10 Cat Breeds That Are Surprisingly Affectionate
Cats aren’t always portrayed as being snuggly; in the great meme battle between cats and dogs, it’s usually puppers who are represented as energetic and affectionate, while cats are shown as aloof, sedate, and often just plain cranky. But while it’s true that some cats don’t really do PDA, there are a number of cat breeds that are surprisingly affectionate — and as any cat person will tell you, cats who have a good relationship with their humans do tend to show affection regularly, whether by snuggling up with you on the couch or by bringing you toy mice they think are real because they’re convinced you’re incapable of feeding yourself.
Cats, interestingly, seem to have domesticated themselves — or at least, that’s what a study of cat DNA published in 2017 suggests. Humans and cats have lived alongside each other for many thousands of years; once they came in regular contact with each other, it became quickly apparent that cats could help humans and vice versa, and voila: Years of domesticated cats. Given all that history, it’s only to be expected that cats and humans would both start to show their affection for each other in demonstrable ways — grooming, purring, gifting presents, and, of course, snuggling.
These days, many people rank a snuggling, purring cat cuddled right up next to as one of the greatest things in the world — and if that’s one of the reasons you’re interested in getting a cat, then you’ll probably want to look at breeds that are known for their affectionate natures. It’s true that if you adopt a cat from a rescue organization (always something I advocate), there’s a good change you’ll never know exactly what breed your new buddy is; based on their appearance and temperament, though, you, the organization, and your vet will probably be able to make some educated guesses.
Here are 10 surprisingly affectionate cat breeds to get you started:
Snowshoe cats might look a little grumpy (although it’s worth noting that Grumpy Cat herself isn’t a Snowshoe), but don’t let their frowny little faces fool you; they’re incredibly affectionate, especially to the human in the household they deem their Favorite Human Ever. According to Cat Time, Snowshoes are terrific for humans who like to interact with their pets, rather than just coexist with them. These furry little things love company.
It’s true that one of the main draws of getting a cat is having something furry to curl up with on cold days — but don’t discount the cuddle-ability of cats without fur, either. The Sphynx, for example, is totally hairless, with their colors and patterns being a direct result of the pigment of their skin, rather than the color of any sort of coat… and they’re also one of the most affectionate and friendly breeds of cat out there. According to Base Paws, they’re smart, energetic, and playful, but also adore being a lap cat when they need a rest. They also get along well with other pets and people, so if you live in a highly populated household, a Sphynx will fit right in with your whole brood — whether they rest of the family is made up of animals or humans.
Siamese cats may have a reputation for being somewhat snooty, but they’re not, really; they’re smart and generally kind of do their own thing, but they also crave attention from their favorite humans. Per Hills Pet, being brushed and groomed is one of their favorite things — they associate it with being loved and cared for — and they like to sleep next to their human family members. Make sure you play with your Siamese, too; they're big on playtime!
Like Siamese cats, Persians are often portrayed in popular culture as high-maintenance and stuck-up. They are a little high-maintenance in that their coats require a lot of grooming, but they’re not actually stuck-up; indeed, they actually love a good cuddle. However, CatTime describes them as “affectionate but discriminating”: They’re quite loving towards their family of humans, but tend to stand back a little from people they don’t know very well.
Have you always wanted a cat that will ride around on your shoulder like a parrot? Think about adopting a Tonkinese. This playful, talkative cat, which is a cross between the Siamese and Burmese breeds, is very much a people person (and yes, I do consider cats to be people, even if they’re not human) and loves hanging out draped across their humans’ shoulders. Like the Sphynx, they’re good for busy households, including those with children or other pets.
Ignore all those old superstitions about black cats; the Bombay puts them all to bed. According to Vet Street, this little creature is what you get when you mix a sable Burmese with a black American Shorthair: An easy-going, attention-loving cat with a velvety, easy-to-care-for coat. Whether acting as a lap cat or exploring the outside world on a leash with their favorite people, Bombay cats stick by their humans’ sides.
7. Russian Blue
I hope you don’t mind having a cat who follows you everywhere, because that’s exactly what Russian Blues like to do. Indeed, they’ll usually greet you at the door when you come home after a long day at work. Similar to the Persian, though, guests visiting your home probably won’t see much of your Russian Blue; per the Cat Fanciers Association, the breed usually gets super attached to their own humans, but tend to avoid strangers. Russian Blues are definitely creatures of habit.
The super smart Balinese cat is good humored, friendly, and intuitive, particularly when it comes to the moods of its favorite humans. Indeed, according to PetMD, they’re the sort of cat that will show you extra affection if it senses you’re feeling under the weather or upset. There’s nothing like a good kitty snuggle when you’re not feeling your best!
9. Selkirk Rex
The sociable, cuddly Selkirk Rex isn’t always a lap cat; however, according to CatTime, these curly-haired little creatures love hanging out with their humans — and if they want you to pay attention to them, they’ll tell you. Loudly. It’s worth noting that the other two Rex varieties, Cornish and Devon Rexes, are also very affectionate; they’re also quite energetic, though. Selkirks still like to play, but as Vet Street puts it, they’re “more restful to live with.” They make excellent therapy cats.
Singapuras are tiny cats with big personalities. Described by Catster as “loving, acrobatic micro-cheetahs,” they're fond of “helping” with whatever chores or housekeeping you’re taking care of while your home — and by “help,” I mean “be a bit of a nuisance, but OMG, it’s just so cute that you’ll want to drop everything and play with them instead.” They also love to cuddle with their humans on the couch and sleep curled up next to them, so if you’re looking for a pet who’s both active and a snuggle bug, a Singapura might be just what you need.
Thinking of adopting a cat for the first time? Here are a few things you should know first. Meanwhile, tools like PetFinder might help you find a little furry friend near you that's just waiting for you to bring them to their forever home.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go see my own cats about a cuddle...