With an estimated 600 million domestic cats worldwide, the question of which breed is the largest has piqued the curiosity of many. This article delves into the world of domestic cat size, exploring the origins of large breeds, the genetic factors influencing their size, and the top five largest domestic cat breeds.

Additionally, it examines various factors that contribute to the size of domestic cats, providing a comprehensive understanding of this fascinating topic. Intriguingly, the current record for the largest domestic cat ever recorded stands at an astonishing 48.5 inches long.

Key Takeaways

  • Large domestic cat breeds originated from selective breeding practices.
  • Genetic mutations and selective breeding determine the size of domestic cats.
  • The FGFR1, IGF-1, MC1R, and POMC genes play a role in determining the size and coat color variations in domestic cats.
  • Maine Coon, Savannah cat, Ragdoll, and Norwegian Forest cat are among the largest domestic cat breeds.

The Origins of Large Domestic Cat Breeds

The origins of large domestic cat breeds can be traced back to selective breeding practices that aimed to create cats with larger body sizes. The evolutionary history of domestic cats dates back to their wild ancestor, the African wildcat (Felis lybica), which underwent domestication around 9,000 years ago.

Over time, humans started selectively breeding cats for various traits, including size. By selectively breeding cats with larger body sizes, breeders were able to create larger  domestic cat  breeds. One  example is  the Maine Coon, which is

believed to have originated in the United States and is known for its large size and robust build.

Another example is the Savannah cat, a crossbreed between a domestic cat and a serval, a wild African cat known for its size. Through the process of selective breeding, these large domestic cat breeds have become popular among cat enthusiasts seeking larger feline companions.

Understanding the Genetics Behind Size in Domestic Cats

Understanding the genetics underlying variations in size among feline species is a significant area of research. Genetic mutations and selective breeding play crucial roles in determining the size of domestic cats.

Numerous genes are involved in controlling the growth and development of an organism, and alterations in these genes can lead to size variations. For instance, the fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) gene has been identified as a key determinant of skeletal size in cats, with mutations in this gene resulting in dwarfism or gigantism.

Additionally, selective breeding practices have been employed to intentionally increase or decrease the size of certain cat breeds. Through controlled mating and careful selection of individuals with desired size traits, breeders can manipulate the genetic makeup of a population to achieve specific size characteristics.

The table below provides an overview of the genetic mutations and selective breeding practices associated with size variations in domestic cats.

Gene             Function               Associated Size


FGFR1        Skeletal development


IGF-1          Growth hormone   Small/large size MC1R                    Coat color              Small/large size

POMC         Hormone regulation

Small/large size

Exploring the Top 5 Largest Domestic Cat Breeds

Domestic cats are known for their diverse sizes and colors. While some cat breeds are petite and lightweight, others are notably large and heavy. Here are the top 5 largest domestic cat breeds:

  • Maine Coon: This is the largest domesticated cat breed. They have a distinctive physical appearance and are known for their friendly and intelligent nature. Male Maine Coons can weigh anywhere from 13 to 18 pounds or more, with females being slightly smaller.
  • Siberian: The Siberian cat is another large breed, originating from the cold weather climates of Russia. Males typically weigh between 15 to 20 pounds, while females are a bit smaller.
  • Norwegian Forest Cat: This breed originated in Northern Europe and is adapted to cold climates. Males typically weigh between 13 to 22 pounds, while females weigh slightly less.
  • Ragdoll: Ragdolls are large and affectionate cats that often go limp when you pick them up, hence the name. Males typically weigh between 15 to 20 pounds, and females weigh slightly less.
  • British Shorthair: This is one of the oldest cat breeds. They are known for their dense, plush coat and round face. Males typically weigh between 12 to 20 pounds, while females are slightly smaller.

Factors Influencing the Size of Domestic Cats

Factors influencing the size of domestic cats can include genetic factors, such as specific genes and breed ancestry, as well as environmental factors, such as diet and overall health. Genetic factors play a significant role in determining the size of domestic cats.

Certain genes can be responsible for the large size seen in some breeds, while breed ancestry can also contribute to variations in size. Additionally, environmental

factors, particularly diet, can have a substantial impact on feline growth. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for optimal growth and development in cats.

A cat’s diet should provide the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support healthy bone and muscle growth. The relationship between diet and cat size is complex, and further research is needed to fully understand the specific influences on feline growth.

Genetic Factors

Environmental Factors

Specific genes   Diet

Breed ancestry

Overall health

The Fascinating World of Giant Domestic Cat Records

The world of domestic cat records offers intriguing insights into the exceptional size variations observed among certain feline breeds. These records provide a glimpse into the history of large domestic cat breeds and the challenges associated with owning a giant domestic cat.

  1. Maine Coon: This breed holds the record for the longest domestic cat, with a length of 123 cm. They have a robust build, tufted ears, and a long, bushy tail.
  2. Savannah: These cats are a hybrid breed resulting from the crossing of a domestic cat with a serval. They are known for their tall and slender stature, with some individuals reaching a weight of up to 18 kg.
  3. Ragdoll: Ragdolls are large, muscular cats known for their docile temperament. They can weigh between 4-9 kg and have a semi-long coat, captivating blue eyes, and a distinct colorpoint pattern.

Owning a giant domestic cat comes with its challenges, including the need for a spacious living environment, specialized diets, and regular veterinary care to ensure their health and well-being.


The investigation into the biggest domestic cat breeds reveals fascinating insights into their origins, genetics, and factors influencing their size.

Through a deep dive into the world of giant domestic cats, it is evident that these exceptional felines captivate our attention and challenge our understanding of size limits in the feline world.

While the truth regarding a definitive theory remains elusive, the exploration of these majestic creatures continues to intrigue and engage both scientists and cat enthusiasts alike.

Further research and discoveries await in this captivating realm of giant domestic cats.

Hi, my name is Sarah Davis and I would like to welcome you to my blog MyBritishShorthair.com
You will learn here everything you need to know when owning a British Shorthair cat or any other breed for that matter. From a kitten to a fully grown cat, what to do and what to avoid to keep your cat happy and healthy.
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