The Best Cats for Apartment Living

cat sleeping on a cat tree by a window

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Many cats can thrive in an apartment or other small space, as long as you do your part to provide enough attention, play, and environmental enrichment. Some of the best cats for apartments have easygoing, adaptable temperaments. Cats with low to moderate energy levels also tend to be happy in small living spaces, though active cats can do well if you keep them exercised. Here are 10 cat breeds that are suitable for apartment living.

Tip

It's especially important to enrich a small home for a cat's mental and physical stimulation. Provide places for the cat to climb and perch, especially near a window. And offer cat-appropriate scratching areas and interactive playtime.

  • 01 of 10

    American Shorthair

    American shorthair cat

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    The American shorthair, the pedigreed version of the domestic shorthair, is an easygoing cat that loves to hang out with its humans. These cats can do well in apartments as long as you're home enough to meet their social needs. But they also are good at entertaining themselves with toys and watching out windows.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 10 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Athletic build; short, dense coat

  • 02 of 10

    Birman

    Birman cat lying on its back

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    The sweet and gentle Birman is an affectionate lap cat that doesn’t require a ton of space. These calm cats just want to be wherever their favorite humans are, making the size of their home a nonissue. But they do have a playful side and especially like to play chase with other pets.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Round face; blue, oval-shaped eyes; silky coat

  • 03 of 10

    British Shorthair

    British shorthair cat lying on a sofa

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    The British shorthair is an extremely adaptable cat that can thrive in an apartment. These quiet, laid-back cats typically prefer lounging over racing around their homes. But they can have bursts of energy and love interactive play to challenge them mentally and physically. Food puzzles are great to keep them entertained in a small space, as long as they don't lead to overfeeding.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 7 to 17 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Large head; round eyes; well-balanced body

  • 04 of 10

    Burmese

    Burmese cat lounging on its back

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    The Burmese is typically sweet and cuddly. These are social cats that prefer constant company from their humans or other pets, so they don't get lonely. They're also quite athletic and need cat trees and other spots where they can leap and jump. But as long as they have consistent attention, the size of their home doesn't really matter.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 6 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Round, golden eyes; compact, muscular body

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Exotic

    exotic shorthair cat by a window

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    Exotics are essentially the shorthaired version of the Persian cat. Like their longhaired cousins, these cats are calm and affectionate, preferring a warm lap or plush cushion to intense activity. They have a moderate activity level and will happily get out some energy with cat toys before heading back to your lap.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 10 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short legs; rounded body; short nose

  • 06 of 10

    Maine Coon

    two Maine coon cats

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    The Maine coon is known as a “gentle giant” for its easygoing, friendly nature. These big cats love socializing with their humans, but they aren’t typically demanding of attention. And they do well with entertaining themselves, as long as they have some toys and a window to look out. They’re also often willing to walk outside on a leash for exercise.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 16 inches 

    Weight: 10 to 25 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; thick, heavy coat

  • 07 of 10

    Persian

    Persian cat lounging inside by a plant

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    Persians understand the value of rest and relaxation. These gentle and serene cats are happy to plop down on any available soft surface, especially a lap. They're not too keen on climbing and jumping, making them ideal for small homes. And while they enjoy the company of their favorite humans, they're also typically fine spending some time by themselves.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 7 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long coat; short, stocky legs; large, round eyes

  • 08 of 10

    Ragdoll

    ragdoll cat sitting in apartment

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    The Ragdoll is the ultimate lap cat. Its name is derived from the breed’s tendency to relax and go limp when being held. Ragdolls generally have a moderate energy level and are highly adaptable to many different living situations. They're somewhat playful, though their favorite activity is following their humans around the house.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 11 inches

    Weight: 8 to 20 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Blue eyes; semi-longhaired coat

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Russian Blue

    Russian blue cat sitting

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    The Russian blue tends to be affectionate but not clingy, content to spend some of the day alone resting in a sunny spot. These cats don't need a lot of space, as they're generally quiet and reserved with a moderate energy level. They enjoy playing with cat toys, but often you’ll find them perched somewhere up high, observing their domain.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Blue-gray coat; green eyes; wedge-shaped head

  • 10 of 10

    Scottish Fold

    Scottish fold cat in a cat tree

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    The friendly and calm Scottish fold can adapt to many different living situations, including apartments. These quiet cats love being engaged in whatever their people are doing, and one of their favorite activities is playing fetch. Food puzzles are good for their clever, inquisitive nature, especially when you can’t be home with them.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 6 to 14 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Round body; large, round eyes; folded ears

Breeds to Avoid

Some cat breeds are highly active and might be bouncing off the walls of an apartment or other small home. They include the Abyssinian, Balinese, Bengal, Savannah, and Siberian. These cats tend to love adventure and are always looking for something to do. And if they can't find enough enrichment in your small space, they likely won't be happy and healthy.