6 Best Cat Breeds for Families and Children

best cat breeds for families and children

When it comes to adopting a new pet into the family, there are a lot of things you will need to consider. 

For one, you will want to make sure you can provide financially for the animals and you have all of the resources to care for them. Beyond that, you will also need to make sure you can find an animal that is compatible for your family. 

For example, a family that spends much of their time at school or at work is not going to be a suitable family for a greyhound, who needs to be tended to and given ample exercise. 

Likewise, a family with very young children is going to find that some animals, such as historically bred guard and fighting dogs, are not going to be good for a curious child who doesn’t know not to provoke the dog. 

When all of that is said and done, it can seem like a troublesome task to try and pick out a particular breed of animal that will get along well with your family. 

For people who are considering adopting cats, the decision may seem twice as hard. After all, there are many cat breeds that are known to be aloof and will react with claws when a young, loud, and otherwise well-meaning child is chasing the cat. 

However, there are certainly some cat breeds out there that have the perfect temperament to be around children. The trick is to know what to look for when searching for the best cat breeds for families. 

What to Look for in a Cat Breed Suitable for Families and Children

Photo by Veronika Homchis on Unsplash

There are two main things you will want to look for when searching for the best cat breeds for children as well as families. 

  1. Easy-Going Cats

You will want to look for easy-going and relaxed cats that will calmly take a young child’s innocent play, or even start playing back with the child. 

  1. Independent Cats

You will also want to look for cats that do have their own sense of independence and can be fine if they are left completely alone for the majority of the working day. 

There are several breeds that fit into this mix, and because of this, you may want to narrow down what you are looking for. 

Some families may want to look for a cat that can stand to be alone, without another companion cat, for up to eight hours a day during work and get minimal attention for up to eight hours a night when it is time for everyone to go to sleep. 

This can be hard to find, as cats are far more loyal than a lot of people give them credit for, but there are some cats that walk the line between being completely aloof and independent, and being able to care for themselves most of the day without needing constant attention. 

Other families, particularly ones with kids, may want to look for cats that are easy-going and relaxed, and can take some of the strange antics that children get up to with their animals. 

Some breeds of cats will put up with seemingly anything, from being held in the completely wrong position to having their tail pulled throughout the day. 

Other families with children may want their children and pets to actually play together, instead of the cat just putting up with the child. 

These cats are often a mix between being okay for children, but not being suitable for very young kids, as there are times when these cats may decide to join in the “play,” and for cats, play can sometimes mean claws. 

Very young kids may not understand that, and become distraught when playing with these cats. 

These breeds are often best for families with children who are old enough to understand that the cat has claws, can use claws, and also that the use of claws doesn’t immediately mean that the kid has done something wrong. 

So without further ado, here is our list for best cat breed for families and children:

The Most Well-Rounded Breed for Families with Children

Maine Coon

maine coon
Photo by Chloe Leis on Unsplash

The Maine Coon is traditionally one of the larger common breeds of cats, and they are known for being very laid-back, friendly, and easy to get along with. They are often called the “gentle giant” of cat breeds. 

They retain a curious kitten-like part of their personality all throughout their lives, and they are very well-known for getting along with both kids and other animals in the house. 

The best part about these cats is that they almost never become overly dependent on their people and can handle being alone in a house for some time. 


ragdoll cat
Photo by P K on Unsplash

Ragdoll cats get their name from the fact that they become like ragdolls when being held, tolerating children holding them in the strangest positions. As one might be able to imagine, this kind of personality is perfect for a household with somewhat young children. 

These cats have personalities that can be compared to puppies, being easy-going and gentle, but also begging to be carried at times. 

They can be a little bit more dependent than busy families might like, but for a family with children, this is the perfect cat. 

The Most Sociable Breeds for Families with Children 


burmese cat
source: ollie harridge on flickr

While the Burmese cat may not be the best for families who spend most of the day away from home, these cats can do well in a busy, bustling environment of a large household. 

These cats are heavily people-oriented, with an outgoing personality. They will become attached to their owners, becoming lap warmers and happily playing with your children with their gentle temperament. 

With a mischievous streak that runs well into adulthood, these cats can make wonderful companions of both families and children for their whole lives. 


Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Likewise, the Birman is a breed that loves to play with families, but holds a reserved side that most busy families appreciate. 

When this cat notices that people are busy, or that a well-meaning child doesn’t realize that a cat’s tail isn’t for pulling, it will be quiet and patient, allowing the time to pass until it is ready to play and interact with others again. 

They do well in crowded households, houses with pets, and they are devoted to the children who play with them. 

The Most Playful Breeds for Families with Children 


Photo by Lukáš Vaňátko on Unsplash

If you are looking for a cat that has a character of its own and will make for an exciting playmate for children, the Manx cat is going to be one of the best breeds for that. These cats are also well known for having dog-like personalities, wanting to play whenever they can and even burying their toys for fun. 

These cats have a gentle temperament, meaning that they will rarely resort to claws if a child is getting a little bit rambunctious with playtime, and they are not overly dependent despite enjoying being able to spend time with a loving family. 


Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

The Abyssinian, in spirit, is a far more active playmate than the Manx. Abyssinians are incredibly playful cats that can make a game out of pretty much anything. 

Chances are that these cats will always be moving, but if a family wants to sit down and have a calm dinner, these cats will happily settle down and sit beside your chair as well. 

These cats can easily make entertainment for themselves, meaning busy families won’t have to worry about them. 

One thing you should keep in mind is that because these cats are so focused on play, there’s a chance they may bring out their claws to play with children. This means that while they are often great with children, a house with infants and toddlers may want to consider another breed.

Editorial Team

When we aren't scooping up droppings to ensure a luxurious litter box experience for our fur babies, we are writing all sorts of stuff about cats for your enjoyment and knowledge.

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