8 of the Most High-Maintenance Cat Breeds

A common misconception about cats is they’re generally low-maintenance companions who prefer to sleep their days away in a sunny spot. And while some cats are fairly easygoing, others might surprise you with their boundless energy, intelligence and strong desire for attention — as well as their health care needs. So if you’re looking to adopt a feline friend, it’s important to do your homework first on the cat breeds that fit best with your lifestyle. Although every individual cat’s care requirements will be different, here are eight of the most high-maintenance cat breeds.

1. Abyssinian

The Abyssinian is a smart, active cat who prefers to spend their days on the move. “If you’re pining for a sweet, gentle lap cat, the Abyssinian likely isn’t a good match for your home,” according to VetStreet. “The Aby is a highly intelligent cat who loves to play and interact with people. In fact, his human-watching skills are excellent — and he’s known for quickly training people to do his bidding.”

This cat needs a person who spends a lot of time at home to keep them happy and amused. Puzzle toys and walks outside also are helpful to get out their mental and physical energy. The breed requires minimal grooming, but Abyssinians are prone to periodontal disease, making regular teeth-brushing a must. Plus, some Abyssinians might develop pyruvate kinase deficiency, a hereditary disorder that affects the red blood cells and can lead to intermittent anemia.

2. Bengal

bengal cat looking out windowCredit: andreaskrappweis/Getty Images

The exotic Bengal came from crossing domestic cats with wild Asian leopard cats. “Bengals are a lot of fun to live with, but they’re definitely not the cat for everyone, or for first-time cat owners,” according to VetStreet. “Extremely intelligent, curious and active, they demand a lot of interaction and woe betide the owner who doesn’t provide it.”

Bengals are known to get creative when they want your attention — sometimes purposely engaging in behaviors they know you don’t like. Fortunately, they just require basic grooming and are moderate shedders. As for health issues, the breed is prone to polycystic kidney disease, and some of the cats might be more susceptible to certain infectious diseases, including feline infectious peritonitis and tritrichomonas foetus.

3. Himalayan

Himalayans aren’t the most energetic of cat breeds. They’re usually not big jumpers or climbers, instead preferring to observe the world from a comfortable spot on the sofa. And when they seek attention, it’s often in the form of sitting on their person’s lap. So in that regard they’re fairly easy to live with.

What makes Himalayans one of the high-maintenance cat breeds is their grooming. “Expect to comb the long, flowing coat daily with a stainless steel Greyhound comb to prevent or remove mats and tangles,” VetStreet says. “… Don’t slack off or you’ll quickly have a matted mess to deal with, and your Himmy will not be pleased if you have to take him to the groomer for a lion trim.” These cats also need regular baths to stay clean. And some might have excessive eye tearing, requiring you to give their face a quick wash every day. Furthermore, Himalayans are prone to some hereditary health issues, including “polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and respiratory problems caused by deformities associated with the breed’s flattened face.”

4. Ocicat

Despite that exotic-looking spotted coat, the Ocicat is not in fact a wild cat. These cats resulted from crossing Abyssinians, Siamese and American shorthairs. And like their feline cousins, they demand plenty of social time. “The Ocicat loves attention, so do not get one if you don’t have the time or desire to interact with him frequently,” VetStreet says. “He will want to be involved in everything you do.”

The upside of their social nature is it makes these cats fairly adaptable. They typically do well meeting strangers, traveling and even learning how to walk on a leash. They require basic grooming with extra attention on the teeth, as they’re prone to periodontal disease. And they might inherit some health problems, including “liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” according to VetStreet.

5. Persian

white Persian catCredit: rukawajung/Getty Images

With their sweet nature and quiet demeanor, Persians are one of the most popular cat breeds in the world for good reason. And while their temperament makes them generally easy to live with, other aspects of the breed require much more care. “There’s no getting around it: a Persian cat is high maintenance,” VetStreet says. “The coat must be groomed daily with a stainless steel comb to remove mats, tangles and loose hair.” Plus, the cat should be bathed weekly to help keep their coat clean. And because of their pushed-in face, their eyes might have a tendency for excessive tearing — also requiring some extra cleanup on your part.

