If you’re reading this, there’s a fair chance that you’re thinking about inviting a new cat to your family.
Congratulations! It’s a decision that promises joy, companionship and a more than a few antics along the way!
Now that you’ve got your heart set on adopting a cat, it’s vital to select a breed that aligns with your lifestyle and family.
So, what constitutes a family-friendly cat breed?
Family-Friendly Cat Traits
An ideal family-friendly cat possesses certain traits that make it highly compatible with people of all ages, including young children, and often other pets.
Here are some key traits to look out for.
Temperement – a family-friendly cat should typically have a calm, gentle and affable temperament. They should be patient, especially around children who might not always handle them gently.
Activity Level – While some families may prefer active cats that can keep up with energetic children, others might want a more laid-back feline that prefers lounging over chasing toys.
Tolerance – Family-friendly cats tend to be tolerant of noise and activity, particularly with families that include young children. Such environments can be loud and chaotic so the cat should be able to handle this without becoming stressed.
Adaptability – A good family cat will be adaptable and able to adjust to changes in routine or environment with minimal stress.
Affectionate – While not all cats are lap cats, family-friendly cats often enjoy human company and display affection towards their family members. They should enjoy or at least tolerate being handled, stroked and petted.
Health – Healthy cats make for good family pets because their longevity means they’ll be able to grow and develop along with the family over the years.
Compatibility with Other Pets – A family-friendly cat should be able to get on with other pets or at lease coexist peacefully.
Low Aggression – Family-friendly cats should have low aggression levels. They should not be prone to biting or scratching, which is particularly important in a household with children.
10 Best Cat Breeds for Families
The best cat breeds for families can vary in terms of traits and behavior. While some breeds are highly sociable and crave interaction, other breeds may be calmer and more independent.
So what is the most family friendly cat? Here are 10 cat breeds that are among the most family-friendly.
1. Maine Coon
An exploration of the most affectionate cat breeds for families would be incomplete without the inclusion of the Maine Coon.
Originating from the north-eastern United States, this breed’s charming features and unique disposition make it an ideal contender for a family pet.
Maine Coons are a large breed, with males often tipping the scales at 13-18 pounds and females slightly smaller. Although rather large, Maine Coons tend to be gentle and friendly.
Maine Coons are often sociable and able to get along well with children and other pets. So they’re a good option for prospective owners with multi-pet households.
One of the hallmarks of a Maine Coon is their high level of intelligence. These smart cats are quick to learn and often enjoy puzzle toys that challenge their mental agility.
If your family enjoys interactive play with pets, a Maine Coon’s playful and inquisitive nature will provide endless amusement.
They thrive in an environment where their intelligence can be stimulated and their friendly nature can be nurtured. It’s no wonder these majestic cats are often considered one of the best family-friendly cat breeds.
Maine Coons also exhibit a strong sense of loyalty towards their families. They may not always seek to occupy your lap, but they’ll usually be nearby, sharing your space in a non-intrusive manner.
Their distinctive trill-like purr and a fondness for ‘chatting’ can lead to many delightful exchanges.
In terms of grooming, their dense and water-resistant fur requires regular brushing to prevent matting. But many Maine Coons enjoy this as a bonding activity with their human companions.
When it comes to their health, Maine Coons are generally robust, but they do have a predisposition to certain genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Regular vet check-ups will ensure your Maine Coon stays in the best possible health.
Lifespan – 10 to 13 years
The Ragdoll is so-called because of the breed’s propensity to go limp, much like a cloth doll, when picked up.
Their endearing nature, coupled with an impressive appearance, makes Ragdolls a heartwarming addition to any family.
Ragdolls are a large breed, with males reaching between 15-20 pounds and females slightly smaller.
They possess a mild-mannered and docile temperament, quickly establishing themselves as gentle companions within a family environment.
Remarkably sociable, Ragdolls are often referred to as “puppy-like” because they enjoy following their family members around the house.
Such displays of curiosity and affection set them apart from many other breeds.
Their patience and gentleness make them an excellent choice for households with children, and their accepting nature makes them one of those cat breeds that are good with other pets.
