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Did you know that black cat breeds are the most likely to be abandoned, and the least likely to be adopted from shelters? It’s sad, but it’s true, and there’s just no good reason for it. Throughout history, black cats have been saddled with a host of associations, from prosperity and good luck in Egyptian and Celtic folklore, to dark magic and ill fortune in Continental Europe and North America. The early American Pilgrims thought that black cats were witch’s familiars, or even that they were demonic! On the other hand, sailors preferred black cat breeds for their ship’s cat because they were supposed to bring good luck. But black cats have a lot more to offer than whatever superstition says. The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes these 22 black cat breeds, each with unique traits and personalities. Some are cuddly, some are quiet, but every black cat deserves to find its fur-ever home. For more on cat breeds, check out these large cat breeds that you’ll want to cuddle immediately.
This gorgeous black cat breed is strong and intelligent. They are recognizable by their distinctive and expressive bobbed tail, and their love of games. Bobtails are chunky, cuddly, and loyal, and if you’re looking for a cat who might like to go on leash walks with you, or that gets along with your dog, the Bobtail is a great choice.
The American Curl black cat breed is distinguished by its adorable ears, which curl back at the points giving this kitty a perpetually surprised expression like a miniature lion. Curls are very interested in their people; they will follow you around the house, and even into the bathroom if you let them. Curls are also energetic and whimsical—you might find them in some unexpected places in your home, such as sleeping in the sink or playing with your neckties.
American Shorthair / American Wirehair
Shorthairs are the original house cat sweethearts, known for their large eyes and ears, slightly flattened faces, and classic curly cat smiles. This black cat breed came to America on the Mayflower, and have lived alongside Americans ever since as both working cats and pets. They are good for families, being mostly even-tempered and relaxed with all ages. The American Wirehair cat breed originated from a genetic mutation of the American Shorthair, so the temperament of these cats are very similar. These cuties are recognizable by their wiry, crimped coats and curly whiskers. The coat can look almost sheep-like, with a woolly appearance.
This is one of the purest black cat breeds because Bombay cats only come in one color—black! These cats are often called miniature black panthers, or parlor panthers, because of their sleek, shiny, short-haired coats and orange or gold eyes. They have adorable rounded faces and flexible personalities—the Bombay will play fetch with you or relax in your lap as they decide!
British Shorthairs are one of the oldest black cat breeds. They have been compared to teddy bears due to their sturdy bodies, plush coats, large eyes, and cuddliness. If you think they couldn’t be any more adorable, they also have a tendency to purr. They are naturally larger cats and can be clumsy, but they are friendly and relaxed and get on with other animals and most humans.
These slender black cats have curly coats, prominent noses, and huge bat ears, and they are just as agile and kittenish as they look. Their coat has a lamb-like appearance, and in spite of their slim build, they are strong and athletic. Cornish Rex cats are very intelligent and love to play games with their humans.
With their wrinkled little faces and large ears, Devons look a lot like the hairless Sphynx cat, except with a wavy coat similar to the Cornish Rex. This black cat breed is full of personality and extremely social; Devons are always interested in accompanying you on all of your activities and errands, particularly if they involve food. A talkative breed, Devons don’t hesitate to voice their opinions and do best with companions (of any species). Devons are one of the rarest cat breeds.
This adorable squishy-faced black cat breed looks a lot like the Persian, but with a shorter and more manageable coat. Known for their sweet personalities and teddy bear appearance, Exotics love to play but are not as dog-like and needy as some other breeds, happy to observe whatever is going on with their usual calm acceptance. They’d probably love it if you read these cat quotes to them.
These cats can have long or short-haired coats and a variety of colors, but we think the prettiest is the solid black coat! The unique bobbed tail is a dominant gene (although no two tails are ever alike), and this breed is an ancient native Japanese breed, featured in ancient artwork and used to keep rats out of Buddhist temples. Japanese Bobtails are masters of feline agility, very athletic, and talkative. They like to be involved in their owner’s lives and may provide a running commentary as they follow you around or help you with your email.
This cat breed comes in every color and coat pattern, but LaPerm cats have very unusual coats. The kittens are either born hairless or quickly lose all their hair, only to grow in a curly, wavy short or long coat after about four months. A full-coated LaPerm is magnificently fluffy, and their affectionate and loving personalities, soft coat and plumed tail, and ready purr make them a great family cat.
