BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

Best Lap Cats: The Right Felines for a Cuddle

Image showing a cat sitting in the lap of her owner on the couch
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

You will agree that one of the major reasons why we love felines is because of those priceless cuddles that they give us. But as much as we love it when a cat jumps into our lap, not all cats are into that sort of stuff. As you know, cats are famous for doing only what they want, and not what you want them to. That’s why you have to choose very carefully if you want a lap cat. You either get one of the best lap cats that will demand cuddles of their own volition, or you don’t get to have them in your lap at all.

Certain cat breeds are more genetically predisposed to seeking out your lap in search of warm cuddles than others. That’s why, if you had thought ahead and decided to do some research before you make the final decision on which cat breed to adopt, congratulations! Your inquisitiveness will pay off. You’re on the right track and, after reading this article, you will soon go home from the breeder’s or the shelter with a cat that can’t get enough of your lap.

an-elderly-scandinavian-woman-strokes-cat-on-lap sweden

In this article, we define the basics of what a lap cat is. Once you’ve gained an understanding of that, we will identify ten cat breeds famous for their lap-loving tendency. Next, we will also enumerate some factors that you should consider before choosing any individual cat. Finally, don’t despair if you couldn’t stop yourself from falling in love with a cat that hates your lap. We will also explain how to convert your cat into a lap cat.

What Is a Lap Cat?

A lap cat is a domestic cat willing to sit on a person’s lap. The keyword is “willing.” Cats are independent and proud. They do things their way, or no way at all; it is in their nature. If your feline companion doesn’t have it in her DNA to be a lap cat, even if you try to outsmart her by using treats or rewards, she would always try to wiggle away.

A cat sitting in his owners lap

At this point, a question might have popped up in your head: So what makes certain cats crave the comfort of our lap while most others steer clear of it?

  • Certain cats consider this a way of showing affection

  • It is also the best position for her to be stroked, petted, and tickled

  • It can also be a way to claim you as a part of their territory particularly if there are other pets in the house

  • To state the obvious, the laps are warm, soft, and comfortable

Lap Cats Hall of Fame

Some cat breeds are more docile, friendlier, and more suited for the lap than others. A Bengal cat cannot be compared to a Persian because they are different on a genetic level. Below are some cat breeds that are genetically predisposed to be the best lap cats in the world. Listed in no particular order:

Persian

The Persian is one of the most popular cat breeds. Gorgeous and glamorous with their long hair and unique facial features, they love attention; in fact, they thrive in it. They are gentle cats who prefer to lounge and laze around than getting involved in any physical activity.

persian cat in a studio

These cats do not mind being left alone, but they crave the heat of their human’s lap. Their silky coat just calls for a good petting, and they love to connect with their humans that way.

Ragdoll

These are large, semi-longhaired cats who—although very active as kittens—become lap cats at maturity. The Ragdoll loves to be cuddled and finds pleasure in your lap where they belong. Their innocent blue eyes are hard to resist.

These cats have an affectionate and warm personality. They are not curious about anything else as much as they are curious about you. If the Ragdoll is not sitting in your lap, they are probably by your side on the bed or the floor.

Ragdoll Kittens in a studio

Best of all, after a good session of lap-cuddling, if you find the need to get yourself a glass of water or some snacks, you don’t have to end the cuddling right then and there. Simply take them with you as you get up. They will lay limp in your arms, precisely like a ragdoll.

Burmese

The attention-seeking Burmese will always make their demands known without holding back. They will vocalize their need to sit in your lap if they are in the mood to. They are quite rambunctious by nature, and their pretty golden eyes will always make you oblige them.

burmese- cat lying on the floor

Anytime you are seated, your cat would be on your lap; don’t you even dare say no. Still, despite being quite bossy, the Burmese are generally lovable, active family cats.

Exotic Shorthair

This breed is a bit more cautious about the lap they jump into. They are more active than the Persian, but they also love to be cuddled. They would rather snuggle and watch a movie with you than climb up a perch on their cat tree.

Exotic Shorthair kitten sitting up

The Exotic is blessed with a sweet disposition and a calm nature. They have been referred to as the lazy man’s Persian because they are much easier to groom.

Sphynx

The Sphynx is known as the “Velcro lap cat” because once they have started lounging in your lap, it will be very difficult to peel them off. Due to their lack of hair, they are vulnerable to the cold; thus, soft, warm surfaces are their thing. They do not like being carried or petted often; they just to love to lay in warm places.

Sphynx cats kitten with mother

You can’t blame them; why choose the cold hard ground, when you can enjoy the opposite? This Chihuahua look-alike is sweet and sociable. They love human attention, and attention you should be prepared to give when you’re thinking about adopting this breed because they are quite high-maintenance grooming-wise.

Chartreux

This is a rare, French cat breed that is known as “the smiling cat.” This can be attributed to their long, tapered muzzle that makes the cat look like they are perpetually smiling. The Chartreux makes the best television-watching companion—a practical lap cat indeed.

Chartreux cat lying on the side

If the Chartreux doesn’t find a lap to sit on, they will simply follow you around. These cats have a quiet, affectionate personality which makes them endearing to anybody. There is a saying that goes: “Don’t get a Chartreux if you don’t want a lap cat.”

Ragamuffin

The Ragamuffin is similar to the Ragdoll in size and appearance. The difference is, they come in a wide array of coat colors—not just points. Long-haired and adorable, these cats love to sit on their owner’s lap. Also, they tend to go limp the moment you pick them up, just like their Ragdoll cousin.

is-a-ragamuffin-cat sitting in front of the camera

The Ragamuffin is friendly, affectionate, and loves to be around their owner. Although it takes four to five years for them to reach maturity, it won’t feel long at all because every day goes by in a blissful breeze when you’re living with a Ragamuffin.

