25 Best Cat Breeds for First-Time Pet Owners
Thinking of getting a cat? As a first-time cat owner, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of choices you have. There are so many things to consider because every breed of cat has its own distinct personality and characteristics. Do you want an independent cat that’s perfectly happy doing its own thing? Or do you want one that needs a lot of attention and care so that you create a lifelong bond?
With a cat, you’re not just getting a pet. You’re getting a companion, a confidant and a whole lot of entertainment. Cats comfort us when we’re down, and studies have shown that petting a cat can have health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and managing stress.
These are the best cat breeds for first-time pet owners, with information about each breed to help you make the right decision on your search for the perfect cat.
If You Want a Fascinating Cat, Choose an Abyssinian
An Abyssinian can intrigue you with their athleticism and curiosity. This breed is playful, sociable and confident. They want to be part of the action, and if there isn’t any, they’ll make some.
They’re not extra needy, and while they enjoy spending time with their humans, they’re not super cuddly. Not known for being big lap cats, Abyssinians will always sit close enough to show you they care.
Abyssinian Things to Consider
Nicknames: Abys, Bunny Cat
Origin: Unclear. While some people say they came from Abyssinia (the historic name for Egypt), others claim Europe as their birthplace.
Fur: They’re known for their cougar-like appearance, which comes from their ticked, shorthaired coat. They get this look because each hair has multiple bands of color. Each strand of hair is lighter at the top and gradually gets darker at the tips. The Aby comes in various colors, including reddish-cinnamon, chocolate, blue and golden brown.
Indoor/outdoor: They love to climb, jump and explore in either environment.
Personality: They’re affectionate without requiring too much of your attention, but when they want some, they’ll let you know. While they get along with other pets, they do like to be the center of attention, so they do well as an only cat.
Funfact: An Abyssinian cat is the star of the 1978 Disney movie, "The Cat From Outer Space."
Weight: 9-17 pounds
Lifespan: 15-plus years
If You Want a Family Cat, Choose an American Shorthair
Many house cats are of the American Shorthair breed — not only because of their chill vibe and fun attitude but because American Shorthairs are what many tabbies, tortoiseshell, calico and solid-color cats are.
The orange tabby of the American Shorthair breed should be nominated as the best all-around cat. They’re loyal, playful, friendly, and are there for you when you need someone to talk to or pet.
Don’t think that the orange tabby's relaxed personality means they’re not smart because they’re actually very intelligent. Another selling point is that they get along with everyone.
American Shorthair Things to Consider
Origin: They came over on The Mayflower from Europe and were once considered "working cats." Their primary job was to keep the rodent population under control, and this seemed to suit them well, as they’re gifted hunters.
Personality: They enjoy playing and sleeping. Sometimes, they can be lazy (perhaps retired), and you may need to instigate a play session with a toy, string or laser. They’re delightful companions and don’t have excessive grooming needs.
Fun fact: An American Shorthair cat named India lived in the White House with President George W. Bush and his family.
American Shorthair Stats
Weight: 12 pounds (male), 8-12 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 15-20 years
If You Want a Miniature Safari Cat, Choose a Bengal
If you’ve dreamed of having your own wildcat but without the danger, the Bengal cat is a good choice, as they look like a miniature leopard. They’re trainable if you want a cat who can do tricks and impress your friends. As long as you introduce them slowly, Bengals can handle everything from loud noises to dogs and kids.
No matter how old a Bengal gets, they’re always in touch with their inner kitten, making them always ready to have some fun. Besides being gorgeous, these cats are sweet, loyal and playful. They love their humans and require their love and loyalty in return — the same way any king or queen of the jungle would.
Bengal Things to Consider
Nicknames: Safari Cats or the Rolls Royce of Cats (they’re pricey!)
Voice: They don’t meow as much as they bark.
Unusual physical feature: They have incredibly dexterous paws and can do things like open drawers, flip light switches, and pull pots and pans out of kitchen cupboards.
Fur: Their coats feature spots, rosettes and marbling. They come in various colors, including golden, rust-brown, chocolate, orange, camel and beige. Their markings aren’t limited either and can be rust, brown or black. Some Bengal coats can appear almost iridescent and may shimmer in the light as if they have a sprinkling of glitter.
Personality: They’re intelligent, energetic, confident, playful and are always on the alert. They possess all the qualities one would need to survive in the jungle. If they feel they’re not getting the attention they deserve, they may do something to get it, like ripping up a roll of toilet paper or knocking something off a table and then playing with it.
Fun fact: Bengals really enjoy the water and have been known to join their owners in the shower.
