GENERAL BREED INFO

Best Cats for Kids: The Worthy Companions of All Times

Black and white picture of a cat and a kid
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Cats make great companions for kids. Apart from offering comfort, they help children develop their sense of responsibility and social skills. However, not all breeds are suitable for households with kids. While some cats are gentle and affectionate, others have little tolerance for manhandling and may not have the patience needed to treat children with care. The best cats for kids should be able to not only receive affection—even careless affection sometimes—gracefully, but they should also be eager to reciprocate.

There are so many breeds of cats available. Choosing one that suits your kid’s needs is not easy. Some features and traits may work for them while others may not. To ease this burden, we have explored several features and factors that can help you make an informed decision. By choosing a cat with the right temper, personality, and activity level, you will be offering your child a dear companion that could not only keep them company but also guard them and teach them some very important life skills.

Image of a kid following a cat on a street

We have gone a step further and compiled a list of some of the best cats recommended for kids. Just like people, each cat is unique, and the best decision you can make is one based on this understanding. Our explanation of each breed comes with all that you need to know to weigh your options. Before we list out the top cat breeds for kids, however, allow us a minute to tell you exactly what features we have taken into consideration while compiling the list.

Factors to Consider

When getting a pet for your kid, it is paramount that you understand the uniqueness of your child’s needs. Also, note that if you want to achieve the desired results, effort should be made to match the cat’s traits with those aforementioned needs. Here are a few pointers to help you head in the right direction.

Level of Activity

This refers to both the cat’s level of activity and your child’s. Some cat breeds are known to be very active while others are rather docile. If your child is a busy beaver, a cat that just wants to lie down and be petted will not do them any good. On the other hand, children that are not very active would rather have a companion that understands that.

White kitten staying in a girls arms

The ideal level of activity may also depend on the age of your child. The energy levels of a toddler are different from that of a ten-year-old. This will consequently affect the breed of the cat that you should choose.

Your Child’s Interests

What is it that your child likes to do? Some kids enjoy reading while others watch movies. Still, some like doing puzzles or assembling blocks while the adventurous ones would rather be outdoors climbing trees or riding bicycles.

Kid Reading books with rich illustrations

Regardless of this, there’s always a breed that suits your kid’s hobby. For example, a Bengal could be a good companion for your explorer kid while a Devon Rex might just be what your puzzle master needs. Birmans, on the other hand, will get along with the television lover.

Family Lifestyle

Families have different lifestyles. While some are busy— traveling or away from home most of the time—others spend most of their time in the house. Some cats like the Bombay easily adapt to the comings and goings of a family that leads a busy life, since they are quite independent and capable of amusing themselves.

Beautiful family riding bicycles in a park during autumn season.

More affectionate cats like the Ragdoll, however, tend to require a companion at all times and may therefore not be very suitable for families that will often have to leave them all alone in the house.

House Occupants

These include other members of the family and also other pets. Some cat breeds are known to get along with all members of a household while others may shy away from certain ones. There are others that don’t take in noisy environments very well and would therefore not be appropriate for families with more than one kid.

The Cat’s Unique Requirements

Some cats seem to come with a ‘handle with care’ instruction. They require extra effort when handling because they are sensitive, easily stressed out, or shy—among other reasons.

Black cat laying down and looking at the cameraa

It might be a good idea to reconsider high-maintenance cats if your goal is to find a companion for your kid. While it can be a good thing because the cat will be able to teach your child how to be subtle, you may not want your kid to feel like he is walking on eggshells every time he is in the cat’s company.

Recommended Cat Breeds for Children

We have put all the aforementioned factors into consideration and come up with a list of recommended cat breeds for children. Any of these cat breeds would be a great choice. Just make sure to base your choice on your child’s best interests.

Birman

The Birman is an intelligent and adventurous cat. Birmans are easy to handle and train. This is one cat that sticks close to you wherever you go and does not shy away from people whether they seem familiar or are complete strangers.

Birman Kitten laying down

They tend to be rather docile. They thrive on love and attention and also reciprocate the same. This even-tempered cat is perfect for quiet children. If your child is very active, however, the Birman might not be able to keep up.

American Short Hair

This cat has an admirable personality and excellent looks. They are playful and sweet-natured, which might just make them the perfect playmate for your child. They are friendly to all, including other pets. They are good to go with a weekly or twice-a-week grooming.

Bombay

Bombays are smart and mischievous. Your child will rarely get bored with these cats around since they are very resourceful when it comes to self-entertainment. If your family has a busy lifestyle, the Bombay cat will blend in without much hassle.

Black Bombay cat sitting on a wood

Bombays will not shy away from strangers. Even new visitors in the house will find a worthy companion and friend in the cat. However, if your child doesn’t like exerting too much energy, Bombays may be too high-strung for them.

Burmese

The Burmese’s playful nature allows them to enjoy the company of children, other pets, and other people. These cats are adventurous and mischievous. They may fearlessly try feats beyond their ability in an effort to show off.

Beautiful Burmese cat laying down

This cat does not shy away from games and tricks. They enjoy a good conversation and any attention given to them. The female likes to be in charge. The Burmese are pretty intrusive. They give full attention to all that you and your child do.

Abyssinian

The Abyssinian takes life in big strides. They are very active and playful. They are also very smart with a great sense of curiosity and therefore learn tricks fast and easily. Nothing escapes their attention.

