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?”
honorable mention: the Norwegian Forest
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
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 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
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.
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!
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,
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.