Right now, 86.9 million U.S. households—or 66%—share their home with at least one pet. If you're looking to become one of those households (or want to add another cat to your clowder), you might be wondering about the friendliest cat breeds.
Learning more about the common temperaments of different cat breeds can bring you closer to finding the right companion. Here are the most affectionate cat breeds.
Did someone say friendly fluffball? Ragdolls—who adorably get their name for going floppy when picked up or cuddled—are undeniably one of the sweetest cats, says Stephen Quandt, a feline training and behavior specialist, and owner of Stephen Quandt Feline Behavior Associates, LLC.
Ragdolls are a docile bunch that prefer to gingerly bat at a toy mouse rather than attack at full gust. That, in addition to their adaptability, makes Ragdolls great companions for families with children and other pets.
You can expect to pay a premium for Ragdoll kittens from a reputable breeder. However, there's always the chance of finding a blue-eyed cutie at your local shelter.
2. Maine Coon
Speaking of large, lovable cats, the Maine Coon rightfully earns the title as a gentle giant. In fact, the previous world record holder for the longest cat—a Maine Coon named Stewie—had so much love to give that he was a longtime therapy animal at a senior center.
But don't fret: Bringing home a Maine Coon doesn't necessarily mean you’re signing yourself (or anyone else) up for holding a 20-pound cat in your lap. Instead, Maine Coon cats are generally happy to cozy up beside you or tag along during your daily activities.
Persian cats tend to be so relaxed that they’re sometimes lovingly referred to as furniture with hair, Quandt says. Often reserved and wary of new people, socialization will go a long way in bringing out the best personality traits of this cuddly cat breed.
Favorite pastimes of this friendly cat include being petting, being groomed, and otherwise being doted on and swooned over.
If a sweet cat with a spunky side sounds like your ideal companion, look no further than the amicable Abyssinian, or “Aby” for short. Resembling a miniature African wildcat, they’ve been around for centuries and may have even been the beloved cats ancient Egyptians worshiped. Courageous, curious, and keen on participating in every aspect of their humans’ lives, these athletic cats are as sociable as they are lovable.
If being a conversationalist earns points in the friendly cat category, the Siamese ranks highly. They're also sometimes called "meezers," which is a term of endearment due to their low-toned but loud meow, Quandt says.
Of course, cats are individuals, so some Siamese cats may have less to say than others. And while you may hear this mischievous kitty before you spot them, Siamese cats are generally “Velcro cats” who become shadowlike to their favorite humans.
Their looks aren't for everyone, Quandt says—but you won't find another kitty that appreciates a warm cuddle quite like the nearly hairless Sphynx. They’re also chatty cats, likely sweet-talking the pup into cuddling, too.
Between playing with other pets and children of the house or socializing with guests, Sphynx cats will always make time for one-on-one bonding, such as during their routine baths.
If you are looking for a loving and playful cat that is also good with other pets, the Burmese could be the kitty for you. The charming pup-like feline is smart and courageous—and was born to be your cuddling companion. Playing fetch more your speed? The talkative breed loves that, too.
Birman cats are the social butterflies of the feline realm. They boast high intelligence and curiosity, with a natural talent for making any household guest feel welcome. What’s more, their endearing "socked paws" perfectly complement their love for cozy evenings on the couch.
9. Scottish Fold
Scottish Folds are just as sweet as their looks suggest. They’re sure to steal the hearts of people of all ages, and are even known to befriend other furry family members.
However, be aware that the genetic mutation that causes their folded ears also causes a painful condition throughout their joints, says Quandt. Your bubbly BFF will be counting on you to notice small changes in their behavior that could indicate pain. The strong bond Scottish Folds are known to form with their humans will be your greatest asset in spotting and addressing any discomfort they might experience.
10. Exotic Shorthair
Hoping for a sweet Persian pal but without all the maintenance? Exotic Shorthairs have the friendly personality of a Persian but with a short, low-maintenance coat.
They are a playful breed, but also laid back enough to enjoy the company of other pets and children. And while Exotics are generally very affectionate, they don't tend to demand your attention or be in your face about their needs.
11. Devon Rex
With their people-oriented nature, Devon Rex cats would prefer not to be left alone for extended periods. However, an even better idea than welcoming one of the nicest cat breeds into your home is adopting two: They’ll happily entertain one another when you’re busy or away from home.
12. Cornish Rex
Another curly-haired cutie, the Cornish Rex is a smart, affectionate, and playful companion. They’re perfect for all ages of humans with the proper introductions, and they don’t need a lot of maintenance to keep their curls looking fresh. In fact, too much grooming could cause their delicate hairs to break—which is good, because this curious cat has better things to do, like partake in a game of fetch or curl up with a warm human, cat, or pup.
13. The Domestic Short, Medium, and Longhair Cat
While technically not a breed, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the domestic long, medium, and shorthair cats. “Shelters and rescues all over the country are filled with friendly and loving cats who need a home,” Quandt says. “If you select for personality over appearance, you will be able to select a cat who will become a loving member of your household.”
Keep in mind that a kitten's personality may not fully develop until they are 2–3 years old, Quandt says. While kittens may start to show their personalities around 1 year old, their true personality may not emerge until they reach social maturity.
Featured Image: Adobe/Chalabala
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