Best Cat Breeds For First Time Cat Owners

White British Shorthair between two blue British Shorthairs

Best cat breeds for first-time cat owners at a glance

  • Burmese
  • British Shorthair
  • Burmilla
  • Exotic Shor,thair
  • Russian Blue
  • Ragdoll
  • Tonkinese
  • American Shorthair

Cat breeds come in all shapes, sizes and personality, and pet owners must choose carefully before bringing a new pet into the home. This article looks at cat breeds which are suitable for novice or first-time owners. The criteria I have based these breeds on include overall health, a friendly personality but not too needy and ease of care.

Included is a star rating for independence, with * meaning they are less independent and **** meaning they are more independent.

Read moreBest Cat Breeds For First Time Cat Owners

Khao Manee Cat Breed Profile

Khao Manee cat
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Eyes: Gold, green, blue and odd
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Loyal, easygoing, intelligent, gentle
  • Weight: Males 4.5-5 kg (9.9 – 11 lbs), females 4-5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: White
  • Coat: Short
  • Grooming: Once a week
  • Also called: Khao Plort, White Gem, White-Jewelled Cat, Diamond Cat, Diamond Eye, Khaomanee

The Khao Manee is a rare, natural breed of cat from Thailand with a stunning white coat and blue, gold or odd-eyes (blue and green or yellow). Several other breeds have originated from Thailand including the Siamese, Burmese and Korat.

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Lykoi Cat Breed Profile

Lykoi cat

At a glance

  • Origin: United States of America
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Energy: High
  • Temperament: Intelligent, active, curious, playful
  • Weight: Males 5-6 kg (11 – 13 lbs), females 4-5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Coat: Short to medium
  • Grooming: Weekly
  • Cost: $1,500 – $2,500
  • Good with children? Yes
  • Also called: Wolf cat, Werewolf cat

About

The Lykoi is a unique breed with the look of a werewolf. Founded in Tennessee by Dr Johnny and Mrs Brittney Gobble, the Lykoi is the result of selective breeding of a number of domestic cats who were born with a mutation which made their fur unique.

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Low-Energy Breeds of Cat

British Shorthair

Laid-back cat breeds at a glance

  • Persian
  • Exotic
  • Scottish Fold
  • Russian Blue
  • Burmilla
  • Ragdoll
  • Birman
  • Selkirk Rex
  • British Shorthair

 

Persian

Persian cat

  • Origin: Persia (Iran)
  • Energy: Low to moderate
  • Temperament: Easygoing, quiet, gentle
  • Coat: Long
  • Colours: Every colour except pointed or shaded (see Himalayan and Chinchilla)
  • Care: Easy, a daily groom to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks.

Persians are sweet and gentle cats who are extremely affectionate and bond well with humans. They get along well with other pets and people but tend to avoid boisterous younger children.

Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold

  • Origin: Scotland
  • Energy: Low
  • Temperament: Intelligent, affectionate, sweet and loyal
  • Coat: Short
  • Colours: All colours and patterns
  • Care: Easy, a weekly brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

The most recognised feature of the Scottish Fold is the curled down ears, which gives it a beautiful round face. They are a quiet breed of cat, affectionate, intelligent, quiet, sweet and loyal. This is a breed who gets along well with people and other household animals and children.

Exotic

Exotic cat

  • Origin: United States
  • Energy: Low
  • Temperament: Easygoing, sweet, loyal, quiet
  • Coat: Short
  • Colours: All colours and patterns
  • Care: Easy, a weekly brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

The Exotic is essentially a shorthaired Persian. It shares many of the Persian traits such as a laid-back and gentle nature and a characteristic round face with a flat nose.

Exotics are sweet, affectionate, loyal, fun-loving and get along with people, including children and other pets. They are not as demanding or obtrusive as other breeds of cat but it is said they do like to follow their human companions around the house.

Russian Blue

Russian Blue

  • Origin: Russia
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Loyal, easygoing, gentle
  • Coat: Short
  • Colours: Blue
  • Care: Easy, a weekly brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

The Russian Blue is an ancient breed of cat who form close bonds with their human family. They are sweet, devoted and inquisitive. The Russian loves to follow his or her human family from room to room.

Although there are no hypoallergenic cat breeds, the Russian Blue can be better tolerated because they produce less Fel d1 than other breeds of cat.

Ragdoll

Ragdoll cat

  • Origin: United States
  • Energy: Low to medium
  • Temperament: Loyal, easygoing, gentle
  • Coat: Semi-longhair
  • Colours: Seal, chocolate, blue, lilac, red (flame)
  • Care: Easy, a daily brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

Their laid-back personality makes the Ragdoll a great family pet. They are known to flop in their owner’s arms, however, despite what is said about the Ragdoll, they do feel pain just like any other cat.

Ragdolls thrive on companionship and are never far from their human companions. They are extremely loyal and almost dog-like in their nature. They get along extremely well with people, including children and other pets. It is not uncommon for Ragdolls to choose one favourite human in the family, although they will get along with everyone.

Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex

Image courtesy Nickolas Titkov, Flickr

  • Origin: United States
  • Energy: Low to medium
  • Temperament: Easygoing, sweet, loyal, quiet
  • Coat: Short
  • Colours: All colours and patterns
  • Care: Easy, a daily brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

The Selkirk Rex is a laid-back breed of cat, similar to that of their Persian and British ancestors. That doesn’t inhibit their playful nature, though. They do love a game but are not highly active like some other breeds can be.

The breed is known for its laid-back and placid personality. They are extremely sociable and thrive on human company. They make a great family pet due to their easy nature.

Birman

Birman

  • Origin: United States
  • Energy: Low
  • Temperament: Easygoing, sweet, loyal, quiet
  • Coat: Semi-longhair
  • Colours: Seal, blue, lilac, and chocolate as well as red, cream, tortie, in addition to these colours, the Birman also can come with tabby (lynx) points
  • Care: Easy, a daily brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

Birmans are a sweet-natured breed, words used to describe them include gentle, playful, even-tempered, affectionate, intelligent, quiet and faithful.

A quiet and laid back breed of cat, the Birman is not as in your face like some breeds of cat. They are an ideal companion for single people, families, and retirees and homes with children and other pets.

British Shorthair

British Shorthair

  • Origin: Great Britain
  • Energy: Low
  • Temperament: Easygoing, sweet, loyal, quiet
  • Coat: Short
  • Colours: All colours and patterns
  • Care: Easy, a weekly brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

Amiable, friendly and laid back describe the British Shorthair. As kittens, they are playful but adult British Shorthairs tend to be less active than other breeds. They are a fairly independent breed of cat and are happy to amuse themselves (often by snoozing). They are not a vocal cat.

Burmilla

Burmilla cat

Image courtesy Cawnenrose, Flickr

  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Energy: Moderate
  • Temperament: Easygoing, sweet, loyal, quiet
  • Coat: Short
  • Colours: The Burmilla comes in 5 colours of either shaded or tipped: Black, Blue, Brown, Chocolate, and Lilac.
  • Care: Easy, a weekly brush to remove loose hairs and clean the teeth daily. Trim the claws as necessary, usually every 4-6 weeks

A beautiful shaded or tipped cat with luminous green eyes. The breed came about by an accidental mating between a Chinchilla cat and a Burmese.

Burmilla cats have the best features of both the Burmese and the Chinchilla. Burmillas love to play but are not as energetic as some of the more active breeds. The Burmilla is an affectionate cat who enjoys being a part of the family.

Energetic Breeds of Cat

Devon Rex

Playful Cat Breeds at a Glance

  • Burmese
  • Abyssinian
  • Tonkinese
  • Singapura
  • Ragdoll
  • Egyptian Mau
  • Bengal
  • Devon Rex
  • Cornish Rex
  • Domestic shorthair or longhair

Related articles: Best cat breeds for children  Low energy cat breeds  Best indoor cat breeds

Devon Rex

Devon Rex
Devon Rex

Probably my top pick for playful cat breeds, the Devon Rex is friendly, outgoing, energetic and remains playful well into adulthood. This is a breed who loves to be on the go. Devon Rexes get along with everyone, people, pets and other cats. They are great with children.

Care: Easy

Cost: $800 – $1,200

Abyssinian

Abyssinian cat
Abyssinian cat

One of the oldest cat breeds, the Abyssinian is an intelligent, extrovert and energetic cat who thrives on human companionship. Dog-like in nature, they love to be a part of their human family. Affectionately called Aby’s, the Abyssinian loves to be up high and is always on the go.

Care: Easy

Cost: $800 – $1,600

Singapura

Singapura cat
Singapura cat

The smallest cat breed in the world, Singapuras are affectionate and playful cats well into adulthood. They get along well with other animals as well as children. The words sweet-natured fit the Singapura perfectly; they don’t have a mean bone in their body.

Singapuras are playful, loving and affectionate who love to be near their human family or even strangers who visit the home.

Care: Easy

Cost: $1,000 +

Burmese

Chocolate Burmese kitten

My favourite breed, the Burmese, truly is a great all-rounder who suits most households. Loving, playful, and very easy-going, Burmese cats make exceptional family pets. Some of the breeds in this article are very active, the Burmese are playful, without being over the top.

Care: Easy

Cost: $700 – $1200

Cornish Rex

Close up of Cornish Rex cat

The Cornish Rex is a curly-coated domestic breed of cat who came about as a spontaneous mutation in Cornwall, England. The short, curly coat is similar to that of the Devon Rex, however, the gene responsible for the unusual coat is different in each breed.

Cornish Rex cats are quiet but friendly, outgoing, and very active, they love to be up high. They get along well with children and other pets. Cornish Rex cats love attention and companionship.

Care: Easy

Cost: $1,000 plus

Sphynx

Sphynx cat

The Sphynx is an extremely outgoing, friendly and loving breed of cat. They love to climb and be up high and are always on the go. Part cat, part dog, part monkey is used to describe the Sphynx.

Sphynx cats appear to be bald, apart from the whiskers, but the skin has a fine peach-fuzz.

Care: Sphynx cats produce more ear wax than other cats due to the lack of hair, which requires regular cleaning. They can be prone to oiliness need a regular bath.

Cost: $1,000 to $2,000

Egyptian Mau

Reasons to adopt an adult cat

The Egyptian Mau is believed to have descended from the African Wildcat who were originally trained to hunt prey, such as birds and fish, and return the bounty to their humans.

They are intelligent, playful, lively, active and outgoing, thriving on attention. They are extremely athletic and love to climb. Egyptian Maus bond deeply with their human family, and get along well with other pets and children.

Egyptian Maus are a talkative cat, and one unusual trait is they are fond of wagging their tail when happy.

Care: Easy

Price: $1,000 +

Ragdoll

Ragdoll cat

The Ragdoll is one of the largest domestic cat breeds, with males weighing in between 6-7 kg. The breed was founded by Jan Baker of the United States in the 1960s and remains one of the most popular breeds today.

Ragdolls are a laid back breed of cat but don’t let that fool you; they are also playful although not quite as turbo-charged as some of the other breeds on this list. They will greet you at the door and follow you around the house. Once you settle down for the night, they love to sit on your lap with you.

Ragdolls make an exceptional family pet, getting along well with children and other household pets.

Bengal

Bengal cat

The Bengal is a wild-looking cat with the sweet nature of a domestic cat. Bengals were created by crossing the Asian Leopard cat with domestic cats to create a wild looking cat with the sweet nature of a domestic.

Bengals are intelligent, active, inquisitive and energetic cats. Due to their Asian Leopard Cat ancestry, many Bengals have a love of water and will drink from and play with the water from a dripping tap.

These cats love to play, well into adulthood. Fetch, stalking and pouncing on a wand toy, chasing toy mice are some of their favourite games. Their intelligence means they pick up new tricks quickly.

This is a high-energy breed who is constantly on the go. They can also be very vocal and have a distinctive meow.

Care: Easy

Cost: $1,000 – $2,000

Tonkinese

Tonkinese cat

The Tonkinese is a hybrid between the Siamese and Burmese and has the best of both breeds. Confident, playful and very very curious best describe the Tonkinese. We adopted two last year, and they slotted straight into our busy household of 2 dogs and two cats. They will talk to their human family, but not as much as the Siamese, they have the laid back, but the playful personality of the Burmese.

Care: Easy

Cost: $800 $1,200

Domestic Shorthair or Longhair

Domestic shorthair

Not a pure breed but one to consider is the domestic or mixed breed. Pros are they are easy to find, cost much less and you are giving a shelter cat a home. Domestic cats can have long or shorthair, and no two are the same. If you are looking for a playful and friendly cat, consider a domestic. Shelter workers and volunteers spend a lot of time around cats in their care and get to know their personality. So whatever you are looking for in a cat, let them know, and they will be able to show you the most suitable cats.

Care: Cats with long coats will need to be brushed for 5 minutes a day to avoid the coat matting

Cost: $200+

Choosing a playful cat breed

If you are looking to adopt a cat and want one that is playful, I recommend you research the cat breeds before you make a decision. The best way is to visit cat shows, meet the cats and talk to the breeders. Most are more than happy to show off their cats and give you advice.

Don’t rush into a decision, take your time, and meet as many cats as possible. Some breeds are more work than others. Many of the active, playful breeds don’t do well on their own, so if you are out for long periods during the day, we recommend two cats, so they have company.

Plenty of interactive toys, as well as scheduled play sessions, are a must. These breeds thrive on interaction and love to play.