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8 Most Popular Cat Breeds in India (With Pictures)

Woman holding a cat
Image Credit: VAKS-Stock Agency, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 22, 2023 by Catster Editorial Team

Traditionally, cat ownership wasn’t really popular in India. Plenty of street cats hung out in the alley, but these cats typically fended for themselves with little human interaction. But while there are many such cats still lingering on the streets today, pet ownership in India is on the rise, with 20% of pet owners having at least one cat 1. Many pet cats may be former street cats with an uncertain heritage, but they are purebred felines like a Siamese or a Maine Coon. Here are some of the most popular cat breeds in India today that you might find in your travels. But before we get into it, let’s learn a little about

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Cat Ownership in India

In 2023, an estimated 2.44 million cats now live in homes in India 2. This number has doubled in the last decade, up from 1.21 million in 2014. The data speaks for itself: cat ownership is becoming increasingly popular in India. Many of these cats may have been adopted during the COVID pandemic, when pet adoption rates experienced an international surge as people were confined to their homes and needed a companion. A large number of those pets were unfortunately rehomed once the pandemic ended and normal life resumed, but cat ownership is still on the rise, even after accounting for the loss.

Besides mixed breeds and strays of unknown origin, what are the most common types of cats in India? Let’s find out.


The 8 Most Popular Cat Breeds in India

1.  Billi (Billy)

Spotted Cat
Image Credit By: Shvaygert Ekaterina, shutterstock
Lifespan:2–18 years
Weight:8–15 pounds

Native to India, the Billi cat usually lives on the street and isn’t regarded as a special breed. Cat fanciers in India are looking to change that in hopes that an international breed status may increase adoption rates and reduce the numbers on the streets 3. On their own, they typically live between 2–10 years, but an indoor Billi kept as a pet may live 15–18 years like the average domestic housecat. Forming a breed standard may prove a bit challenging since the most defining characteristics of a Billi cat are its large size and muscular body, not so much its patterns and colors. The most common colors are rust or gray with spots.

2. Siamese

applehead siamese cat lying on a carpet
Image Credit: big dipper, Shutterstock
Lifespan:8–15 years
Weight:8–14 pounds

Usually having a light-colored coat with black or brown seal points on their face, the Siamese has a very distinct appearance that’s adored around the world. So, it’s no surprise that they would be one of the most popular cats in India as well. Siamese kittens are always born pure white. They start to grow their darker fur around the time they’re a month old. They’re considered to be a small- to medium-sized cat that averages around 8–14 pounds when fully grown. Siamese cats like to “talk” and are very playful. Some have a mischievous streak, as depicted in popular movies like Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.

3. Persian

cute ginger doll face persian cat_CKYN stock photo_shutterstock
Image Credit: CKYN stock photo, Shutterstock
Lifespan:15–20 years
Weight:7–12 pounds

An ancient breed originating from Persia, or modern-day Iran, the Persian cat is known for its fluffy double coat and compact features. The long coat may be of a variety of colors, and requires a lot of brushing in order to catch all of the loose fur. The Persian may not greet you as soon as you walk in the door but is likely to become very affectionate once they get to know you better.

4. Himalayan

Himalayan Cat
Image Credit By: fcatus1, pixabay
Origin:United States of America
Lifespan:9–15 years
Weight:7–12 pounds

With seal points and compact features, the Himalayan is the adorable mix of a Persian and Siamese cat. They typically have the stocky legs from the Persian and usually have a white body and blue eyes like the Siamese, but not always. Himalayan cats may have different colored fur inherited from the Persian parent.

Himalayans are a very popular cat breed, despite their recent American origins and not being as widely available in India. But given that the parent breeds are some of the most popular purebreds in India, it makes sense that they were so readily adopted.

5. Bengal

Bengal cat standing in the garden
Image Credit: Jeannette1980, Pixabay
Origin:United States of America
Lifespan:12–16 years
Weight:8–15 pounds

Imagine a miniature leopard sitting on your sofa and you’ve got a pretty accurate picture of the spotted Bengal. Only they probably won’t sit still for very long. The athletic Bengal is one of the few cat breeds that actually likes to swim. They likely inherited this trait from their recent ancestor, the Asian Leopard Cat, that lives in different places on the same continent, including the coastal regions of India. Despite their exotic name, the Bengal breed was created in the United States by mixing different domestic breeds with the Asian Leopard Cat to produce a wild-looking house cat.

6. Bombay

bombay cat
Image Credit: Pickpik
Origin:United States of America
Lifespan:12–20 years
Weight:8–15 pounds

A beautiful mix between the Burmese and the American Shorthair, the Bombay cat has jet black fur that’s soft to touch. Their olive eyes and round head coupled with their dark fur makes them resemble a wild black leopard found in India around Mumbai (formerly Bombay), but they don’t technically have any wildcat blood in them. The Bombay cat is an extremely social breed. They easily make friends with humans, other cats, and dogs as long as they’ve been accustomed to them from an early age.

7. Maine Coon

ginger Maine coon cat
Image Credit: Meriluxa, Shutterstock
Origin:United States of America
Lifespan:12–17 years
Weight:15–20 pounds

If you’re torn between adopting a dog or a cat, the Maine Coon is likely the best choice for you. Their large size, love of water, and ability to walk on a leash enables them to go on most any adventure with you. The Maine Coon was developed in the United States during the 1800s. They caught rats on ships that docked on the shores of Maine and worked as barn cats in rural America, but today they are one of the most popular cat breeds in India as well.

8. American Bobtail

American Bobtail
Image Credit: OrangeGroup, Shutterstock
Origin:United States of America
Lifespan:13–18 years
Weight:7–16 pounds

American Bobtail cats have a naturally occurring gene which produces a stubby tail. While this type of cat has always existed, the breed wasn’t officially formed until the 1950s when it was strategically bred in the United States. Their short tail and friendly nature define them. Unlike most breeds, their coat is incredibly varied and can be pretty much any color or length. You can expect to pay a pretty penny to adopt one of these beautiful felines in India unless you’re lucky enough to find one at a rescue.

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Whether you live in India or are curious what breeds other cat owners around the world fancy, it’s interesting to learn about the different cats that call different places home. As pet ownership becomes more popular in India, we expect to see more of a variety of cat breeds—and mixed breeds—find their home.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: VAKS-Stock Agency, Shutterstock

About the Author

Brooke Bundy
Brooke Bundy
Brooke Bundy is a freelance writer who lives with three cats and a dog. She has a B.S. in Media Studies from the University of North Georgia. Booke loves storytelling and spending time with her pets at their house in New Orleans, Louisiana. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and brewing coffee.

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