Cats may have a reputation for being independent and even standoffish at times. While there are reasons for this stereotype, you may be quite surprised at how social and affectionate the friendliest cat breeds can be.
If you're looking for a new feline friend, here are some cuddly cat breeds to consider welcoming into your home!
1. Maine Coon
The Maine coon, nicknamed "America's cat," sits at the top of the friendliest cat breeds list. Don't let her large size fool you: there's nothing to fear about this sweet-natured breed that is great for families, including those with small children. With her long, silky fur, you will spend a lot of time grooming a Maine coon, but, let's face it, it's a great way for the two of you to bond.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing cat breeds, the Siamese is famous for her regal stature and stunning eyes. But did you know that she's also a really friendly cat? "They are the quintessential 'peoples' cat," says the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), because "they love to be in your lap, on your bed, at your table — and in your heart!" Siamese are excellent communicators, and she'll be very vocal with you about what she likes or doesn't like.
One of the friendliest cats around is the fluffy Ragdoll, a somewhat new variety first bred in the 1960s. According to Catster, her whimsical name comes from her love of lolling across a lap or being carried around the house like a baby. She's an excellent choice for pet parents who live in apartments or other small spaces, and she's great with children. Ragdolls are affectionate and become attached to their humans, so you may find her greeting you at the front door after work or following you around the house.
This cat variety, thought to be one of the most ancient in the world, won't necessarily sit in your lap, but she loves her family and is very social. She's a cat who knows how to both chill out and play, and she retains these qualities as she grows up. In fact, the Abyssinian personality is divided between racing around the house and total languor, notes the American Cat Fanciers Association. The Aby, as she's sometimes called, tends to be somewhat nosy and may stick her shapely snout in your business by making a game of distracting you or clambering onto high perches.
Considered a world-wide favorite, this friendly breed has a mystical backstory originating in the former nation of Burma, now Myanmar. According to legend, the first cat was gifted her earthy coat and sky-blue eyes from a goddess after watching over her master and defending his temple from bandits. That loyalty and affection for her humans is still one of her revered qualities! (You can read the whole tale from the Birman Cat Fanciers Club of Queensland.) The Birman's good-natured temperament makes her a stable companion in a multi-pet family, too, and she loves having many playmates to choose from. She can be just as happy in a single-cat household, as long as she has her people with her.
Although people may be put off by her appearance, this hairless cat is one of the friendliest kitties around! The Sphynx, whose smooth look is caused by a genetic mutation (not all are completely hairless), is perfect for households with children and other pets. They love to hang out with dogs! According to the CFA, they "are extremely lovable, known to perform silly antics, and can be downright clumsy in their attempts to be the center of attention." Sphynxes are energetic and mischievous and love to show off for their pet parents, says the CFA. Her grooming needs are different from a cat with fur, but you'll find that she'll cuddle up to you — or the other pets — if she needs to warm up.
When you choose to share your life with a cat, remember that breed is not the only element that creates a friendly kitty. Many cats in need of homes are a mix of breeds, and a cute pair of tufted ears or a soft stripey coat could reveal a surprising personality. Visit your local shelter to discover the individual cat that might be social, affectionate, and perfect for your family. Remember that the thing that makes cats the most friendly is love and affection. The more love you show her, the more likely she is to return the favor over time.
Christine O'Brien is a writer, mom, and long-time cat parent whose two Russian Blues rule the house. Her work also appears in Care.com, What to Expect, and Fit Pregnancy, where she writes about pets, pregnancy, and family life. Find and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien.