We’ve got longhair and shorthair aplenty, we’ve got hairless and munchkins galore, you want tabby stripes, we’ve got 20 …. But today, we’re introducing you to not one, not two, but six fluffy cat breeds that will leave you itching for a pet, cuddle or all of the above.
Before we get to meeting the cats, let’s cover the science … what makes those fluffy cat breeds so fabulously floofy?
“A cat’s coat is comprised of three layers of fur,” says Sasha Gibbons, DVM at Just Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut. “The topcoat is made up of guard hairs. These are the thickest type of fur and are designed for protecting against the outdoor elements. Beneath the guard hairs are the awn and down, which provide insulation to the cat. Variation in the number of hairs in each layer result in varying coat thickness or fluffiness. For instance, a Cornish Rex has no guard hairs, whereas a Siberian has a large number of guard hairs, as well as down.”
And now for the main (or shall we say mane?) event … the felines behind the fluffy cat breeds.
With a name like Ragdoll, don’t expect anything less than a plush princess with a personality as bright and shiny as her trademark blue eyes. Named for her penchant to go limp in your arms ragdoll-style, this feline angel makes our list of fluffy cat breeds due to her silky-to-the-touch coat, which lacks the insulated undercoat of many long-haired breeds. This means her luscious locks are easier to care for, and reduces the chances of matting and shedding.
Though she’s happy to hang with other kitties, her true love is humans – even meeting you at the door when you return home from your day to day!
Known as the Sacred Cat of Birma, the Birman earns a spot among fluffy cat breeds because, similar to the Ragdoll, his lack of an undercoat gives him a silky, fuss-free mane. However, his true coat trick is something far more unique. Though born entirely white, as the Birman ages he develops darker-colored fur (lilac, gold and chocolate) on each of his points, giving him a kiss of uniqueness that is all his own.
The one commonality across the Birman board: the four white paws known as gloves. But don’t be fooled by his posh, debonair looks. The Birman is a ball of energy who loves to play for hours on end – his flowing locks sailing in the wind as he fetches and frolics!
Before you say it, no, the Nebelung is not a Russian Blue … though she is a distant cousin of the ethereal feline, sporting a longer coat, and being as elusive as a crimson diamond. Rare in the cat world, the Nebelung is known for her shy persona and rightfully makes this roundup of fluffy cat breeds for her plume-like tail, Oriental-inspired looks, and fluffy-to-the-touch, medium-length fur.
With a name that means “creature of the mist” in German, the Nebelung has yet to clinch recognition from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), but has been a member of The International Cat Association (TICA) since 1997, with the hopes that the breed will soon become more commonplace in the cat world. Fun fact: the Nebelung is one of the featured (and very rare) Harry Potter Patronus options for users who take the Pottermore personality test!
First things first … the proper pronunciation is, say it with me now, kim-rick. A sister breed to the short-haired Manx, some say the Cymric is part rabbit due to his cottontail, long hind legs and the fluffy-to-a-fault fur coat that nabs him a place among these fluffy cat breeds. Being part rabbit isn’t biologically possible, but a cute concept nonetheless. Bred to be tail-free, the Cymric, sometimes referred to as a ‘cabbit,’ has a double coat that is long and silky yet easy to maintain.
Born to work as a mouser, the Cymric has fierce hunting skills, and could easily be considered a watch cat, but that doesn’t stop him from loving to curl up in your lap for a cuddle sesh every now and again. Fun fact: the Cymric, like the Manx, can be seen in four tail lengths: no tail, or rumpy; a rise of bone at the base of the spine, or riser; short tails, or stumpies; and normal-length tails, or longies.
Surprised to see a so-called shorthair in an article about fluffy cat breeds? That’s because the Exotic Shorthair is a shorthair like no other. A mirror-image of a Persian (no, really), the Exotic Shorthair has been dubbed by the feline fanciers world as the Lazy Man’s Persian due to his plush, short coat that is teddy bear-esque but easy-peasy to maintain – meaning no matting, no tangling and far less combing required.
Over-the-top affectionate, this fluffy feline (known for his rounded features), lives for love and never misses an opportunity to cuddle. Fun fact: Some Exotic Shorthairs have been known to hug their humans when pet, and may even sit on your shoulder!
A star of Norwegian folktales and mythology for centuries, the Norwegian Forest Cat, or ‘Wegie,’ is relatively new to the US, but has quickly captured the hearts of many with her beauty and social butterfly ways.
Believed to have served as ratters for Viking explorers aboard ships, the Norwegian Forest Cat is known for the sumptuous coat that lands her on this list of fluffy cat breeds. Insulated and waterproof, the Wegie was bred for cold climates, making her fluffy fur a standout characteristic that is equal parts elegant and cozy to cuddle up to. Fun fact: In her native country of Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat is known as the skogkatt, which translates to forest cat.
Think that fluffiness has an effect on a feline’s health? Think again! Sure, these fluffy cat breeds may need a touch more TLC when it comes to grooming than their short-haired counterparts, but more hair won’t negatively affect their health. Promise.
“A common myth is that fluffy cats are at a higher risk of hairballs,” says Dr. Gibbons. “Hairballs are an accumulation of fur in the gastrointestinal tract that can cause irritation and lead to vomiting. The occurrence of hairballs, however, is not related to the length or amount of fur a cat has. Hairballs result from an individual cat’s grooming habits and metabolism. Short-haired cats that overgroom themselves or groom their housemates are equally at risk of hairballs as long-haired cats. In the same regard, some long-haired cats will simply pass the fur in their stool without it getting stuck in the stomach and intestines. If your cat does have problems with hairballs, daily brushing, petroleum-based lubricants, and hairball diets or treats can be helpful in treatment and prevention.”
Tell us: Do you have one of these fluffy cat breeds in your household? Is your cat fluffy but not one of these breeds (or a mix)? Tell us about him/her in the comments!
Thumbnail: Photography ©Vadimborkin | Getty Images.