28 Most Beautiful Cat Breeds in the World

By: Annie Butler ShirreffsUpdated:

beautiful cat breeds - a closeup of a russian blue cat's face
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28 Most Beautiful Cat Breeds in the World

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What makes a cat beautiful? For some people, the cat breed’s coat color or pattern put them on the most beautiful cats list. For others, it’s the color of the eyes.

For Rick Hoskinson, an all-breed judge with The International Cat Association (TICA), a registry of purebred cats, it’s a combination of these qualities that makes a cat truly striking. “A beautifully balanced cat with stunning condition is always an attention getter,” he says. “A cat with a striking coat pattern and eye color is also beautiful.”

A beautiful cat is like a beautiful work of art, says Teresa Keiger, an all-breed judge with the pedigreed cat registry Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). She explains that a “balanced” cat means that all body parts are in harmony with each other—where no one aspect dominates and all body parts fit together as a whole. “With some breeds, all the parts might be very different. But put them all together, and you have one lovely piece.”

16 Beautiful Cats

With the help of current CFA and TICA registration lists, input from all-breed judges Keiger and Hoskinson and a couple of informal polls, we came up with the following list of beautiful cats, who (bonus!) also happen to be friendly and people-oriented.

But before we start, a word of warning: The topic of most beautiful domestic cat breeds is very subjective. Every cat enthusiast, every cat parent and every cat breed judge has their own idea of the most beautiful cats in the world. So, we hope you enjoy—and agree with—our picks.


beautiful cat breeds - Abyssinian cat
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We start our list with one of the oldest known cat breeds. The Abyssinian’s defining feature is a richly colored, ticked tabby coat in which each hair is ticked with four to six bands of color—dark at the tip, lighter at the roots and alternating dark and light. The original coat color is known as ruddy, but the Abyssinian also comes in different shades, including red, blue and fawn. The face features dramatic markings that don’t appear anywhere else on the body.

Abyssinians are extremely graceful and elegant. They remind Keiger of male ballet dancers—“muscular, lithe and seeming to be barely standing on the Earth.”

American Shorthair

beautiful cats - american shorthair
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A replication of the short-haired cats who came with settlers from Europe to North America, American Shorthairs are known as America’s shorthaired breed. “Often referred to as a ‘working cat’—which the breed originally was—the muscular body shows this,” says Keiger, who serves as editor of CFA’s Cat Talk magazine.

The short coats have a hard, dense and lustrous texture, giving the breed a natural protective appearance. They come in a variety of colors (like white, black, blue aka gray, and brown) and patterns (like calico, tortoiseshell and bi-color), but the most popular—and recognizable—color and pattern is a silver base with black tabby markings. These tabby markings create swirls all over the body, broken “necklaces” that highlight the chest, rings around the legs and an “M” mark on the forehead.


beautiful cats - bengal
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Seeing spots? You’re probably looking at a Bengal cat. Originally developed from crosses between domestic cats and the Asian leopard cat, Bengals are most noted for their richly colored, highly contrasted coat of vivid spots and distinctive marbling. “What I find so striking about the Bengal is the color and pattern,” Keiger says. Some have rosettes like those found on leopards, jaguars and ocelots. In fact, the Bengal is the only domestic cat with rosettes. Some Bengal coats even feature “glitter,” which gives each hair an iridescent sheen. Not only beautiful to behold, the Bengal coat is also soft and luxurious to the touch, having “a pelt-like feel that no other breed has,” Keiger says.

Combine the Bengal’s distinctive coat with their wild expression, created by tabby facial markings and large oval eyes, and it’s easy to see why this breed has captivated many cat lovers.


beautiful cats - birman
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Known for a soft, silky, lush coat and soulful, deep-blue eyes, the Birman is classified as a pointed breed, which means the cat will have different, darker colors on the face, ears, feet and tail. Keiger says the Birman comes dressed for a party, as the breed also has a white spotting pattern with white “gloves” on all paws and “laces” up the back legs. She also points out their expressive eyes.

Known as “The Sacred Cat of Burma,” the Birman comes in a rainbow of colors, and the beautiful coat features a longer ruff round the neck and a fluffy tail. The pattern within their points can be solid, tabby or tortoiseshell.

Like all color-point breeds, the Birman is born white, with the color developing as they mature.

British Shorthair

beautiful cats - British Shorthair
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Another of the oldest known breeds, everything about the British Shorthair is round—ears, tail, paws and expressive eyes in a round head with round cheeks.

Best known for their gray (also known as blue) coat, the British Shorthair comes in a variety of colors. And that coat! Keiger says the British Shorthair has the densest coat of any of the CFA breeds—“one that you just want to squeeze and run your fingers through all day.”

