Go ahead and LOL. You know you want to.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, cats are cool.  Of course, cat lovers knew this long before our feline friends had the world LOLing with cheezburgerz and invisible sports equipment.

Pop quiz:  What’s your favorite cat breed?  Stumped?  That’s because surveys show that while most people can identify dozens of dog breeds and list their favorites, when asked to name cat breeds those same people respond with an astonished, “Wait. . .cats have breeds?”

The answer is yes.  Yes they do, and I’m offering to make sure you don’t look like a hopeless wang the next time you’re caught in the crossfire of a cat-centered conversation with my list of Five Totally Bad Ass Cat Breeds.

He's sexy and he knows it.

1.  The Maine Coon
History:  The product of elopements between certain. . .um. . .morally flexible house cats and sweet-talking raccoons?  Descendants of Marie Antoinette’s own fashionable pets?  Though both theories have been floated, the real genesis of the Maine Coon is sketchy.  This much we know:  The Maine Coon has been in America nearly as long as Americans have.  Especially well-suited to harsh New England weather (check out the long tufts of fur that grow between his toe pads), the Coon is named for the state where his breed is thought to have originated.
Why the Maine Coon is Bad Ass:  Come on—just look at him.  He’s magnificent, from the lynx-like tips of his tufted ears to the end of his plumed tail.  Everything about the Maine Coon is both substantial and showy.  Known as the “gentle giant”, he is the largest of all domestic cats (males often top 20 pounds),  has a friendly, clownish personality, gets along well with children and other animals, and favors games of fetch with his people.  This cat is every bit as happy playing dress up with the kids as he is sleeping through some chick flick with a belly full of Cheez-Its, just like Dad.  The Maine Coon is also prone to polydactylism (extra toes); how bad ass is that?  And Maine is one of only three states which ever bothered to adopt an official state cat.  Guess which breed?

Like Bring Your Pet to Class Day at Clown College

honorable mention:  the Norwegian Forest

Because 128 billion Japanese people can't be wrong

2.  The Japanese Bob
History:  Native to Japan and Southeast Asia, the Japanese Bob has been documented as a feline variety for centuries.  That’s right:  centuries.   His trademark characteristic–a bunny-like puff of a tail–is the result of a recessive gene, although his publicist likes to tell a version in which a long-tailed ancestor nearly burned down the capital city when its tail caught fire and flames were spread as it ran through the streets, an incident resulting in the Emperor’s decree that all cats should have their tails cut off to prevent future misfortune.  You can believe whichever story you wish.
Why the Japanese Bob is Bad Ass:  Let’s face it; superstition-wise, cats really have been screwed.  What with their tendency to associate with witches, their occult powers, and that whole

I got your good luck right here. . .

stealing the breath from a baby debacle, cats can be a PR nightmare.  Except for the Japanese Bob!  He has been a constant figure in Japanese art and folklore, with the tricolor mi-ke considered especially fortuitous.  Ever seen one of those quaint “beckoning cat” trinkets at flea markets or in the odd-smelling homes of ancient people?  Those suckers are Japanese Bobs, and are guaranteed to bring good luck.  And perhaps you’ve heard of a little manga character called Hello Kitty?  She’s one

Screw you, I'm a Japanese Bob.

Japanese Bob who’s laughing all the way to the bank. Combine those cultural bullet points with a loquacious personality and the willingness to walk on a leash, and you’ve got a bad ass cat breed which has learned how to work its resources.

honorable mention:  the Scottish Fold
3.  The Bombay
History:  In contrast to the long and fabled histories of the Maine Coon and the Japanese Bob, the American Bombay’s story is a short one.  In 1958, a Louisville,KY, cat fancier undertook a breeding program aimed at producing the perfect black cat;  a black panther in miniature.  The Bombay is a medium-sized, tightly muscled feline with an almost majestic look.  Like her namesake, the Bombay sports a jet black coat and copper-colored eyes.  Miss Bombay is the supermodel of the cat world, but she is anything but highfalutin.  Social in nature, the Bombay loves to cuddle and burrow for warmth, and she tolerates dogs well.  Because breeders are relatively rare, bringing home a Bombay shows the sensibilities of a cat connoisseur.Why the Bombay is Bad Ass:  No matter what you might think of so-called designer breeds, the Bombay is something to behold.  Velvety fur so black it almost reflects white, eyes so striking they could have been Photoshopped, and a classic feline body type. . .plus, as a bonus, Bombays come with a string of characterisic-inspired nicknames that makes their owners wink and smile knowingly at their own wit:  the parlor panther, the Louisville hugger, the heat seeking missile, the patent-leather kitty with the copper penny eyes.  That shit’s legit.