Intellectually, Ragdolls are sharp and eager to engage in interactive play. Puzzle toys, feather teasers, or even a game of fetch can keep these cats happily entertained.
Their sociability and playful demeanor make them an ideal breed for families that appreciate active and engaging pets.
Another attractive quality of Ragdolls is their relatively low-maintenance coat. Despite its lush, medium-long length, it’s less prone to matting than the coats of other long-haired breeds.
Regular brushing will suffice to keep their fur healthy and smooth.
Ragdolls are generally healthy cats but can be susceptible to genetic conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease.
Lifespan – 12 to 15 years
3. Scottish Fold
Inviting a Scottish Fold into your household will bring an element of fun, a touch of inquisitive energy and a profound sense of companionship into your everyday life.
Their distinctive physical attributes, combined with their delightful personality, render them an appealing and interactive participant in a family environment.
As a medium-sized breed, Scottish Folds typically weigh between 6 and 13 pounds, ensuring they’re a comfortable fit for both grown-ups and youngsters to engage with.
Yet, it’s their characteristic ear configuration, curled forward and down, that distinguishes them from other breeds, endowing them with an enchanting ‘owl-like’ persona.
Often described as “owls in a cat suit”, Scottish Folds possess an amiable, affectionate, and sociable temperament that aligns perfectly with the dynamic of a family home.
They form strong bonds with their human companions and have a remarkable ability to sync their activity level with their families.
This means that they can be energetic playmates when it’s time to play but also calm, cuddly companions during quiet moments.
A Scottish Fold’s playful and intelligent nature makes them receptive to interactive toys and mentally stimulating games.
They enjoy being involved in whatever their human companions are doing, whether it’s playing a game or even ‘helping’ with household chores.
Despite their plush coat, Scottish Folds have relatively low grooming needs, with regular brushing usually enough to keep their coat healthy.
In sum, the Scottish Fold, with their captivating appearance and adaptive nature, can make a delightful addition to a family.
Scottish Folds can be prone to a genetic condition known as osteochondrodysplasia, which affects bone and cartilage development.
It’s important to source your Scottish Fold from a reputable breeder who tests for this condition, and regular veterinary check-ups will help ensure their continued health.
Lifespan – 11 to 14 years
As we delve further into the world of family-friendly cat breeds, we can’t overlook the Birman.
Endowed with a striking appearance and an amicable nature, Birmans can seamlessly weave themselves into the tapestry of family life, adding a splash of love, loyalty, and liveliness.
Birmans are medium to large-sized cats, usually weighing between 8-12 pounds.
Their most striking feature is perhaps their brilliant blue eyes, which are beautifully contrasted by their silky, medium-length coat, lighter in the body and darker (usually) at the extremities.
This stunning coat, paired with a sturdy body, gives Birmans a royal, almost mystical, appearance.
Beneath this regal exterior lies a heart full of affection and a disposition towards peacefulness. Birmans are known for their sweet-tempered and gentle nature, making them suitable for families with children.
Their social tendencies extend to other pets as well, which means they are likely to get along well in multi-pet households.
In terms of intelligence, Birmans are quick to pick up on routines and enjoy interactive games and toys. They strike a delicate balance between playfulness and tranquility, matching their energy to their family’s vibe.
This adaptability makes them ideal for various family dynamics and lifestyles.
Birmans have a non-matting coat, which requires less maintenance than many other long-haired breeds. Nevertheless, tegular brushing will keep their coat healthy and lustrous.
Although Birmans are generally healthy, they can be predisposed to genetic conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Lifespan – 12 to 16 years
Continuing our exploration of feline breeds that mesh well with family dynamics, we encounter the Siamese, a breed renowned for its graceful aesthetics, social inclination and vibrant personality.
The presence of a Siamese cat can invigorate a family’s routine, infusing it with enthusiasm, affection and intellectual stimulation.
Siamese cats are medium in size, their weight typically ranging between 8 to 10 pounds.
Their most identifiable traits are their enchanting blue almond-shaped eyes, glossy short grey coats and the unique color points that adorn their ears, facial features, paws, and tail.