Health issues that are linked to Persians include “polycystic kidney disease (PKD), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), bladder stones, cystitis (bladder infections), and liver shunts,” according to VetStreet. And their flat faces might cause breathing problems and make them sensitive to heat. So be prepared to have a healthy veterinary care budget if you adopt a Persian.

6. Savannah

The Savannah is a relatively new breed, resulting from the cross of wild African servals with domestic cats. And though they’re typically very friendly cats, they still retain a bit of a wild streak, which can make care difficult. “Intelligent and curious, he is always looking for something interesting to do, the more adventurous the better,” according to VetStreet. “Provide him with plenty of tough, sturdy toys and frequent playtimes, or you will probably discover that he can be quite destructive.”

These cats require lots of vertical space, such as tall cat trees and window perches, to jump and climb. Just beware that they might push objects down on you from above for a good joke at your expense. Offer them plenty of mental and physical stimulation, or they’ll definitely find things to do that you won’t approve of. But the good news is they don’t need much grooming outside of basic maintenance, and they’re generally healthy cats with the proper care.

7. Siamese

The Siamese is one of the most recognizable cat breeds. But there’s a lot of work that goes into caring for this striking cat. “If you want a Siamese just for his looks, think again,” VetStreet says. “This is a cat who has a passion for his people and will involve himself in everything they are doing. When they’re not around, he will entertain himself by turning on faucets, opening cabinets, seeking out new hideaways to frustrate anyone who might be searching for him, and watching television with clear interest.”

You must provide these smart, active cats with plenty to do (and lots of attention) to keep them out of trouble. And you have to like a cat who’s generally very vocal and demanding. Fortunately, Siamese just require basic grooming and aren’t huge shedders. But some — especially the more modern Siamese with wedge-shaped heads — are prone to dental and respiratory issues, as well as crossed eyes and kinked tails. The breed also might develop bladder stones, eye diseases, heart problems and cancer, according to VetStreet.

8. Sphynx

Sphynx cat on cat treeCredit: Ben-Schonewille/Getty Images

How much maintenance could a hairless cat need? Quite a bit. “If you want a Sphynx because you think you won’t have to spend any time grooming him, you should probably reconsider,” according to VetStreet. “His body becomes oily and must be bathed anywhere from weekly to monthly to prevent clogged pores, not to mention oily spots on your furniture or clothing.” And just because they need a bath, it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically like water. You might have to invest considerable time in positively reinforcing your cat’s bathing routine.

Additionally, these cats tend to develop a waxy buildup on their nails and in their ears that requires regular cleaning. And they might need your help wiping mucus from their eyes. They also are prone to heart disease, skin conditions and a neurological condition that affects muscle function. Plus, because they lack a furry coat, it’s imperative to make sure they stay warm and protected from the elements, including sun damage, if you take them outside. But beyond those quirky looks, the Sphynx is a friendly, loving cat who’s always eager to have your attention (and your warm lap).

Main image credit: anobis/Getty Images

62 comments

Alice R
Anna R20 days ago

tyfs

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Roslyn M
Roslyn McBride25 days ago

Noted.

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Thomas M
Thomas M28 days ago

Thank you

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Kathy K
Kathy Kabout a month ago

Thanks.

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Leo C
Leo Custerabout a month ago

thank you for sharing!

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danii p
danii pabout a month ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii pabout a month ago

Thank you

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Freya H
Freya Habout a month ago

Random-bred "alley cats" are the best pets. All of my cats have been rescues, including one that came right off the street.

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Kathy K
Kathy Kabout a month ago

Thanks.

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Edgar Z
Edgar Zuimabout a month ago

My cat is adopted. It does not have a specific breed, but it does not matter, I take care of it like a breed cat.

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