Legality: Make sure that Bengal cats are legal where you live before buying one. They’re banned in Connecticut, Hawaii, New York City and Seattle.
Weight: 10-18 pounds (male), 6-12 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 12-16 years
If You Want a Sweet Cat, Choose a Birman
Birmans are a great starter cat because they have all the best qualities — they’re independent, considerate, affectionate and rarely get jealous. Since they’re long-haired, there may be a bit of grooming required, but think of how therapeutic it will be to brush that luxurious fur.
You won’t find a more beautiful or loyal cat. Birmans tend to attach themselves to one human and stay by their side. Your Birman cat will be an excellent companion, stunning to look at and unimaginably soft to the touch. They’re perfect for cuddling with on the couch on a winter’s night.
Birman Things to Consider
Nickname: Known as the Sacred Cat of Burma
Origin: These precious kitties were once used to protect Burmese temples and the priests and goddesses in them.
Fur: Their long, silky coat is non-matting and comes in various colors, including blue, cinnamon, lilac, seal, fawn, spotted and chocolate. They’re always dressed for a formal tea with white gloves of fur on their paws.
Outstanding feature: Their beautiful blue eyes.
Voice: They’re soft-spoken and tend to chirp rather than meow.
Unusual characteristic: They tend to suck, chew and eat non-food items such as wool and plastic.
Fun fact: Before he died in 2019, German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld had a Birman cat named Choupette, who traveled the world with him on his private jet, had her own personal assistants and appeared in some advertisements. She’s now become a business unto herself and has her own Instagram page. Duh!
Weight: 9-15 pounds (male), 6-10 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 9-13 years
If You Want a Little Black Panther, Choose a Bombay
Bombay cats are loving companions who make anywhere their human is home. They’re curious, active and adaptable, so if you’re planning on moving sometime in the future, a Bombay will be able to handle it and won’t get overly stressed out.
Black cats are lucky — no matter what superstitious people may think — and owning a Bombay cat will make you feel fortunate indeed. As with the classic little black dress, these cats are always in style.
Bombay Things to Consider
Nicknames: Little Black Panthers, Parlor Panther or Velcro Cats
Grooming level: Minimal grooming and minimal shedding. Give them a weekly brushing, and they’re good to go.
Outstanding feature: They have what’s called "a wildcat sway" when they walk.
Unusual characteristic: They’re heat seekers and enjoy burrowing under the covers, making a nest for themselves in clean or dirty laundry, or using a human as a heat source.
Personality: Four words describe a Bombay cat: endearing, playful, bossy and affectionate. They’re prone to loneliness and depression if left alone for long periods. When this happens, they can get destructive, so make sure they have plenty of toys, a scratching post and some kind of interactive game.
Social skills: They like to be around people — their humans, strangers who come to the house, anyone. They don’t want to be alone too often, which is why they are known as velcro cats because they stick to their owners.
Fun fact: They’re not from India, but they resemble Indian tigers.
Weight: 12 pounds and up (male), 8-12 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 9-13 years
If You Want a Dignified Cat, Choose a British Shorthair
British Shorthair (BSH) cats get along very well with people but are also very independent. They’re great for anyone with a family or someone living by themselves. When the BSH cat grows up from a kitten to a cat, their activity level decreases, and they become very laid-back and low-energy. These cats aren’t likely to wake you up in the night with their play.
Since they’re patient and not aggressive, they’re great with kids — as long as kids treat them with kindness. If a child becomes rowdy, a BSH is more likely to get out of the situation than get their claws out. While they get along with other cats and dogs, it’s not wise to give them access to smaller animals such as rats, mice, hamsters or gerbils.
The BSH comes from a long line of mousers and still has their predator instinct, which is a bonus if you have any rodent problems.
British Shorthair Things to Consider
Nicknames: BSH or Brit
Famous for: Being one of the breeds in the first-ever cat show held in Britain in 1871.
Fur: They have a short, plush coat that must be brushed daily.
Outstanding feature: They’re easy to train and will learn tricks, correct litterbox protocol and how not to scratch the furniture.
Unusual characteristic: They have an uncanny sense of time and routine. BHS cats are known to be at your door when you come home and will start questioning when dinner will be served a few minutes before it’s the usual time.
Personality: Although they may appear aloof at first, they’re playful, affectionate and loyal. They enjoy following their humans as they go about their days. These cats take the job of the supervisor seriously and will check your work. They’re not above giving advice on how to do any job — whether it’s yours or your handyman’s.
Social skills: Like the British, the Brit may seem reserved with guests, but once they warm up, they’re gracious to guests and strangers alike.
