Types of Big Breeds of House Cats

by D.R. Stephenson, Demand Media
    Some folks just need a really big cat, like this silver Maine coon.

    Some folks just need a really big cat, like this silver Maine coon.

    House cats vary in size like most animals but average around 10 pounds – some smaller, some larger. Various cat organizations record size, among other breed characteristics, and they do not always agree on the precise size ranking, but these cats rank high on every list for largest breeds of house cat.

    Maine Coon

    If you want a really big cat, the Maine coon is your best bet. Nearly every recognized cat organization considers this long-haired breed the largest of all domestic cats, and it is the breed of a world record holder for longest cat – a big boy named Stewie, who measures an incredible 48.5 inches long from end to end. Record holders aside, the average weight of a healthy Maine coon is between 13 and 18 pounds for males – some sources state up to 25 pounds – and 9 to 12 pounds for females. Despite their size, Maine coons are exceptionally sweet-tempered.

    Ragdoll

    Named for its propensity to go as limp as a ragdoll when picked up, this huge cat is a soft, furry bundle of sweetness, docility and loyalty. Many owners of ragdolls find the cats oddly doglike in their affectionate attention to their human family. Ragdolls will lie at your feet, greet you at the door, obey commands and even carry a ball or other toy around in their mouths – all more characteristic of the family dog than the typical aloof feline. They are extremely cuddly cats and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

    Ragamuffin

    This beautiful big cat comes in an assortment of naturally occurring colors and patterns on medium-long hair that compares in softness to a rabbit's fur. The ragamuffin is a big-boned and sturdily muscled cat with a tendency toward abdominal fat. It can weigh as much as 20 pounds, though weight estimates vary according to sources, and it is often considered a smaller breed than the Maine coon. They are sweet, patient, companionable and bond strongly with humans. Ragamuffins mature late at 4 years of age and have long lifespans.

    Chausie and Savannah

    Although technically not domestic house cats, because these are hybrid crosses between domestic and wild cats, many cat fanciers and some cat organizations, like The International Cat Association, do recognize these large cats as named breeds. The chausie, which looks something like a small cougar, results from crossing a domestic cat with a jungle cat, Felis chaus, while the savannah is selectively bred from the domestic cat and the African serval, (Felis) Leptailurus serval, and greatly resembles its spotted wild ancestor. Hybrid cats of these types have been known for centuries, since the domestic and wild cats often interbreed naturally. However, due to technicalities in wildlife regulations, some states forbid these breeds, or generations under three from the wild/domestic first breeding, so check your state laws before adopting one of these fearless but nonaggressive cats. These are very intelligent, active and curious cats – not for anyone wanting a placid, layabout companion.

    About the Author

    D.R. Stephenson is a writer and artist who brings more than 25 years of both professional and life experience to her writing. She is an anthropologist and naturalist and has published numerous political and environmental articles as well as a field guide on Michigan's flora and fauna. Stephenson holds a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

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