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10 Large Cat Breeds That Make Cute and Colossal Pets

Whether it's their voluminous fluff, chunky bodies or strapping muscular physiques, these large cats are the adorable heavyweights of cat breeds

A beautiful seven-month-old gray Maine Coon kitten sits on an armchair at home. Rest and relaxation
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Adorable large cat breeds that are big and beautiful

There are so many sweet kitties to admire in this world. Small cat breeds, longhaired cat breeds, black cat breeds—they’re all so snuggly and gorgeous! Another group of felines that are seriously cute? Large cat breeds.

To be clear, large cat breeds aren’t chubby by definition. According to Purina, there is no such thing as “average cat weight.” Veterinarians consider factors such as breed, sex, spayed and neutered status and body condition score. By nature of their breed, these cute kitty cats are large and in charge—and will melt your heart.

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Norwegian Forest Cat
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Norwegian Forest Cat

This lusciously fluffy large cat breed hails from Norway, where it is known as the Skogkatt, which translates to forest cat. With all four paws on the scale, it weighs from 12 to 16 pounds, but it looks heavier with its abundance of fur. “The dense coat that keeps [these cats] warm and dry during the northern winters is so water-resistant that it’s often difficult to bathe them for show,” says Teresa Keiger, cat breeder and Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) judge.

By the way, the Norwegian Forest Cat is the only cat that can climb down a tree headfirst (most cats inch their way down backward or wait for you to rescue them); Keiger says this talent is possible because their front legs turn out just slightly.

Breed overview Norwegian Forest Cat
Height 9–12 inches
Weight 12–16 pounds
Life expectancy 12–16 years
Curious Selkirk Rex Cat
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Selkirk Rex

The Selkirk Rex is a curly-haired large cat breed that looks like a cuddly teddy bear or snuggly sheep. Its origin is almost as unusual as its “wash-n-wear” fur. “This curly-coated cat is a spontaneous mutation originally found in a shelter [in] Montana,” says Keiger.

Selkirks are very affectionate and happy to park their 16 pounds of cuteness on your lap and follow you to the kitchen for a snack. “Gentle and loving, the Selkirk Rex gets along great with people and other pets,” says Keiger. These are some other outgoing cat breeds that get along with dogs.

Breed overview Selkirk Rex
Height 9–11 inches
Weight 6–16 pounds
Life expectancy 13–15 years
Asleep and Alert
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This head-turning feline with spots resembles its wild cat cousin the Ocelot, and those distinctive spots and sleek, athletic frames are clues to its ancestry. “The original parent breeds were the Abyssinian and the Siamese, and later American Shorthair,” says Keiger. Large and muscular like its ancestors, the Ocicat weighs in at 12 to 15 pounds, which qualifies it as a large breed cat.

Ocicats are a lot like dogs in that they are devoted to their family, love water (while some cats don’t like water at all) and enjoy playing and being challenged by learning new tricks.

Breed overview Ocicat
Height 9–11 inches
Weight 12–15 pounds
Life expectancy 14–18 years
YYU University Research and Rehabilitation Center's new project on Van cats
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Turkish Van

As its name implies, this feline hails from Turkey. It’s an old breed with the distinguished markings of an all-white coat with color only on the head, tail and one body spot. As large cat breeds go, the Turkish Van ranges from 10 to 20 pounds, with males heavier than females.

Keiger says the Turkish Van arrived in the United States in 1982, so they may be hard to come by—you’re not likely to see this rare cat outside just strolling down the sidewalk. Fun fact: They are known as the “swimming cats” because they enjoy paddling about in the water.

Breed overview Turkish Van
Height 10–14 inches
Weight 10–20 pounds
Life expectancy 7–12 years
A playful manx calico cat
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The Manx has a lot more going for it than its adorable round face and full cheeks: This tail-less cat is irresistibly cute and outgoing. “This breed is so much fun; so interactive and so playful and comical. They’re like little clowns,” says Gary Veach of Briar-Mar Manx Cattery and a CFA judge.

