Next to dogs, the domestic cat (Felis catus) is among humans’ most preferred companion animals. Their owners often regard them as the “purr-fect” pets since they offer an effective means of controlling pests, particularly rats, in addition to their bond with humans. The ancient Egyptians associated these mammals with divinity and consequently worshiped and honored them.
As of 2021, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 71 cat breeds, excluding the average household breed, commonly referred to as the domestic shorthair. However, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) only identifies 40 species.
This article cites the most dangerous cat breeds in the world. This list explicitly concerns domestic cat breeds likely to act ferociously or incredibly hostile when displeased even to their owners. Therefore, fierce big cats, such as jaguars, tigers, and lions, will be left out from this piece.
In summary, this piece will enable potential pet owners to choose a cat breed that best suits them to prevent regrets.
Origin of the Domestic Cat (Felis catus)
Perhaps, the theory on how an originally wild feline became the domestic cat is among the most intriguing animal facts. The second most preferred pet animal, cats, domesticated themselves sometime in the past.
DNA analysis indicates that they lived alongside humans for thousands of years before becoming household animals. According to a Nature Ecology & Evolution article, all living domestic cat breeds originated from two major lineages.
Around 4400 BC, the initial ancestors of contemporary domestic cats spread from Southwest Asia into Europe. What’s now known as domestic cats possibly began hanging around farming societies in the Fertile Crescent approximately 8,000 years ago.
They entered a mutually beneficial relationship with humans as rodent guards. From controlling rodent populations, they became a common sight in human settlements.
The second ancestry, comprising African cats abundant in Egypt, stretched into the Mediterranean region and most of the Old World from around 1500 BC. This cat breed is believed to have had human-friendly behaviors, including tameness and sociability.
Since the self-domestication of cats, they’ve only attained minor genetic changes from their wild counterparts. Some observable modifications in a domestic cat breed are the unique stripes and dots of the tabby cat.
What Makes a Cat Breed Dangerous?
Certain elements make it risky to house a specific cat breed. In this light, we’ll examine two crucial factors that determine a cat’s danger level. These facets include:
The primary factor that determines a dangerous cat breed is aggression. Aggression is among the most prevalent feline behavior problems. So, it’s safe to say that the most dangerous cats to humans are those that exhibit the most aggressive tendencies to people.
Harboring aggressive cats that can attack is a significant risk at home. Unlike dogs that use only their mouth to attack, cats have five potential weapons, including teeth and four clawed paws. This inclination makes cats formidable animals.
Some vicious behaviors that may be seen in dangerous cat breeds include:
- Slapping and striking with paws
- Growling and shrieking
- Getting ready to attack by lolling on their side or back and flashing all four weapons (teeth and clawed paws)
- Attempting to grab owner’s hand and bring it to their mouth to bite it
2. Presence of High Levels of Allergens
Allergen level is another vital trait that discerns the threat level posed by a cat breed.
Allergies to cats are among the most typical allergies expressed by humans. The World Health Organization/International Union of Immunological Societies (WHO/IUIS) Allergen Nomenclature Sub-Committee currently recognizes eight cat allergens. The most striking cat allergen is Fel d 1, which accounts for 96% of cat allergies in humans.
Fel d 1 is produced in various glands, including the salivary, sebaceous, and anal glands of domestic cats. At the same time, all known cat breeds secrete Fel d 1; some produce more allergens than others.
Cat allergies can cause the following effects in several people:
- Nasal Congestion
- Chest tightening
- Watering eyes
- Cracked lips
More severe and life-threatening consequences include:
- Mild to extreme conditions of asthma
Top 10 Dangerous Cats
Regarding aggression, allergen (Fel d 1) levels, and some potentially dangerous breed-specific behaviors, we’ve compiled a list of the most dangerous cat breeds in the world.
These riskiest house cats include:
- Black-footed cat
- Scottish Fold
- Egyptian Mau
- Maine Coon
The following sections examine each of these species in a more detailed fashion.
1. Sphynx (Felis catus)
Sphynx is a medium-sized hairless cat breed that originated from Canada. Its lack of hair occurs due to a mutation in the same gene responsible for the short curly coat of the Devon Rex breed.
