Asian Cat Breeds

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: March 3, 2022
Asian Cat Breeds

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

In this article we present 10 Asian cat breeds which can be found as companion animals all over the world. Some of them are 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 with AnimalWised.

You may also be interested in: Native Asian Dog Breeds


  1. Asian cat breeds
  2. Ceylon cat
  3. Burmese
  4. Bombay cat
  5. Siamese
  6. Thai cat
  7. Japanese Bobtail
  8. Dragon Li
  9. Oriental Shorthair
  10. Korat
  11. Tonkinese
See more >>

Asian cat breeds

There are different criteria for a cat breed's 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. However, there are cultural records, historical depictions and other sources which can suggest a certain breed's origin.

Some breeds may also be a little confusing due to nomenclature. While you may think the Bengal cat breed 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.

We also want to point out that these Asian cat breeds originate from all parts of Asia. While Chinese cat breeds and Japanese cat breeds dominate, the specific geographic area can be difficult to determine.

The Asian cat breeds we share in our list today are:

  1. Ceylon cat
  2. Burmese
  3. Bombay
  4. Siamese
  5. Thai cat
  6. Japanese Bobtail
  7. Dragon Li
  8. Oriental Shorthair
  9. Korat
  10. Tonkinese

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.

1. Ceylon cat

The Ceylon cat is a beautiful breed that comes from Sri Lanka. This breed is still largely unknown in the West, but some 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. They are sociable, clean and affectionate. They immediately start trusting the family that adopts them, being very kind and caring with them.

The Ceylon cat is notable for their body shape. They have large ears that are wide at the base, and their 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. They have rounded cheeks and a distinctive specked coat.

Learn more about cats with similar coats in our list of spotted cat breeds.

Asian Cat Breeds - 1. Ceylon cat

2. Burmese

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. When the breed standard for this Asian cat was established, individuals were only brown. Nowadays, blue, champagne and platinum coats are accepted, but sable is still the most common.

The Burmese cat is of a medium size, with a rounded head, short neck and average-sized ears. Just like Siamese cats, Burmese cats are very intelligent and vocal. This makes them excellent communicators with their human families. They are also very affectionate.

Asian Cat Breeds - 2. Burmese

3. Bombay cat

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 domestic-cat-sized panther, and the Bombay was the successful result.

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 their hair is very short and silky. Their beautiful eyes are always orange, gold or copper. Bombay cats don't like being alone. They're a cat breed adapted to living in apartments, as they aren't too active and can be taught all sorts of tricks.

Asian Cat Breeds - 3. Bombay cat

4. Siamese

Siamese cats are extraordinary pets. 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 originated in Thailand. There are different types of Siamese cats, many being differentiated by their coat color, but also by morphology and other traits.

Each Siamese cat has their own personality and 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 toilet and hiding in corners to jump out unexpectedly at your heels as you walk past them, a Siamese cat will always keep you entertained!

Asian Cat Breeds - 4. Siamese

5. 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.

Asian Cat Breeds - 5. Thai cat

6. Japanese Bobtail

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.

More than just a cute appearance, the Japanese Bobtail is also one of the most intelligent cat breeds.

Asian Cat Breeds - 6. Japanese Bobtail

7. Dragon Li

The Dragon Li cat, also known as Chinese Li Hua, is a cat breed from China that only became recognized very recently, in 2003. It is believed 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 have the dark striped coat typical of tabby cats. Their oval eyes are green or yellow.

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

Asian Cat Breeds - 7. Dragon Li

8. Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair cat is closely related to the Siamese, also having their origins in Thailand. However, the breed was actually developed and standardized in the United States.

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

Asian Cat Breeds - 8. Oriental Shorthair

9. Korat

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.

Asian Cat Breeds - 9. Korat

10. Tonkinese

This is a medium-sized Asian cat breed which is a cross between the Siamese and the Burmese Asian cat breeds. For this reason, we can trace their origins back to Thailand. They have a pointed coat pattern which, as with the Siamese, can be a range of colors. The medium-haired variation of the Tonkinese is sometimes known as the Tibetan cat. Although their origins lie in Asia, the Tonkinese variety of cats were developed in the USA.

Tonkinese cats are very intelligent, playful and inquisitive. Their intelligence means they can actually be trained to perform certain tasks, even retrieving objects like a dog. Since they need plenty of stimulation, they are not for hands-off guardians. They need plenty of interaction and cognitive stimulation.

Asian Cat Breeds - 10. Tonkinese

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 Asian Cat Breeds, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

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Asian Cat Breeds