Fun fact: They’re descendants of the ancient cats of Egypt. From Egypt, they were imported to Rome. When the Romans invaded Great Britain, they brought the cats with them.
British Shorthair Stats
Weight: About 12 pounds
Lifespan: 7-12 years
If You Want a Playful Cat, Choose a Burmese
Burmese cats are the most doglike cats out there — they’re loyal, loving and will even play fetch with you. They love to play and do well in homes with kids.
Needless to say, if there were a contest for the best family cat, the Burmese cat would win. They’re low-maintenance cats who don’t shed much and only need brushing weekly.
They can be clingy and won’t leave you alone, but they’re always there if you want someone to talk to or cuddle with.
Burmese Things to Consider
Famous for: There are two types of Burmese cats: an American version and a British version.
Body type: They have a compact body that is heavier than it looks. They love food, so it’s easy for them to gain weight, but they’re also picky eaters, so you may have to try a few varieties of food from time to time. If you want a fuller, squishable cat, this one is for you.
Outstanding feature: Their green eyes are one of their most striking features, though they can also have blue or yellow eyes. For many cats, a slow blink is an indication of love. For Burmese cats, their eyes are one of the best ways to communicate, and saying "I love you" is only one of them.
Voice: The second way Burmese cats communicate is vocally, though the sound they make sounds more like a rumble than a chirp or a meow.
Unusual characteristic: They don’t appreciate being constrained, held down or in a cage. They want to be able to roam at will. If you want to train a cat, these aren’t the cats for you. Everything's better when it’s their idea, and if you try to force them to do anything, they’ll resent you. They’re very trusting, which could make them an easy target for a predator.
Personality: They love to be the center of attention and tend to get very attached, not just to their owners but also to their environment. Always give them time to adjust. One of their best qualities is that they don’t get cranky as they age. They get sweeter.
Weight: 12 pounds and up (male), 8-12 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 9-15 years
If You Want a Personable Cat, Choose a Burmilla
Burmilla cats rate high in friendliness, ability to handle children and affection. They’re playful, sweet-natured and not overly vocal. You’ll appreciate them not yowling when you’re sleeping at night.
While they love to be around their humans, they’re independent enough to be left on their own as long as they have some toys, a good place to sleep and something they can climb on.
If you choose a Burmilla cat, you’ll be getting a wonderful friend and ally.
Burmilla Things to Consider
Famous for: They’re an accidental breed that occurred when a Burmese and Chinchilla Persian got together. They’re one of the rarest breeds in the United States.
Fur: Some are long-haired, and some are short-haired. They come in several colors, including black, chocolaty, silver-white, tortoiseshell, blue, cream and lilac.
Unusual characteristic: This is a round cat with a circular head and rounded ear tips. They’re also heat sensitive, so be sure to keep them cool when it’s hot out.
Personality: On one hand, they’re laid-back and chill, and on the other, they’re very naughty and love to play. They remain kitten-like as they age.
Social skills: They get along with any other pets you have in the household.
Fun fact: They always have their face on because of the markings around their eyes. In other words, these cats don’t need to wear eyeliner to have a cat-eye look!
Weight: 8-12 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
If You Want a Best Friend Cat, Choose a Chartreux
A smile can brighten your day, and these cats smile. Well, maybe they don’t smile purposely, but they look as if they do, and when they smile, you’ll smile, too! You don’t have to bribe them to be your best friend — they’ll find their way to being your constant companion on their own.
Plus, they have enough love to give that, even though they’ve bonded with you, they can still love and be loved by other members of your family. They’re good with kids and other pets, making them the ideal choice for those with extended families.
Chartreux Things to Consider
Famous for: They’re very popular but rare, so it may take luck and a sizable chunk of change to find one.
Fur: Their fur is a distinctive blue-gray that is special to them and, instead of being soft, has a rough texture almost like sheep’s wool.
Outstanding feature: They tend to have a large, muscular body and are thought of as more athletic than a typical housecat.
Voice: They’re calm, quiet and rarely make a sound.
Unusual characteristic: Their fur is waterproof. If they get into some water, they come out of it almost completely dry. They also have swift reflexes.
Personality: They’re so calm that their chill vibe helps to calm other animals down around them.
Social skills: They love everybody. They would rather hang out with people than be on their own like other cats.
Fun fact: They’ve been around since the 1500s in France and were a popular pet for the aristocracy. You’d think with that kind of lineage, they’d be snobby and stuck up, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Weight: 12 pounds
Lifespan: 11-15 years
If You Want a Rough and Tumble Cat, Choose a Cornish Rex
This is another breed with a dog-like personality, so if you previously thought of yourself as a "dog person," then having a cat won’t be a big adjustment. Cornish Rex cats are endearing with their willingness to snuggle, play or just hang out with you. They love spending time with their humans.