And here’s a fun fact: It’s believed that the British Shorthair was the inspiration for the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”


beautiful cat breeds - burmese
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Compact and muscular, the Burmese is surprisingly heavy for their size, and that little body is covered with a silky, close-lying coat.

The Burmese’s original color is sable (a warm, rich brown), but they also come in a variety of colors, including champagne (a warm beige), blue (a medium gray) and a soft chocolate.

And nestled in these beautiful colors is a pair of round, gold eyes that Keiger says are very expressive.

Devon Rex

beautiful cats - devon rex
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Is it an alien? Is it an elf? Nope—it’s a Devon Rex! Known as the pixies of the cat world, the Devon Rex’s appearance is far from ordinary—a long, skinny neck, elfin face, oversized ears and large, impish eyes.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Devon Rex is their coat, which is velvety soft and ripples with curls. Those curls are a result of a natural mutation and appear everywhere on the body. “Even its whiskers are curled,” Keiger says.

The coat ranges from a mop of curls to a suede-like coat and comes in all colors and patterns.

European Burmese

beautiful cats - European Burmese
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The European Burmese is a cousin to the “American” Burmese above. While the Burmese has a compact, well-rounded appearance, the European Burmese is somewhat longer with gently rounded contours. The European Burmese is also slightly larger, and has a more pronounced, longer muzzle.

The biggest and most obvious difference between the two is the array of colors seen in the European Burmese—all 10 of them.

The eye shape differs between the breeds as well. Keiger says the European Burmese has sultry eyes that suck you right in. “They’re slightly hooded on the top, fully round on the bottom, and incredibly lustrous and deep in color.”


beautiful cats - persian cat breed
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Easily one of the most recognizable breeds, the Persian is the quintessential “fluffy cat.” Because of that fluffy coat, these long-haired cats appear larger than they actually are. The luxurious coat is quite long and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

“The breed standard calls for a ‘sweet expression,’ so being beautiful is part of its overall being,” Keiger says. That sweet expression rests on a flat face with large, round, expressive eyes.


beautiful cats - exotic cat breed
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The short-haired cousin of the Persian cat, the Exotic (also called the Exotic Shorthair) has the same round head, sweet open expression, flat profile and large, expressive eyes.

They’re bred to meet the Persian standard in every way but one. Instead of long hair, the Exotic has a thick, short coat. “You’ll revel in stroking the plush, dense coat,” Keiger says.

That short coat is unique to the Exotic, giving them a soft, rounded, teddy bear look, and it requires much less grooming than a Persian, hence the affectionate nickname “the lazy man’s Persian.”

Like the Persian, the Exotic comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

Maine Coon Cat

beautiful cats- maine coon cat breed
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Known as “gentle giants,” Maine Coons are one of the most popular breeds in the United States. In fact, for the first time in, well, ever, the Maine Coon Cat surpassed the Bengal to become the No. 1 cat on TICA’s most recent Top 10 Breeds list.

The Maine Coon Cat is a great example of “survival of the fittest” evolution. Long-haired cats came with the settlers to the United States, and these cats naturally developed into sturdy, working cats suited to the Northeast’s harsh winters, which explains the long coat (of three distinct lengths!), a long tail they can wrap around their bodies, and their well-tufted ears and feet. Keiger says that the gorgeous, long coat comes in a wide variety of striking colors and patterns.


beautiful cats - siamese cat breeds
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Everything about the Siamese cat is long and sleek—long body, long head, long legs and long tail. These long, chiseled lines coupled with the angular, wedge-shaped head makes the Siamese look rather sophisticated.

In contrast to the long body, the Siamese coat is short and silky. “A good Siamese doesn’t even appear to have a coat, as it lies so close to the body,” Keiger says.

The Siamese sports a pointed coat, with seal (a dark brown) being one of the most well-known colors. But the points appear in three other colors, too: chocolate, blue and lilac. This pointed pattern accentuates the breed’s almond-shaped, blue eyes.


beautiful cats - oriental cat breed
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A member of the Siamese group, the Oriental has the same body type as their Siamese parent: elegant, long, lithe and slender. What makes the Oriental distinct is their wide array of colors and patterns combined with a short, sleek coat. Keiger calls the Oriental a Siamese with a different pattern—300 plus of them, in fact.

The Oriental comes in both longhair and shorthair varieties, adding the opportunity for even more breathtaking colors and patterns.


beautiful cats- ragdoll
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Hitting No. 1 on CFA’s most recent Top 10 list, the Ragdoll is one of the largest breeds in the cat fancy. These big, laid back cats live up to their name by the way they happily get carried around by their people. They have a luxurious semi-long coat that’s silky, soft and plush, which Keiger says makes you want to just pick up the cat and cuddle them. But perhaps the first thing you might notice are their deep blue eyes that just pull you right in.

