If You Want a Lap Cat, Look at These 12 Breeds

Some people prefer energetic cats they can take on adventures. Others might need a cat who gets along well with dogs. And still others might just want a low-key feline friend who enjoys curling up in their lap.

Every cat’s personality is unique — influenced by their socialization and life experiences. But genetics play a role, as well. So if you’re hoping to adopt a lap cat, look for one of these cat breeds at your local animal shelter.

1. American bobtail

orange American bobtail catCredit: Jane-Khomi/Getty Images

How American bobtails — and their trademark short tails — came about is somewhat debated. The widely believed story is they originated in the 1960s from a cross between a short-tailed tabby and a Siamese. And what they lack in tail length, they make up for in love for their families. “The Bobtail is an intelligent, active and affectionate cat,” according to PetMD. “It loves to sit on your lap and be petted; it is often compared to a dog in its behavior and devotion.” In fact, not only are bobtails comforting lap cats for their families, but they also make great therapy cats.

2. American shorthair

The American shorthair is essentially the domestic shorthair you’ll commonly find in animal shelters. So if you want a friendly, affectionate lap cat, there likely are plenty of great options at your local shelter. “The American Shorthair cat is ideal for a person who wants a cat to sit calmly on the lap, and not pounce or skitter too much around the house,” PetMD says. These cats can adapt to many different living situations and are generally easy-going around kids and other pets.

3. Birman

Birmans prefer company, though they typically aren’t demanding of attention like some other cat breeds can be. Instead, they’re generally calm cats who can get along well with kids and other pets. “Although Birmans are less active than some breeds, they have a serious playful side,” according to VetStreet. “It’s not unusual for them to fetch or chase a ball — when they’re not curled up in your lap.”

4. Bombay

The Bombay might look like a miniature black panther. But its personality is better suited for curling up in laps, rather than hanging in the jungle. “The Bombay is an easygoing and tolerant cat who takes life as it comes,” VetStreet says. “He enjoys greeting visitors and gets along well with children, dogs and other cats, although he will expect to be the one in charge.” These affectionate cats prefer lots of attention, and there’s a good chance they’ll come snuggle with you under the covers when it’s bedtime.

5. Exotic shorthair

exotic shorthair catCredit: SashaFoxWalters/Getty Images

The exotic shorthair originated from crosses between American shorthairs and Persians. Their shorter coat is easier to manage, but they’re still just as sweet as their Persian cousins. “The endearing Exotic is a peaceful, easygoing companion who will be content to quietly follow you around and then sit in your lap for petting whenever you give him the chance,” according to VetStreet. “Males have a reputation for being especially sweet and loving. Females can be a bit more independent, but they are just as devoted and loyal as males.”

6. Himalayan

The Himalayan also originated from a cross with a Persian — this time with a Siamese. And like their relatives, Himalayans are fairly low-key felines. “You are more likely to find them reclining gracefully on a sofa than perched on top of the refrigerator, but they are playful in a sedate kind of way and enjoy having an assortment of toys,” VetStreet says. “… What these cats like best, though, is sitting in a lap or simply being in their person’s company.”

7. Maine coon

The origin of the Maine coon is a bit of a mystery. Sailors might have brought over its ancestors hundreds of years ago, but at this point it’s considered one of the oldest natural cat breeds native to North America. And this big, furry kitty has a lot of love to give. “He’ll follow you around and show an interest in what you’re doing, and if you’d like to give him some lap time, well, he’s all in favor of that, too,” VetStreet says. These cats tend to get along with everyone and are very adaptable to new situations — making them excellent travel companions, as well as lap cats.

8. Persian

white Persian catCredit: rukawajung/Getty Images

The Persian is one of the most popular cat breeds for more than just its looks. These serene felines bring a calm aura wherever they go. “A Persian makes for an ideal companion, especially if you’re looking for a sweet and docile cat,” PetMD says. “While it is extremely affectionate and enjoys being petted, it is not the sort of cat that will pester you for attention.” Although Persians love to play, they’ll also gladly lounge away the day on your lap.

9. Ragamuffin

The ragamuffin is a spinoff of the ragdoll breed — likely crossed with other cat breeds, including Turkish angoras, Persians, Birmans and domestic longhairs. And these cats are similar in temperament to their affectionate ragdoll cousins. “The sociable RagaMuffin might as well be lined with Velcro,” VetStreet says. “He follows his people wherever they go and greets guests at the door with a happy meow.” Ragamuffins are playful cats and can be trained to do many tricks. But they also love cuddling with their humans as they read or watch TV.

10. Ragdoll

The ragdoll is a relatively new cat breed, though its history is a little murky. It likely originated from crosses between domestic longhairs to create the cuddly cat people know today. “Ragdolls are sometimes nicknamed ‘puppycats’ because of the way they follow their people from room to room,” VetStreet says. “… Unlike many cats, their preferred position is not on high but one that provides human contact: on the floor lying on your feet, at your side on the sofa or, ideally, in your lap.”

11. Selkirk rex

Selkirk rex catCredit: GlobalP/Getty Images

The Selkirk rex sports an unusual curly coat, thanks to a spontaneous genetic mutation. And it’s a good thing these easy-going cats love attention because everyone who meets them typically wants to pet their peculiar fur. “The Selkirk has a silly side and is sometimes described as clownish,” according to VetStreet. “He loves being a lap cat and will be happy to chat with you in a quiet voice if you talk to him. Although he’s not pesky about wanting attention all the time, he won’t be happy if he’s left alone or ignored frequently.”

12. Sphynx

The Sphynx also has an usual coat — or rather a lack thereof. These cats are either hairless or covered in a fine fuzz, giving them their trademark appearance. And they might have multiple motivations for being a lap cat. “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.” In fact, if you’re not home enough, it’s ideal to have more than one Sphynx to fulfill their social (and body heat) needs.

Main image credit: vladans/Getty Images


hELEN hEARFIELD8 days ago


Elaine W
Elaine W15 days ago

Beautiful assortment of lap cats. :)

Bailey R
Bailey R17 days ago

My ragdoll cat is so so needy but I love him

Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman17 days ago


Mia B
Marta B19 days ago


Kathy K
Kathy K19 days ago


Carole R
Carole R21 days ago

Ah ... mine are rescues and are very loving.

Doris F
Doris F21 days ago

@C2...what happens with C2 ?????
All actions are break down ! hmmmpfff :-(

Jessica K
Jessica K21 days ago

I don't know for sure what breed my feline daughter is as she is a rescue but of all the breeds she may be a Bombay mix, she is very loving and glad that God brought her in my life. Thanks.

Anne G
Anne G21 days ago

Thanks, though I like to adopt, it’s interesting to know those breeds nonetheless.