Maine Coons are one of the most easily recognizable black cat breeds. Their large size, lengthy fluffy tail, and long, thick fur keep them warm through the freezing winters of the North-East, and their tufted ears and paws allow protect them from the cold and allow them to walk on top of the snow despite their bulk. Native to Maine, the Maine Coon is one of the only cats who truly loves water. They are very affectionate and intelligent and like to hang out with you as you do the dishes (or take a shower!).
This ancient British cat hails from the Isle of Man, where it has been a working cat for centuries. This black cat breed either has no tail or a very stubby one. These cuties have seriously chubby cheeks (it’s just fluff, we swear!) and round faces. The Manx is playful and smart and great at jumping and hunting. They have thick double coats, to protect them from the strong island winds, and a protective streak that makes them good for kids.
Norwegian Forest Cat
These fluffy beauties are an ancient breed native to Norway, where they served as ratters on Viking longships and are called “skogkatt,” which translates to “forest cat.” They are best suited for colder climates, as their waterproof insulated double coat has evolved to cope with the harsh Scandinavian winters. They have the same tufted paws and luxurious tail as the Maine Coon, but a shorter, more triangular head and rounder nose set them apart. Similar to the Maine Coon, however, the Norwegian Forest Cat is energetic and affectionate, but a cat tree (the bigger the better) is a must!
You might have seen this gorgeous black cat breed on social media (its unusual appearance is often compared to actor Adam Driver). The Oriental’s large ears, long face, and prominent nose, along with its long legs and short coat make for a distinctively elegant cat. These clever kittens need a lot of attention and stimulation, and they will let you know (loudly) if they’re not getting it. Orientals are very social; their curious natures mean they’ll be interested in all your activities.
These flat-nosed fluffballs are one of the most popular black cat breeds. Gentle and affectionate, Persian upkeep is not for the faint of heart—those magnificent coats require regular brushing. Persians are not much given to jumping or acrobatic displays, preferring to lounge in a sunbeam. It’s more picturesque! An ancient breed, the exact origins of the Persian cat are lost to history, but hieroglyphic references date back to 1684 B.C.
Ragamuffins are incredibly sweet and loving cats; consistent with the “rag” in their names, they will go limp in your arms with a bit of petting, and will provide lots of love and affection. This beautiful black cat breed has a thick, soft, low-maintenance coat and a calm nature, making them good for families.
These adorable kitties look like owls! Or maybe teddy bears? The Scottish Fold comes from the barnyards of Scotland and is recognizable by its charmingly folded ears—unlike the American Curl, the Scottish Fold’s ears fold down toward the nose. Quiet, loyal, and relaxed, Scottish Folds’ big eyes and expressively curly whiskers give them a permanently shocked appearance that does not fit with their sweet personalities.
This very curly cat has Persian heritage, which is obvious in his big eyes, flat nose, and round head. One of the cuddliest black cat breeds with their curly coat, Selkirks can look messy at times but shouldn’t be brushed too often, or they’ll lose those gorgeous curls. They are very easygoing and patient cats, great for families where they can just go with the flow.
This beautiful black cat breed is the fairytale cat of Russia, an ancient native breed with a triple-layered, waterproof coat and long bushy tail to help them survive the Siberian winter. Their beautiful almond-shaped eyes and thick furry neck ruffs make them very appealing cats. Somewhat counterintuitively for such a fluffy cat, they often garner no allergic response from people who are allergic to cats. Siberians are naturally acrobatic and playful and get along well with individuals of all species. Triple-coated Siberians don’t need it.
The distinctive Sphynx is a naturally hairless cat whose color and markings show on its skin. Some say the pink version of this cat looks like a plucked chicken, but we think that the Sphynx black cat breed is adorable! Wrinkly and grumpy-looking, with huge ears and a bat-like appearance, the black Sphynx cat feels like a high-quality suede jacket to touch. Their lack of fur means that they require regular baths, but the upside is that most people will find that they do not disturb any cat allergies. Check out our list of other hypoallergenic cats. Sphynx personalities are affectionate and curious, and they tend to get along well with dogs and other pets.
Like its Turkish countryman the Angora rabbit, the Turkish Angora has incredibly soft and luxurious fur. This ancient cat breed is recognizable by its small head, thick tail, and elegant shape. They are very sociable and intelligent cats and may play host at your dinner parties, becoming acquainted with each guest in turn. They will happily live with dogs and children, but being quite assertive they may become the alpha in the house!