16/05/2022

Top 10 Popular Cat Breeds in Japan (2022 Ranking) & Most Famous Japanese Cats

Cats are well-loved in Japan. Not only are they kept as beloved pets treated as family members in people’s homes, they also hold a special place in Japanese folklore, culture, and mythology; like say, the maneki neko (fortune cat) and nekomata (cat youkai). In this article, we introduce the most popular cat breeds in Japan for the year 2022 as well as some of the hottest celebrity cats in Japan you should follow. 


Table of Contents

  1. Cats in Japan
    1. Why do the Japanese love cats so much?
  2. Popular Cat Breed Ranking in Japan 2022 Ranking
    1. Top 3 Most Popular Cat Breed in Japan for 2022
    2. 4th to 10th Most Popular Cat Breeds in Japan 
  3. Hottest Japanese Cats on Social Media
  4. Takeaway

Cats in Japan

Japan is well known for their intense love for cats, from maneki neko 招き猫 (fortune cat) to cat shrines, and even a day to celebrate cats - Neko no Hi 猫の日 (Cat Day) on February 22nd every year. They’ve even fondly dubbed this year’s Cat Day as Super Cat Day due to the extra number of 2s thanks to the year 2022. 

If you’re wondering what the number 2 has to do with cats, 2 is read as “Ni” in Japanese which sounds like “Nyaa” or “meow” in Japanese. So more 2s means more “Nyaas”. Neko ni Hi is also known as “Nyan Nyan Nyan no Hi”. 

Why do the Japanese love cats so much? 

  1. Cats are adorable, aka Kawaii.

  2. Cats have a tsundere, aka hot-cold personality. The contrast of a cold cat that ignores you then cuddles up to you seeking affection is something we all love. 

  3. Cats are convenient. On a more logical note, keeping cats is just way easier and lower maintenance than dogs. For those living in apartments (of which there are many in Japan’s big cities), taking your dog out for walks (and to do their business) and making sure they keep quiet (to not disturb neighbours) is more trouble than its worth. 

Popular Cat Breeds in Japan 2022 Ranking 

Anicom Insurance Co. Ltd, which has the largest share of pet insurance in Japan’s market, releases an annual ranking of the most popular cat names and also cat breeds in Japan. The rankings are based on around 55,000 newly registered kittens (less than 1 years old) for pet insurance with Anicom.  Let’s have a look at the results for most popular cat breeds in Japan this year. 

※ PR Times, “毎年恒例!「猫の名前&人気猫種ランキング」2022年最新版を一挙公開

Top 3 Most Popular Cat Breeds in Japan for 2022

No.1 Scottish Fold 

For the 14th year in a row, Scottish Folds (スコティッシュ・フォールド sukotisshu fo-rudo) come in first at 8,984 kittens taking up 16.2% of the total. 

Scottish Folds are characterised by their ears that fold downwards, thus the name “fold”, and yes their origins can be traced back to Scotland. Coupled with their overall roundness - head, body, eyes - Scottish Folds are irresistibly cute. 

Scottish Folds come in a multitude of colours and may be long or short-haired. Due to excessive breeding to get the “ear folds”, Scottish Fold cats are more prone to joint and cartilage abnormalities in their legs and tails. Their ears also require more care and attention as the fold-in ears make it harder for them to clean themselves. These are important things to keep in mind if you’re considering adding a Scottish Fold to your family. 

For your information, Scottish Folds that do not inherit the "ear folds" are called Scottish Straights. 

No. 2 Mixed Breed

Runner up for first place are Mixed Breed cats (混血猫 konketsu neko), otherwise known as Moggy cats, at 6,781 kittens taking up 12.3% of the total. 

The canine equivalent is “mutt”. It really pleased me to see that mixed breed cats are so highly appreciated and loved. Mixed breed cats are non-pedigree cats. Pedigree means that it is descended from a line of purebred cats. 

Non-pedigree cats may be a mix of 2 different breeds of purebred cats, a purebred cat and a non-purebred cat, or a mix of 2 non-purebred cats. As such, mixed breed cats come in all sorts of colour and fur pattern combinations, some of them entirely unique whilst some of them look purebred.   

No. 3 Munchkin

Munchkins (マンチカン manchikan) come in third at 5,984 kittens taking up 10.8% of the total. Munchkins are also known as “sausage cats”. They are the feline equivalent of dachshunds, otherwise known as “sausage dogs” or “wiener dogs”. Munchkins are characterised by their very short legs, just like the dachshund. 

These shorter than normal legs are a result of selective breeding for a genetic mutation condition called “dwarfism”. Munchkin cats are a topic of controversy as many people, including some cat associations, consider it animal cruelty to intentionally breed cats with defects/genetic disease. 

