Red cats are some of the most vibrant and distinctive in the world — but the distinction between red cat breeds and orange cat breeds (or even yellow cat breeds) isn’t always clear. What the American Cat Fancier Association identifies as red is ginger, and the amount of a pigment known as pheomelanin is the only thing determining the brightness and vibrancy of a feline. That means that a red cat breed is capable of manifesting a fur color ranging anywhere from pale yellow to bright red and everything in between depending on the concentration of pheomelanin pigment. All red cats are also technically tabby cats, which means that they can take on one of five different patterns.
There is no such thing as a solid red cat breed, although some ginger cats express these patterns in ways that look solid for all practical purposes. Many different breeds can have pheomelanin pigment balance that allows them to appear red, orange, or yellow — but these circumstances are likelier in some breeds than others. These are the eight most prominent cat breeds along with suggested red cat names for them.
The distinctive similarity between Abyssinians and the cats that appear alongside ancient Egyptian royalty is not a coincidence. This breed is one of the oldest in the world, and the consistency of its breeding over thousands of years means that it’s possibly the closest living and domesticated relative of the African wildcat which is itself the descendant of every domesticated cat breed. Their powerful musculature and wild features might suggest a halfway feral feline, but Abyssinians are praised for their sociability. The average Abyssinian gets along well with both people and other pets, although their prodigious curiosity and active bodies can require some consideration. Two of the four coat colors recognized by the CFA — ruddy, and cinnamon — appear red to varying degrees.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Paprika
The Abyssinian’s smoky fur makes it look like it’s been sprinkled with a coating of this ruddy and complexly smoky spice, and their personalities are equally as sophisticated and delightful.
#7: Maine Coon — The Gentle Red Giant
The Maine Coon cat is the world’s largest domesticated cat breed. To put things in perspective, Stewie — the largest Maine Coon in recorded history — exceeded four feet in length and weighed 33 pounds. It’s a fact that they seem to be intimately aware of since these cats are especially well known for their gentle demeanor. Their personalities are often compared to dogs thanks to their affectionate personalities and their tendency to come when called. But those big bodies build up a lot of energy, and a Maine Coon cat needs space both horizontal space for running, jumping, and playing as well as vertical space for perching and observing. Unlike other cat breeds with sharp minds and athletic builds, Maine Coons are not known for being troublemakers. They can sometimes be quite clumsy, however. Red Maine Coon cats are quite common, but there are some specialized red and orange patterns — like the visibly solid red tabby Golden Maine Coon — that are very rare.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Erik/Erika
Popular legend traces these cats to 11th-century Viking ships that landed in North America. What better inspiration than from the most famous Viking to visit the Americas, Erik the Red?
#6: Oriental Shorthair — The Siamese’s Red-Headed Stepchild
If you have your heart set on a red-haired Siamese, we have bad news and good news. Pure Siamese is never born with red fur — but the Oriental shorthair is essentially a Siamese but for the fact that it can appear in red or a wide variety of other colors. The exceptional intelligence of this cat can be a double-edged sword. While they can be trained to perform a wide variety of tricks and even to walk on a leash, they sometimes tend to hold very strong and stubborn opinions about what they want. But as long as there’s a sense of mutual respect and a little bit of space, they’re very loving cats that are highly adaptable to varied living situations.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Cinnamon
The sweet counterpoint to the savory Paprika, it’s a name that evokes warm, strong, and unique memories in a lot of people. It’s the kind of comfort like snuggling up with your fluffy pal.
#5: American Bobtail — Bred by Mother Nature
From the strangely twisted ears of the American curl to the flat face of the Himalayan, many of the more unique traits of cat breeds are selectively bred. That’s not the case with the American bobtail. Since the bobcats they’re descended from mostly hunt on the ground, they don’t need a tail for a sense of balance. The bobbed tail relieves the need for another moving part that could alert prey. But while the tail may be a proven asset in the wild, these cats aren’t. They still have some of that wild instinct, but they express it healthily through their sophisticated sense of play which is sometimes seen as dog-like. But for the most part, these are fluffy and gentle cats who just love attention. Pure red bobtails are especially vibrant, and the CFA also recognizes cinnamon and red smoke coloring.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Rojo
The progenitor cat for the American bobtail was found in Arizona, a land where simple approaches to naming are often a matter of necessity and certainly recognized as good sense. Rojo — which is Spanish for red — gets straight to the point while rolling satisfyingly off the tongue.
#4: Ocicat — Wild Coat, Sophisticated Soul
The American bobtail may have a wild cat flowing through its veins, but the Ocicat is purely domesticated — although it certainly has the looks of a predatory jungle cat. It’s not the only spotted domesticated cat, but it is the only one without actual wildcat DNA. The first Ocicat was an experiment, but they’ve since developed into an incredibly robust breed with several coat options. That includes a dozen recognized color and pattern combinations — with the reddest coats identified as either cinnamon or cinnamon silver. Their wild appearances conceal sharp brains that crave a challenge. A combination of toys for mental stimulation and play for social stimulation is necessary to keep these tiny leopards satisfied. They love to socialize with both humans and other pets and will do best with as many of both as possible to keep them occupied.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Chester
Is there a more appropriate celebrity name inspiration for this breed of pint-sized cheetahs than the spokesman for Cheetos? We still don’t recommend feeding them junk food.
#3: Cornish Rex
Cornish Rex’s have unusual coats regardless of their color. The short fur gathers into tight curls, and it further sets itself apart from the traditional breed thanks to its strangely ovular head and almost bat-like ears. But these are easy cats to fall in love with. They’re significantly more hearty cats than they appear and carry some serious muscle mass that allows them to jump impressive heights. Despite only first making its debut in 1950, this breed has quickly become one of the world’s most popular breeds. That interest has also led to a great deal of diversity in coat coloring. The CFA recognizes both red and red smoke patterns, and red appears frequently as a secondary color as well.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Ruby
The Cornish Rex is a prized breed, so why not offer it an equally treasured name? The brilliant red ruby is believed to bring you wealth and prosperity, but be prepared to just settle for snuggles.
#2: Manx — A Wild Irish Rose
The history of the Manx spans at least three centuries, making it one of the oldest cat breeds alive. And given its Irish origins on the Isle of Man, it only makes sense that ginger, and particularly red, coats are both frequent and diverse. Practically any combination of red and pattern you could expect to find in a cat appears in the Manx — though this is certainly a lot more than just a red cat breed. These cats are completely tailless and are known for their tendency to hop like a rabbit. They might look goofy, but these cats are capable hunters that were commonly employed on ships.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Finnegan
It’s a proud Irish name for a proud Irish cat. And if you want to impress anyone, you can tell them it’s a James Joyce reference.
#1: Persian — A Genuine Classic
The Persian cats you see in TV and movies are typically white or silver, but that doesn’t do justice to the expansive variety of colors and patterns that this breed can be born with. Red Persians are relatively common to find, but some of the most distinguished members of the species offset other colors with distinct red spots, tabby markings, or tips. These cats are exceedingly fluffy and undeniably with a more sweet and easy-going personality than their elegant aesthetics would suggest. Their luxuriously fluffy coats need to be groomed three days a week and are neither particularly agile nor graceful. These cats typically crave quiet and gentle energy, and they’ll reward you with the same.
Suggested Red Cat Name: Scarlett
Scarlet is best known as one of the most vivid shades of red. Scarlett is known as a name claimed by heroines spanning from Scarlett O’Hara to Scarlett Johansson. Of course, your Scarlett is the most important of all.