32 best cat breeds for cold climates

Cat being held by owner outside and looking over her shoulder at camera while the snow falls around them
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The best cat breeds for cold climates are well worth considering if you live in an area where the temperatures drop over the winter months. With many cats originating in countries known for having freezing temps, they have the physical traits necessary to ensure they survive.

While these cats have a genetic advantage that means they cope better with the cold, it's still important to ensure they have access to a warm environment, plenty of the best dry cat food to give them the calories they need to stay toasty, and a range of toys to offer them the mental and physical stimulation they need on those days when it's not safe for them to be outdoors.

You may be wondering, do cats get cold, and the answer is, of course. But some of our feline friends (like the hairless sphynx) feel the chill a lot more than others. Many of the breeds on this list sport dense fur coats to keep them warm, and several of them also have fur that repels snow and water.

So, without further ado, here are the 32 best cat breeds for cold climates — and a couple of them may just surprise you! 

32 best cat breeds for cold climates

1. Norwegian forest cat

Norwegian Forest Cat sat outside

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Thought to date back to the time of the Vikings, with a name like the Norwegian forest cat you can rest assured that this is a feline that knows how to survive and thrive in cold climates. A stunning large breed with a long dense double coat that allows it to stay well insulated in even the chilliest of conditions, the Wegie (as they’re affectionately called) is a curious, playful, and affectionate breed with a good dose of independence and an even-tempered nature. 

2. Siberian

Siberian cat in the snow

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A breathtakingly beautiful cat that hails from Russia, the Siberian is used to long, harsh winters with a long, weatherproof triple coat that keeps their solid build nice and toasty when the mercury dips. Incredibly sweet-natured and always up for a snuggle, this breed is very devoted to their humans and has a youthful attitude that extends well into old age. Just be mindful that they do a lot of shedding (not surprising with all that fur!), so regular grooming sessions are a must. A vet’s guide to brushing long-haired cats may come in handy here. 

3. Maine coon

Maine Coon kitten sitting on tree branch

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If you’re after one of the most affectionate cat breeds that will love a good cuddle in front of the fire, the Maine coon is a great choice. A big, solid, rugged cat with a dog-like disposition, this gentle giant is sociable, inquisitive, and loves being in on all the family action. They tend to like water, so don’t be surprised if you find them playing (or even swimming!) in it, but thankfully you won’t have to spend ages drying them off as their long, shaggy coat is water-resistant meaning it repels the wet stuff — including snow.

4. Russian blue

Russian Blue

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A firm favorite amongst the Russian czars, the regal Russian blue has a short and dense but incredibly plush coat that requires minimal grooming. Soft and silky to the touch but thick enough to keep them nice and warm, their coat is shimmery blue with a silvery cast. Loyal and intelligent, they’re a reserved breed that enjoys being around their humans but they prefer quiet, calm, and mellow living environments where they can interact in a relaxed way.

5. Persian

Persian cat looking at camera

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Sweet-tempered, gentle, and adaptable, the Persian is famous for its cute smooshy flat face and silky coat that flows over a fairly stocky body. Quiet and elegant, they are total lap cats who enjoy nothing more than snoozing the day away with their favorite person. Low-key yet still very social, they’re happy, affectionate kitties that love to be petted and lavished with love. Their coat is high maintenance, requiring daily brushing with one of the best cat brushes to keep it from getting tangled and matted, but they’re such delightful companions that we have a feeling you won’t mind one bit! 

6. Ragdoll

Ragdoll cat walking amongst autumn leaves

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Known for being big, gentle fluff balls, the ragdoll is a peaceful, gentle, and affectionate cat that loves going limp in your arms and will adore being petted and cuddled. A total lap cat, they’re big softies and very social, and while they don’t have an undercoat, they’re kept warm by all that long, silky fur. 

