Cats can be perfect apartment pets. 45.3 million people in the U.S. own a cat, and it’s safe to assume that many of them reside in small living spaces — including apartments.
While not all cats are suitable for apartment living, some breeds are content without a large space or a backyard.
We’ve researched some of the most popular cat breeds to determine the best options for a dwelling with a small footprint. We looked at a few factors, including temperament and energy level, grooming needs, and size.
So, what are the best cat breeds for apartments? You’ll find some of our favorites in this article, and we’ll give you a few important things to consider before committing to a new furry friend.
Considerations before introducing a cat into your apartment
Live in an apartment setting? Before you get a cat, there are a few things to consider.
Are you renting? If you want to rent with a pet, it’s not always a straightforward process. Be sure you check your complex’s pet policies and make your leasing office aware that you plan to bring a new animal home.
Do you share the apartment space? Make sure all roommates are on board with having a pet. Do they have allergies? Do they have other animals already?
Consider potential damage to your belongings and property. It’s no secret that cats like to scratch. If they don’t have a dedicated place to flex their claws, your furniture may be a target. Think about whether there is room for a cat scratching post or if there’s another solution.
Don’t forget about a litter box. Do you have somewhere to set up a litter box, and are you prepared to change it regularly?
Think about your schedule. If you’re away for long hours or like to travel, what will you do with your kitty while you’re gone? All cats have needs, but these can vary between breeds. For example, some are independent and can entertain themselves, while others are more social and enjoy having others at home with them.
What are the best cat breeds for apartments?
We’ve researched different cat breeds to find out which furry felines are most suited to apartment life.
We’ve read feedback from owners, visited reputable websites such as the CFA (Cat Fancier’s Association), and learned about the most popular varieties. We’ve narrowed down the list to ten breeds that are content living in a small space.
👉 Note: While this article talks about specific breeds, mixed breeds and rescues can also make fantastic pets. The way they act in an apartment setting can largely depend on their upbringing and personality.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best cat breeds for apartments.
Ragdoll cats have been around since the 1960s and originated in the United States. This breed is known for having a soft coat and a fluffy mane — this means you’ll have some regular brushing to do to keep their fur clean and mat-free. If purebred, they’ll also have distinctive blue eyes.
They’re fairly large-sized, weighing between 10 and 20 pounds, and range from 9–11 inches tall.
This beautiful breed comes with a sweet disposition and an affectionate personality. They’re docile and quiet, making them ideal for an apartment. However, these feline friends can have bursts of energy, so make sure they have toys to play with.
Ragdolls are content to be left alone for short periods but prefer to be around people.
Persian cats have a long history. They are originally from the Middle East and were introduced to Europe during the 1660s. The first Persian cat finally arrived in the U.S. in 1875 and became one of the first registered breeds in the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1906.
They are a medium breed with a flat face and button nose. Persians weigh between 7 and 12 pounds, are 10–15 inches tall, and typically live for 12–15 years.
Persians are generally sweet, quiet, and calm. They love their family (even kiddos) and will enjoy sitting on your lap. These cats are also content to be left alone during the day and can thrive as indoor pets.
It’s important to note that they come with a demanding coat that can become matted if not brushed and washed regularly. Persians do tend to molt, so you may find clumps of cat fur around your apartment. Thanks to their brachycephalic face shape (a.k.a. the smooshed face), they tend to have a lot of tear production around their eyes. Be sure to regularly wipe their eyes to prevent excessive buildup and potential eye problems.
As the name suggests, the British shorthair breed originated in Great Britain and is one of the oldest breeds in the country. This cat was introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s. It wasn’t registered as a breed in the FCA, however, until 1980.
British shorthairs are typical average-sized cats, weighing between 7 and 17 pounds and standing around 12–14 inches tall.
They have short, sleek coats that are traditionally gray-blue in appearance. These days, the colors can vary. Modern British shorthair varieties can also include tortoiseshell, bicolor, and calico.
This is another affectionate breed. These cats usually have friendly personalities but don’t need constant attention. They’re perfect for indoor living and will be happy in your apartment.
Despite their relaxed nature, British shorthairs thrive with some play time each day. Having ample toys or a cat tree are great ways to keep them entertained.
While they have dense fur, their single-layered coat (no undercoat) should keep grooming minimal aside from occasional brushing to help with shedding.
