We look at ten of the most family friendly breeds of cat from active and playful to laid back and loving.
Activity level: Moderate
The Labrador of the cat family, as one member described the Burmese and suits them perfectly. If I had to name one breed of cat above any other that is the perfect family pet, it would be the Burmese.
The Burmese is a playful breed of cat, but not overly energetic. They get along well with children and other pets. They are relatively quiet but talk occasionally. I have found the Burmese doesn’t play favourites, any lap will do.
Devon RexCoat: Rex/very short
Activity level: High
The Devon Rex is an active, intelligent, extremely friendly, in your face breed of cat. If you want a cat on the go, then the Devon Rex will suit you. That is not to say they don’t love a snuggle on your lap, though, I don’t know if my theory is true, but they do seem to be heat-seeking cats and I wonder if that is because of their thinner coats? They love to be up high, and will often jump up on and ride on their human’s shoulders. They get along with children and other pets.
Activity level: Low to moderate
The Ragdoll is a beautiful long-haired breed of cat that is known for his laid-back nature. It is said that they “flop like a rag doll” when they are picked up, hence the name. They are quiet, intelligent, calm, relaxed, they thrive on human companionship and are never far away from their human family.
Activity level: Moderate
Another lovely longhaired breed is the Birman. A sweet natured, loyal, intelligent, and loving cat. They remain playful well into adulthood. They can sometimes form a bond with one particular family member, but get along with everyone.
Activity level: Moderate to high
The Tonkinese is a hybrid between the Burmese and the Siamese and as such, have inherited the best of both breeds. They are laid back, extremely intelligent, active, playful, and get on well with all members of the family.
Activity level: High
The smallest breed of domestic cat, the Singapura is a wide-eyed, gentle, cat who gets along well with children and other pets. They are quite energetic right up to middle age when they slow down a little. They will talk to you, but are not overly noisy, love to sit on your lap, or play a game. We have a Singapura and even people who are self-proclaimed “cat haters” have been won over by our Singapura boy.
A relatively rare breed (in Australia at least), the Snowshoe is a gentle and affectionate breed of cat. It has been said that their personality is somewhere between that of the American Shorthair and the Siamese.
Moggy: Coat: Short or long hair
Activity level: Varies
Moggies (domestic short or longhairs) come in all shapes and sizes. Some are family friendly, some not so. The best place to obtain a domestic is from an animal shelter. The workers there will know the personality of the cats and kittens there and will be able to show you cats they think will suit your family’s needs.
Abyssinian/Somali Coat: Shorthair (Abyssinian), longhair (Somali)
Abyssinian and their long-haired cousins the Somali are extremely intelligent, active, playful, and inquisitive cat. They love nothing more than being up high, riding on your shoulder. They make a great family pet for children and get along well with other animals.
Choosing a cat:
We can make generalisations about the different breeds of cat, but ultimately, they all have their own individual personality.
The age of your children should also be taken into consideration. While some cats may be child-friendly, they are less tolerant to the noise and commotion of younger pre-schoolers than other breeds.
When selecting a cat or kitten from a breeder, I like to find one who raises their cats indoors and around children, so they are already used to being around a family with kids. If your children are younger, I would recommend a slightly older kitten. While children mean well, the younger ones can sometimes be a little rough when handling kittens, so I would certainly recommend one who is around 16 weeks of age and a little less fragile.
Even though the breeds fit a general profile, they are individual and when selecting a kitten, visit your breeder and ask to see the cats she has for sale. Some will be a little more outgoing than others. Sit and observe. See who comes up to you and who sits back. I have often said that I think cats choose their humans and not the other way around.
It is your choice to let your cat sleep with you and/or your children but babies and young children (under the age of 4 or 5) should not sleep with a cat.
Young children should not be allowed to carry a cat around, if they want to hold their cat, it should be done while sitting down.
How much will a cat cost?
Purebred cats are usually around the $800 mark, that generally includes microchipping, desexing, worming and vaccinations.
Domestic cats are approximately $200, which should also include microchipping, desexing, worming and vaccinations.
What age can I bring a kitten home?
A kitten should stay with mum until he is at least 12 weeks of age. Yes, young kittens are very cute, but they learn manners and social skills from their mother and siblings and if they are removed at too young an age, can develop behavioural problems which can last a lifetime. So definitely wait until the 12-week mark, it is worth it to adopt a well-adjusted kitten.