The 15 Most Stubborn Cat Breeds Who Aren’t Going to Do Anything They Don’t Want To

The most stubborn cat breeds all have one thing in common: an unflinching dedication to their activity of choice. Basically, the cat breeds on this list choose a lane and refuse to merge, no matter how hard you might try to persuade them otherwise. Some, like the Siberian, stop at nothing to wriggle into the space they’ve set their hearts on. Others, like the Balinese, demand attention constantly and become destructive when they don’t get enough. Any cat owner will tell you a stubborn cat isn’t uncommon (especially if they’re a member of the Siamese breed group or have Siamese cat ancestry). The key is understanding their persistence so you can accommodate.

Why are cats stubborn?

Felines are naturally independent creatures—even if they unabashedly show affection. Stubborn behavior in the form of insistent vocalizations or scratching at your legs may very well stem from the frustration of relying on their humans for things like food, water and entertainment. Refusing to come when called, follow commands or move from a chosen perch likely indicates your cat is fed up with someone else’s behavior. Give them some time to cool down.

One 2017 study looked at five key aspects of domestic cat personality. It advises that taking a cat’s environment into consideration is a huge part of figuring out their personality. For example, the study notes, “In cats with low agreeableness scores, showing irritability may indicate underlying pain or illness.” So, a stubborn cat might also be a sick one!

The key to raising a happy, healthy cat is understanding your pet’s needs and unique personality. The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to provide for and connect with them.

stubborn cats tonkinese
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1. Tonkinese

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-12 pounds

Personality: Active, Intelligent, Sweet

Coat: Short, silky

Color: Cream or mink with darker points on the face, ears, and paws

Life Expectancy: 12-16+ years

Known to be stubborn when it comes to getting their own way, these lovable cats really just want your attention 24/7. In fact, The Cat Fancier’s Association says Tonkinese are “firmly convinced that humans were put on Earth to love them.” Since Tonkinese are also very smart, entertaining them with interactive toys and fresh challenges is a must (they might chirp at you until you do).

stubborn cats colorpoint shorthair
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2. Colorpoint Shorthair

Height: 11-14 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Assertive, devoted

Coat: Short

Color: Cream with red or brown pointing on the face, ears and tail

Life Expectancy: 12-17 years

CatTime says the Colorpoint Shorthair will “pout and pine” if denied attention. Like their relatives the Siamese, Colorpoints vocalize frequently (and loudly) and dote on their favorite human. Known to trot behind you as you move around your house, these felines want to be included at all times.

stubborn cats havana brown
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3. Havana Brown

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Mischievous, loving

Coat: Short

Color: Chocolate brown

Life Expectancy: 8-13 years

Be prepared for a little mischief if you own a Havana Brown cat. These chocolate-colored sweethearts enjoy spending time with kids and other pets almost too much. AKA, they better get as much affection as they give. The CFA also notes that Havanas must “have the last word on everything.”

stubborn cats khao manee
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4. Khao Manee

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 8-10 pounds

Personality: Curious, energetic

Coat: Short

Color: White

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Unlike many of the cat breeds on our list, the Khao Manee is all natural, meaning it wasn’t bred by combining any other types of felines. These ancient kitties have been around for centuries, which makes sense considering their ultra-curious personalities. Khao Manees want to explore and play all day long, no matter if it gets them into trouble. Once they set their mind to something, consider it done.

stubborn cats oriental shorthair
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5. 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

Oriental Shorthair cats can be found in just about any and every color. They thrive when surrounded by their family members. In fact, if you’re not around enough, these cats happily become destructive until you get home and play with them. Like their Siamese ancestors, Oriental Shorthairs will meow, chirp and trill often. The CFA says Oriental Shorthairs will not only interrupt your activities, they’ll open drawers if it means getting your attention.

stubborn cats singapura
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6. Singapura

Height: 6-8 inches

Weight: 5-8 pounds

Personality: Extroverted, energetic

Coat: Short

Color: Tabby coloration, tans and browns

Life Expectancy: 9-18 years

Unlike some of the other stubborn cat breeds on our list, the Singapura craves attention but doesn’t destroy things if ignored or left alone. Interacting with people and other pets is their favorite activity. Known for being one of the smallest cat breeds, Singapuras have enough energy to fill a cat three times their size. They learn quickly and never give up.

stubborn cats somali
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7. Somali

