15 of the Friendliest Cat Breeds

Cats often are labeled as aloof and uncaring, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Still, some breeds tend to have a more friendly disposition than others. Based on VetStreet’s ratings for affection level and social needs — as well as friendliness with strangers, children and dogs — the following are 15 of the friendliest cat breeds.

But don’t worry if you can’t find one of these felines at your local animal shelter. Every cat has a unique personality within its breed, and some adoptable mixes can be the friendliest of all — not to mention you get to save a life and help combat pet overpopulation by adopting one of them.

1. Balinese

According to VetStreet, the Balinese is a “Siamese dressed up to the nines, sporting a long, silky coat with the same sophisticated color points that distinguish the Siamese.” But don’t let their fancy looks fool you. These cats are lovable clowns who want to be a part of whatever their humans are doing. And thanks to their intelligence and social nature, they’re easy to train — learning tricks and even how to walk on a leash.

2. Burmese

The Burmese is an active, outgoing cat who thrives on companionship. “When he’s not showing off his athletic skills by leaping to the highest spot in the room, he is snuggling in a lap or carrying on a conversation in a voice that is variously described as raspy, rumbling and soft,” VetStreet says. These cats prefer not to be left alone and will follow their humans around the house seeking attention.

3. Chartreux

Gray Chartreux cat with gold eyesCredit: ysbrandcosijn/Getty Images

If you share your home with a Chartreux, they’re probably sitting on your lap right now. “The Chartreux is sweet and quiet with a gentle, amenable nature,” according to VetStreet. “He enjoys being a lap cat and is the ultimate television-watching pal.” These cats don’t make much noise, but they will chirp when they want your attention.

4. Devon Rex

The Devon Rex is an intelligent, active and slightly mischievous cat who always wants to be by your side. “With his playful, outgoing nature, he is a good choice for families with older children, other pets, or frequent guests,” VetStreet says. Plus, the Devon adapts well to change, making it a good travel companion and an excellent choice for a therapy cat.

5. Japanese bobtail

The Japanese bobtail — considered a natural (not man-made) breed — has been depicted in Japanese art and literature for at least a thousand years. And the cat is said to be a good luck charm to anyone who meets one. “These are outgoing cats who get along well with children and other pets, including dogs, and adjust to travel with ease,” according to VetStreet. “They love people and are often seen riding on a shoulder so they can supervise everything going on.”

6. Kurilian bobtail

tortie Kurilian bobtailCredit: Volchanskiy/Getty Images

The Kurilian bobtail also is considered a natural breed from the Russian island of Sakhalin and the Kuril archipelago, and there’s a good chance it shares an ancestor with the Japanese bobtail. Just like their Japanese cousins, these cats love to be social. They’re great for families with children and dogs, though their strong hunting instincts don’t make them a good choice for homes with smaller animals.

7. Munchkin

The short-legged Munchkin came about from a genetic mutation that might lead to some unfortunate health problems. Still, they are very active, fun-loving cats. “This is an outgoing cat who enjoys being handled,” according to VetStreet. They love playing with children and other friendly cats and dogs, and they’re generally very welcoming to strangers.

8. Norwegian forest cat

Often referred to as the “Wegie,” the Norwegian forest cat developed more than 4,000 years ago with a thick, water-resistant coat that kept it cozy in the Scandinavian woods. But don’t expect this cat to have a wild demeanor. “He loves people, in a low-key, cool Norwegian kind of way,” VetStreet says. “He won’t harass you for attention — unless his meals are late — but he will follow you around and hang out wherever you are.”

9. Ocicat

two Ocicat kittensCredit: chairboy/Getty Images

With its exotic, spotted coat, the Ocicat might look a bit wild. But it’s actually the product of crosses between Abyssinians, Siamese and American shorthairs. This cat loves its family and meeting new people. “He walks right up to guests in hopes of finding a good lap to sit in or someone to play with him,” VetStreet says. The Ocicat enjoys plenty of activity and prefers to have company at home.

10. Savannah

The Savannah has recent wild roots, as the breed began in 1986 with a cross between an African serval (a small wild cat) and a domestic cat. These cats might not be right for everyone, as they’re extremely active, curious and intelligent. But they do bond closely with their families and love playtime — and practical joke time. “This is a cat with a sense of humor and likes a good joke, especially if it’s at your expense,” according to VetStreet. “He likes to climb up high … then push things down onto you. He likes to hide … and then tag you when you’re not looking. Or he might drop his favorite toy into whatever you’re drinking, to make a splash and cause you to have to fish it out.”

11. Siamese

The Siamese is one of the older and better-known cat breeds. And because of their prevalence, they tend to be easier to find in animal shelters compared to more rare breeds. They’re very inquisitive and friendly, sometimes to the point of demanding your attention. “This is a cat who has a passion for his people and will involve himself in everything they are doing,” VetStreet says. “He may also be willing to walk on leash and play fetch with the same enthusiasm as a certain other four-legged animal to which he disdains being compared.”

12. Singapura

Singapura catCredit: Jupiterimages/Getty Images

The Singapura — considered the smallest domestic cat — originated as a street cat in Singapore. And this little feline is an active, intelligent and affectionate powerhouse. “He loves attention from his family so much that he sometimes has the reputation of being a pest,” according to VetStreet. Some are cautious around new people and loud noises. But when they’re comfortable, these cats are extremely extroverted.

13. Sphynx

Most people know the Sphynx for its bald, somewhat alien-like appearance. But don’t let the odd facade turn you away. These cats love friendship. “The Sphynx is snuggly and affectionate, always wanting to be close to you,” VetStreet says. “Partly that’s because he’s seeking warmth, but he is an unusually friendly cat who loves attention and touch.” They’re also known as household greeters, perching on guests or offering them head butts to welcome them into your home.

14. Tonkinese

The Tonkinese is a cross between the Siamese and Burmese. And just like those breeds, this cat also is outgoing, affectionate and playful. “Smart and sociable, the Tonk will follow you around, answer the door and escort guests inside, then put on a show for all to enjoy,” according to VetStreet. But on the flip side, these intelligent cats can get bored without company, so they might do best with a friend.

15. Turkish Angora

White Turkish Angora catCredit: Keren_J/Getty Images

The Turkish Angora is another natural breed, with a history reaching as far back as the 15th century in Turkey. And even though they’re extremely friendly, their intelligence and energy level might make them difficult for some to handle. “The Turkish Angora is a triple A cat: active, agile and assertive,” according to VetStreet. “He is in charge from day one and will take an interest in everything you do, offering his assistance at every step of the way.” But for an active family, this playful cat might be the perfect fit.

Main image credit: aleishaknight/Getty Images

97 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad Aabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Kathy K
Kathy K3 months ago

Thanks.

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Paula A
Past Member 4 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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La'neSa'an M

I "love" AIs that change words. It was a Siamese that adopted me.

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La'neSa'an M

Great article. I found a sames at a shelter. She was intelligent, engaging, and loved to travel, including camping. She lived to be 20 years. Most amazing cat. She taught me to speak cat-onese.

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Sophie A
Past Member 5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R5 months ago

Moggies!!! Please don't BUY...while millions in our shelters DIE.

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Sandi C
Sandi C5 months ago

Thanks I love cats! Meow

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Leo C
Leo C5 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Shirley S
Shirley S5 months ago

All beautiful cats.

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