These cats are game when you put them on a leash and take them for walks — but don’t do so in the cold weather without a coat because they can get the chills. These cats are unique and make fabulous pets for first-time pet owners because they’re affectionate, fun and don’t require a lot of grooming or pampering.
Cornish Rex Things to Consider
Nicknames: Marcel cats (after a vintage hairstyle called the Marcel waves)
Fur: Although their fur is thin and curly, it’s also silky soft. Some of the colors that their fur comes in sound like things you’d have in your pantry like cream, chestnut, cinnamon, lavender, chocolate, champagne and cream.
Outstanding feature: They have a body like a greyhound with an arched back, small waist, long legs and an egg-shaped head.
Unusual characteristic: They’re curly all over, including their fur, their eyebrows and their whiskers. They only have one layer of fur, so they’re temperature sensitive and can get cold or overheated.
Personality: They love to be with their human parents and need quality time with them every day. They don’t enjoy being left alone much, and they like a lot of attention. They’re very agile and love to jump, run and play. They may look delicate, but their bodies are healthy and athletic.
Fun fact: Because of their tightly curled fur, daily brushing is actually not encouraged.
Cornish Rex Stats
Weight: 8 pounds
Lifespan: 9-13 years
If You Want a Funny Cat, Choose a Devon Rex
Devon Rex cats love to be around people, and if they could sit at the table with you at mealtime, they would, for they don’t want to miss a thing. They’re not high-maintenance. They’re loyal and super affectionate. They crave attention, so if you need an emotional support pet, they’re ready to give you all the love and support you need.
They’re also known for being somewhat mischievous and having a sense of humor, which is why some people refer to them as "Little Clowns." They’re perfect for families who have children.
Devon Rex Things to Consider
Nicknames: Cat in a Monkey Suit, Poodle Cat or Alien Cat
Famous for: They’re a natural mutation and not a breeder-creation.
Fur: It is short, curly and comes in colors like black, blue, brown, champagne, chestnut, chocolate, cinnamon, cream, fawn, frost, lavender and seal. They don’t shed, and baths are rarely needed.
Outstanding feature: They have an angular head, large ears and big eyes.
Voice: Their voice is soft but active, as they like to express their opinions.
Unusual characteristic: They like to be up at least head level, so it’s not strange to see them perched on their human’s shoulder. They’re primarily an indoor cat because they can get sunburned. Their coats tend to change as often as the seasons.
Personality: They’re a smart cat with a moderate activity level. They’re not in constant physical motion, but they enjoy a good mental challenge. They like to learn tricks and will play fetch.
Fun fact: They like to sleep under the covers and will seek out any kind of heat source to keep them warm.
Devon Rex Stats
Weight: 5-10 pounds
Lifespan: 10-15 years
If You Want a Lucky Cat, Choose a Japanese Bobtail
Japanese Bobtails are easy to live with because they’re affectionate, do well with routine and don’t take much grooming. (A brushing once a week is usually sufficient.) They’re not the cuddliest of cats, and they won’t ever be a lap cat, but they show their love in other ways such as sitting or sleeping next to you, responding to their name and singing your praises with their chirpy melodic vocalizations.
They’re considered to bring good luck, which is why you’ve probably seen statues of them, aka The Beckoning Cat, in your favorite Asian restaurants and stores.
Japanese Bobtail Things to Consider
Origin: They may have originated in China or Korea but ended up in Japan.
Fur: Their fur can be long- or short-haired, but they don’t have much of an undercoat.
Outstanding feature: Their hind legs are longer than their front legs, which makes them excellent jumpers. They tend to do very well in feline agility tests — who knew that was a thing?
Unusual characteristic: Due to a genetic mutation, they have a short bobbed tail that looks like the pom-pom on top of a knit hat. The tail is fluffier than the body. No two tails are alike with their curves, twists and kinks, but the tails do make for easy identification of the breed.
Voice: They’re known for having an almost musical voice that’s soft, harmonious and melodic. Some people compare their voices to the sound of singing.
Personality: They’re sweet, loving and brilliant. They love to be with people, and they not only learn their names, but they also respond to them. They’re super active and will bring toys to people to alert them that they’re ready to play. They’re extremely social and thrive when they’re around people. They tend to take over and believe that they’re the dominant authority.
Fun fact: The cats that have the favored Mi-Ke color pattern of red, black and white are known as the Japanese symbol of good luck.
