The 20 Best Cat Breeds for Families

Today we’ve decided to focus on family and as such we’ve compiled a list of our picks for the twenty top cat breeds for families, listed in alphabetical order. There are some wonderful breeds, but each for different reasons. Just like families, cat breeds are as individualistic as can be. But these are amazing cats which have very much to offer the families that will love them.


This breed is thought to have originated near to the Egyptian coast. The modern Abyssinian has its roots in Great Britain. They are prized for their unique fur coats, which have single hairs displaying alternating bands of light and dark pigmentation. Their popularity comes from their extroverted, intelligent, willful and playful personalities. They become attached to their owners which rivals that of dogs. For this reason, they can feel depressed if their owners do not spent time with them and share human contact. They are very dependent on the human relationships they share. They tend to play with their owners, and show a unique combination of curiosity and intelligence. They are active, with quiet voices. They are outgoing, with calm natures. They are very affectionate to their people and need to have a lot of affection in return. They do best in families which have plenty of time to share with them.

American Shorthair

Some breeders say that everything about the American Shorthair Cat is happy. They are known to have quiet voices and sociable temperaments. They can adapt to new circumstances easily. They are easily trained and get along well with children and other pets. For this reason, they make nice family pets. They will need toys to play with that help them to explore their natural instincts for hunting prey. They are not fond of being picked up, but they will choose a time to cuddle in a lap/ They are active, healthy and strong. Since they were originally bred to be working cats, they are not weak. It is thought that some of their original descendants sailed to America from England on the Mayflower in 1620. They are sturdy, intelligent cats who enjoy watching birds, and viewing activities from a nice window location where they can perch themselves to get the best views. They will be calm and play the best when given plenty of play toys.


The beautiful, long-haired Balinese are originated from Siamese. They are considered the purebred long-haired Siamese. They are intelligent, inquisitive, social and playful. They will have intense interest in activity near them, and vocalize persistently, and often. They adore spending time with their owners and being near them. They meow, cry, and vocalize often because they enjoy communicating with humans the most of any activity. They get along with other animals and people very well. They do very well with children, but the youngest children should be supervised so they don’t harm the friendly Balinese cats. They adore chasing balls and need to have areas to climb, jump and explore. They do well indoors, but care must be taken to remove valuable objects where the Balinese will have access. 


This domestic breed cat was specifically developed to look like big jungle cats. It has a coat which is vividly marked with high contrast patterns similar to leopards, margays and ocelots. It is the product of selective breeding with Asian leopard cat hybrids. These cats look wild due to their larger rosette spots and stripes. They enjoy water, need lots of attention, like to play, and can jump more than four feet off the ground. Breeders recommend that Bengals be four generations removed from the original leopard cat before being owned by the typical pet lover. Bengal’s love walking on a leash, and is constantly moving toward higher ground. Bengals love jumping, playing fetch, and do best with access to an outdoor enclosure. Bengals are happiest when playing in the water, and needs one family member who will spend the most time interacting and playing with them. Having an aquarium with a Bengal is not recommended.


The Birman breed takes its name from the French word for Burma. The name is a derived from Birmanie. The breed was thought to be the companions of northern Burma temple priests from the Mount of Lugh. There are many stories about how the very first cats arrived in France, but there is no certain historical record to trace their journey. The breed was almost lost during World War II, when only two cats were left alive. These two cats produced the offspring which would revive the breed. Birmans of today are considered to be gentle, magical and enchanting. They can trace their modern lineage to France, England, Australia and Germany. Each country which bred Birmans are said to have added distinct character traits to the breed. It is described as dramatic, loving, reserved, patient, adventurous, with a touch of ingenuity and inscrutability added in. Birmans resemble Persian and Siamese cats, but with pure white paws. Their even-temperament and tolerant nature make them perfect for families with children. They also get along well with other family pets. They love helping their humans do chores. They will stick by their humans always.


The Bombay cat is the result of breeding American Shorthair cats with Burmese. The goal was to produce a Burmese style cat with a black coat like a panther. Louisville, Kentucky breeder, Nikki Horner, began breeding for this miniature black panther type cat in 1958. Because Bombay cats desire attention, and attach themselves to their families, they are considered excellent choices for children. Most of these cats are not independent in nature. They prefer to be with people, and really are not fond of being along for long periods. They seek attention because they are intelligent and enjoy playing. They require little grooming, do well with other cats, and tend to cry and meow more than other cat breeds. Their loud purr is distinctive, and they may very well use it immediately as they sit down next to their family members. They are not aloof, and will need families who understand that they will bond to everyone; not just one favorite family member. 

British Shorthair

These cats have similar temperaments to the Brits who gave them their names. They are known to be even-tempered, reserved, undemanding, and quiet, in a very British sort of way. But, once they decide who they will own, they are highly faithful and extremely loyal to all their family members. They are sweet and affectionate without becoming clingy. They can be left on their own and will adapt to it well, learning to be independent when necessary. Their fur feels like thick velvet when given the opportunity for a good cuddle. They are rugged cats, with large bodies, round races, gentle natures, and the feel and look of teddy bears. They do very well with children and other family pets. British Shorthairs are thought to have come to Britain with the Romans who invaded the country during ancient times. They are most often solid blue-grey in color with copper colored eyes and sturdy round paws.


Many Burmese owners believe that the glossy coat and beautiful gold eyes of the Burmese are the first things potential owners come to love about the breed. But most also admit that it is the way Burmese love their families that makes them indispensable family members. They consider Burmese cats to the ultimate in companions and the most affectionate of all the breeds. The reasons are many. These cats crave physical contact with their family members. Some have dubbed them with the title “Velcro cats” because of their tendency to stay as close to their humans as possible. They enjoy cuddling, sleeping under bedcovers, curling up on empty laps, and following people through the house. They love to play and enjoy entertaining their family members. They’ve been known to check out their owners to be certain they are watching their craziness. They can also be extremely stubborn. They are certain to use their athletic, musical bodies to find something fun to do, and then curl their satiny coat right next to their human for comfort.

Cornish Rex

This breed is one of the more active ones. They are inquisitive, playful, outgoing and extremely determined. They are highly sociable and think its fun to play games. They are impossible to ignore because they want to be a part of everything. Owners report that a Rex will steal food from their favorite human’s dinner plate. They climb very well, sprint and leap and adore using their dexterity to paw their way to the tops of shelves and furniture. They make fairly good choices for allergic humans because their fur is short, they shed less than other cats, and they are easy to bathe, which reduces the allergens which are typically spread with cats who shed more or don’t bathe. For as much as they love chasing toys and active play, they are very happy to find a warm lap to share in the wintertime.


This is a truly rare French breed of cat. One distinction of this pedigreed French cat is that each Chartreux cat is given an official name which encodes its birth year. All of them born in the same year will have official names which begin with the same letter. These are distinctly quiet and intelligent cats. They rarely cry or meow, and with some being mute. They are playful from their kitten stage into their adult years. Some have been found opening the latches on screen doors, or turning radio buttons on and off. They can fetch objects as well as dogs do. They enjoy traveling and are usually healthy cats. Though they are known to be loving toward all family members, they most often will choose a favorite person to follow around from place to place in the home. They will bond with that one special person and remain affectionate with their chosen one.

Exotic Shorthair

The Exotic Shorthair resulted from a secret crossing of Persians with the American Shorthair. During the 1950s a group of breeders created the breed, and it shares the Persian appearance and character, but has a dense and short coat. Families who like the fluffiness of a Persian but don’t have time to spend with grooming have enjoyed the Exotic Shorthair. Exotics are most often described as calm and easy going. Though they tend to prefer people more than other animals, they can get along with other pets. Their voices are soft, and they tend to be quiet. They are great lap cats, and will greet their owners upon arrival. They enjoy being petted, are loyal, affectionate, and like lounging on furniture and laps. They are easily amused with simple toys. They are not runners or jumpers, so furniture and household belongings tend to stay in place. They are best for families or singletons who enjoy relaxing with a cat who adores them. They often spend time finding cool spaces inside where they can cool themselves.


A Himalayan cat is a cross between a Persian and a Siamese. This breed gets its long hair and flatter face from its Persian ancestors and its blue eyes and color points on ears, mask, tail and paws from its Siamese ancestors. Himalayans tend to be good companions and very social. They are known to be sweet-natured and intelligent. Their activity levels are much like Siamese rather than the sedate Persian. Himalayans are wonderful for youngsters because they are so playful. They can play with kitty toys or even paper balls, and they adore playing fetch with these items. They enjoy being groomed, love being petted often, and are devoted to those who protect them and give them stable companionship. Because of their long, silky fur, they must be groomed daily. This includes brushing their coats and wiping their faces. For this reason, they should be indoor cats. They adore lounging on furniture, too, and usually next to their favorite people. 

Havana Brown

This breed was developed by breeding domestic black cats with Siamese. The program originated with an English group of cat fanciers whose goal was to create a brown cat. Havana Browns are short-haired with brown whiskers and green eyes. They are known to be intelligent, and they will use their paws to communicate and inspect things. Because they are curious, they will use their paws to pat their owners to get attention. They are playful, and some like to ride on their owner’s shoulders. They enjoy being lap cats just as much as they enjoy sitting next to their companions. Almost all Havana Browns love to play with their owner’s hair. They do not like being left alone for long periods of time. They travel easily, and almost always choose to become involved in the activities their humans are doing. They can become great friends with the family dog. Their versatility in all things makes them wonderful family members.

Maine Coon

Maine Coon cats are large and loveable, with tufted ears, big paws and lots of striped fur. The popular breed is the official cat of the state of Maine. They are often called the dogs of the cat world, because they are intelligent and easy to train. They are loyal to their own people, but remain independent. They are best for playing with their families, and can snuggle down on a lap when they choose. They enjoy yowling and vocalizing and can be the family clowns. When they play, they can be goofy. They have been known to greet their family members when they leave the house in the morning and when they return home. They like to chirp to announce arrivals and departures. They can adapt to living in apartments, and they will love a single owner as easily as an entire family of children.


Manx cats are famous around the world for being the cats without a tail. They originate from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, and their missing tails results from a genetic mutation. They have round rumps, long back legs, and short, stubby tails. Because tail lengths vary in Manx cats, and it is possible for some to be born with full-length tails, they are classified based on their tail lengths. The classifications are adorable. “Rumpy” felines have no tails. “Stumpy” felines have curved, kinked or knotted tail stumps. “Longy” felines have the longer, almost full-length tails. Manx are friendly, gentle and playful. They enjoy being with humans and will have conversations with their favorite ones. Their voices are described as “sweet and trilling”. Though they often love just one human, they also will love an entire family. They like to carry their toys around and play fetch, and this makes them favorites with younger children.

Norwegian Forest Cat

These are large cats with plenty of semi-long hair. Their coats are double; insulated with long, coarse guard hairs over their thick and dense undercoats. They have tufted paws and a bushy tail. But, even with all their fur, they only need to be combed once a week. They come from Norway, where they are called “Skogkatt”. Because they like to stay at home, they like to be near their families. However, they are famous for interacting with their favorite humans when they decide they want attention. They are perfect for busier families because they can do well on their own. But, they must know that their humans will spend time with them on a regular basis. They do like being nearby, but they are happiest when they can spend time on their cat tree, scratching post, bed, chair or desk. They are social and intelligent, and they can easily adjust to change. They tend to play for a while and then take long naps.


One of the most beautiful of all the long-haired cat breeds, the Persian is famous for its soft, long, and silky fur coat. Persians make wonderful companions for families who want a cat that will like being petted often, and still be willing to play. Some think that Persians don’t enjoy activity, but breeders describe Persians as being less curious than other cat breeds. This explains why Persians can avoid activity for a very long time. They’re truly quite intelligent, but they choose to be docile and affectionate. This makes them perfect for families who have a lot of love to give and don’t mind the extra grooming which comes along with a Persian. Their coats and their noses need a lot of extra maintenance. Their hair will mat without daily grooming, and they have short muzzles which collect debris and dirt easily. Some owners trim their Persian’s fur strategically, to protect them from clean and free from matted fur. In exchange for all the attention, Persians remain very affectionate.

Ragdoll Cat


These floppy balls of fur are mild in temperament, sweet, and very laid back. They enjoy cuddling, and will relax into a lap very quickly. This behavior gave them their name, and it suits them well. Ragdolls are easily-trained, and can get along with all ages in a family. They also do well with other cats and dogs in a home. Their tendency to love affection makes them perfect for families who want to spend a lot of indoor time with them. They shine when getting used to new environments. Their easy-going nature makes them fun playmates for children, and their soft voices help them to fit in well with others. Because they like to fetch toys, children can play with them easily. They enjoy following people, and they enjoy being held. They are one of the largest breeds of cats. Males can weigh up to 20 pounds. Their sturdy bodies make them wonderful big lap cats.


This popular cat breed originated in Thailand. It’s distinctive markings, called “points” are famous around the world. Just seeing the dark brown fur of the ears, paws, tail and mask identifies Siamese immediately. What’s fascinating about the distinctive markings is that they are a kind of albino pattern. The colder parts of their bodies become darker because a heat-sensitive enzyme produces the darker areas. The parts of their bodies which remain warmer stay creamy white, even though they are born completely white. Siamese are also special because they are very social. Their voices often sound like human babies crying, and this endears them to their owners. It can also annoy some, but it is the way that Siamese communicate their desire to be with humans. They love to play, even when they grow up to become adult cats. This gives a lot of interactive companionship. Some think they behave more like dogs, because they often demand attention. They are also known to bond deeply to their owners and enjoy being with people.


Snowshoe cats are some of the most affectionate, and they really enjoy being with their families most of the time. When left alone, they can be quite lonely, and will often cry for their owners. Snowshoe cats are quite rare. They were originally bred from a Siamese cat who had a litter of three kittens with white feet. Though there have been Snowshoe cats for 45 years, breeders find it difficult to reproduce their characteristic markings. The unique gene combination which gives them the Siamese markings with white paws is difficult to control. Snowshoe cats are intelligent, can learn to do tricks such as opening doors, and they can also swim. This makes them very popular with active families. Since they are very social, love their owners, play well with children and pets, and are generally calm, they also do well with families who appreciate Snowshoes’ need for plenty of affection and time spent together with humans.

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