In the 1960s, breeders developed the sphynx through selective breeding. This cat breed loses body heat more rapidly than coated cats since it lacks fur.
Some Sphynx cats possess a fine layer of lower hair that may feel like fine suede. However, this hair layer isn’t even similar to the coat of short-haired cats.
Other noticeable features in the Sphynx include:
- Wrinkled skin
- Wide-set eyes
- Prominent cheekbones
- Muscular body
- A long narrow head
- Webbed feet
Whiskers may be absent or present; broken or whole in the latter case.
Fun Fact — Sphynx cats’ skin retains the color their fur would have had if it were present. It also possesses typical cat markings, such as tabby, solid, point, tortie, and van.
Aggression in Sphynxes
Though Sphynxes aren’t naturally aggressive, they’re remarkably active cat breeds that constantly seek their owners’ attention. If starved of proper attention and playtime, they may make their discontent known through aggressive behaviors.
They may also suddenly show hostility during petting as the pleasure becomes too much or when you’re grooming them or clipping their claws.
Another cause of aggression in Sphynxes is fear. Unfamiliar elements may induce fear in this cat breed. These fear-triggering factors include:
- Unexpected noise
- Presence of a different pet in the Sphynx’s room
Common signs of fear-induced aggression in Sphynxes include:
- Crouching low
- Flashing of teeth
- Ears smoothed against the head
- Raised hackles
- Tails folded between legs
Sphynxes may also exhibit redirected aggression against their owners or other animals, perhaps when they can’t access or reach something.
Other catalysts of aggression in Sphynxes include:
Sphynxes’ Potential of Stimulating Cat Allergies
Sphynxes produce some cat allergens (Fel d 1) from their skin despite their relative hairlessness. These allergens can still elicit allergic reactions in people with cat allergies if not well managed. Thus, this cat breed requires routine bathing to wash off dander (allergen particles) from their skin.
Bathing also helps to prevent their typically oily skin from becoming greasy.
Special Requirements of Sphynxes
Due to their baldness, sphynx owners are expected to provide the cat breed with special care to protect them from skin damage, sunburn, and skin cancers.
Sphynxes need to be shielded from cold temperatures. Customized sweaters and coats for Sphynxes are available for purchase.
In addition, the cats’ ears should be inspected weekly for wax buildup and gently cleaned with a cotton ball dipped in a mild ear-cleaning solution.
Although some pet owners may not regard the Sphynx as the most dangerous cat in the world to humans, one can’t deny that it’s one potentially formidable cat breed.
2. Siamese Cat (Felis catus)
The Siamese cat is a cat breed that arose from present-day Thailand. This cat is one of the most recognized Asian breeds. Since the 19th century, it has become one of the most popular breeds in Europe and North America.
Siamese cats have undergone several genetic modifications to achieve the modern-style Siamese. The original breed, derived from the Wichianmat Landrace, has a considerably rounder head and body than its modern counterpart, and it’s now reclassified as the Thai cat. On the other hand, the modern Siamese possesses outstanding features.
Some striking physical attributes in the modern Siamese cat include:
- Triangular head
- Large ears
- Blue almond-shaped eyes
- Elongated, slender, and sturdy body
- Point coloration
Fun Fact — Every year in the US, April 6th is observed as National Siamese Cat Day by cat lovers.
Aggression in Siamese Cats
Though Siamese cats are loving and affectionate pets, they’re more aggressive if they’ve bonded with their owners than many other breeds. They may display aggressive behaviors because you’re not giving them the proper attention they desire. In this case, these intelligent, energetic, and anxious cats may turn to bite, scratch you, destroy the couch, or pounce onto you to provoke a reaction.
Other reasons why Siamese cats may act aggressively are:
- Jealousy: The presence of new people or another pet may incite this attitude.
- Sensitivity to touch: Siamese cats that have a sensation disorder known as hyperesthesia may feel pain when you’re touching and petting them. This perception can cause them to become contentious.
- Overexcitement– Overexcitement may prompt this breed to bite you in a playful manner which you may perceive as aggressive behavior.
- Fear and discomfort
- Short temper
Similarly, Siamese cats with a traumatic past may exhibit aggressive behavior as a means of self-defense.
Relatively Low Allergen Levels in Siamese Cats
On the bright side, Siamese cats are often regarded as “hypoallergenic” cats. This trend is prompted by the fact that Siamese cats produce less Fel d 1 than several cat breeds. So, they may be suitable for people with mild to moderate cat allergies if they can tolerate the cats’ somewhat aggressive behavior.
However, no cat breed is purely hypoallergenic.
3. Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes)
Known as the smallest wild cat native to Africa, this cat species inhabit the arid regions and savannahs of southern Africa in the wild. Although various veterinarians don’t recommend using this cat species as household animals, some individuals don’t mind keeping them in their homes as pets.
Some physical characteristics of this cat include:
- Black or dark brown soles of feet
- Tawny fur with small bold spots and stripes, similar to the tabby coats of some domestic cat breeds
- Dark streaks that run from their eye corners along their cheeks
- A banded tail with a black tip
Fun Fact — Black-footed cats are considered the earth’s deadliest little cat because they have a 60% success rate on all their hunts.
Dangerous Tendencies of Black-footed Cats
Like other African wildcat species, the black-footed cat is one of the most aggressive cats globally. They’re primarily nocturnal and hunt small mammals, birds, and invertebrates in the night or dark, making multiple kills per night. They’re known to attack larger mammals and may even be capable of killing human beings.
Black-footed cats, especially adults, aren’t suitable as pets because they may display violence and aggression if their owners can’t provide enough food. Worse still, they have a high metabolic rate which causes them to consume a third of their body weight per night and rarely sleep more than 14 hours a day.
They’re also a territorial species, preferring to remain in their territories. These deadly cats should be left alone as they’re innately wildcats.
4. Bengal Cat (Felis catus × Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis)
Regarded as a hybrid breed, the Bengal cat is formed from several domestic cats, particularly the spotted Egyptian Mau, with the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). Usually, it’s a middle to large-sized, spotted breed with an elongated and slim body. Notably, Bengal cats are more muscular than typical house cats.
This cat breed comes in various colors, including:
- Brown spotted tabby
- Seal Lynx Point or snow
- Mink spotted tabby
Fun Fact — Bengal cats are the only domestic cat breed with rosette markings. Rosette markings are rose-like imprints found in the fur and skin of several cats, such as leopards, tigers, jaguars, cheetahs, and leopard cats.
Aggression in Bengal Cats
Bengal cats are highly energetic, active, attention-seeking, and playful cats that enjoy climbing. If they aren’t given sufficient attention and playtime or allowed to fork out their energy, they may exhibit aggressive or mean behaviors.
This cat breed doesn’t like being left alone. When lonely, they can become very curious and destructive.
Bengal cats are also highly territorial, acting aggressively towards other cats. They may even injure cats to defend their territory. In addition, they can be jealous at times, protesting when there’s someone else stealing the spotlight.
Other factors that motivate aggression in Bengal cats include:
- Desire to breed
- Past abuse and under-socialization
- Change of environment and routine
Fel d 1 Levels of Bengal Cats
Although several breeders claim the Bengal cat is a hypoallergenic breed because it sheds less often and requires less grooming, it can trigger allergic reactions in people with severe cat allergies.
5. Persian Cat (Felis catus)
The Persian cat is a long-haired breed distinguished by its round face and short muzzle. Around 1620, its ancestors were brought into Italy from Persia. It’s also known as the Persian Longhair.
Some typical characteristics of Persian cats are:
- A long and thick coat
- A broad head with distant ears
- Large eyes
Unneutered male Persian cats may also show a hostile demeanor to muzzle.
Fun Fact — Persian cats may be subjected to “lion-cut” grooming where their body is shaved, but their head hair is allowed to grow like a mane.
Aggression in Persian Cats
Typically, Persian cats aren’t recognized as an aggressive breed. However, the kittens are fond of biting as they can’t yet discern between unacceptable and satisfactory behavior.
Persian cats can also bite their owners aggressively due to stress or when one touches a sensitive spot of their body. Notably, unneutered male Persian cats may exhibit aggressive behaviors when they desire to mate.