Cute Abyssinian cat looking at the camera

They are fond of heights, but their movements are so graceful that they rarely cause any damages.The Abyssinian—also known as the Abby—is a suitable choice for older kids who can keep up with their robust energy. Unfortunately, if all members of your family tend to be busy and away most of the time, these cats may not thrive in your household because they get lonely easily.

Bengal

Bengals are energetic and smart. They are also alert and quite talkative. This means the cat will not be able to handle boredom well. The cat’s idea of killing boredom might end in some slightly ruinous feats.

Bengal Cat in green surrounding

They love to play games and are adept at learning new tricks. Tall trees come in handy because these cats love to climb and swing. If your kid loves playing in the water, the Bengal might be the perfect companion. After a good and energetic splashing session, the Bengal will later snuggle on your child’s lap and share their bed.

American Curl

The American Curl is a faithful and warm-hearted cat that easily gets along with other pets. This cat is a great companion for children. If your family’s lifestyle keeps changing, you should probably go with this breed since unlike most other cats that tend to get stressed out by change, American Curls adapt really well to new situations. These cats take a very keen interest in whatever their owner is up to.

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex is an endearing and humorous cat. They can easily interact with people especially when the person in question gives them affection and attention in return. This is a very smart cat. They love to be in the center of attention.

Two Cornish Rex kitten outside

They will perform amazing feats to keep that spot. They are very fast and energetic, though not the conversational type. This cat is known for being able to effortlessly open doors and cabinets, so watch out where you put your things, or they might snatch your things up.

Devon Rex

The Devon Rex is intelligent and quite active. They thrive on the attention of all. This cat is not very interested in learning new tricks and games. They would rather spend their innovative brain power on puzzle toys.

Portrait of a Devon Rex cat

This cat lives for the family meal times and might overeat if not closely monitored. They love to sleep in the warmest places in your bed. It would also not be unusual to find them perched on their owner’s shoulder or the top of a door, planning an agile descent.

Japanese Bobtail

These cats are energetic and doting. They have a way with feline words. You will often hear them softly talking with a wide range of vocabulary and varied tones. They can be stubborn when they have set their mind to something.

Image showing a portrait of a Japanese Bobtail cat

If your family loves traveling, the Japanese Bobtail would love to be a part of that family. Be sure to shower them with a lot of petting. They love to play in the water as well. They must be accompanied or will otherwise get creative in not very agreeable ways

Ragdoll

The ragdoll—also known as the Ragamuffin—is one cat with excellent manners. They are said to have the softest voice in the cat kingdom. While every cat craves attention, this one will not bug you for it. They might just be the right cat for the not-so-active-child.

Beautiful Ragdoll cat looking at the camera

They are lively but will act rather docile most of the time. They blend in well with any kind of family including those with children and other pets. Training ragdolls is easy. They enjoy walks and might even wear a leash if it is introduced early.

Himalayan

The Himalayan loves life. They enjoy conversations and are easily amused by the simplest of objects. In return for their fun companionship, their only demand is for you to love them back and give them maximum attention. They enjoy games but will spend most of their time resting quietly. They prefer indoor companionship.

Maine Coon

These cats are very patient and calm by nature, which helps in toning down temperamental children. They fit in well with children and other pets. The Maine Coon is a very faithful companion and is not easily intimidated by circumstances.

Two beautiful Maine Coon cats relaxing under a tree

They may shy away from strangers at first but will later get acquainted with them. They are not very active but they love playing in the water, so they are the perfect choice for active kids.

Tips to Help Any Cat Coexist with Kids

While the breeds we mentioned above are widely known as the best options if you’re looking for a companion for your kid, in actuality almost all cats can be groomed to be a child’s best friend—while some breeds might take more effort than others. For the cat and the kids to live in harmony, they need a friendly environment. You can only achieve this putting into place measures that cater to the needs of both. Below are a few tips that you might want to consider.

Make Your House Cat-Friendly

Cats like to move about, jump over furniture, and perch on different surfaces. This could mean that you need to move a few things to give your cat enough room for their activities. You might also need some cat trees for the climbers.

A cat sitting in a cat tree

A cat requires amenities like a litter box, scratch post, and pet toys. These should be availed beforehand to help the cat fit in comfortably. If the cat feels comfortable in his skin, even if he does not belong to an affectionate breed, he will approach your child in his own turn for companionship.

Teach Your Kids Pet Etiquette

Cats know how to reciprocate respect. Train your kids on how to properly take care of the cat. Habits like pulling, hitting, and stepping on the cat should be discouraged. 

A girl playing with a cat

In addition to this, keeping away from the cat’s litterbox, food, and water gives the cat some much-needed private space. This will impress upon the cat a positive impression of your kid.

Set Aside Half an Hour of Playtime Every Day

Ensure that the cat gets enough exercise every day. You can play with them yourself, but it’s preferable if you could hand the charmer wand over to your child instead. Enough exercise will wear the cat out enough to cuddle with your child even if they do not usually have the patience needed to humor a child’s curiosity.

Wrap Up

Cats make wonderful pets for kids. This is because they are able to repay all the affection they receive. The factors to consider before getting a cat revolve around your kid’s activity, family composition, lifestyle, and the cat’s unique needs.

kid playing with a cat at the country

While not all breeds are recommended, most are actually very kid friendly. We have provided you with all the relevant information on the top kid-friendly cat breeds. The decision now lies entirely in your hands.

Do you have any information you think we should have included in the article? What is your experience with cats and kids? Feel free to share your feedback with us by leaving a comment below.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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