Japanese Bobtail Stats
Weight: 8-12 pounds (male), 8 pounds and under (female)
Lifespan: 15-18 years
If You Want a Loyal Cat, Choose a Korat Cat
Korat cats are very loyal and choose one or two humans to bond with, always staying by their side. That said, if their circumstances change and they’re adopted, they will connect with their new fur parent.
They can get aggressive or anxious if left alone too frequently, so if you work from home or have another pet, this cat would be a perfect fit.
Korat Cat Things to Consider
Nicknames: Si-Sawat cat
Famous for: They’re a popular gift — always given in pairs and wildly popular as a wedding gift to a bride as they symbolize fertility and prosperity. In a book of poems in 1350, the Korat was mentioned as one of the 17 types of lucky cats. The story goes, if you have a Korat with a kink in its tail, you’ll have good luck. But really, isn’t anyone who has a cat lucky?
Special considerations: While they rarely need a bath, and a weekly brushing should do, some extra care should be spent on their teeth and ears. Daily tooth brushing is recommended to avoid periodontal disease, but weekly brushing is OK. Their ears should be checked weekly, and if they need it, their ears should be cleaned out with a dampened cloth of 50 percent apple cider vinegar and 50 percent water. Like humans, using cotton swabs in the ear should be avoided.
Voice: They’re not too talkative but will make sounds to get their point across.
Unusual characteristic: Nose, lips and toe beans range from dark blue to lavender.
Personality: They’re an energetic cat and can be "trained" on the household’s rules. Positive reinforcement such as a treat or a pet works well. However, they will also respond to a loud "no" or handclap, but anything more severe won’t work. They get along with other cats as long as there are enough toys to go around. These cats have never learned how to share throughout the ages and can be like a stubborn toddler when it comes to what they consider theirs.
Korat Cat Stats
Weight: 6-10 pounds
Lifespan: 10-15 years, though sometimes they can live to be 20.
If You Want a Lovable Cat, Choose a Maine Coon
There’s a reason they call Maine Coons "Cat Dogs," and it’s because they’re the perfect pet for people who like dogs but want a cat. They love to hang out with their peeps and will follow them around because they don’t want to miss a moment.
They’re big, gentle, smart, laid-back goofballs who are in touch with their inner kitten for all their lives. If you have the patience, you may be able to train your Maine Coon to wear a leash and take walks with you.
Maine Coon Things to Consider
Nicknames: Gentle Giant or The Dogs of the Cat World
Origin: Some people believe they came from a cat being mated with a raccoon, while others believe they came from short-haired domestic cats being bred with the long-haired cats of European sailors and Vikings. The best theory is that they’re the descendants of six cats Marie Antoinette shipped to Wiscasset, Maine, when planning her escape from France.
Famous for: Being the only American long-haired cat and the oldest.
Fur: The Maine Coon cat’s hair is thick, long and kind of shaggy, and it drapes longer on the stomach and behind the legs than it does on the shoulders. They do well in winter weather because of the density of their fur and because it’s water-repellent.
Outstanding feature: They’re big cats with long sturdy bodies, extra fluffy tails and tufted paws. They have gorgeous long hair, but they’re not super high-maintenance. Weekly brushings are fine.
Unusual Characteristic: It’s not uncommon for a Maine Coon to have six toes.
Personality: They have one of the best personalities of all cats. They’re kind, loving, intelligent and not too demanding. They’re so social that they don’t even like to eat alone.
Fun fact: They are the official state cat of Maine, but they’re extremely popular everywhere. A Maine Coon cat named Nicky was the first pet to be cloned commercially.
Maine Coon Stats
Weight: 13-18 pounds (male), 7-12 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 9-13 years
If You Want an Extraordinary Cat, Choose a Norwegian Forest
You only need to look at a Norwegian Forest cat to know how special they are. They’re a very loving companion and live for praise from their pet parents.
They’re also great hunters and will patrol to ensure that everything is safe and secure from unwanted visitors like bugs and rodents. The Norwegian Forest cat is much coveted, and once someone has one, they don’t ever want to let them go.
Norwegian Forest Things to Consider
Nicknames: Wedgie or Skogkatt (Forest Cat)
Origin: They originated in Northern Europe.
Famous for: They’re genuinely mythical creatures and are even mentioned in Norwegian fairytales.
Fur: They’re always ready for winter weather. Their coat is long, double-layered and water repellent. Their tufted fur ears and feet make for natural earmuffs and snowshoes.
Outstanding feature: These cats are large — bigger than most cats and even some dogs. Picture a fox in your head, and you have an idea of how big these cats are.
Unusual characteristic: Because they have paws that point slightly outward, they’re able to go down a tree or a post, head first, which isn’t something most cats can do.