These distinct attributes enhance the Siamese cat’s overall elegance and allure.
Noted for their loving demeanor and high energy, Siamese cats possess a zest for play and activity.
They’re also considered to be one of the most affectionate cat breeds for families thanks to a propensity for forming deep social bonds
A craving for companionship extends to other pets too, making Siamese highly compatible in households with multiple pets.
Another striking characteristic of Siamese cats is their intellectual curiosity and cleverness. They are fascinated by their surroundings, enjoy puzzle-solving, and relish interaction with toys.
If your family enjoys mentally engaging and energetic pets, a Siamese cat can introduce a wave of enjoyment and vivacity to your household.
When it comes to grooming, Siamese cats require relatively low maintenance due to their short coat. A routine brushing to eliminate loose fur and maintain their coat’s glossiness is usually all they need.
Siamese cats can be predisposed to genetic ailments such as amyloidosis and progressive retinal atrophy.
Lifespan – 10 to 15 years
Next on our list of family-friendly cat breeds is the elegant Persian.
Known for their luxurious coats and placid demeanor, Persian cats can add a touch of grace, tranquility and warmth to a family’s daily life.
Persians are medium to large-sized cats, usually weighing between 7-12 pounds.
Their distinguishing feature is their long, lush coat, coupled with a unique flat face and expressive, round eyes. This gives them a sophisticated and somewhat mystical appearance.
Behind their grandeur, Persians have a calm and gentle disposition. They are known for their relaxed and somewhat aloof nature, making them ideal for families seeking a less active but affectionate feline friend.
Persians prefer a serene environment and are more inclined to lounge around than engage in vigorous play.
Persian cats are intelligent and curious. They might not be as playful as some other breeds, but they do enjoy interactive toys and puzzles that stimulate their minds.
They also form strong bonds with their human companions and can be quite loving and affectionate.
One aspect of owning a Persian cat that families need to consider is their grooming needs. Due to their long, dense coat, Persians require daily brushing to prevent matting and hairballs.
Genetic conditions known to affect Persian cats include polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and Persian-related hereditary retinal degeneration.
As with all breeds, regular vet visits and health checks can ensure that your Persian stays in the best possible health.
Lifespan – 10 to 15 years
Abyssinians are known for their sleek physique, spirited nature and insatiable curiosity.
They’re medium-sized cats, usually weighing between 6 to 10 pounds. Their striking ticked coat adds an element of wild elegance to their appearance and comes in a variety of warm and earthy colors.
Renowned for their active and energetic temperament, Abyssinians thrive in an environment that stimulates both their physical and mental faculties.
Their love for interactive play, puzzles and climbing structures makes them an excellent choice for families with children.
With their keen intellect and boundless curiosity, Abyssinians are always on the lookout for new adventures. Their alertness and adaptability enable them to swiftly adapt to changes and learn new tricks or respond to commands.
Despite their energetic nature, Abyssinians also have a profound appreciation for human companionship.
They form strong bonds with their human family members, seeking their attention and affection. Their engaging personalities and interactive nature contribute to their role as lively and adored family members.
In terms of grooming, Abyssinians boast a short coat that requires minimal maintenance. Regular brushing helps keep their coat in pristine condition and minimizes shedding.
Fortunately, Abyssinians are generally healthy cats with few breed-specific health concerns. Regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and a nurturing environment can help ensure they enjoy a long and vibrant life.
Lifespan – 12 to 15 years
Thanks to their affectionate personalities and loving nature, these delightful feline companions can effortlessly integrate themselves into the fabric of family life..
Burmese cats boast a medium-sized frame, typically weighing between 8 and 12 pounds.
Their compact, muscular bodies exude elegance and grace, while their short and glossy coats come in a range of captivating colors.
What truly sets the Burmese breed apart is their exceptional capacity for affection and unwavering loyalty.
They form deep and lasting bonds with their human family members, seeking close physical contact and relishing snuggles and gentle affectionate gestures.
Burmese cats understand the true essence of companionship and actively partake in the daily lives of their human companions.
