As a first-time cat owner, you might be nervous about whether you can meet all the needs and expectations that your new kitty will have. Not all cats are created equally when it comes to things like personality and grooming requirements. So, what if you end up adopting a cat that’s too loud or active for your lifestyle or one that needs more grooming than you’d like to commit to?
To avoid a situation like this, the best thing to do is choose a cat breed that is generally easy to care for and that has a forgiving temperament. We want to make the process of adopting a new cat easy on you, so we put together a list of the 16 best cat breeds for first-time owners. Here, you’re sure to find a cat — or two or three — that is right for you!
The 16 Cat Breeds that are Great For First Time Owners
1. Ragdoll Cat
The Ragdoll cat has long, luxurious hair that feels silky to the touch. They are quite docile, with a laidback temperament, making them easy for first-time owners to care for. They do like attention and love to cuddle, but they don’t get offended when their human family members are too busy to spend time with them, making them one of the most low-maintenance cat breeds out there. These cats do require brushing twice a week, but they’ll handle the rest of their grooming needs.
2. Devon Rex Cat
These cats have long and lanky bodies with coats of extremely short, curly hair that are so fragile, they should never be combed. These cats come in a variety of colors, including chocolate, platinum, and even blue. The Devon Rex is known for being boisterous and playful; however, they tend to respect boundaries that their human companions set, and they don’t mind spending the day at home alone when everyone is out working, going to school, or having a good time.
3. Cornish Rex Cat
These cats are fun for kids because they tend to stay playful in adulthood. They love playing with toys, yet they are happy to purr in a family member’s lap at the end of a long day. The Cornish Rex also gets along well with other animals — including dogs — that live in the same household they do.
4. Maine Coon Cat
As one of the largest cats breeds in existence, the Maine Coon is tough enough to handle young children who don’t have experience with cats. These are affectionate cats that love to be petted, which is a good thing, since they should be brushed regularly to keep their coat soft and supple. Sometimes referred to as gentle giants, Maine Coons can easily learn tricks and understand household routines.
5. British Shorthair
These beautiful cats have thick, strong-looking bodies, round heads, and soft greyish-blue fur. Their laidback personality and low energy levels make them great companion options for first-time cat owners. The British Shorthair likes to eat, so they should be fed two or three meals throughout the day, as opposed to being given a big bowl to eat at their leisure.
Siamese cats love to talk and spend time with their family members, so they are best for households where someone is usually around. However, they are fun-loving, patient, and intelligent, which makes them a joy to care for. They can also quickly adapt to changing situations, so they typically understand when it’s okay to be a party animal and when it’s time to settle down.
7. Oriental Shorthair
These agile cats have large ears and crystal-clear eyes that seem to tell a story. They are stoic, easy-going, and independent. While they don’t mind having company over, they’d prefer to stow away under a bed or on a couch while everyone visits. They prefer a quiet household that doesn’t experience much excitement throughout the day.
8. American Shorthair
As their name suggests, the American Shorthair has a short, smooth coat of hair that is hard to resist petting. Their playful personality and friendliness toward other animals make them the perfect choice for multi-pet households and families with kids of all ages. They require little grooming, meaning they are relatively low-maintenance cats, and they don’t usually stray too far away from their home base while spending time outdoors.
This cat breed may look exotic, but the Bengal is a domesticated cat that was developed by breeding different hybrids together. They’re excitable, curious, smart, and loving, and they generally display a well-balanced attitude that can fit in with a variety of different household circumstances.
First-time cat owners who suffer from allergies should consider adopting this hairless cat breed. They don’t shed, they don’t need to be brushed or combed, and owners don’t typically have to worry so much about flea infestations. Sphynx cats should be bathed at least once a week. Since they do not have fur, they need additional protection from the sun and cold weather. The Sphynx loves heights and will try climbing on tables and bookshelves unless they’re taught not to. They also happen to be easygoing cats that like to nap in laps and do tricks for treats.
11. Exotic Shorthair
This cat breed looks much like Persian cats, but with short hair and striped markings. Their calm personality makes them seem lethargic compared to most other cat breeds. Their doughy eyes also make them look sleepy, no matter what time of day it is. They don’t mind living with other cats, dogs, or kids if they have a quiet place of their own to curl up in whenever they feel like it. This makes them one of the best cats for first-time owners.
12. Scottish Fold
What’s unique about these cats is the gene mutation that affects their cartilage growth, which results in small-folded ears. They also have large eyes that show their alertness and super soft fur that stays short, and they shed minimally. Their fondness of being around human family members is shown through loyalty and affection. Scottish Folds are found in two varieties, long and shorthair. Shorthairs need weekly grooming and longhairs will need at least twice a week grooming.
The Birman is a cat that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to temperament and coat. Their long hair feels like silk, and their loving nature is easy to manage. They come in a variety of different colors, and most have markings on the head, tail, and legs. These cats have short, stout legs and thick, hardy bodies that can put up with a little rough play with animal siblings and rambunctious kids.
These cats were born to run and play, so they need toys to keep them busy while spending time indoors. They should also have access to a scratching post and a multi-tiered climbing unit if they are expected not to jump on all the furniture. Their high activity level and need more calories than other breeds. Some might tend to overeat meaning that owners should not leave a bowl of food out, instead scheduling regular meals twice a day.
This is a sleek cat breed with short hair and lean bodies that are said to be as attached to their owners as dogs are. They prefer to play with companions rather than by themselves, and they always seem to be looking for a soft place to cuddle up during their downtime. While they have an outgoing personality, they don’t talk much, but when they do, they let out a cute chirp-like sound. Their short coat is very low maintenance, an occasional brush and rub with a cold damp cloth will keep the coat in great condition.
The long, thick hair of Persians is what makes them so popular throughout the world, but that hair comes with the need for daily brushing to keep it under control. This is the reason they are considered high-maintenance, however, these cats are not highly active by nature, so they can adapt to apartment living well if they have a window to look out of throughout the day.
Some Final Comments
All the cats on our list are easy to care for and have unique personalities that are easy to fall in love with, and are even considered low-maintenance cats. Whether you’re looking for an active or lazy cat, one that likes the outdoors, one that talks frequently or is quiet, or one that loves kids and other animals, you’ll find what you are looking for right here on our list of the best cats for first-time owners. Which breed is your favorite?
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Featured image credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock
- The 16 Cat Breeds that are Great For First Time Owners