7. Kurilian Bobtail

Kurilian Bobtail kitten lying on cream rug

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Should you learn how to play with a cat? Well, the answer is a definite yes if you have a Kurilian bobtail in the house! These playful kitties are super laid-back and easygoing, and they get along famously with everyone, including children, other cats, and friendly dogs. Because they hail from the Kuril Islands (an archipelago that lies between Siberia and Japan) they handle cold weather like absolute pros and their fluffy pom-pom tails certainly make them look at home in snowy landscapes. 

8. Turkish angora

Side view of a Turkish Angora cat lying on lush green daisy flowers garden and looking up

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If you’re looking for reasons to use a cat puzzle feeder toy, the Turkish angora’s high intelligence levels will be all the excuse you need. This smart kitty loves a good mental workout and they’re also incredibly playful and active, so providing them with a range of different toys will be much appreciated. The Turkish angora is a gorgeous feline with a long and silky coat that only requires brushing once or twice a week. A social breed that forms very strong bonds with their humans, and because they’re used to hot summers and cold winters (they come from the Anatolian and Caucasian mountain regions of Turkey) they do well in all climates. 

9. Scottish fold

Grey Scottish fold cat walking with lead and harness in the snow

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Used to the harsh winters in their native land, the Scottish fold is a stocky and curvy cat that thrives on human interaction yet is delightfully undemanding. Affectionate and sweet-natured, they look like little teddy bears, which makes them all the more huggable! They love being with their people more than anything else in the world and they have a very calm energy which makes them a joy to have around. 

10. Selkirk rex

Selkirk rex

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One of only four cat breeds with wavy fur, the curly-haired selkirk rex is different from other rex breeds in that it has a dense coat, making it much less sensitive to cold weather. Playful and laid-back, they’re very intelligent, loving, and easygoing, and have a reputation for having upbeat and friendly personalities. Because they’re a smart breed, they can get bored easily, so make sure you have plenty of the best interactive cat toys on hand for them to amuse themselves with when the mood strikes.  

11. Manx

Manx standing on pavement at night

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A robust cat with a thick, double coat, the Manx is a hardy breed that tolerates cold weather well and because they originated on the Isle of Man (an Island between Great Britain and Ireland) they’re very used to the rain too! While they may not have a tail, what they do have is bags of personality with social and playful natures and dog-like loyalty that makes them outstanding family companions. Manx are natural hunters, so we highly recommend stocking up on the best cat toys to keep them occupied. 

12. Turkish van

Turkish Van cat

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Like its close cousin, the Turkish angora, the Turkish van is used to experiencing extreme temperatures and will have no trouble handling chilly climates. They have long, thick winter coats that keep them lovely and toasty warm and a sturdy build, plus, they enjoy being active, so there’s little chance of them feeling the cold! Is clicker training for cats recommended? Absolutely if you have a Turkish van. They’re highly intelligent and love learning new tricks, so this is a great way of keeping them stimulated. 

13. Aphrodite 

Studio portrait of an Aphrodite cat

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A large and friendly feline, the Aphrodite is a robust cat that originated in Cyprus. It has an extra thick coat that helped it survive life high up in the mountains and because it genetically evolved to handle harsh environments with freezing temperatures, it’s a great choice if you live in a cold climate. Although it’s a big breed, the Aphrodite is a total sweetheart with a reputation for being incredibly gentle and loving. They also adore children, so they make wonderful family companions. 

14. Chartreux

Chartreux lying on stone with greenery in behind

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Pronounced shar-true, the chartreux is a French feline with a short blue-gray coat and an independent and quiet nature. Lovingly referred to as a ‘potato on toothpicks’ thanks to their large bodies and short legs, the chartreux loves its people but the breed is very undemanding and always up for entertaining themselves. Observant cats that prefer to watch life from the sidelines, they’re a great choice for anyone looking for a thoughtful companion. This also makes them one of the best cats for introverts.