Personality: They’re loyal, independent and bright. They rate high in personality, looks and social skills because they’re very friendly and affectionate.
Fun fact: They’re often mistaken for Maine Coon cats, but they have almond-shaped eyes, and Maine Coons have oval-shaped eyes. As you might have guessed, Norwegian Forest cats are the official cats of Norway.
Norwegian Forest Stats
Weight: 12 pounds and up
Lifespan: 8-14 years
If You Want a Social Cat, Choose an Ocicat
Ocicats enjoy being with humans, but they’re not overly clingy or dependent on them. They will get embarrassed if someone makes them feel stupid or as if they did something wrong, which makes them seem more like a child than a cat.
They like to ride on their humans, which is undoubtedly a conversation starter with strangers. Wouldn’t it be cool to have your own miniature leopard riding on your shoulder?
Ocicat Things to Consider
Origin: These cats came into being when a woman tried to breed an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese and, after two tries, came up with a cat that looked like an ocelot, hence the name, Ocicat.
Fur: They have very soft spotted fur, and their coat is short and tight.
Outstanding features: Large almond-shaped eyes and a slender, well-muscled body.
Grooming requirements: Grooming should be done daily to deal with shedding and limit hairball development.
Personality: They like a lot of attention, are very intelligent and can be trained to sit, lie down, walk with a leash and swim. They don’t like getting yelled at or criticized, and when they are, they will pout and sulk for hours.
Social skills: They love meeting new people and animals. To them, a new human is a new source of affection and comfort.
Weight: 8-12 pounds
Lifespan: 15 years or more
If You Want an Affectionate Feline, Choose an Oriental Cat
Oriental cats are one of the rarest breeds of cats and one of the most intelligent. If you shower them with love, expect to get it right back. They love everybody but especially their humans.
If you have a large family, these cats are a perfect choice. Plus, the more people in your family, the more people to satisfy the Oriental cat’s need for constant love and affection.
Oriental Cat Things to Consider
Origin: They were created in England when someone wanted Siamese cats to come in more colors.
Fur: Their coat is made up of short, fine hairs, and they rarely shed.
Outstanding feature: They’re practically hypoallergenic, and while there’s no guarantee, Oriental cats are said to provoke little to no allergic responses in allergic people, as they produce less of the Fel D1, the protein that is responsible for triggering cat allergies.
Voice: Vocalization is a big part of how Oriental cats communicate a wide variety of emotions. In other words, they’re very chatty.
Unusual characteristics: Their bat-like ears and elongated body.
Personality: Oriental cats love to be the center of attention. They don’t care if you’re working, watching TV or reading a book. They’re born entertainers and have no problem learning tricks and aren’t in the least shy. They’re more than happy to perform for your guests at a party.
Social skills: They’re charming and get along with adults, kids and even other animals.
Oriental Cat Stats
Weight: 7-10 pounds (male), 5-8 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 15 years
If You Want a Gorgeous Feline, Choose a Persian Cat
Persian cats are gentle, sweet lap cats. They enjoy cuddling with their fur parents. They prefer a peaceful and stress-free environment but can adapt to a more boisterous household if they need to. As long as they get the affection and love they need, they’re happy.
They’re not super curious or adventurous, so you don’t have to worry about them wrecking your things by jumping off a china cabinet or knocking things off your counter. If you want your cat to be a thing of beauty in addition to being a pet, a Persian cat is for you.
Persian Cat Things to Consider
Nicknames: Doll Face or Furniture With Fur
Origin: Persia (modern-day Iran)
Famous for: Being the most popular of pedigree cats.
Fur: Their fur is famously long, silky and luxurious. It needs to be brushed daily, or it will mat.
Unusual characteristic: There are two types of Persian cats: show and traditional. The show Persian has a squashed nose, tiny ears and coppery eyes. Their body is short and wide with a big fluffy tail. The traditional Persians have more regular noses.
Personality: They tend to be very laid-back and lazy. Spending hours in the same place sleeping is their idea of a good time. They’re big believers in the art of doing nothing. Kids are too loud and rowdy for them, so a child-free household or one with super gentle children would be best.
Fun fact: Queen Victoria of England had two Blue Persian cats.
Persian Cat Stats
Weight: 12-plus pounds (males), 8-12 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 8-11 years
If You Want a Trusting Cat, Choose a Ragdoll
These cats love being held and are the ultimate lap cats. They thrive on human companionship, so if you’re looking for a cat to adore you, you’ve found them. These cats are snuggle-bunnies and so pretty that just looking at them is guaranteed to bring happiness.
They’re very quiet, so if you live in an apartment, condo or any place where your neighbors are close by, this is an excellent cat for you.
