10 Best Cat Breeds for Kids

Girl holding Burmese cat

Getty Images/Westend61

Cats are known for being cautious and as a species, they can be somewhat aloof. Some cats even hide under the bed at the first sign of a kid. Families with kids need a special kind of cat, one that not only tolerates the rambunctiousness of life with children, but actual enjoys interacting with little ones. Here are 10 great cat breeds for families with kids.

Breed Characteristics

When looking for a cat that will be good with kids, consider their size, personality, energy level, and friendliness. Very small cats are best for older children who can handle them gently. Larger breeds tend to be sturdier and might be better for younger kids, though children still need to be taught how to safely and kindly interact with cats. Active, playful breeds can be wonderful companions for kids, who can play with them and give them lots of attention. On the flip side, calm, laid-back breeds can also be a good fit as they might be less likely to be frightened by loud and active children. Cats that are affectionate and friendly, can also be great friends to kids. Remember, adults should always supervise cat-kid interactions, and kids should never be allowed to pull on a cat’s tail, chase the cat, or otherwise cause stress or harm.

  • 01 of 10



    Getty Images/anobis

    The shorthaired Abyssinian is a small cat that is extremely active, athletic and outgoing. These playful cats can be great playmates for conscientious kids who are taught how to interact with cats properly. Because the Abyssinian is small, this breed a better choice for older children who can be sure to handle the cat with care. This breed is friendly, affectionate and fun to live with, making them a great breed for families.  

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: Up to 12 pounds

    LENGTH: Up to 28 inches

    PERSONALITY: Friendly, interactive, animated, active, and playful

    COAT LENGTH: Short hair

    COAT COLOR: Solid or ticked; ruddy, red, blue, cinnamon, or fawn

    EYE COLOR: Green or gold

    LIFESPAN: Up to 15 years

  • 02 of 10

    American Shorthair

    American Shorthair cat

    Getty Images/Kilito Chan

    American shorthairs are considered to be a great companion for families with children because of their gentle demeanor. Because of their history as mousers, they are playful and active cats but are also independent and don't need constant attention from their families. They will happily look out the window or play independently at times.

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: 11 to 15 pounds (males); 6 to 12 pounds (females)

    LENGTH: 12 to 15 inches

    PERSONALITY: Gentle, affectionate, playful, easygoing, and curious

    COAT LENGTH: Short hair

    COAT COLOR: Many colors, including white, silver, black, cream, blue, brown, and red

    EYE COLOR: Hazel, gold, blue, copper, or green

    LIFESPAN: 15 to 20 years

  • 03 of 10


    Bengal cat

    Getty Images/Svetlana Sultanaeva

    Like the Abyssinian, the Bengal is extremely active with loads of energy, so kids can have a great time engaging these cats in playtime and fun. Bengals are also very social and curious, so living with a bustling family with kids can provide lots of stimulation. Some Bengals don’t enjoy being held, and they are not tolerant of rough handling, so kids must be taught how to play with a Bengal safely and how to treat them with respect.

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: Up to 20 pounds but generally about 12 pounds

    LENGTH: Up to 18 inches

    PERSONALITY: Affectionate, energetic, animated

    COAT LENGTH: Short hair, long hair (variant)

    COAT COLOR: Spotted or marbled brown tabby, seal sepia tabby, seal mink tabby, seal lynx point, black silver tabby, seal silver sepia tabby, seal silver mink tabby, and seal silver lynx point

    EYE COLOR: Green or gold

    LIFESPAN: Up to 15 years

  • 04 of 10


    Birman cat

    Getty Images/Rodolfo Parulan Jr.

    The Birman cat is medium-sized and sturdily built with long, silky hair. This color-pointed breed consists of a light-colored body with darker “points” of color on the face, ears, legs, and tail. All Birman cats also have four white paws and blue eyes. Sweet and affectionate, the Birman cat is an easy-going breed that fits in well to almost any household and family. They are not too delicate for children to handle and are known for being patient and tolerant with kids who play with them gently and with respect. 

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: About 7 to 14 pounds, with males slightly larger

    LENGTH: About 15 to 18 inches

    PERSONALITY: Gentle, quiet and loving

    COAT LENGTH: Medium-long to long.

    COAT COLOR: Seal point, blue point, chocolate point, lilac point, tabby point, tortie point, red point, cream point

    EYE COLOR: Blue

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10


    Burmese cat

    Getty Images/Sean Savery Photography

    The Burmese is a sturdy, medium-sized cat that is full of energy. Burmese love to play, and in fact, act very much like kittens well into adulthood. Kids can give the Burmese as much playtime as the could ever want, which will make this breed very happy indeed. They are not shy and enjoy a bustling household, so families with children are a good fit for the Burmese. The bond tightly with their human families and prefer not to be left alone for long periods of time. 