15. Cymric

Cymric cat lying on ground

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A long-haired variety of the manx, the cymric has a medium-length, dense double-coat that helps it cope with the tough Canadian winters — which is where it originated from in the 1960s. Stocky and heavily boned, the cymric is a very placid and sweet breed that thrives on human interaction. Playful, affectionate, adaptable, and easygoing, you’ll find they fit beautifully into almost any home. 

16. Ragamuffin

Ragamuffin cat sitting on snowy surface under the trees

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Covered in soft and fluffy fur, the ragamuffin has a full mane and a bushy tail that does a great job of keeping them warm in cold conditions. A gentle and docile breed, they have a very serene disposition and an easygoing personality that allows them to fit into bustling family homes. Intelligent yet laid-back, they’re very affectionate and love curling up next to their humans on the couch. 

17. Himalayan

Himalayan cat

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The Himalayan is a cross between the Persian and the siamese, which explains why they’re so beautiful — both physically and in their nature. They have a long and silky coat that requires daily grooming to prevent knots and tangles, so if you’re looking for a low-maintenance feline friend, the Himalayan definitely isn’t for you. But, if you’re after a sweet-natured cat that will be very attuned to you and loves to be cuddled and petted, this gentle and sociable kitty is well worth considering.

18. American Bobtail

American Bobtail

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With a short tail and a powerful body, the American bobtail has the look of a wild cat but all the personality of a domesticated one. This is a feline with a heart of gold who is incredibly devoted to its humans — so much so that it’s never happier than when it’s following them from room to room. A smart cat that loves puzzles and learning new tricks, the American bobtail comes in both short and long-haired varieties with either very dense fur or a long shaggy coat, both of which protect them from the cold. 

19. Balinese

Balinese cat

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The balinese are a variation of the siamese and are well known for their striking good looks. Because they have long hair (instead of the short coat sported by the siamese), they’re much better equipped to deal with cold weather — although do bear in mind that they don’t have an undercoat, so they shouldn’t be left outside in chilly temperatures for long periods of time. Playful, friendly, and inquisitive, the balinese get on beautifully with children and other pets, but they’re very vocal, so ensure you’re up for lots of chatter before you welcome one of these gorgeous cats into your home.

20. British longhair

British Longhair

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With a rounded face that makes them look like a total teddy bear, the British longhair is a sweet-tempered and friendly fluff ball with a dense coat and a muscular and sturdy body. Their fur is soft, and thick and comes in a range of colors, and they have a very calm demeanor, making them a joy to have in the home. While they enjoy short play sessions, they’re not particularly active and can become quite lazy as they get older, so encouraging them to engage in some gentle activity each day is great for preventing weight gain. 

21. German longhair

German Longhair

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A cat of abundant fur and muscular stature, the German longhair is a rare breed with a dense undercoat that becomes extra thick in the winter months. A people-focused, friendly, and easygoing feline, the German longhair has a calm temperament and gets on well with children and other pets.

22. Pixie-bob

Pixie-bob sitting outside

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Thanks to their very thick fur, the pixie-bob is fairly resistant to cold temperatures, making them an ideal choice if you live in a less than balmy spot! Stocky and muscular, they’re a hardy breed and they’re often polydactyl — meaning they can have up to seven toes on each paw. They do best with experienced owners due to their high need for physical and mental stimulation, but if you can meet that, you’ll be rewarded with a social, curious and devoted companion. 

23. Munchkin

Munchkin cat

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The munchkin is a very distinctive-looking cat indeed. Short on legs but big on personality, this breed is low to the ground (kind of like the feline equivalent of a dachshund/sausage dog!) and has legs that are about three inches shorter than the average feline. Because they find it very difficult to jump, they need to be kept indoors to ensure their safety, although we have a feeling you won’t mind having them around 24/7 thanks to their energetic, fun-loving, and affectionate nature. 

