As of September 2015, there are about 45 different cat breeds. Some of the most popular in the United States are American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Persian, Ragdoll and Siamese. Other prominent breeds are Abyssinian, Birman, Orienta and Sphynx. Less common varieties include British Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Exotic Shorthair, Norwegian Forest Cat and Scottish Fold.
Cat breeds vary in many ways, including size, type of coat, energy level and shedding. For instance, a typical small breed is the Singapura. Adult males generally weigh six to eight pounds, while females run five to six pounds. At the other end of the scale are British Shorthair cats. Full-grown females are at least nine pounds, and some males weigh twice as much.
The categories for cats' coats are hairless, short, medium and long. Peterbald and Sphynx are considered hairless, though some Sphynx are covered in fine down. Peterbald cats typically have hair as newborns but lose it by the time they are two years old. At the other extreme, the Himalayan -- a cross between Siamese and Persian -- has long hair that sheds.
The Cornish Rex breed is active and regularly climbs, leaps and sprints. They maintain kitten-like energy levels throughout most of their lives. However, Selkirk Rex cats are typically mellow, patient and tolerant.