous. Their plush coat will make you want to roll around it, but beware – like Turkish Van, the British Shorthair is not a fan of overly expressive love. They prefer calm, relaxed and easygoing owners. However, they do like the company of other cats.
- Deborah Stephenson, Types of Big Breeds of House Cats, The Nest
- Laura Cross, Do You Know the 10 Biggest Cat Breeds?, VetStreet