Ragdoll Things to Consider
Origin: An American breeder developed this breed in the 1960s.
Interesting tidbit: It takes them a long time to become fully grown — 4 years.
Famous for: Their blue eyes.
Fur: They’re born pale, and their coats gradually darken as they age, which can take up to four years for them to become fully grown.
Unusual characteristic: They go limp and floppy when being picked up, just like a ragdoll.
Personality: They’re docile, friendly and love to be loved. They’re another breed that's very dog-like in their way of trotting along after their owners, playing fetch and carrying a toy in their mouth.
Fun fact: A cat born with two faces is called a Janus cat after the Roman god Janus, who was thought to have two faces. The world’s most famous Janus cat was a ragdoll named Frank and Louie or Franklouie.
Weight: Up to 20 pounds
Lifespan: 12-17 years
If You Want a Royal Cat, Choose a Russian Blue
Russian Blues are very attentive and loving when you need them to be, but they can get on very well by themselves, too. They’re at their happiest when it’s a one-on-one cuddle session, as they tend to be a one-person cat.
However, loving one person intensely doesn’t mean Russian Blues don’t accept affection from other people, only that they’re deeply bonded to one person.
According to Russian folklore, Russian Blues ward off evil spirits and are natural healers. Russian Blue cats are sweet, loving and lucky — what more could you want from your first cat?
Russian Blue Things to Consider
Origin: As the name implies, they come from Russia.
Famous for: They’re another breed that is as hypoallergenic as a cat can get due to their lower levels of the protein Fel D1.
Fur: Their silvery, double-layer coat is made of short, dense fur, keeping them warm in colder climates. Being well-groomed is important to them, so plan on brushing them twice weekly.
Outstanding feature: They’re known for their upturned mouth, which resembles a Mona Lisa smile.
Voice: They have a high standard of living, and if they think that their owners are slacking off, they’ll let them know with their most disapproving meow.
Unusual characteristics: You’d expect their paw pads to be black or brown like their noses, but they’re pink. They’re also born with yellow eyes, but a green ring forms around the pupil by four months.
Personality: Russian Blues are as likely to train their owners as much as their owners train them. Unlike most cats, Russian Blues like routine, and once a schedule is set, they like to stick to it. If dinner is served every night at 5:00 p.m., don’t think they won’t notice if one night you feed them at 6:00 p.m.
Russian Blue Stats
Weight: 10-12 pounds (male), 7-10 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 15-20 years
If You Want an Entertaining Cat, Choose a Scottish Fold
These cats do well in both single-person or multiple-person households. As long as you’re gentle with them and treat them with love and affection, they’ll be loyal to you forever.
They’re very entertaining in their physicality and the way they behave, so if you ever need cheering up, think of this cat as your own living entertainment center. You’ll never be bored if you have a Scottish Fold in your life.
Scottish Fold Things to Consider
Nicknames: Lops (for lop-eared)
Fur: They’re usually short-haired, but there are some long-haired ones called "Highland Folds."
Outstanding feature: Their folded ears are what make them unique. The fold happens because of a natural dominant gene mutation to bend forward and down (fold) the front of their head. They’re actually born with pointy ears, but sometime between two and four weeks, the ears will start to descend.
Voice: They’re not too vocal, but when they have a request, they ask in a quiet voice.
Unusual characteristic: When it comes to positioning their bodies, Scottish Folds distinguish themselves from other cats. They tend to sit, stand and lay down like humans, such as sitting prairie-style or like the Buddha, standing on their back legs, and laying down and flopping around.
Personality: They’re adorable, charming, and easy to live with.
Special handling: Be extra careful with their tails as they can become stiff and painful when mishandled. They can also develop arthritis in the tail region, so if they seem sensitive in that area or cry out in pain, they should be seen by a veterinarian.
Fun fact: Taylor Swift has two Scottish Fold cats named Olivia Benson and Meredith Gray.
Scottish Fold Stats
Weight: 8-12 pounds
Lifespan: 11-14 years
If You Want an Emotional Support Cat, Choose a Siberian
One of the best things about having a pet, especially a cat, is that they’re there for you at all times, and this is undoubtedly true for Siberian cats. They’re wise regarding their human’s moods, needs and wants.
If you need help processing your feelings or comforting you, these cats are a great choice. They’re laid-back, full of personality, intelligent, active and reasonably fearless. Oh, and did we mention gorgeous?
Siberian Things to Consider
Nicknames: Siberian Forest Cats or Moscow Longhairs
Fur: They have a very dense coat to keep them warm during the Siberian winters. While you might be tempted to brush their very bushy tail, resist. Their fur comes in a variety of colors and has an oily texture making it somewhat water-resistant. The most common color for Siberians is a golden tabby.