The Ragdoll cat comes in several coat colors (like chocolate, red and blue) and patterns (like colorpoint, bi-color and mitted).

Russian Blue

beautiful cats - russian blue
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The hallmark of this gorgeous breed is their bright, blue coat. The hairs are tipped with silver, giving the Russian Blue a glistening and shimmering look as the cat moves. The color itself is beautiful to look at, but the short, silky, dense coat is plush to the touch. You can even draw patterns in the coat with your fingers that will remain until you smooth them out again. Rounding out the Russian Blue’s beauty is their deep, emerald green eyes that, contrasted against the gray coat, are quite striking.

Keiger, who has worked with the breed for more than 25 years, says the Russian Blue has a regal appearance as well. “I’ve had spectators comment that the Russian Blue ‘looks like a statue!’”

Scottish Fold

beautiful cats - scottish fold
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The first time Keiger saw a Scottish Fold, she thought the cat looked like an owl. “Its ears were folded so tightly against its round head that they were barely discernible,” she says. Those unique ears come from a natural genetic mutation, but not to worry! Their ears work just as well as any other cats’.

Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears, and at about 3 to 4 weeks of age, their ears fold—or not. Not all Scottish Folds have folded ears, but Keiger points out that those with upright ears have the same large, padded body, large, round head and expressive round eyes.

The Scottish Fold can be both short-haired and long-haired with a dense, plush coat that comes in all colors and patterns.

12 Beautiful Rare Cat Breeds

Some breeds (like the ones above) are a bit more mainstream and higher in popularity. But these rare breeds are sure to wow you as well.

American Curl

beautiful cats - american curl
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Unique ears that curl back in a graceful arc give the American Curl an alert and happily surprised expression. Designed by Mother Nature herself, the ears arc gently backward and point toward the back of the skull. But the American Curl is actually born with straight ears. In three to five days, the ears start to curl back, staying in a tight rosebud position, then gradually unfurling until they permanently “set” at around 4 months of age.

Along with the striking, curved-back ears, Keiger says the American Curl is also a very graceful-appearing cat, with an elegant body, silky, flat-lying coat and expressive, walnut-shaped eyes.


beautiful cats - bombay
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Want a little panther in your life? Look no further than the Bombay. An example of a hybrid breed, which combines established characteristics of domestic breeds to create a specific, third look, the Bombay is a combination of black American Shorthairs and Burmese. Keiger says the Bombay resembles the Burmese, but they are larger with a somewhat longer head and slightly larger body.

Nicknamed “the patent-leather kid with the new-penny eyes,” the Bombay comes in one color: black. But it’s a deep, dense black with a high-gloss sheen. The coat is short and tight. Their beautiful eyes are anywhere from deep, rich gold to copper—just like a new copper penny.

Adding to the breed’s beauty, Bombays sport a sweet facial expression and have a cute little sway when they walk, similar to that of an Indian black leopard.


beautiful cats - Chartreux
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Keiger thinks of the Chartreux as a study in asymmetrical balance. “None of the body parts should go together, but they do and go together beautifully,” she says. The Chartreux is both robust and elegant, with a muscular body set upon finely boned legs and dainty feet, which makes them often described as a “potato on toothpicks.”

This natural, historic breed of France has been known for centuries for both their unique coat texture and blue color. The coat is medium-short in length and slightly wooly in texture, and the blue color can range from light ash to deep slate.

The Chartreux’s large, expressive eyes are one of their most endearing features. “The copper to orange-colored eyes just pop against the blue fur,” Keiger says.

Cornish Rex

beautiful cat breeds - Cornish rex
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Keiger calls the Cornish Rex a study in curves, arches and more curves. While these cats appear fine-boned and dainty, they are actually hard-bodied and muscular, slender with a deep curve to the chest rising up to a tucked-up waist, which is why they’re often referred to as the Greyhound of the cat world.

Their head is egg-shaped and topped with tall ears, while their expressive oval eyes have a slight upward slant.

But the most unique feature of the Cornish Rex is their coat, which is noticeably curly, falling into marcel waves. Even the eyebrows and whiskers are curled. The coat, which comes in all colors and patterns, is short, close to the body and incredibly soft to the touch.

Egyptian Mau

beautiful cats egyptian mau
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The Egyptian Mau has the distinction of being the only naturally spotted domestic cat breed (the spots are not bred in) And those spots appear everywhere across their elegant body, Keiger says. The spots can be random and of any size.

A natural breed, the Egyptian Mau comes in colors that occurred naturally: silver, bronze, smoke and black (as well as dilute versions of these colors). Their body is muscular and graceful. When standing, the Egyptian Mau has a “tiptoe stance,” as their hind legs are longer than their front legs. And their mesmerizing, gooseberry-green eyes are large and alert. The way they are set gives the cat a cute, “worried” look.