Sociability is a hallmark of the Burmese breed, as they eagerly engage with people of all ages. Their playful and energetic nature makes them exceptional playmates for children.
Burmese among those cat breeds that are good with other pets, often forming harmonious relationships with other animal residents. This makes them an obvious choice for families with multiple furry companions.
Intelligent and inquisitive, Burmese cats possess a curious nature that drives them to explore their surroundings and actively participate in interactive play.
They delight in mental stimulation and can be easily engaged with puzzles and toys that challenge their cognitive abilities. By providing opportunities for play and mental enrichment, families can keep their Burmese companions content and thriving.
Grooming Burmese cats is a breeze, thanks to their short and silky coats. Regular brushing is however recommended in order to ensure the coat’s shine and to minimize shedding.
There are few breed-specific health concerns. Again, regular veterinary care, a balanced diet and a nurturing environment can help to ensure a long and fulfilling life.
Lifespan – 12 to 16 years
9. American Shorthair
Also on our list of the 10 best cat breeds for kids and families is the American Shorthair.
With their classic looks, amiable nature and adaptability, American Shorthairs bring a sense of charm and companionship to any family environment.
American Shorthairs are medium to large-sized cats, weighing between 8-15 pounds.
They have a solid and muscular build, showcasing their strength and athleticism. Their short and dense coat comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.
American Shorthairs are friendly and easygoing with a gentle and patient nature. As a result, they’re often excellent companions for families, including children.
Their adaptability allows them to adjust well to different household dynamics and living situations as well.
Although American Shorthairs are not as demanding in terms of attention as some other breeds, they still enjoy spending time with their human family members.
They appreciate gentle affection and are known to form strong bonds with their caregivers.
American Shorthairs have a moderate activity level and enjoy interactive play sessions. They are intelligent cats that can be engaged with puzzle toys and games that stimulate their minds.
However, they are also content to observe and relax, making them a versatile breed for families with varying activity levels.
Grooming American Shorthairs is relatively simple due to their short and dense coat. Regular brushing helps maintain their coat’s cleanliness and removes any loose hair.
They are moderate shedders, which makes them a practical choice for families seeking a breed with manageable grooming needs.
In terms of health, American Shorthairs are generally robust cats with few breed-specific health concerns. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and a nurturing environment can contribute to their overall well-being and longevity.
Lifespan – 12 – 16 years
10. British Shorthair
Our exploration of the 10 best cat breeds for families culminates with the delightful British Shorthair.
With their iconic round face, plush coat, and easygoing temperament, British Shorthairs bring a sense of charm, tranquility and companionship to any family setting.
British Shorthairs are medium to large-sized cats, usually weighing between 9-18 pounds. They have a robust and muscular build, giving them a sturdy appearance while their dense, plush coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
One of the defining characteristics of British Shorthairs is their calm and easygoing nature. They have a relaxed demeanor and are often described as “gentle giants.”
British Shorthairs are known for their independent nature, yet they still enjoy being around their human family members and appreciate gentle affection and attention.
They are generally tolerant and patient, making them excellent companions in multi-pet households. Their adaptable nature allows them to adjust well to different family dynamics and lifestyles.
While British Shorthairs may not be as playful and active as some other breeds, they still enjoy interactive play sessions and the occasional burst of energy.
They are intelligent cats and can be engaged with puzzle toys and games.
Grooming British Shorthairs is relatively easy due to their short and dense coat. Although regular brushing will help to maintain their coat’s cleanliness and remove any loose hair, they’re not excessive shedders.
This makes them one of the more low maintenance cat breeds for families. They’re also suited to those of you searching for hypoallergenic cat breeds.
British Shorthairs are generally healthy cats with few breed-specific health concerns.
Lifespan – 12 to 16 years
While our focus here is on the best cat breeds for families, it’s essential to underline that individual cats can differ vastly in personality.
So make sure to spend time with your chosen cat first before introducing it to your household. This applies to pedigreed felines from your local breeder or a mixed-breed cat from a shelter.
Cat Breeder Websites