They may be “little” compared with humans, but in the feline world, the Manx is a robust, muscular breed that can weigh up to 20 pounds, and with their added muscle structure, males generally hit the higher weight over females. Like so many other large cat breeds, Manxes display doglike qualities in that they are loyal, affectionate and thrive on engaging playtime with their humans.

Breed overview Manx
Height 7–11 inches
Weight 10–20 pounds
Life expectancy 10–14 years
Cat on a pillow
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Maine Coon

The Maine Coon cat holds the rare honor of being the official cat for the state of Maine, where it originates. Oddly enough, these adorable large house cats tend to be afraid of their own shadow and have tiny voices that trill and chirp, says Bethany Colilla, a CFA judge and secretary of the Maine Coon Cat Breed Council. “They are typically about 15 to 20 pounds. Females tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum; however, the larger males can sometimes get closer to 25 pounds,” says Colilla.

Breed overview Maine Coon
Height 8–16 inches
Weight 10–25 pounds
Life expectancy 10–13 years
Siberian Cat Relaxing on the Floor Indoors
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Mature Siberians, a robust large cat breed that originated in Russia, may even be heavier than the massive Maine Coon. “It isn’t unusual for a fully grown adult male to weigh as much as 25 pounds, but typically they run 12 to 16 pounds and females nine to 12 pounds. Yet they look smaller than the Coons because of their more compact, barrel-shaped bodies,” says Iris Zinck of Folie à Deux Siberian Cattery and a CFA Allbreed Judge.

Zinck says the Siberian is a favorite with allergy sufferers because they generally have lower concentrations of an allergenic enzyme in their saliva, meaning their fur and dander are often easier for people to tolerate. Perfect for cat lovers, Siberians are incredibly mellow and affectionate and love to cuddle, making them a very friendly cat breed.

Breed overview Siberian
Height 10–12 inches
Weight 9–25 pounds
Life expectancy 8–10 years
American bobtail cat
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American Bobtail

There’s no mistaking the piercing hunting gaze, muscular body and trademark bobbed tail of the American Bobtail. In fact, it probably reminds you of the wild bobcat—just a smaller and cuddlier version. “Males are generally 14 to 20 pounds and females nine to 15 pounds,” says Lorna Dawn Friemoth of NuDawnz Cattery. “They are very doglike in nature and enjoy being carried like a sack of potatoes. And they are very in tune with their owners and are often used as therapy pets and in special needs classrooms.”

Breed overview American Bobtail
Height 9–10 inches
Weight 9–20 pounds
Life expectancy 13–15 years
Long hair domestic cat - Ragdoll.
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How did an adorable cat with striking blue eyes and waves of long, silky fur get a name like Ragdoll? It actually has nothing to do with its appearance. “They got their name, Ragdoll, mainly because of their relaxing and laid-back personalities,” says Lauren Tan of Doll Villa Ragdoll Cattery. “Most of them tend to go limp like a rag doll in your arms when picked up.”

Ranging from 10 to 20 pounds, this large cat breed craves human attention and possesses dog-like behaviors; they will likely follow their human around the house and even come running when their name is called, Tan says. The cat’s out of the bag!

Breed overview Ragdoll
Height 9–11 inches
Weight 10–12 pounds
Life expectancy 12–17 years
Cat lying down on a sofa
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British Shorthair

While most cats favor the highest branch of the cat tree (or the top of a refrigerator), the plush and cute British Shorthair prefers to keep all four paws on the ground, says Cyndy Byrd, CFA’s British Shorthair Breed Council Secretary. This large cat breed (ranging from nine to 20 pounds, with females on the lighter side) was Britain’s barn cat, employed to guard the grain. “They are steadfast companions of the entire family and always in quiet control of [their] environment, supervising everyone and everything that happens in the family,” says Byrd.

And if this gray cat breed looks familiar, that’s because it inspired the Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. By the way, all that super-plush fur is also its claim to fame: British Shorthairs have the most hair per square inch of all cat breeds.

Breed overview British Shorthair
Height 12–14 inches
Weight 9–20 pounds
Life expectancy 14–20 years


Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, Family Handyman and Taste of Home, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center.