What cat breed is the best for me?
Choosing the purr-fect feline friend is a very personal decision. For many of us, the choice was as simple as a friend’s cat had kittens, they were adorable, and so we adopted one. For others, the decision was made during a visit to the American Humane Society during “adopt a cat month.” If you are ready to add a cat to your life. And, you are looking for a place to start, consider sites like petfinder, which let you search shelters in your area to find the feline match that’s right for you. Whatever your approach, educating yourself about the different breeds and their particular traits can go a long way to helping you find a compatible companion and making this long-term relationship successful.
So what are some of the considerations in choosing a cat? Here are a few to think about.
- Personality compatibility
- social needs, do they like to cuddle and are they affectionate?
- curiosity level
- energy level
- intelligence/can they be trained?
- do they enjoy toys?
- Household compatibility
- dog friendly
- child friendly
- stranger friendly
- shedding level
- health issues
- life span
Some of the most popular breeds for domestic cats are: Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Oriental, Persian, Ragdoll, Siamese, and Sphynx. Below is a summary of the common traits of each of these breeds.
Image by Kunyi Liu
Abyssinians are active and intelligent cats. They are small to medium size (6 to 10 pounds). They are curious, like toys, are very playful, and can be taught tricks. Abyssinians are also independent, and usually get along well with dogs and other pets. You can keep an Abyssinian entertained with puzzle toys or interactive activities. This cat’s short hair makes grooming/maintenance a weekly thing. However, if you are looking for a nice lap cat, you should look elsewhere. Also, Abyssinians are often unhappy if they are kept as indoor cats. Some Abysssinians carry a genetic deficiency that causes anemia.
Humane Society of Jefferson County
The American Short-hair is medium to large size (6 to 15 pounds). American Short hairs are very well rounded. It has moderate length hair, is moderately active, and has moderate intelligence. The American Short-hair likes toys, is fairly independent but will cuddle. They also get along with dogs. However, the American Short-hair typically is not good in a household with other small pets due to its natural hunting instincts. It does not need constant attention but is affectionate. And is an excellent companion without being too needy.
The Maine Coon is very large and can grow as big as 25 pounds. However, the Maine Coon is typically sweet and friendly and gets along well with children and other pets. This cat is moderately active and is considered very intelligent. The Maine Coon’s enjoys attention but is not demanding and will enjoy some lap time if that is your desire. The Maine Coon is a long-haired cat typically with a neck ruff and tufted feet. Surprisingly, the coat typically need no more than weekly brushing.
Image by Lil Shepherd
The Oriental is an off-shoot of the Siamese breed. It is a small to medium-size cat that can have either short or long hair. Orientals are very active and playful. Further, they are also very intelligent, curious and vocal cats that becomes very attached to their humans. Orientals are typically sweet and caring, companions, and thus are good with children and other pets
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Siamese cats originated in Thailand (formerly Siam). They are medium-size with short hair-length. They are vocal, curious, and demanding, and will want to interact often with their humans. Where people and Siamese both want a strong bond and frequent interaction, this cat is a great fit. They are very active, very playful, very intelligent and very friendly towards their people. They are a loving and cuddly cat that also gets along with children and other pets.
Image by Allen Watkin
The medium to large sized Persian is the most popular breed in the US, probably because if its beautiful long coat and its sweet affectionate nature that makes it a very good lap cat. However the Persian typically doesn’t get along with other pets or children. Their long beautiful coat requires regular (daily?) grooming so please take this into account. Here is an article with the best brushes for Persians. This is a low energy, non demanding kitty.
Image by Tori Behr
The Ragdoll is named after its nature which is easy going, relaxed, gentle and adaptable. This cat typically gets along with everyone. This cat is medium to large size(up to 20 pounds) with medium to long hair-length. The Ragdoll is moderately active, very playful, very intelligent, very friendly and loving towards it person, a very good lap-kitty, gets along with children and other pets.
Image by Ruthart
The Sphynx is a relatively new breed ( 1970’s). It is medium sized, and its distinctive feature is of course it’s hairless appearance. It does actually have a short downy coat and please don’t confuse this hairless cat as meeting hypoallergenic requirements as that is not the case. The Sphynx is moderately active, very caring and cuddly, very intelligent. They are also friendly with children and other pets and so they make a great choice if the distinctive looks appeal to you.
Image by Almighty Worm
The Bengal cat breed was developed by crossing the small Asian leopard cats with domestic cat breeds. Its relatively wild nature is the product of this history. Don’t get a Bengal cat if it is a lap cat you desire. This cats semi wild nature manifests as curiosity, high activity level, climbing, attention seeking. This cat even enjoys walking on leashes and is happier with a large (enclosed) outdoor area to explore. Here is an article on the best harnesses for Bengals. This cat is also happier with a human that enjoys regular interaction. However, beware a bored Bengal can get into trouble. If you love the idea of a Bengal but are unsure if you can keep the cat entertained maybe you should think about getting two.