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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.
It is important to remember that each kitten or cat has their own unique personality. While a particular breed may be considered friendlier or more energetic than another, individual cats of that breed may exhibit that trait more or less strongly than others. However, 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 sits at the top of the friendliest cat breeds list. Don't let the large size fool you: there's nothing to fear about this sweet-natured breed that is great for families. With its long, silky fur, you will need to spend a lot of time grooming a Maine coon, but 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 their regal stature and stunning eyes. But did you know that they are also really friendly cats? According to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), these outgoing, extroverted cats are “immensely loyal to their humans” and love to be part of the family.
Although with a little effort, most cats can learn to engage in a game of fetch for their favourite toys, the sociable nature of the Siamese may make this a bit easier.
One of the friendliest cats around is the fluffy Ragdoll, a somewhat new variety first bred in the 1960s. According to the GCCF, their whimsical name comes from their tendency to relax when picked up. That means they’ll love lolling across your lap, being picked up for a snuggle, or being carried around the house. They are an excellent choice for pet parents who live in flats or other small spaces, and they are great with children. Ragdolls are affectionate and become attached to their humans, so you may find them 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 these affectionate cats love their family and are very social. According to the GCCF, Abyssinians will greet you with a lovely “chirrup” and may follow you from room to room. An Aby, as they’re sometimes called, are energetic cats and will always be up for playing. They tend to be somewhat nosy and may make a game of distracting you or clambering onto high perches. You may have to wait until they’re tired out before they’ll come and relax in your lap!
Considered a world-wide favourite, the “Sacred Cat of Burma” is a friendly breed with a mystical backstory originating in the nation now known as Myanmar. According to legend, says the GCCF, the first cat was gifted an earthy coat and sky-blue eyes from a goddess after watching over their master and defending his temple from bandits. That loyalty and affection for humans is still one of their most revered qualities! The Birman's good-natured temperament can make them a stable companion in a multi-pet family, too. They can be just as happy in a single-cat household, as long as they have their people with them.
When you choose to share your life with a cat, remember that breed is definitely not the only element that creates a friendly cat. 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 cats 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 them, the more likely they are to return the favour over time.
Christine O'Brien is a writer, mum, 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.
Reviewed by Dr. Aileen Pypers, BSc, BVSc, PGDip