Many people with anxiety have found adopting pets soothes their souls. Pets have been known to lower cortisol levels, reduce stress and dampen our human fight or flight instincts (which often lead to anxiety). The Cornell Feline Health Center at Cornell University says petting a cat, even for just a few minutes, can improve mood. Dogs are often the go-to when it comes to adopting an emotional support animal. This makes sense for folks who may need a pet they can take with them out into the world. However, cats could prove the better choice for some people with anxiety.

Generally speaking, cats are lower maintenance pets than dogs. They fit nicely into apartments and don’t ask you to put on real pants to take them out for a walk at five o’clock in the morning. The cat breeds on our list take it one step further. For the most part, they are mellow felines with sweet, doting dispositions. Unlike some of the naughtiest cat breeds, this list is full of kitties content to chill on your lap or by your side, no matter what the day brings.

RELATED: 15 American Cat Breeds

Best Cats for People with Anxiety AMERICAN BOBTAIL
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1. AMERICAN BOBTAIL

Height: 9-10 inches

Weight: 7-16 pounds

Personality:: Affectionate, friendly

Coat: Short or long

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 11-15+ years

The Cat Fanciers Association says American Bobtail cats “can both entertain through their antics at one moment and provide their owners a warm, soft shoulder to cry on in times of distress.” These affectionate sweethearts are also one of the only cats on this list who may take well to harness training. So, anxious folks who feel better after a nice walk outdoors may want to consider an American Bobtail.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety AMERICAN CURL
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2. AMERICAN CURL

Height: 9-12 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Smart, sweet

Coat: Short or long, silky

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

American Curl cats have been described as “people-oriented,” which means wherever you go, they are content to follow. Feeling alone or abandoned isn’t an option with an American Curl! Not only do they love their people, but they also adapt well to changing environments and situations. If you’re going through a significant life change, these kitties will be by your side the whole time.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety AMERICAN WIREHAIR
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3. AMERICAN WIREHAIR

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, even-tempered

Coat: Short, wiry

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Known for their quiet, even-keel personalities, American Wirehairs make excellent pets for introverts and anxious folks alike. Said to be gently playful and undemanding, these cats can provide a soothing presence in the home. American Wirehairs are like the perfect roommate who respects and loves you no matter what!

Best Cats for People with Anxiety BIRMAN
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4. BIRMAN

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 12 pounds

Personality: Quiet, loyal

Coat: Long, single layer

Color: Pointed, cream

Life Expectancy: 9-15 years

As one of the laziest cat breeds, Birmans know how to relax and decompress. They also tend to prefer one person over all others, so if you live solo or want a pet to call yours and yours alone, go with a Birman. Their quiet personalities make for easy-going evenings and steady days. Since they’re already pretty big cats, the only issue to watch is their weight. Some playful exercise every day is a good idea.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety CHARTREUX
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5. CHARTREUX

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 6-12 pounds

Personality: Mellow, loving

Coat: Short, thick

Color: Blue-gray

Life Expectancy: 8-13 years

Thought to be companions to French monks centuries ago, Chartreux cats have the whole companion animal thing down pat. These mellow kitties are incredibly loyal and enjoy nothing more than keeping their favorite people company. Fluffy, blue-gray fur and round, gold eyes make them stunners, too.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety EXOTIC SHORTHAIR
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6. EXOTIC SHORTHAIR

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 9-12 pounds

Personality: Gentle, sweet

Coat: Short, coarse

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Exotic Shorthair cats are similar in build to Himalayans and Persians (two other cats on our list) but their fur is short and more coarse. This means less grooming maintenance, but just as much gentle affection. Exotic Shorthairs do tend to be curious, so mental and physical games (even with a laser pointer from your couch) is wise.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety HIMALAYAN
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7. HIMALAYAN

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 9-12 pounds

Personality: Sweet, friendly

Coat: Long, soft

Color: Variety of colors in pointed pattern

Life Expectancy: 15-18 years

Himalayan cats thrive in calm, easy-going households. They’ll support you while you meditate, lounge with you as you do some yoga and cuddle when you need a pal. Their long fur does require frequent brushing to keep it tangle-free but remember: Petting a cat reduces cortisol. Consider this time together a mini therapy session.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety NORWEGIAN FOREST
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8. NORWEGIAN FOREST

Height: 9-12 inches

Weight: 8-12 pounds (females), 12-18 pounds (males)

Personality: Independent, loving

Coat: Long, double coat, coarse

Color: Various (known for white and tabby mix)

Life Expectancy: 13-20 years

Some folks with anxiety enjoy the company of an animal but don’t need to be smothered constantly. If this is you, go with a Norwegian Forest cat. They actually enjoy their alone time! Picking them up when they want space is a good way to drive them away. They’ll let you know when they’re ready to snuggle. In the meantime, enjoy their company and love from a respectable distance.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety ORIENTAL SHORTHAIR
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9. ORIENTAL SHORTHAIR

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Smart, Affectionate

Coat: Short

Color: Hundreds of versions, often tortoiseshell or tabby coloration

Life Expectancy: 10-20+ years

While you’ll find Oriental Shorthairs on our list of naughty cat breeds, this is simply because of their insistence to be involved in every aspect of your life. Unlike Norwegian Forest cats, these felines thrive on companionship and interaction. Their affectionate, albeit insistent personalities make them ideal pets for anxious people who need a healthy outlet for their restless energy. Play with your kitty!

Best Cats for People with Anxiety PERSIAN
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10. PERSIAN

Height: 10-15 inches

Weight: 7-12 pounds

Personality: Quiet, sweet

Coat: Long, soft

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 8-11 years

Known for their charming faces and large eyes, Persian cats are truly kind creatures. They love nothing more than sweetly lounging on your lap and they thrive on routine. Establishing a consistent schedule is also helpful when it comes to reducing anxiety, so Persians are great friends in this endeavor. They also aren’t keen on jumping onto shelves and knocking stuff over, an activity that would stress anyone out.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety RAGDOLL
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11. RAGDOLL

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 10-15 pounds (females), 15-20 pounds (males)

Personality: Sweet, patient

Coat: Long, soft

Color: White bodies, pointed markings

Life expectancy: 13-18 years

Feeling appreciated can work wonders to alleviate anxiety. Ragdolls have got this covered. These gentle giants not only enjoy being near you, but they may also even scurry to say hello when you get home or keep you company while you’re cooking. Ragdolls also take several years to fully mature, which means a refreshing, youthful spirit well into adulthood.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety SCOTTISH FOLD
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12. SCOTTISH FOLD

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-13 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, loving

Coat: Long and short varieties

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Scottish Fold cats don’t ask for much other than your company and a weekly brushing. If you work from home, these cats are ideal companions as they prefer the company of others. Anyone surrounding themselves with more than one pet may want to consider a Scottish Fold as they gel well with other people and animals.

Best Cats for People with Anxiety SELKIRK REX
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13. SELKIRK REX

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 6-16 pounds

Personality: Even-tempered, friendly

Coat: Short or long, dense, curly

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

These unique looking, curly-haired cats couldn’t be friendlier. While not annoying in their demands, they definitely won’t be content sitting alone—especially if they know you’re in the next room. Selkirk Rex cats are ideal for people who thrive in the reassuring company of a devoted, intelligent cat. If playing games eases your anxiety, this is the route to take as Selkirk Rexes love a good play session.

RELATED: The 12 Best Cat Litter Boxes, from Self-Cleaning Robots to Tried-and-True Budget Savers

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