Some things to keep in mind if you’re planning on keeping a Munchkin cat is that they are more susceptible to back problems and osteoarthritis in their later years. Do some research and evaluate whether you are ready to have a Munchkin join your family and consider how you can help your feline friend live a healthy, happy, and painless life with you. 

4th to 10th Most Popular Cat Breeds in Japan

Without further ado, let’s look at the 7 other popular cat breeds in Japan. 

No.4 American Shorthair 

Origin Country: America

Size: Medium 

Colour and Coat: Shorthair; various colours and patterns

Temperament: Easygoing, gentle, friendly, independent

Required Care: Moderate

No. 5 Norwegian Forest Cat

Origin Country: Norway

Size: Large

Colour and Coat: Longhair, thick doublecoat; various colours and patterns 

Temperament: Active, friendly, intelligent, playful

Required Care: High 

No. 6 Ragdoll

Origin Country: America

Size: Medium to large

Colour and Coat: Semi-longhair, fluffy; seal point - white and another colour

Temperament: Friendly, docile, lazy, smart, affectionate

Required Care: High 

No. 7 British Shorthair

Origin Country: Britain 

Size: Medium to large

Colour and Coat: Very short hair; various colours and patterns

Temperament: Independent, friendly, smart, quiet 

Required Care: Low  

No. 8 Minuet

Origin: Crossbred, a hybrid of Munchkin and Persian

Size: Small to medium

Colour and Coat: Short or long hair; soft and fluffy

Temperament: Friendly, playful, easygoing

Required Care: Moderate to high, depending on coat length 

No. 9 Siberian

Origin Country: Russia

Size: Medium to large

Colour and Coat: Longhair; various colours and patterns 

Temperament: Friendly, affectionate, sturdy 

Required Care: Moderate

No. 10 Bengal

Origin Country: America 

Size: Medium to large

Colour and Coat: Short hair; marbled / spotted pattern (leopard like); brown, sepia, silver, black

Temperament: Intelligent, playful, very active, needy  

Required Care: Very high 

※ Anicom Holdings, Inc., “猫の名前&人気猫種ランキング2022を大発表!

Hottest Japanese Cats on Social Media 

Now, let’s look at internet celebrity cats that hail from Japan. Here is a selection of the most popular cats on social media in Japan.

Maru at Mugumogu

Maru, a Scottish Straight, was Guinness World Record holder for the most watched animal on Youtube in 2017. A chubby absolute unit of a cat, Maru loves stuffing himself into small boxes and eating. 

Mochi at Mochimaru

Another Guinness World Record holder, Mochi was crowned most watched cat on Youtube in the year 2021. Mochi is also a Scottish Straight. The interesting thing about Mochimaru channel is that Mochi’s owner refers to Mochi as Mochi-sama (-sama is a respectful honorific) and himself as 下僕 (geboku) which means manservant. 

Pomu and Shima at Neko–beya

Pomu is a beautiful pure white Scottish straight cat. The channel started out with just Pomu who got a new sister, Shima (a Munchkin) in 2019. The channel is now dedicated to the daily lives of Pomu, Shima, their owner and the occasional (quite frequent) appearance of the owner’s sister.  

Rojiman

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by rojiman (@rojiman)

Instagram account Rojiman covers 3 beautiful Scottish Fold cats Maru, Mugi and Nya. What makes this channel unique is the cat hair hats that these beautiful kitties sometimes wear. 

YuriYuri4Mama

YuriYuri4Mama follows a family of munchkin cats. Their orange and white coats make for a lovely colour, and we simply adore their interesting ways of sitting or standing, especially the meerkat stand. 

(Bonus) Rachel and Jun’s Cats 

 

Though not a dedicated cat channel, Rachel and Jun are a married couple that live in Japan with their fur babies - Pookie, Haku, Nagi, and their newest addiction Pichi. They make videos about their life in Japan, including their cats! 

On Jun’s personal channel, Jun’s Kitchen, Jun cooks in the company of his cats. You also get to see him bring Haku around on outdoor trips. 

Takeaway

With individual personalities and quirky antics, it is never boring to have a cat as part of your family. Despite what many people say about cats, they are very lovable and definitely do love their humans. Missing you, worrying about you, comforting you, or even bringing you a leaf (or dead animal), cats show their love in many different ways. 

If you don’t think you’re ready for a cat friend, there are always cat cafes, cat islands, or even just social media to give you a temporary cat fix/ 

For more about cats, we recommend this post that brings together all our cat articles:
Cats in Japan, Find All You Need to Know About Japan’s Cats in One Page

You don't have to worry alone anymore A Q&A community about Japan

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