8 Cat Breeds with the Friendliest Personalities
Every cat lover knows the stereotype: Cats are aloof, indifferent, and moody. But there are some breeds that are known in the animal-loving community for being more social and affectionate. These are the cat breeds that experts say make the friendliest pets.
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First and foremost, any breed of cat can make a wonderful pet. How friendly and open to human interaction your cat is will depend on the specific cat and, more importantly, 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 your chances of your pet being as friendly as possible, these are the breeds that experts say tend to have the friendliest dispositions.
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There’s a reason these cats have the nickname “gentle giants.” While larger than the average cat—they usually range in size from nine to 18 pounds—experts note that they tend to be big softies. Their meow is a high-pitched, light sound, often surprising to hear coming from such a massive fur ball. These friendly cat breeds also generally get along great with humans and other cats alike, making them ideal choices 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)
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A majestic-looking feline originally from southeast Asia, the Burmese is a great choice if you want a cat 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.”
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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 pet.
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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 who are often great with kids,” and they’re known for being friendly cat breeds that get along with owners and strangers alike.
These fluffy white felines might be the chosen companions of Bond villains, and while it is true that Persians generally love being held and pampered, the bad-guy association doesn’t hold up. “Just like their sweet faces, this breed is gentle and loves returning affection that they are given,” says Rachel Barrack, DVM, founder of Animal Acupuncture. She notes that, while they 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.
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Exotic Shorthairs are directly related to Persians—they were bred to be a mix of Persians and American Shorthairs. As such, they’re similar to Persians in both looks and personality. Since their short coats require significantly less grooming than Persians’ ample fur, 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, cat behaviour expert at Catological, told RD.com. On the flip side, though, 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,” Barrack says.
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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 Ragdolls than just passive balls of fur—these friendly cat breeds love to play with their trusted humans and have been known to even come when they’re called. “They’re super affectionate and love to follow their people around,” Washburn told RD.com.
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If you’re looking for a playful, spunky cat with a great personality, these tawny-coloured cats make a purr-fect 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 Barrack.
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