Usually, before biting, Persian cats display warning signals, such as:
- Tail flicking
- Retracted ears
The Tendency of Persian Cats to Induce Cat Allergies
The most dangerous cat breeds shed a lot and produce relatively high Fel d 1 protein levels. Since Persian cats are a long-haired breed, they shed pretty often and have more allergens, making them unsuitable for individuals with cat allergies. The Fel d 1 protein attaches to their long hairs and spreads around your home when they shed.
On average, Persian cats secrete an amount of Fel d 1 protein that can trigger reactions, such as watery eyes and runny nose in some people.
6. Scottish Fold (Felis catus)
This cat species is a domestic cat breed notable for its folded ears. Their unusual ear shape arises from a natural genetic mutation that affects their cartilages, causing their ears to bend forward and downward towards the front of their head.
Typically, Scottish Fold is a medium-sized, ash-coated breed. Still, they may come in various coat colors, short-haired or long-haired.
Other observable features of the breed include:
- A round head and face
- Large and round eyes
- A short nose with a gentle curve
- Rounded body with a padded appearance
- Short-to-medium legs
Fun Fact — Scottish Folds are born with straight ears. Their distinctive folded ears only begin to form when the kitten is between 18 and 24 days as the mutated gene responsible for the ear folds starts expressing itself.
Aggression in Scottish Fold
Scottish folds are friendly to their owners and other familiar domestic animals, like pet dogs. However, when they’re dissatisfied, they let their annoyance known through meowing and purring as they’re a vocal breed.
Two things that irritate them the most are improper attention and lousy handling. They also despise loneliness and boredom.
This cat breed may bite and scratch if touched at a sensitive spot or feel you’re invading their space. Though they’re lazy, they’re still one of the most stubborn breeds out there.
Cat Allergens in Scottish Folds
Scottish Folds have enough Fel d 1 protein levels to trigger allergic responses in individuals with cat allergies. Surprisingly, the long-haired Scottish Fold is less hypoallergenic than the short-haired Fold. This is because the latter sheds more frequently, meaning they’re more likely to induce allergic reactions.
7. Somali Cat (Felis catus)
The Somali cat is a long-haired domestic cat native to Africa. It’s closely related to the Abyssinian cat, which originated from Ethiopia.
In terms of size, Somali cats are medium or large. They also have fine-textured ticked coats with a softer feel than other cat breeds.
Other distinctive characteristics of Somali cats are:
- Bushy tails
- Large almond eyes that are intensely green or rich copper
- Large pointed ears
- 4–20 colors on each hair of their ticked coats
Fun Fact — Somali cats are also referred to as fox cats because of their bushy tails. They appear in various colors, including ruddy, chocolate, lilac, blue, cinnamon, and fawn.
Aggression and Hyperactivity in Somali cats
Somali cats are an active and agile breed. Though they’re not aggressive without a cause, they’re persistent when they want to get something that arouses their curiosity. It’s easy to interpret this behavior as aggression when it becomes extreme.
Their playful nature may also cause them to knock things over accidentally. Although affectionate, they aren’t regular lap cats as they love moving about and playing with items with their nimble hands.
Threat Levels of Somali Cats to People With Cat Allergies
Somali cats are by no means hypoallergenic cats. They have long hair that may trap some Fel d 1 protein they produce.
In addition, Somali cats shed about twice a year in large quantities. So, they aren’t the ideal breed for people with cat allergies.
8. Egyptian Mau (Felis catus)
The Egyptian Mau is a rare small or medium-sized cat breed. It’s a short-haired breed with naturally occurring spots on the tips of its hair.
It has an extended, dark posterior stripe that runs across its spine, stretching from its head to its tail, one of its most recognizable features.
Other prominent features in the Egyptian Mau include:
- Muscular body
- Hind legs longer than forelimbs
- It occurs in six different colors — silver, bronze, blue (pewter), smoke, caramel, and black
- It may produce musical voices, chirp, chortle, and emit other particular sounds following stimulation
Fun Fact — The Egyptian Mau is the fastest of all domestic cats, running more than 48 km/h. Its longer hind legs and a distinct skin flap extending from its flank to the back of its knee facilitate its speed.