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: Up to 14 pounds

    LENGTH: Up to 18 inches

    PERSONALITY: Friendly, affectionate, sociable with other animals, playful

    COAT LENGTH: Short hair

    COAT COLOR: Sable, champagne, platinum, blue, and variations of each

    EYE COLOR: Gold

    LIFESPAN: Up to 18 years

  • 06 of 10

    Devon Rex

    Devon rex cat

    Getty Images/insonnia

    The Devon Rex is rather small, so they might be better paired with older kids, but this breed is also extremely social, friendly and playful, so families with children might find a great fit with the Devon Rex. This easy-going and fun-loving breed is a great match for kids who like playing and interacting with their feline friend. Kids will also probably enjoy the Devon Rex’s unusual appearance.

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: Six to nine pounds

    LENGTH: 18 inches long

    PERSONALITY: Active, playful, social

    COAT LENGTH: Short hair

    COAT COLOR: Any color or pattern, including solid, tabby, shaded, tortoiseshell, and calico

    EYE COLOR: Any color

    LIFESPAN: 9 to 15 years

  • 07 of 10

    Maine Coon

    Maine Coon cat

    Getty Images/Alexandra Jursova

    Maine coons are smart, friendly gentle giants. These steady, laid-back cats are great playmates for kids who treat them with kindness. They coexist peacefully with other household pets, including other cats and cat-friendly dogs. They are highly trainable, so kids can have fun teaching them all kinds of tricks using positive training methods and tasty treats.

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: Average of 9 to 18 pounds; males can weigh 20 pounds or more

    LENGTH: About 19 to 30 inches

    PERSONALITY: Amiable, gentle and dog-like

    COAT LENGTH: Heavy and shaggy

    COAT COLOR: Solid, tabby, bi-color, parti-color, parti-color and white, shaded and smoke, and shaded/smoke and white

    EYE COLOR: Varies according to coat color, but may be green, gold, green-gold, copper, blue or odd-eyed

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 15 years

  • 08 of 10


    Manx cat

    Getty Images/Svetlana Popova

    The Manx is a medium-sized cat that has either short or long hair and makes a great addition to any family with kids. The breed is robust, friendly, and active, and enjoys fun playtime with respectful children. The breed is sometimes described as dog-like, and some Manx even like to play fetch with their favorite toys.

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: 8 to 12 pounds

    LENGTH: About 14 to 16 inches

    PERSONALITY: Easygoing, affectionate, social

    COAT LENGTH: Short hair and long hair

    COAT COLOR: Solid white, blue, black, red, cream, silver, brown, bicolor, tortoiseshell, tabby 

    EYE COLOR: Gold, copper, green, hazel, blue, or odd-eyed

    LIFESPAN: 14 to 16 years

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10


    Persian cat

    Getty Images/Boy_Anupong

    The Persian is the most popular purebred cat breed in the United States. They are medium- to large-sized with a round, flat face shaped like a pansy and a profuse, long coat. This breed is exceedingly sweet and calm, which makes them great playmates for respectful kids who handle them gently. Persians are neither needy nor standoffish but provide a mix of gentle affection and relaxed independence. 

    Breed Overview

    WEIGHT: About 7 to 12 pounds

    LENGTH: About 14 to 17 inches

    PERSONALITY: Sweet, gentle and affectionate

    COAT LENGTH: Long and thick

    COAT COLOR: Solid (blue, black, white, red, cream, chocolate or lilac), silver and golden (chinchilla and shaded), shaded and smoke (including cameo and tortoiseshell patterns), tabby, particolor, calico and bicolor, and Himalayan (pointed colors)

    EYE COLOR: Varies according to coat color, but may be copper, blue, green, blue-green, hazel and odd-eyes

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 15 to 20 years

  • 10 of 10


    Ragdoll cat

    Getty Images/Kenneth Chow

    Kids will absolutely adore the mellow and loving ragdoll, a breed named for their charming way of melting into your arms when you hold them. Gentle kids will find a fast friend in the oversized ragdoll. These cats might attend a doll’s tea party, allow themselves to be pushed in a baby stroller or participate in other games of make believe.

    Breed Overview

    PERSONALITY: Friendly, easygoing, cuddly, social

    WEIGHT: Up to 20 pounds

    LENGTH: Up to 40 inches nose to tail

    COAT LENGTH: Medium-length hair

    COAT COLOR: Chocolate, red, seal, blue, lilac, and cream

    COAT PATTERNS: Mitted, color point, bicolor, tortoiseshell, lynx

    EYE COLOR: Blue

    LIFESPAN: Up to 17 years