All cats are unique. Individual personality traits are displayed within a particular breed depending on how the cat is raised and his early socialization. But as with dogs, feline genetics do affect cat personality, behavior, and health.
Many purebred cats are raised by a breeder who knows their genetic history, personality, and what veterinary care they’ve had. When you get a purebred cat, you know generally what it will look like. There might be variations in hair and eye color but the size, hair length, and body type will be the same as any other Siamese or Maine Coon. Most purebred cats are healthy, but certain breeds are more prone to particular diseases than others.
The broadest division of purebred cats is based on body type and activity level. Cats with long, sleek bodies and short hair generally fall into the Oriental group. These cats are active, vocal, inquisitive, and intelligent. Siamese, Abyssinian, and Burmese fit here. Other active breeds are the Somali, Bombay, Cornish and Devon Rexes, Sphynx, and Egyptian Mau.
The non-Orientals generally have larger bodies with long hair and are less active. They are laid-back, gentle, and typically love people and other animals. These cats probably won’t jump on top of the cabinets or race around the house as much as the Orientals do. They’d rather sit in your lap.
This group includes Persians, British and American Shorthairs, Ragdolls, Himalayans, Turkish Angoras, and Turkish Vans, Norwegian Forest Cats, Siberians, and Maine Coons. It can be a challenge to keep the long-haired breeds groomed. They require daily care to keep mats and hairballs at bay.
Some breeds look like their wild relatives. Bengals, Savannahs, and Ocelots fall into this category. They are playful and usually have good temperaments.
If you have your heart set on a particular breed but hate the idea of going to a breeder, check into breed rescues. These groups take cats who are relinquished by their owners and purebred cats who finds themselves in an animal shelter.
If breed is of no importance to you, your options for a fulfilling feline relationship are limitless. The vast majority of cats are mixed-breed and full of joyous surprises.