Aggression and Sensitivity of the Egyptian Mau
Although intelligent and athletic, the Egyptian Mau is often shy and sensitive. Sometimes, they prefer being independent and are more attracted to warm environments. They may behave aggressively if disturbed or exposed to loud noises.
If they don’t socialize with other pet animals or individuals at a young age, they may exhibit aggressive behavior toward other animals or strangers when they get older. That said, it’s difficult to bring another pet to your household if your Egyptian Mau isn’t properly socialized.
High Likelihood of Egyptian Maus Affecting Cat-Allergic Individuals
Egyptian Maus shed enough to trigger allergic reactions in individuals allergic to cats. Thus, they have a high likelihood of affecting allergic individuals.
9. Pixie-Bob (Felis catus)
The Pixie-Bob is a rare cat breed with a bobbed tail and silky fur coat. The first Pixie-bob kittens were born to two naturally occurring bobtailed parents, perhaps bobcats.
Additional features of the Pixie-Bob are:
- Almost round paws with extra toes
- Muscular body
- Pear-shaped face
- Gold or greenish-gold eyes
- Highly vocal
- Energetic and playful
- Intelligent and sociable
Fun Fact — Most Pixie-bob cats possess black fur and skin on the underside of their paws.
Warning Vocality and Strength of Pixie-Bobs
Pixie-bobs tend to be highly vocal when they’re unhappy. When annoyed, they’re prone to growling and chirping at strangers and even their owners. They’re also incredibly strong, tending to throw their full weight around when play fighting.
Shedding Amount in Pixie-Bobs
Pixie-bobs shed as often as other cat breeds and aren’t considered hypoallergenic. Notably, their danders may affect people with cat allergies.
10. Maine Coon (Felis catus)
The Maine Coon is a large domestic cat with a muscular and broad-chested body. It’s native to America.
Some physical attributes of the cat include:
- Mediumly wide head
- High cheekbones
- Square muzzles
- Large, well-tufted ears
- Large oval-shaped eyes
- Long tails
- Large paws
- Heavy and shaggy coat
Fun Fact — Maine Coons are also referred to as gentle giants because of their relatively calm nature despite their large size.
Risks Posed by Maine Coons to Allergic People
What makes Maine Coons dangerous isn’t aggression. Instead, they’re considered dangerous because of their relatively high tendency to stimulate allergies in allergic and pet-sensitive people.
Namely, they produce regular amounts of Fel d 1 and possess long hair, likely to spread the allergic protein when they groom themselves or shed. Maine Coons shed more than many cat breeds, sometimes all-year-round.
Hence, this cat breed is hazardous to people with cat allergies.
Some symptoms cat-allergic people are likely to experience around Maine coons include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Red itchy eyes
- Itchy mouth, nose, and throat
- Allergic dermatitis
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What’s the most dangerous cat in the world to humans?
The black-footed cat is the most dangerous cat kept as a pet by humans. Its aggressive and extreme hunting behaviors make it unsuitable as a pet. Usually, it’s a wildcat species with a hunting success rate as high as 60%.
How dangerous is a cat bite?
All cats carry numerous bacteria in their mouth. When a cat bites you, these bacteria can cause tissue infections. If you start experiencing severe infection symptoms after a cat bite, you should seek medical attention.
The symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fluid or pus oozing from the bite wound
What are some dangerous cat foods?
Some food sources that are toxic to cats include:
- Onions and garlic
- Raw meat, raw eggs, and bones
- Chocolate and caffeinated drinks
- Milk and other dairy products
- Raisins and grapes
- Dog food
- Raw dough
What’s the meanest cat breed?
A general consensus by breeders and cat owners indicates that the Siamese cat is the meanest cat breed because of its aggressive nature and territoriality.
What’s the most dangerous big cat?
Tigers (Panthera tigris) are the most dangerous big cat and have killed more people than other big cats.
Cats are decent companion animals. Still, potential cat owners should choose breeds that best suit their lifestyle and health conditions.
Usually busy people shouldn’t go after cats that constantly require attention. On the other hand, people with cat allergies should choose more hypoallergenic cat breeds.
Last but not least, present and potential cat owners must understand the cues and warning signals displayed by cats and act accordingly to prevent aggressive behaviors in their pets.