The 8 Friendliest Cat Breeds That Want All the Snuggles and Scratches
People who think cats are aloof haven't met these friendliest cat breeds!
Here, kitty kitty: the friendliest cat breeds
Every cat lover knows the stereotype about cat behavior: Cats are aloof, indifferent and moody. Even the cutest cat breeds can’t seem to change people’s minds. But with this list of the friendliest cat breeds, those stereotypes just aren’t true!
From affectionate cat breeds to the smartest cat breeds or even especially fluffy cat breeds, any kind of cat can make a wonderful pet. How friendly and open to human interaction your pet is will depend on the specific cat and, more important, on the environment you provide for your furry friend.
“While [some] breeds are noted for being friendly, almost any cat can grow to be friendly and affectionate if given the proper socialization and nurturing when young,” says Mark D. Freeman, DVM, assistant professor at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The right types of interactions and positive feedback can … [help] any cat become a friendly, outgoing and affectionate pet.”
But if you want to maximize the chances of your cat being as friendly as possible, these are the breeds that experts say tend to have the friendliest dispositions.
There’s a reason these cats have the nickname “gentle giant.” While larger than the average cat—they usually range in size from nine to 18 pounds—this large cat breed tends to be a big softy, according to experts. Their meow is a high-pitched, light sound, often surprising to hear coming from such a massive fur ball. One of the friendliest cat breeds, these cats generally get along great with humans and other cats alike, making them an ideal choice for multi-pet households.
“[Maine Coons’] sweet natures and playful silliness are a delight to have around,” says Patricia Washburn, author of Self-Care for Cats (and Their Humans).
|Life expectancy||11–19 years|
A majestic-looking feline originally from southeast Asia, the Burmese is a great choice if you want a small cat breed that’ll cuddle up in your lap. Relatively small in size but often stocky, these friendly cat breeds love curling up for a snuggle, and they have no problem letting their humans know when they want attention.
“Burmese cats are exceptionally affectionate,” says Bruce Silverman, VMD, a practicing vet at Chicago’s Village West Veterinary. “This has actually been very consistent with the Burmese during their vet visits.” Being well behaved at the vet truly makes them one of the friendliest cat breeds!
|Life expectancy||16–18 years|
They may be villainous, scheming characters in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, but don’t let that fool you—Siamese cats are truly kind kitties! Animal expert and communicator Libby Brittain praises Siamese cats as “inquisitive and intelligent.” Aloof, these cats are not—they’re known as one of the most curious breeds, if not the most curious, and often take interest in what their humans are up to.
One thing that Brittain notes, though, is that Siamese are one of the most vocal cat breeds, so much so that “you can carry on a conversation” with them. While some cat owners love that, others might prefer a less noisy housemate. Don’t forget to find out the cat breed most compatible with your zodiac sign!
|Life expectancy||13–17 years|
Who says black cats are bad luck? These black beauties make great companions, and despite being nicknamed “the miniature panther,” they tend to be far more pal than predator. In fact, Washburn calls them “gorgeous creatures that are often great with kids.” This rare cat breed is known for being friendly and getting along with owners and strangers alike.
|Life expectancy||12–16 years|
These fluffy white felines are the chosen companions of Bond villains. But while it is true that Persians generally love being held and pampered, as one of the friendliest cat breeds, the bad-guy association doesn’t hold up.
“Just like their sweet faces, this breed is gentle and loves returning affection they are given,” says Rachel Barrack, DVM, founder of Animal Acupuncture. She notes that, while Persians love a good cuddle, they tend not to be particularly rambunctious or playful. But while they may not make the best choice for people looking for a peppy pet, they’re an affectionate companion for those seeking something a little more laid-back. The only catch? Persians are one of the most expensive cat breeds.
|Life expectancy||8–11 years|
Exotic Shorthairs are directly related to Persians—they were bred to be a mix of Persian and American Shorthair. As such, they’re similar to Persians in both looks and personality. Since their short coats require significantly less grooming than long-haired cat breeds like the Persian, they’re often touted as ideal alternatives to Persians for people with busier schedules.
As for disposition, “Exotic Shorthairs are very friendly and … seem to become very loyal to at least one of the humans they live with,” Emily Parker, a cat behavior expert at Catological, told RD.com. On the flip side, though, Dr. Barrack notes that Exotic Shorthairs may not immediately be friendly to people they don’t know. “Sometimes it takes this breed a bit of time to warm up to strangers, but these cats are loyal and dedicated pets,” she says.
|Life expectancy||12–15 years|
Most cat people know exactly how the Ragdoll cat got its name: When a human picks it up, it’ll go limp like a rag doll. But there’s far more to this white and gray cat breed than just a passive ball of fur—these friendly cat breeds love to play with their trusted humans and have even been known to come when they’re called. “They’re super affectionate and love to follow their people around,” Washburn told RD.com.
|Life expectancy||12–17 years|
If you’re looking for a playful, spunky cat with a great personality, this tawny orange cat breed makes a purrfect choice. Known for being boisterous and active, the Abyssinian “loves activities, is super playful and loves people of ALL ages—young kids included,” according to Dr. Barrack.
|Life expectancy||9–15 years|
- Mark D. Freeman, DVM, assistant professor at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
- Patricia Washburn, author of Self-Care for Cats (and Their Humans)
- Bruce Silverman, VMD, practicing vet at Chicago’s Village West Veterinary
- Libby Brittain, animal expert and communicator
- Rachel Barrack, DVM, founder of Animal Acupuncture
- Emily Parker, cat behavior expert at Catological