Siamese cats, famous for tri-color coats and blue eyes, originated in Asia's Thailand. Once exclusive to royalty, a gift to England in 1880 led to widespread popularity
Persian cats are famous for their glamorous looks and long, silky fur. Originating in Persia or Turkey during the 1600s, they became popular with nobility, including Queen Victoria.
The Turkish Angora, from Turkey, possibly 15th century. Origin theories include genetic mutation or adaptation to snowy climates. Muhammad's legend dates back earlier.
Bengal cats have Asian origins. Jean Sudgen Mills created them in the 1970s by breeding an Asian leopard cat with domestic cats, resulting in a house cat's personality with a wild, exotic appearance.
Japanese bobtail's distinguishing "pom" tail is a genetic mutation. History traces back 1,000 years to China/Korea. Monks may have introduced them to Japan for scroll protection.
Korat, a rare breed from Thailand, traces back to the 13th century. Brought to Europe in the 1800s, known as "blue Siamese" for their blue coats and resemblance to Siamese cats.
Dragon Li, "fox flower cat" in Chinese, a natural breed from China, possibly descended from the Chinese mountain cat. Unofficially China's national cat, rarely found outside the country.
Burmese cats from Myanmar held sacred in temples. Wong Mau, brought to the US in the 1930s, founded the breed with crossbreeding Siamese in San Francisco by Dr. Joseph G. Thompson.
Oriental shorthair, a Siamese offshoot with Balinese and Oriental longhair. World War II introduced Russian blues and Abyssinians, creating unique tri-color points and varied coat colors.
Smallest domestic breed, Singapura, weighs 4-8 lbs, with big eyes, ears, and sepia coat. Originally street cats in Singapore, now cherished as prized pets.