The 10 Best Cats for Kids

Cats are super playful pets, even though they do sleep about 15 hours per day (or more). If you’ve got kids, adding a cat (or more) to your brood is a great way to give your children a built-in playmate. The best cats for kids will be social, playful and patient—especially if you have toddlers or children under 5. In our experience, the best cats for kids can really withstand some tight grips on their fur. That being said, pet cats can be a terrific way to introduce kids to responsibilities, boundaries and the genuine joy of bonding with animals.

It’s always worth mentioning that each kid and each cat exhibits their own unique behavior. Some kids prefer quiet reading time while others want constant interactive playtime. The same goes for cats. Don’t force a friendship between your cats and kids - let it blossom naturally! Again, the best cats for kids will enjoy their time together, not fear it.

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best cats for kids abyssinian
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1. Abyssinian

Average Size: Medium

Average Weight: 8 to 9 pounds

Maintenance: Low

Personality: Athletic, cheerful

These cats are lithe and strong and love to play with whoever will join them. Abyssinians are also unabashedly affectionate and highly intelligent. Get ready for ample activity with these kitties, including climbing as high as they can get in any given environment (Hint: Get a tall cat condo).

best cats for kids bengal
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2. Bengal

Average Size: Medium to large

Average Weight: 10.5 pounds

Maintenance: Low

Personality: Adventurous, intelligent

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Bengals are absolute stunners. Their coats give them the look of a true wild cat and they’ve got personalities to match. These adventurous felines thrive when surrounded by people and opportunities to explore. A fun kid activity? Teach a Bengal a new trick.

best cats for kids burmese
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3. Burmese

Average Size: Medium to large

Average Weight: 9 pounds

Maintenance: Low

Personality: Outgoing, charming

Burmese cats are typically chocolatey brown with bright, golden eyes. They are known for their patience with and enthusiasm for kids (and even cat-friendly dogs!). In fact, they love attention and do not enjoy being alone for long periods of time.

best cats for kids himalayan
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4. Himalayan

Average Size: Medium

Average Weight: 9.5 pounds

Maintenance: High

Personality: Gentle, affectionate

Himalayan cats, like Persians, require a bit more maintenance to keep their coats knot-free and their faces clear of gunk. It’s totally worth it for these sweethearts. On the calmer, gentler side, Himalayans are fluffballs full of affection. They’re good sports when it comes to aggressive cuddling. Plus, they tend to go with the flow. So if a new baby is on the way, a Himalayan will ride the newborn wave just fine.

best cats for kids japanese bobtail
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5. Japanese Bobtail

Average Size: Small

Average Weight: 8 pounds

Maintenance: Low

Personality: Active, loyal

One of the smallest cat breeds out there is the Japanese Bobtail. As their name suggests, they don’t have long tails. According to The International Cat Association, their pom-like tails are naturally short and as unique as fingerprints. Get ready to go ham on interactive toys and playtime with these eager little creatures!

best cats for kids maine coon
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6. Maine Coon

Average Size: Large

Average Weight: 13 pounds (Females), 20 pounds (Males)

Maintenance: Moderate to high

Personality: Sweet, smart

Talk about a big cat. Maine Coons may not be lions, but they’re like the lions of the household cat world. Large, affectionate and great with kiddos, these felines are independent enough to chill on their own and sweet enough to enjoy plenty of people time.

best cats for kids manx
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7. Manx

Average Size: Medium

Average Weight: 10 pounds

Maintenance: Low

Personality: Loyal, goofy

Another cat with a pom tail! The Manx is a rotund, even-tempered cat who usually picks a favorite in their family. If your kiddo is looking for a constant companion, go with a Manx and make sure your child is responsible for food and treats. You’ll have two peas in a pod in no time.

best cats for kids ragamuffin
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8. Ragamuffin

Average Size: Medium to Large

Average Weight: 10 pounds (females), 17 pounds (males)

Maintenance: Low

Personality: Patient, doting

The Cat Fanciers Association calls Ragamuffin cats extremely sweet animals with calm and trusting demeanors. Basically, they love you. All they ask for is love in return (and a warm lap to curl up on). These cats may be ideal pets for kids suffering from anxiety or in need of a comforting companion.

best cats for kids cat
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9. Ragdoll

Average Size: Large

Average Weight: 15 pounds

Maintenance: Moderate

Personality: Sweet, patient

Similar to the Ragamuffin, the Ragdoll is a sweet, patient feline. They’re happy to sleep next to you on the couch or be carried through the house like, well, a doll. Ragdolls have an adaptable nature that makes them ideal pets for households with kids and other animals. Though they tend to fall on the lazier side, they do love to play, which is good for their health (don’t let them get too heavy or it can cause internal health issues).

best cats for kids scottish fold
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10. Scottish Fold

Average Size: Medium

Average Weight: 8 pounds

Maintenance: Low to Moderate

Personality: Mellow, loving

Scottish Folds are easily identifiable (the ears give them away immediately) and easy to please. Just spend time with them! They love to play with people and are intelligent, so try incorporating tricks or interactive treat toys into playtime. Be sure to watch their movements: Scottish Folds can develop joint disease, so if it looks like walking or moving their tail is painful, head to the vet!

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Freelance Writer

Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...