What a Bombay sees when she looks in the mirror

honorable mention:  the Havana Brown

 4.  The Bengal

History:  A number of cat breeds are rumored to result from Tristan and Isolde-style unions between domestic cats and wild animals; few

Take a walk on the wild side

actually prove the claim.  Consider the Bengal, if you will.  In the 1960’s, a California breeder set up a blind date between one of her domestic cats and an Asian Leopard Cat she kept as an exotic pet.  The resulting half-wild kittens were the first of what would become known as Bengals.  Today’s pet Bengal must be at least four generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat in its breeding line, but retain that exotic, just-out-of-the-jungle appearance.  The Bengal is athletic, opinionated, and vocal.  He’s a jumper, a climber, a swimmer,  and–when bored–a mischief maker.  Put simply, the Bengal is a trip.

Bengal playing flute in the style of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson--on one leg!

Why the Bengal is Bad Ass:    Despite that unfortunate business with the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA won’t recognize the Bengal breed because it’s a hybrid), Bengals have become one of the most popular cats worldwide.  Celebrity owners include Kevin Bacon, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Anderson, Calvin Klein, and the Sultan of Brunei.  Don’t expect to pay chump change for your pet Bengal, though.  A low end pet quality Bengal can cost $650, and fine breeders routinely ask more than $1,000.  In 1998, a foundation Bengal was sold at auction for an extremely bad ass $40,000–the world’s record for the most expensive cat ever sold!

honorable mention:  the Somalian
5.  The Sphynx
History:  One fine morning in 1966, a Toronto resident was presented a litter of kittens by his pet cat.  Among the litter, a particular kitten stood out:  it was completely hairless.  One can only imagine the cat lover’s initial response to the tiny,

Love child of Yoda and ET

bald creature must have been, “Ew.”  But, being a man, his second response quite naturally was, “Know what would be cool?  If I could make that happen again!”  So he named the unfortunate, wrinkled kitten Prune and raised him to manhood, at which point poor Prune was encouraged to mate with his own mother, as if looking like a foreskin with eyes weren’t traumatic enough.  After a rather fretful trial run in which only a few more hairless kittens were born (the bald females tended to have convulsions and the males possessed such low self-image that they were uninterested in mating at all), a dependable breeding stock was established, making the Sphynx that long-sought-after missing link between Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Cat Fancier’s Association.

Why the Sphynx is Bad Ass:  Bitch, please.  Although she is frequently mistaken for a walking spleen, despite her susceptibility to chills,

Just great. Another bad hair day.

sunburn, and a waxy buildup on her skin, the Sphynx has become a popular pet (among cat lovers of certain tastes) and a staple of popular culture.  Austin Powers’ nemesis, Dr. Evil, commits mayhem with his beloved Sphynx Mr. Bigglesworth at his side.  A series of children’s books called Bad Kitty (by Nick Bruel) features a Sphynx cat called Strange Kitty.  And in an episode of FRIENDS (The One With The Ball), Rachel brings home a show quality Sphynx named Mrs. Whiskerson, whom Joey insists is not a cat at all, Gunther suspects to be some kind of snake, and Ross claims must be inside out.  Though not an ideal pet choice for everyone, the Sphynx has truly earned her swag.

honorable mention:  the Devon Curl

And there you have it:  five varied, yet totally bad ass cat breeds .  One more thing—this list is subject to the author’s opinion only, and the author is only too happy to acknowledge that whatever cat belongs to you, the reader, is truly the baddest cat in the land.  So no hate mail, please.



    • OU, Dont know about that. I have 2 Sphynx and Main Coon and…. Main Coon Loved my Sphynx female and, yesterday, we had 5 cute kittens 😉

  1. The words bad ass are right for the Maine Coon. BAD because they cause trouble. And ASS because they are assholes. Seriously. Those cats are notorious for wreaking havoc on homes and ending up in shelters. Why? Because their aggressive nature makes them outdoor cats. They dont belong in the house because they become hermits and rulers. We have had two over the years. And its always the same. The last one was a shelter cat we saved from death. Our 6 other cats are good natured and tried to give her a chance. But she insists upon being an ass. So we made her become an indoor/outdoor cat like the others. She is a little more humbled now that she knows she will get her ass beaten by the true badass black mama cat outside. She needed to be taken down a peg or two. Nothing worse than living with a bitch.

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