Himalayan

The “Himmy”—as these cats are fondly referred to—is a type of Persian. The only difference between Himalayans and Persians is that Himalayans have Siamese coloring. Still, they inherited their Persian parent’s dense, thick coat. Thus, they are a pleasure to stroke and pet.

Himalayan Cat sitting on the table

Himalayan cats are very affectionate, gentle, and cuddly. They just love to chillax in their owner’s lap. But be warned, Himalayans tend to be choosy about whose lap they grace their presence with. These cats are famous for sticking to only one favorite human member of the family and no one else.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coons are gentle giants—large and snuggly. They can weigh up to 18 pounds or more, but they feel nice on the lap with all that gorgeous mane to stroke. Still, be forewarned that your legs might fall asleep really quickly, what with how heavy these cats are.

maine-coon cat lying down

You might be tempted to just suffer in silence as opposed to bothering your cat’s beauty sleep, but don’t be afraid to wake your Maine Coon up when you simply can’t take it any longer. These cats aren’t quick to anger.

Tonkinese

The result of a crossbreeding between a Siamese and a Burmese, the Tonkinese inherited the outgoing, friendly nature of the Burmese and the beauty of the Siamese. These cats are goofy and humorous, affectionate and family oriented.

Tonkinese cat in a studio

These blue-eyed cats make a wonderful lap cat. If they are not allowed on your lap, then they will be content with a vacant shoulder as long as they are around you. Other than the ten we’ve mentioned above, there are many more breeds that are great as lap cats, including the Selkirk Rex, Scottish Fold, Birman, Abyssinian, and others.

Choosing Your Lap Cat

Now you know which cat breeds you should choose from if you desire a lap cat, but how do you know which one is right for you? There are things to consider in order to make an informed decision when choosing your lap cat:

Step #1: Consider Your Lifestyle

If you are always out and about because of work or other commitments and you got yourself a lap cat, then it would not be fair to your cat and to yourself. Lap cats are primarily affectionate and like to be with people. If your lifestyle does not allow you enough time to keep your cat company, then perhaps you should go for more independent cat breeds.

A cat sitting in a man's lap

If you desire a lap cat no matter what, consider adopting two of them at once so they can keep each other company while you’re away. Also, take note of other aspects of your lifestyle. If you are always traveling, choose a Chartreux because these well-behaved cats make great travel companions. If you live in an apartment, avoid the Burmese because their chatty nature could bother your neighbors.

Step #2: Choose a Reputable Breeder

Your cat should come from a breeder who raises their kittens underfoot. This means they are raised in the house and are exposed to a lot of socialization, people interaction, and relations to each other.

 close-up portrait of blue-eyed Ragamuffin cat

This is vital because cats learn their social skills quite early as kittens. If the breeder simply let them grow on their own like wild grass without paying them the proper amount of attention, they may grow up to be misbehaved.

Choosing a reputable breeder also helps you avoid many potential genetic health complications because the breeder would have already run tests to confirm that the cat is healthy before they let you adopt them.

Step #3: Get to Know the Cat

Although breed characteristic matters, your cat is an individual with their own personality. That is why it is advisable that before bringing the cat home, you should at least spend some time with them. Visit the cat at the breeder’s or the shelter once or twice before committing.

black and white image of a lap cat

You may have gotten the perfect lap cat on paper, but reality could prove to be different particularly if the cat was subjected to abuse, abandonment, starvation, and loneliness by their previous owner. It may take a while for such cats to become lap cats even though their DNA designed them to be—and that’s if they could ever manage to recover. If you’re determined to help a betrayed cat regain their former self, here’s what you can do:

  • Make your feline feel safe: We all only let our guard down when we think we are safe and secure. Your cat may relax more and open herself to you if you work to make her physical and emotional environment conducive.

  • Be calm: Animals are sensitive to energy and auras. If your cat perceives that you are anxious and worried, she won’t want a part of that. You need to be calm.

  • Entice and reward: You can use a catnip or anything you know she loves to entice her to your lap. You can make a trail with her favorite treats from where she is to your lap. If she takes the bait, reward her with more treats and kind, soothing words while you hold her in your lap.

  • Let your cat choose: If you finally got her into your lap, allow her the freedom to choose whether to stay or go. Since she is not used to being a lap cat, she will still balk at the idea. If she is feeling claustrophobic and wants out of your arms, let her go. The wrong thing to do will be to hold her down by force. If she feels she is in control, she may begin to like the idea of being a lap cat more by the day.

  • Be patient: You can’t rush the process. In some cases, your efforts might not bear fruit at all. But don’t worry. If your cat loves you, she will show it in many different ways, not just by lounging in your lap.

When choosing which cat to adopt, don’t forget to consider other characteristics. For example, would you prefer a queen or a tom? Long haired or short haired? An active cat or a couch potato? A quiet feline or one that is always ready to converse with you? Ensure you pick a lap cat that has other traits that you like.

Wrap Up

It is time to take action. Go get your own lap cat and enjoy their affection. You can’t be told how it feels to stroke, cuddle, and love the cat in your lap; you just have to experience it yourself. Don’t forget to consider all the other qualities before you decide on the right lap cat for you.

Man's arm with a sleeping cat in his lap

Which one of all the cat breeds we have mentioned above do you think will make the best lap cat for you? Are there any other breeds that you think should’ve made the cut? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.

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