Scottish Folds were discovered in 1961 in — you guessed it — Scotland. It all started with a cat with a gene mutation that causes folded ears.
Breeding these cats is controversial, as the gene can cause other health conditions such as bone and cartilage abnormalities. Besides their trademark ears, Scottish Folds are also known for their round heads and eyes.
They weigh between 6 and 13 pounds and can be between 8 and 10 inches tall, making them on the smaller side compared to other breeds. This is helpful when you’re living in an already cramped living space.
Scottish Folds have an interactive nature and need toys that provide mental stimulation. And if you need to leave them alone during the day, they’ll appreciate another pet to keep them company.
Scottish Folds have a dense coat and are known to shed frequently, but regular brushing will help you keep on top of it.
The Devon Rex breed comes from England where it originated in the 1950s. These cats have a distinctive appearance with large pointed ears and big eyes with slender bodies. They’re affectionately compared to aliens or elves.
This petite breed only weighs between 6 and 9 pounds and averages around 10–12 inches tall. Their small package makes them great for tight living spaces like an apartment.
The Devon Rex is an active breed that loves lots of attention. They’re social creatures and will want to be in the same room as you. While they can be left alone for a few hours, make sure they have plenty of stimulation to keep them busy while you’re away. Scratching posts and interactive toys are great options for higher-energy breeds like this.
They have fine, short hair that requires minimal grooming. If you do brush your Devon Rex, make sure you use a soft brush or a damp rag to avoid damaging their sensitive skin.
The American shorthair is an American breed with European origins. It’s believed they arrived in the country with settlers in the 1600s known simply as the ‘domestic shorthair’ and evolved over time. It became the American shorthair in 1966.
These strong cats have wide-set eyes, round heads, and dense coats. American shorthairs come in a wide range of colors and patterns, though they’re commonly known for the stark tabby coloring seen above.
They can weigh between 8 and 15 pounds, with a height of 8 to 10 inches — in other words, they’re an average medium-sized breed.
American shorthairs like being around people. They’re happy living with singles, couples, or families and are typically gentle and docile. These cats often spend their days lounging and sleeping, making them very suitable for an apartment.
Like any cat, you should make sure they have stimulating toys available and somewhere to scratch so they aren’t tempted by your furniture. It’s an otherwise low-maintenance breed with regular brushing.
The Sphynx cat originally comes from Canada. While there have been hairless cats (and other animals, including humans), seen around the world for ages, most of the modern breed descends from a litter of hairless kittens born in 1966. The condition is due to a mutated gene, and these cats have been bred ever since.
The Sphynx is also known as the “bald cat.” While they may look entirely furless, these cats actually have a thin layer of peach fuzz covering their pink, wrinkly bodies. Unsurprisingly, they do tend to get cold more easily than other breeds, so having cat clothing or ample blankets will be necessary to keep them warm.
Known to be on the small side, they weigh between 6 and 10 pounds and stand around 8–10 inches tall.
Sphynx cats are loving and affectionate, typically needing ways to expel their energy and have some fun. You can leave them alone while you’re at work, but they’ll fret if you’re away for too long. They do best with knowledgable cat owners who are around more often.
While you won’t need to brush a Sphynx, they’ll need regular baths. You can also use a soft, damp cloth to refresh their skin.
Siamese cats originated in Thailand, which was formerly called Siam — hence their name. These fancy felines were first introduced to the U.S. in the 1870s.
They’re long and lean and usually have a light coat with dark points on their face, legs, and tail. Siamese cats can weigh between 8 and 15 pounds and are around 8–10 inches tall.
Siamese cats are affectionate and loyal, and they tend to be pretty vocal. They’re very social and will be happy living in a home with another cat — especially if you’re at work all day.
Siamese cats can live happily in an apartment, but know ahead of time that they’re an energetic breed. You’ll want to make sure they have toys to play with and enough space to explore.
The Siamese cat is also known as one of the more hypoallergenic breeds. They’re low maintenance and will do most of the grooming themselves, making your job easy when it comes to brushing.
Choosing a cat for your apartment
If you live in an apartment, a cat can be the perfect companion. Keep in mind some breeds are more compatible with apartment living than others, but nearly any cat can make a fantastic pet regardless of their breeding.
When looking for a new kitty, also consider visiting shelters and rescues to find your perfect match. You never know what gem is waiting for you to adopt them!
No matter what breed you choose, we hope you enjoy your new four-legged roommate.