Surprising trait: Siberian cats don’t mind water, and if you train a Siberian kitten to go in the water, they’ll have no trouble with it as they get older.
Voice: They make a layered triple purr sound.
Unusual characteristic: They have longer hair at the tips of their ears and fur inside their ears to help keep them warm.
Fun fact: They can get so concentrated on playing with a toy, they may end up doing a somersault or some kind of body-contortion.
Weight: 15-20 pounds
Lifespan: 10-18 years
If You Want an Amazing Cat, Choose a Somali
Somali cats love all humans, no matter their age, and they get along with other pets, including dogs. Somali cats are active, intelligent and extremely entertaining, so they’re great when you’ve binged every program and need something to watch.
They’re affectionate in their way, and while that doesn’t often include sitting in your lap, you’ll be delighted in the ways they show their love and affection, such as snuggling under the covers.
Somali Things to Consider
Nicknames: Fox Cat or Long-haired Abyssinian
Fur: Their fur is long and smooth, and they have a bushy tail, a ruff of fur around their neck and furry legs. They have a thick undercoat, which can become tangled and snarled, so frequent grooming sessions are recommended.
Voice: They have a soft, quiet voice.
Unusual characteristic: They’re very agile and can do things as if they had hands instead of paws, including holding objects or food. They’ve been known to turn on water faucets, too.
Personality: They’re very tenacious and focused. If there’s something they want, they go for it but not in an aggressive way. They’re very curious, so don’t be surprised if you catch them snooping in your cupboards or drawers.
Social skills: They love to play and have fun with everybody.
Weight: 8-12 pounds
Lifespan: 9-13 years
If You Want a Low-Maintenance Feline, Choose a Sphynx
For a long time, you’ve put off getting a cat because you simply didn’t want to deal with all that fur that comes with owning one. Who wants to deal with all that shedding and grooming?
A Sphynx cat is a perfect solution. There’s no issue of fur covering your favorite sweater or having to vacuum three times a day because a Sphynx cat has a soft fuzz covering their body instead of fur. They’re super sweet, cuddly and love their humans (not other cats so much).
Bonus: Think about how fun it will be to dress them in cute hoodies and sweaters!
Sphynx Things to Consider
Origin: Toronto, Canada
Famous for: Being Dr. Evil’s cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, in the "Austin Powers" movies.
Outstanding feature: They may not have fur, but due to a skin pigment, they do come in all kinds of colors, patterns and spots.
Voice: They’re a chatty breed and will purr, meow, chirp and even talk.
Personality: While they may have an RSF (resting sad face,) this breed is the life of every party. They love to be the center of attention and put on acrobatic shows for their family. They’re very friendly, affectionate, curious and love to cuddle.
Fun fact: What other cats can do with their front paws, Sphynxes can do with their feet. They have very dexterous toes and can pick interesting items up with them.
Weight: 12 pounds
Lifespan: 8-14 years
If You Want a Fun Cat, Choose a Turkish Van
Turkish Van’s love to exercise their bodies by jumping, playing and having fun. They also seem to like making a mess, so if you like an organized, everything-in-its-place house, then this might not be the cat for you.
But if you want a super smart cat (they can even learn computer games) that can communicate their needs, this breed is a good choice.
A Turkish Van will sit next to you and be petted. Belly rubs are OK, too!
Turkish Van Things to Consider
Nicknames: The Swimming Cat
Origin: Turkey’s Lake Van region
Famous for: Water doesn’t terrify them the way it does some cats. Turkish Van cats don’t enjoy being submerged in water, but they do like playing with it. Be sure you keep your toilet lid down, and the pool covered so they don’t fall in a giant vat of water. Also, before you call the plumber, make sure that the faucet that keeps turning itself on is broken. Sometimes out of boredom, a Turkish Van will turn the tap on to entertain themselves.
Fur: They have a white coat with color on their heads and tails. Turkish Van’s inspired the term "Van Markings." To the touch, their fur feels like cashmere.
Outstanding feature: They have what is commonly called a vinometer: When a Turkish Van gets upset, their pink nose gets red. The deeper the red, the more upset they are. It can be challenging to decipher your cat’s mood, but with a Turkish Van, their nose gives away their emotional state.
Voice: The Turkish Van cat will use their soft, gentle meow to help communicate their needs.
Personality: They’re energetic, fun-loving, playful and need regular exercise. They require a lot of attention from their humans.
Turkish Van Stats
Weight: 10-18 pounds
Lifespan: 12-17 years