Havana Brown

beautiful cats Havana Brown
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The elegant Havana Brown comes in one color: a rich, mahogany red-brown—with matching whiskers! “The short and smooth coat shows off the Havana’s graceful lines,” Keiger says.

The Havana also has a distinctive head shape that sets this breed apart. The head is slightly longer than it is wide, narrowing to a one-of-a-kind muzzle that’s often compared to a corn cob stuck on the end of the face. Keiger says the entire head structure may remind one of the shape of a light bulb, as the muzzle is so distinctly separate.

That unique face also includes brilliant green eyes—the greener, the better!

Japanese Bobtail

beautiful cats japanese bobtail
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Known as the good luck cat of Japan, the Japanese Bobtail is an ancient breed that has been portrayed in Japanese manuscripts and paintings for at least 1,000 years. If you’ve ever seen a ceramic cat with a raised, beckoning paw in shop windows or doorways, this is the cat!

The Japanese Bobtail has elegant high cheekbones and large oval-shaped eyes, but their most unique feature is their bobbed tail that consists of a variety of angles, curves and kinks that create a pom-pom effect. Not only is the tail unique to the breed but to each individual cat. No two tails are ever the same. The hair on the tail is longer than the hair on the body, contributing to the pom-pom look.


beautiful cats korat
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Another good luck cat, this one hailing from Thailand, the Korat is a compact, powerful cat with a single, close-lying coat that allows their rippling muscles to show. Their unique color—defined as silver-tipped blue—gives the cat a shimmering quality. The color also absorbs light, creating a halo effect. Keiger says it resembles the color of rain clouds. “With luminous, green eyes, the silver-tipped blue coat really does seem to glow all over.”

We should also mention that the Korat’s head resembles a heart shape. As Keiger says, “One can’t help but love a cat with a heart-shaped head!”

Norwegian Forest Cat

beautiful cat breed norwegian
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A relatively new and rare breed in the U.S., the Norwegian Forest Cat is a very old breed in their native Norway and has been featured in folk tales and mythology for centuries.

Known in Norway as the skogkatt (which literally means forest cat), the Norwegian Forest Cat sports a lavish coat that served as natural protection back when they lived in the forest. The lavish coat makes this already large breed look even larger. The insulated, waterproof double coat was designed to withstand Scandinavian winters and features a full frontal ruff (hair around the neck), bushy tail, rear britches and tufted paws. “They really do look as though they walked out of a fairy-tale forest,” Keiger says,

Often known for their brown tabby-and-white coats, Norwegian Forest cats actually come in nearly every possible coat pattern and color combination, except pointed, chocolate and lilac.


beautiful cats siberian
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Still fairly rare in the U.S., Siberian cats are a Russian national treasure that have been documented for hundreds of years and mentioned in Russian fairy tales and children’s books.

A natural breed, the Siberian’s thick, rich triple coat protected the cats from the elements in their native country. The Siberian is considered a semi-longhair, but their coats vary with the seasons—a thick full coat in the winter and shedding down to a shorter, less dense coat in the summer.

The beautiful coat comes complete with a neck ruff, fluffy britches, a bushy tail, and hairs in and on top of the ears. “Plus, they possess some of the most unusual colors and patterns of all cats,” Keiger says.


beautiful cats somali cat breed
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The Somali is essentially a long-haired Abyssinian, the result of a recessive gene in the Abyssinian breed. Their long hair is soft and finely textured, and comes in the same colors as the Abyssinian. Their vibrantly colored coat, striking facial markings, large ears and bushy tail give the cat a captivating, little fox look. And as Keiger says, who wouldn’t want to live with a cat that resembles a fox?

Turkish Angora

beautiful cats - Turkish Angora
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The rare and beautiful Turkish Angora is considered a national treasure in their native Turkey with good reason—this breed is the epitome of elegance. Lithe and finely boned, the Turkish Angora is graceful and energetic. “The triangular head with flat planes and highly set ears just complete the image of a living work of art,” Keiger says.

That elegant body is covered with a semi-long, soft silky coat that rarely mats. The head is crowned with large, erect and tufted ears, and the tail streams behind them in a long plume. Although a white coat with blue eyes is favored in Turkey and was the original color of the breed when introduced into the U.S., the breed comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

Bottom line? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. These are just some of the beautiful cats out there, each with their own distinctive looks, personalities and behaviors. Want to pounce on more cat behavior tips? Find out why cats knead.
Expert input provided by Teresa Keiger, all-breed judge, Cat Fanciers’ Association based in Alliance, Ohio, and Rick Hoskinson, all-breed judge, The International Cat Association, based in Harlingen, Texas.


By: Annie Butler ShirreffsUpdated:

Cat Breeds