If you’re looking for some awesome cat breeds that look like lions, stick around!
These beautiful and majestic kitties will definitely fulfill your dreams of owning a “big cat” without all of the ethical concerns.
We’ll also look at some tiger-esque felines, miniature cheetah look-alikes, and more!
You probably already know that those cute household felines have a common ancestor with the mightiest wild cats.
So, it’s no surprise that many cats that look like lions—at least the tiny versions of them.
What you may not know, though, is that some cats are actually specifically bred to look exactly like lions.
Cat Breeds That Look Like Lions
Lions typically have short, rounded heads with round ears. The males have a mane around their necks, which the females don’t have.
Plus, such large cats are typically blond to reddish-brown. So, the cat to look out for should resemble that.
Despite having no crossbreeding or even any close relationship with wild cats, Abyssinians look just like lions, minus the mane.
If you displayed a picture of the kitty walking on your lawn, someone might assume it’s a lion cub in your backyard.
This feline has a lovely golden, ticked-tabby coat and striking eyes.
You’ll enjoy spending time with this social and intelligent cat.
That’s a good thing, too, since such pets can become depressed when unable to interact with or see their owners for long periods of time.
This breed has a stunningly plush mane that almost perfectly mimics a lion’s.
The cat is known as a “gentle giant” because of its large size. That makes it great as a fuzzy therapy animal.
According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, this American native long-haired kitty was first recognized as a specific cat breed in Maine (hence the name).
You can tell it’s well-suited for the northeastern state’s famously harsh winters due to its sturdy build and thick coat.
The Chausie cat’s resemblance to a mountain lion is exceptionally remarkable.
They arose by breeding a native South Asian and Nile Valley Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) with domesticated cat breeds like the Oriental Shorthair or the Abyssinian.
No wonder they have an overall “wild” look to them. When fully grown, your cat can weigh as much as 25 pounds.
This little creature is quite athletic, having a well-muscled body and long legs.
They even love water, an unusual trait among domestic cats. However, the breed isn’t meant for the average cat owner.
The Somali is another great alternative to the Abyssinian.
Somalis have the same personality and looks as Abyssinians, but they’re covered with long fur.
Aside from the difference in fur length, you get just the same high intelligence, drive, and energy.
Moreover, this breed has two lookalikes in the animal world.
Looking at it from the front, you get the impression of a shaggy lion.
Along with cat breeds that look like lions, you’ll also find cats that look like tigers, cheetahs, and even leopards.
What About a Cat Breed That Looks Like a Tiger?
While searching for cats that look like lions, you’ve probably seen many that look like tigers.
So, why do cats look like tigers? It’s not a coincidence since your house cat shares 95.6% of its DNA with tigers. Yes, 95.6 percent of your kitty is a tiger.
But don’t worry, it won’t turn into one since the closest ancestor that cats and tigers share lived 10.8 million years ago.
One breed that certainly looks a lot like tigers is the aptly named Toyger. The Toyger is a cross between Bengal cats and Domestic Shorthair tabbies.
Obviously, he isn’t really as big as a tiger. He’s actually a medium-sized kitty.
However, it does have branching stripes just like tigers, complete with orange-and-black or brown coloration. Best of all, the cat is perfect for families.
This feline’s outgoing and friendly personality is great even for families with small children. It’s also sweet and calm, meaning that it will also live peacefully with other pets in the home.
And a Cat That Looks Like a Leopard
Since you’re checking out domestic cats that look like big cats, you might also consider leopards.
Here, the Bengals stand out. These domestic kitties are affectionately called “miniature leopards.”
This unique breed resembles several wild cats, including leopards, margays, ocelots, and clouded leopards.
But how big do Bengals get? Well, they are medium-sized cats and weigh roughly 8 to 15 pounds.
To identify this kitty, just check out these features:
- a broad head
- a long, muscular neck
- relatively short ears
- medium-length legs
- a lean and muscular body
- a long, thick tail
Looking for a Cat That Looks Like a Cheetah Instead?
If you are looking for a cat that looks like a cheetah, your best bet is the Ocicat.
You get an Ocicat by crossbreeding a Siamese with an Abyssinian, which are crossbreeds themselves.
An Ocicat has spots all over and looks like a cheetah but has domestic animal qualities. And it doesn’t have any wild DNA in its gene pool.
Even when you don’t notice the cat’s spots, you can easily identify it by these features:
- a long and thin tail
- legs that are proportionate to the rest of the body
- a relatively long body covered with soft hair
You should keep in mind that Ocicat’s are busy cats and well suited for family activities. This is certainly one cat that would love to play and “talk” to you.
The feline world is filled with domestic cats that look just like lions, tigers, and cougars (oh my!).
After all, our beloved feline friends likely descended from the same common ancestor as their mightier counterparts!
So, if you dream of owning a big cat but know deep down that it’s just not ethical, these little guys make a great alternative!
What are your favorite cat breeds that look like lions? How about tigers and other big cats? Share below!
Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.