24. American wirehair 

American Wirehair

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While they may be classed as a medium-sized breed, the American wirehair is quite the powerhouse with a heavily muscled and heavily boned body and a thick, hard and springy coat - perfect for those colder climates. They wear a permanently sweet expression on their face and tend to be very calm and tolerant. While happy to entertain themselves with the best automated cat toys, they also value interactive play with their humans, so spending time with them will be much appreciated (although never demanded). 

25. American curl

American Curl

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An adaptable cat that does well both in warm and cold climates, the American curl got its name from its fluffy, curled back ears — the result of a specific ear-curling gene some cats carry. They come in short and long-haired varieties and are very affectionate and easily accepting of children and other pets. Often nicknamed the ‘Peter Pan cat’ because of the way they retain their kitten-like energy well into adulthood, the American curl is super playful, intelligent, and incredibly dog-like in the way they attach to their owners.

26. Bengal 

Bengal cat in snow holding toy

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They may not look like an obvious choice for a cold climate, but the outgoing bengal is always up for an adventure — regardless of whether it's sunny or snowing! With beautifully patterned coats that are super soft to the touch, bengal’s may look wild on the outside but they have incredibly sweet natures. Intelligent and curious, they’re a breed that will happily accompany you on hikes or other outdoor expeditions, so learning how to leash train a cat to keep them safe is a great idea when it comes to this fearless feline. 

27. Birman

Birman cat stood on grass as snow falls

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Easygoing, social and irresistibly fluffy, the birman is one of the world’s most beloved breeds, and it’s not hard to see why. An ancient breed with stunning markings and a beautifully gentle and calm temperament, this kitty makes for a wonderful family companion thanks to its sweet and affectionate nature. They get on famously with just about everyone (including other pets) and love nothing more than curling up on a nice, warm lap whenever they get the chance.

28. American shorthair

American Shorthair lying on the ground

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As the name suggests, the American shorthair is a cat with a short coat, but don’t let that put you off — they’re a muscular, strong, and hardy breed and their coat is dense, meaning they can withstand cold temperatures without any issues. Extremely smart and very even-tempered, they’re a quiet breed that’s lovable but not clingy. Friendly and gentle with children, they’re very adaptable, meaning they’ll be just as happy living with a single person or couple as they would be with a large family. 

29. Burmilla

Burmilla lying on bed

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A cross between the chinchilla Persian and the Burmese, the burmilla is a stocky and muscular cat with a thick, double-layered coat that has a soft and silky feel. They are very affectionate and love attention, but they’re not as demanding as the vocal Burmese, possessing the quieter nature of the Persian. However, what they do get from the Burmese is their playful and curious side, and while social, they also have a nice, independent streak, which makes them good for pet parents with busy lives. 

30. British shorthair

Blue British shorthair cat sitting on the tree in the garden in snowy winter

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The British shorthair is the teddy bear of the cat world, with an adorable rounded face and figure that makes it hard to resist picking them up and cuddling them! Their coat is short but dense, giving them the robustness needed to thrive in cold weather, and because they’re so easygoing and calm, they make fantastic additions to any household. Affectionate without being needy, they’re very laid-back with those they love but can be initially aloof with strangers. 

31. Havana brown

Havana Brown

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With a name like Havana brown, you’d be forgiven for thinking this cat hails from sunny Cuba and yet it was actually developed in England, with no one being quite sure how it got its name! A rare breed that doesn’t like to be left alone, Havana browns are usually kept as indoor cats because they love being with their people. Friendly, social, and interested in absolutely everything that’s going on inside their home, this breed is playful, intelligent, and very affectionate.

32. Exotic shorthair

Exotic Shorthair lying on floor

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Instantly recognizable thanks to its flat face and short coat, the exotic shorthair is a cross between the Persian and the American shorthair. A sweet and loving cat with plenty of dense furs to keep them toasty warm, the exotic shorthair is playful, loyal, affectionate, and easy to please. Quiet cats with soft voices, adore a good play session but will be equally content to curl up on the couch with you at the end of the day. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.