Height: 7-11 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Loyal, social

Coat: Long

Color: Red, brown, tan, lilac

Life Expectancy: 11-16 years

Think of the Somali cat as an explorer, eager to seek adventure and report back on their findings. These smarties enjoy climbing as high as they can and won’t leave any space unexplored, according to The International Cat Association. Somalis want to know what you’re doing and insert themselves into the activity. Beyond this, they are incredibly affectionate and love to snuggle.

stubborn cats siamese
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8. Siamese

Height: 8-12 inches

Weight: 5-12 pounds

Personality: Social, athletic

Coat: Short

Color: Cream or fawn with brown or black points

Life Expectancy: 10-20+ years

Leaving a Siamese cat alone for long stretches of time will likely mean destruction and irritation once you return home. These intelligent, athletic and social felines do best around other people and pets (it’s wise to have another cat in the house). Incredibly vocal, Siamese cats love to talk to you and aren’t afraid to do so until you give them the affection they desire.

stubborn cats cornish rex
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9. Cornish Rex

Height: 8-12 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Charming, playful

Coat: Short, curly or wavy

Color: Solid black, white, gray, red, lilac; tabby, calico or tortoiseshell

Life Expectancy: 9-13+ years

The Cornish Rex is another breed that will insert themselves into any situation involving their family members. They are attention seekers through and through. If you play fetch with a Cornish Rex (which they enjoy), you might never find a way to end the game.

stubborn cats balinese
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10. Balinese

Height: 8-11 inches

Weight: 5-15 pounds

Personality: Outgoing, curious, loving

Coat: Short, Long on tail and underbelly

Color: Brown, red, tan, or cream with dark brown or black points

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

Now, here’s a cat extremely fine-tuned to their owner’s emotional state. Not only will they follow you everywhere, they’ll make sure you know where they are at all times. Leaving a Balinese alone too long isn’t wise (hello, destruction). Your Balinese may insist on venturing outdoors, so consider leash training.

stubborn cats devon rex
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11. Devon Rex

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 5-9 pounds

Personality: Devoted, mischievous

Coat: Short, curly or wavy

Color: All colors

Life Expectancy: 14-17+ years

Say hello to one of the strongest willed cats on our list, the Devon Rex. These kitties are known for begging for food off your dinner plate and meowing at you as though you’ve neglected their appetites completely. Devons will try to wear you down with their big, pleading eyes and intensely devoted dispositions. They look like little elves and act as such.

stubborn cats japanese bobtail
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12. Japanese Bobtail

Height: 8-9 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Active, loving

Coat: Shorthair and longhair varieties, bobbed tail

Color: All colors

Life Expectancy: 9-13+ years

Don’t expect your Japanese Bobtail to sit still for long. These cats enjoy activities. Boredom comes easily and they aren’t afraid to remind you when it’s time to play (aka, all the time). Get ready for a Japanese Bobtail to sit on your computer keyboard or paw at you while you read a book until you pay attention to them.

stubborn cats chausie
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13. Chausie

Height: 13-17 inches

Weight: 8-13 pounds (females), 13-19 pounds (males)

Personality: Smart, adventurous

Coat: Short, dense

Color: Brown, tan

Life Expectancy: 12-18 years

As one of the largest domestic cat breeds, Chausies bring a lot to the table. In fact, they’ll take over the table, the tops of shelves, the small spaces you never think they’ll fit into, and more. These are curious adventure seekers through and through; Chausies won’t give up until they’ve seen it all. Incredibly vocal, they’re not afraid to let you know where they are, and since they’ve been known to jump six feet into the air, they could be anywhere.

stubborn cats russian blue
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14. Russian Blue

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 7-15 pounds

Personality: Gentle, reserved

Coat: Short, dense

Color: Gray, blue

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

Unlike the previous cats on our list, the Russian Blue does not demand being the center of attention. In fact, they may refuse to come out from under the bed on a whim. These cats become stubborn when you try to change up routine or invite new people over. The International Cat Association calls them “observant and persistent.” They need plenty of alone time and much prefer watching from the outside before deciding to join in the party.

stubborn cats norwegian forest
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15. 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

Similar to Russian Blue cats, Norwegian Forest cats need space and alone time. If you force them to snuggle with you, it’s a sure bet they’ll avoid you like the plague. They’re large cats who value affection when they’re in the mood—and only when they’re in the mood.

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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...