8 Asian Cat Breeds

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 14, 2020
8 Asian Cat Breeds

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There are many cat breeds that are native to Asia: in fact, some of the most beautiful and popular cats were first bred there. In general, Asian cat breeds share a number of characteristics that make them different from the cats of the rest of the world. Many newer breeds of cat originate from Asia, but it can be difficult to trace their ancestry.

In this AnimalWised article we present 7 Asian cat breeds which can be found as companion animals all over the world. Some of them immensely popular, others not as well known by the general public. All of them make extraordinary pets. Keep reading and discover the most popular Asian cat breeds!

You may also be interested in: 8 Gray Cat Breeds

Asian cat breeds

There are different criteria for a cat breeds origin, but not all are easy to determine. Since domestic cats have been bred for centuries to encourage certain physical or behavioral traits, it is difficult to know the exact origin of certain breeds.

Some breeds may also be a little confusing. While you may think the Bengal cat is Asian, this is not exactly the case. While they have been developed from the Asian leopard cat, they were originally bred in California, making them an American cat breed rather than Asian.

The main Asian cat breeds are:

  • Ceylon cat
  • Burmese cat
  • Siamese cat
  • Thai cat
  • Japanese Bobtail cat
  • Dragon Li cat
  • Oriental Shorthair cat
  • Korat cat

Some cat breeds are thought of as Asian, but it is difficult to confirm their origins. For example, the different types of Persian cat are thought of as being Asian, but it would be more specific to call them Middle Eastern.

Ceylon Cat

The Ceylon cat is a beautiful breed that comes from Sri Lanka. This breed is still largely unknown in the West, but a Italian breeders have recently begun breeding and distributing them. The Ceylon cat is not yet recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association, the Fédération Internationale Féline nor the International Cat Association.

This cat breed is ideal for living in flats and apartments. It is sociable, clean and affectionate: it immediately starts trusting the family that takes it in, being very kind and caring.

The Ceylon cat is notable for its body shape. It has large ears that are wide at the base, and its slightly almond-shaped eyes are a spectacular green color. The Ceylon cat is average in size, with a well-defined musculature and very silky short hair. It has rounded cheeks and a distinctive specked coat.

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Ceylon Cat

Burmese Cat

The Burmese cat is a domestic breed from Myanmar. After being brought to the USA and Great Britain, Burmese cats became popular all over the world. A standard was created, and those first Burmese cats were only brown; nowadays blue, champagne and platinum coats are accepted, but sable is still the favorite.

The Burmese cat is of a medium size, with a rounded head, short neck and average-sized ears. Just like Siamese cats, Burmese cats very intelligent and vocal. This makes them excellent communicators with the families that take them in, and they are very affectionate.

Through a cross between a sable Burmese cat and a black American Shorthair, a new breed was created in the 1950s. This new breed was called the Bombay cat; the breeder's aim was to create a cat-sized panther, and she succeeded.

However, Bombay cats only look like panthers; they are extremely affectionate. This cat breed is always glossy black in color and has well defined muscles, since its hair is very short and silky. Its beautiful eyes are always orange, gold or copper. Bombay cats don't like being alone. They're great for living in flats, as they aren't too active and can be taught all sorts of tricks.

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Burmese Cat

Siamese Cat

Siamese cats are extraordinary pets for their all around balance: they are adorable, but also intelligent, loving, independent, clean, communicative, (sort of) active and have an elegant, refined beauty. This cat breed is native to Asia, as Siamese cats come from Thailand. There are different types of Siamese cats, many being differentiated by their coat color.

Each Siamese cat has its own personality; watching the behavior of a Siamese cat can be very funny. From wanting to catch the ball with their paws in a televised football match, to seeing them peeing whilst sat down on the WC and hiding in corners to jump out unexpectedly at your heels as you walk past them - a Siamese cat will always keep you entertained!

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Siamese Cat

Thai cat

There is some controversy over the addition of the Thai cat. It is a rare example of a recently recognized cat breed which is actually ancient. The reason is because the Thai cat is a type of Siamese cat breed. The Siamese had two main types, the Traditional and Modern Siamese. The Modern Siamese is the wedge-head shaped cat breed we see about.

The Traditional Siamese cat was recently re-classified as the Thai cat. Despite having the same origins, the Traditional and Modern Siamese cats developed into very different looking individuals. The Thai cat retains pointed ears, but they have a much rounder face and a stouter body shape when compared to the Modern Siamese cat. They do have very similar personalities, both being very playful and affectionate.

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Thai cat

Japanese Bobtail Cat

The Japanese Bobtail cat is a breed from Japan with a remarkable history. Legend has it that these cats arrived from the Kuril Islands to the coasts of Japan by boat, a thousand years ago. In the year 1602 it was forbidden for anyone to buy, sell or keep a cat of any breed in their home. All cats needed to be released to the streets of Japan to kill off a plague of rats that were destroying the rice harvests and silk factories.

The stand-out feature of this Asian cat breed is its short and twisted tail. It is a medium-sized cat with a triangular face and pricked-up ears. It is a muscular cat, with hind legs longer than the front ones. This is an active cat that becomes active right before dawn. Japanese Bobtails meow a lot, so if you decide to adopt one you should make sure you take a look at our tips to stop a cat from meowing all the time.

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Japanese Bobtail Cat

Dragon Li Cat

The Dragon Li cat, also known as Chinese Li Hua, is a cat breed from China that arrived to the world of pets very recently, in 2003. It is believed that this domestic breed descends from a type of wild cat, the Chinese mountain cat (Felis silvestris bieti). There are people who believe there are many different Chinese cat breeds, but there is only one confirmed and it is the Dragon Li. A cat called the Sumxu is thought to be another, but this cat is either extinct or never existed in the first place.

This Asian cat breed is very muscular and medium-sized. Dragon Li cats usually come in olive shades, and has the dark striped coat typical of tabby cats. Its oval eyes are green or yellow.

It is a very intelligent cat which gets on well with other pets, but it isn't overly affectionate. The Dragon Li is very active, so it needs space. It isn't a recommended pet for very young children.

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Dragon Li Cat

Oriental Shorthair Cat

The Oriental Shorthair cat is closely related to the Siamese, and so it originated in Thailand. However, the breed was actually developed and standardized in the United States.

This slender-featured cat looks quite remarkable: its large ears make the Oriental Shorthair cat unmistakable. Its silhouette and figure reminds us of the modern Siamese cat. The Oriental Shorthair is a very affectionate and clean cat, perfect for a delicate life in an apartment. This beautiful breed comes in many different colors, patterns and face markings.

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Oriental Shorthair Cat

Korat cat

A natural breed which developed on their own in a part of Asia likely to be modern-day Thailand, the Korat is a beautiful Asian cat breed with a unique appearance. They are usually grey colored cats, although they can also be lilac. The grey Korat cats have a beautiful shimmer to their coat which makes them extra beautiful in certain lights. They may also have very faint markings.

The Korat has a heart shaped head and can bond very well with people. They are also particularly well-known for their intelligence. Curiously, only recently have you been able to buy Korat cats as pets. Traditionally, they were only ever given as gifts.

8 Asian Cat Breeds - Korat cat

These are the 8 most popular Asian cat breeds - which one is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. If you're looking for a cat to adopt, we recommend the following articles:

If you want to read similar articles to 8 Asian Cat Breeds, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

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