If you’ve ever longed to share your living space with a leopard or curl up with a cheetah, you’ll fall in love with these large cat breeds — all 100 percent domesticated but with an air of jungle cat mystique. Let’s meet five of them right here.
Serving as Russia’s national cat, the Siberian has been a part of the cat world for over 1,000 years and is hailed as the largest feline breed in existence. A champion at capturing the hearts of dog lovers and feline fanciers alike, the Siberian doesn’t grow overnight. Instead, this large cat breed steadily evolves into his full stature during the first five years of his life. While it’s not uncommon for a male Siberian to weigh up to 25 pounds, they typically clock in between 15 and 20, with females reaching a weight of 12 to 15 pounds.
Siberians are personable, devoted and loving, and their coats grow thicker during the cold winter months — shedding the excess fur during spring and summer. Fun fact: Due to the low levels of Fel d 1 protein found in Siberians, many people who are allergic to cats are able to snuggle up to this large cat breed without a single sniffle!
Something sweet about the Savannah? She’s a hybrid kitty — part domestic, part serval (an African wild cat) — so she definitely allows you to add a fierce touch to your familia! The Savannah weighs anywhere from 8 to 22 pounds. Where she really impresses, however, is in the height department — reaching up to 17 inches tall once full-grown. Moral of the story? She would definitely be a top recruit for all of the basketball teams if she were human!
Though friendly and a great companion, the Savannah is not a lap cat! This is a fearless feline who loves life in the fast lane and seeks adventure and loads of action – all of which her athletic physique accommodates quite well. A word of warning: Hide your breakables (her high jumps pose a hazard), and prepare to purchase a faucet style that will prevent her prying paws from turning on the water (because she loves to splish splash)!
Dubbed the Gentle Giant, or Shags, or the Feline Greeter of the World (it really depends on what cat crowd you run in), the Maine Coon has made an impact on the feline world in a way that many breeds have not yet achieved. With a size that rivals that of smaller-breed canines, the Maine Coon sports a fluffy plume of a tail, ear tufts and an interesting feature: a weatherproof coat — all of which work together to protect Maine Coons from the cold. Females aren’t huge, weighing between 8 and 12 pounds, but their male counterparts can be quite hefty, weighing up to 20 pounds.
What gives them the ‘Gentle Giant’ title? When stretched, their bodies can reach up to 40 inches in length! Fun fact: Like raccoons, Maine Coons are quite dexterous, using their paws to turn doorknobs, dunk their toys into their water bowls and scoop up food!
Like the Savannah, the Chausie (pronounced chow-see) is a hybrid between a domestic shorthair and a jungle cat. His wild ancestry probably explains just why this elegant feline is such a wild child! Assertive, active and a huge attention-craver, the Chausie is ridiculously affectionate and loves his humans.
Though males weigh between 15 and 25 pounds, and females weigh between 15 and 20, they share the same statuesque look that made their jungle-cat ancestors so revered in ancient Egypt (psst … many jungle cats have even been found in Egyptian tombs, mummified alongside their human counterparts!).
Though the Norwegian Forest Cat only made its first appearance in the States in 1979, the breed has been featured for centuries in Norwegian mythology and folktales. Known as the ‘skogkatt’ in her native country — which translates to ‘forest cat’ — this feline may resemble other long-haired breeds (we’re looking at you, Maine Coon), but she is a gem in her own right!
Like the Maine Coon, the Norwegian Forest Cat sports an insulated, waterproof coat (made to survive Scandinavian winters), but her almond-shaped eyes and triangle-shaped head make her appearance one of a kind. Both males and females are well-muscled and large — with males weighing from 12 to 16 pounds, and females weighing from 9 to 12 pounds. Fun fact: It’s believed that Norwegian Forest Cats accompanied Viking explorers on their voyages to keep their ships rodent-free!
A Final Word on Large Cat Breeds
Think you’re still up for adding one of these large cat breeds to your family? One thing to keep in mind is that most large cat breeds don’t reach their full size until they hit 4 or 5 years of age — so what you see during kittenhood, or even the teenage years, isn’t necessarily what you’re going to get.
Thumbnail: Photography by AlexussK / Shutterstock.
Read more about cat breeds on Catster.com: