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Young child petting-a black cat

The essentials

  • Some cat breeds make better pets for kids than others — Though many breeds are fine with early socialization.
  • Different cats have different care needs — This is especially true for grooming and exercise.
  • You need to do a lot of research to find an ideal cat for a child’s pet — You can typically be more flexible when it comes to a family without young kids.

There’s already a long list of important considerations people need to go through when trying to find the perfect furry friend for the family.

But when it comes to the best cat breeds for kids, that list of considerations is even more substantial.

Much like with different dog breeds, some breeds of cats typically get along better with children than others, making them an excellent choice for families with little ones running around.

Whether you’re getting a cat for the whole family or for your kid to look after as their own, you’ll want to ensure you select one of the more child-friendly breeds to avoid unnecessary issues.

In this article, our experts from betterpet will explore ten of the best cat breeds for families with children. Keep reading to learn more about these amazing cats and help you decide which breed is right for your family.

Some important questions to consider before bringing home a cat 

Before you consider bringing a cat into your family, there are several important questions you’ll need to ask yourself — especially if you want to get the cat specifically for your child.

Young child playing with a cat outside

For example, if the cat is going to be your child’s pet, are they responsible enough to care for the cat themselves, or will the cat care duties fall to you?

Will they put in the time to play with the cat each day and give their feline friend the attention they need?

Many people get their children a pet without considering these important elements, which can lead to issues down the road.

Once you address these topics and can guarantee that getting a cat is the right idea, it’s time to locate the ideal breed of cat for your family. To start, you’ll need to consider personality characteristics, energy levels, grooming maintenance, and more.

The top 10 kid-friendly cat breeds

1. Abyssinian

Abyssinians are highly sociable cats thought to be a mix of Russian Blue, Siamese, and Burmese breeds.

Abyssinian cat sat on grass
  • Height — 8 to 10 inches tall
  • Weight — 8 to 12 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 9 to 15 years
  • Energy level — High

Breed overview

Like many of the cats included on this list, Abyssinian cats, or Abys, are a lovable breed that makes an ideal companion for kids.

That said, some Abys may have a preference for older children, as they’ll steer clear of rambunctious toddlers or babies that don’t know how to be gentle yet.

This breed typically sports an outgoing, friendly personality and a serious love for attention, which is a big part of why they’re so great with children.

Kids also love Abyssinians because the breed keeps a lot of its adorable, kitten-like qualities into adulthood.

On top of all that, Abyssinians are one of the most intelligent cat breeds, making them easy to train.

2. American Shorthair

If you want a kid-friendly cat breed that’ll also help keep your home free of pesky bugs and mice, an American shorthair may be ideal.

  • Height — 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight — 10 to 15 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 15 to 20 years
  • Energy level — Moderate

Breed overview

American Shorthairs are hardworking cats that are also gentle companions and playmates for children, making them ideal starter cats for families. There’s nothing these little cats love more than cozying up into someone’s arms for a snuggle.

These cats aren’t quite as active as some of the other cats on this list. However, they’re still playful little bundles of fluff that’ll jump at the opportunity to chase a toy with their favorite humans.

Overall, the breed is very easygoing and typically displays plenty of affection for kids. These qualities, along with low grooming needs, make it a great choice for a child’s first pet.

3. Birman

If your ideal cat is a laid back breed that’s happy to join your kiddos for naptime, then you might want to consider a Birman.

Birman cat walking on grass
  • Height — 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight — 6 to 12 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 9 to 13 years
  • Energy level — Low to moderate

Breed overview

Originally known as the sacred cats of Burma, this breed makes wonderful family cats due to their ability to get along with anyone of any age, even rambunctious kids.

These fluffy felines are known for their soft fur that’s perfect for snuggles, along with their mild temperament and social nature. Birman cats need plenty of attention to be happy, and they use their sweet, loving nature to get it with ease.

While these cats do need some daily playtime to stay healthy, they don’t have as much energy as other breeds and are often happy to sleep on someone’s lap all day.

Said lap naps will also give you plenty of time to take care of their daily grooming, which Birmans need to keep mats and tangles from building up in their fur.

4. Burmese

If you struggle to choose between a family dog or a family cat, why not go with a Burmese cat to enjoy a bit of both?

  • Height — 10 to 12 inches
  • Weight — 6 to 14 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 16 to 18 years
  • Energy level — High

Breed overview

Many Burmese owners describe these cats as having dog-like personalities, which makes them playful yet easygoing companions. Some even enjoy games of fetch and are more fascinated by water than scared of it.

These canine-like characteristics — along with the breed’s high energy level and active nature — are key reasons Burmese cats are a good choice for kids, especially ones already used to dogs.

While most Burmese cats live to around 18 years old, on average, some can live as long as 25 years, making them ideal for families who want a cat their child can grow up with.

While we list their energy levels as high, potential Burmese owners should know that they can develop a lazy temperament with age. So you’ll need to ensure your kids play with them regularly to help keep them fit and active.

5. Himalayan

As the cross between a Persian and a Siamese, Himalayan cats are the perfect choice for families who want the best that both breeds have to offer.

  • Height — 10 to 12 inches
  • Weight — 7 to 14 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 9 to 15 years
  • Energy level — Low

Breed overview

Also known as colorpoint Persians or Himmies, these furry felines boast a luxurious coat that’s perfect for cuddling during their regular catnaps.

While they’re very sweet and loving, they’re generally better for families with older, less rambunctious children due to their low energy levels and overall docile nature.

With that in mind, you’ll want to ensure your kid does try to play with them every day since prolonged inactivity can cause Himalayan cats to put on some extra pounds, leading to eventual weight problems.

You should also keep in mind that Himmies are another breed that requires regular grooming. So bringing one home will require daily kitty coat maintenance in your schedule.

6. Maine Coon

Maine coons are the gentle giants of cat breeds and make excellent pets for households with kids due to their hardiness and lovable personalities. Did we mention they’re also the biggest cat breed?

Maine coon cat staring at camera
  • Height — 6 to 16 inches
  • Weight — 8 to 20 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 13 to 14 years
  • Energy level — Moderate to high

Breed overview

This popular cat breed is one of the oldest in North America and likely descends from the Norwegian Forest cats. These cats are known for a lot of things, including their affection and intelligence.

But more than anything else, Main Coons are known for their impressive size. While they’re a relatively tall breed of cat, they can get up to 40 inches long in some cases.

Aside from their loving temperament, Main Coons make great cats for kids because of their strength, hardiness, and high energy levels, which make them eager to play with their favorite humans.

That said, anyone who considers bringing one of these cats home should know they also come with some hefty grooming requirements.

7. Manx

If you want a great cat for your kid that won’t have to worry about getting its tail pulled, consider adopting a Manx.

  • Height — 7 to 11 inches
  • Weight — 8 to 12 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 9 to 15 years
  • Energy level — Moderate to high

Breed overview

Out of all the great feline companions on our list, the Manx is one of the most visually noteworthy due to its cute, tailless body.

As a breed, Manx are loyal and intelligent. They also love spending time with children and other pets for extended naps and play sessions. Their outgoing nature and inclination for playtime also make it easy for them to bond with active kids.

That said, it’s important for future pet owners to keep in mind that Manx cats have a double coat that sheds a bit more than some of the other cats on this list. As such, they need more frequent grooming, especially if they’re a long-haired Manx variant.

8. Persian

Persian cats are nothing if not sweet-tempered and loving, which is why they rank among the top friendliest cat breeds.

Gray Persian cat at christmas
  • Height — 10 to 15 inches
  • Weight — 7 to 12 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 12 to 17 years
  • Energy level — Low to moderate

Breed overview

Many Persian enthusiasts claim that the breed is the perfect companion for any cat lover or family, especially those with kids or other pets.

Considering these cats are also patient, even for more boisterous children, this claim is more than reasonable.

As their name suggests, these beautiful cats were initially from Persia and arrived in Europe in the 1600s, where they became a pet sensation.

These cats are incredibly calm and crave attention in the form of regular cuddles, making them the definition of an ideal lap cat.

All that said, prospective Persian owners should know that this breed requires a lot of regular grooming due to their long coats and frequent shedding.

9. Ragdoll

Yet another cat breed known for its dog-like personality, Ragdolls are a great choice for kids thanks to their calm nature and adaptability.

Ragdoll cat outdoors
  • Height — 9 to 11 inches
  • Weight — 10 to 20 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 13 to 18 years
  • Energy level — Moderate

Breed overview

Whether you’re looking for a family cat or a cat specifically for your child to take on as their first pet, Ragdolls are an excellent option to consider.

Their sweet personalities make them a highly popular breed for households with children, along with their highly playful nature and love for regular snuggles.

Despite their playfulness, they’re not overly active or attention hungry. However, they’ll happily go limp in the arms of anyone holding them, much like their namesake.

That said, they love to be the center of attention and are highly sociable, so it’s important to make sure you don’t leave them alone for too long.

10. Siamese

Siamese cats are a very popular choice for kids because of their playfulness and love of attention, which makes them excellent furry friends for your children.

  • Height — 8 to 10 inches tall
  • Weight — 5 to 8 pounds
  • Life expectancy — 12 to 15 years
  • Energy level — High

Breed overview

Currently one of the most popular cat breeds in the world, it’s easy to see why these fluffy balls of love are great for kids and families.

This ancient breed from the heart of Thailand (formerly Siam) is known for its high intelligence. People also love the breed’s low grooming requirements due to its short coat that doesn’t shed much.

That said, they are a bit high maintenance in their need for attention, and they’ll happily vocalize to get it.

If you want a cat with a Siamese temperament but a more cuddly coat, you can also consider Balinese cats. They’re basically a smaller, fluffier version of their short-haired cousins.

Choosing the ideal cat breed for your kids

Finding the ideal cat breed for your family’s unique needs and lifestyle can be challenging, especially if you have a small child. And choosing the ideal cat to become your kiddo’s first pet is even trickier.

Thankfully, you have a wide range of amazing breeds to choose from and quality resources like the ones we offer at betterpet to make things easier.

Be sure to explore our collection of other great posts for responsible cat owners, covering a range of essential nutrition and health information. Also, consider signing up for our email newsletter to stay updated on all our newest content!