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The 13 Best Cats for Kids

10 min read

Updated - Feb 2nd, 2022

Are you thinking about adding a feline friend to your growing family, but wondering how good cats are with children? Luckily, many cats are great with little ones, as they make perfect snuggle buddies and provide kids with an outlet for fun and play. Cats are also relatively low maintenance and can teach young children responsibility, which is a big plus for busy parents. 

Any cat owner or lover will tell you just how much their furry friend helps them relax and unwind, as cats love to curl up in your lap at the end of a long day. Cats are very affectionate with their owners and people they trust, so they make great companions for any member of the family, but especially for kids. 

While there are a variety of kid-friendly cat breeds out there, there’s no doubt that certain breeds are a more seamless fit for homes with growing children. If you’re searching for your new feline friend, check out our picks for the best cat breeds for kids – and see which of these lovable kittens would be a good fit for your family. 

How to find the best cats for kids

If dogs are a man’s best friend, cats are certainly a child’s best friend. Since cats like to play, eat, and sleep a lot, it works out well that children tend to enjoy the same things. Children with pets tend to be more caring and empathetic towards people and animals, and learn a thing or two about responsibility.

Every cat is different, so here are five things to keep in mind to ensure a successful match:

  • Schedule: While cats are somewhat low maintenance pets, they still come with a checklist of needs. Will you be home often? If not, are you willing to travel with your cat? You should consider the amount of time and attention you can dedicate to a kitty before you decide to bring one home. 
  • Your living environment: Cats need room to run and play, no matter their size. Before you adopt, make sure your home has ample space to accommodate a cat comfortably.
  • Size: If you have younger children, will they be able to adapt to handle a medium or mid-sized cat? 
  • Personality: Just like humans, some cats are better around kids than others. You’ll want to think about the traits of a breed – such as energy level and affection level – and how they stack up to the lifestyle and personalities of your family. 
  • Care: Who will be the main person caring for your cat? Will the kids be involved in caring for their new feline friend? Cats need to be litter trained, have their nails trimmed, and hair brushed and groomed, so this is something to consider. 

Our top picks: The best cats for kids

Without further ado, here are 13 family-friendly cat breeds well known for their gentle, playful nature.

1. Ragdoll

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Known for their easy going nature, Ragdoll cats love their humans and thrive on interactive play. As one of the most affectionate cat breeds around, they love to be held and will often greet their humans at the door and follow them around at home. They tend to be fairly large and have bright blue eyes, and they’re known to collapse into the arms of the person holding them – just like a ragdoll. 

Not only are Ragdoll cats able to keep up with active kids, but they really enjoy the attention. Ragdoll cats are a top option for homes with children, as they’re gentle, docile, and are unlikely to cause any harm to children, even babies. 

2. American Shorthair

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An affectionate breed, American Shorthair cats are known for being friendly, laid-back, and gentle pets. Built for family life, these sweet kitties are low-maintenance and tend to get along well with both humans and other pets. Known for being very adaptable and independent, they can tolerate being left alone if their owners cannot be home for several hours a day. They also live long lives, which means they’ll be part of your family for the long-haul. 

With their easy going temperament, they make excellent family pets for households with children, and they particularly love interactive play with their humans. They’re one of the most popular cat breeds, and an excellent choice for first-time cat parents. 

3. Birman

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Known for being easy going, gentle, and curious, Birman cats are as sociable as they come. They love attention, but aren’t too demanding and can lounge around the house with other pets. Although they’re less active than other breeds, they enjoy romping around with other household pets and can adapt to any type of home. 

Birman cats make ideal companions for children as they’re easy to handle, very playful, and have gentle temperaments. Your children can have fun training a Birman cat to do all sorts of things, including walking on a leash.

4. Maine Coon

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Well known for their size, Maine Coon cats are large cats with larger personalities. These gentle giants can weigh up to 20 pounds, but have kitten-like dispositions. Good natured and gentle, they’re known to be very tolerant and can easily adapt to the needs of children. They form strong bonds with their owners, and get along well with other cats and even dogs. With the longest and most beautiful coat out there, they enjoy playing fetch and may even walk on a leash. 

Their hardy size makes them unafraid of being handled by children, and they make excellent family pets due to their playful, kind, and sweet personality. 

5. Abyssinian 

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Master manipulators when it comes to their owners, Abyssinian cats will have your family wrapped around their paws. A relatively self-sufficient breed, they love to run, jump, play, and follow their owners around and greet them with calm and soft chatter. They are unusually smart, affectionate, and friendly, and one of the more active cat breeds. No matter their age, Abyssinian cats are full of energy and require significant playtime. 

Loyal, intelligent, and people-oriented, Abyssinians are great fits for children and any other cats inside the house. They know how to have fun, and love to play with their owners. 

6. Manx

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Affectionate, friendly, even-tempered, and mellow, Manx cats are extremely protective of their home and have a strong desire to be with people. These medium-sized, rounded felines are active and considered to be “dog-like.” Manx cats love to curl up in their owners lap, and will try to follow them wherever they go. Although their voice is unusually quiet for a cat its size, these cats love to talk. 

Adaptable and gentle, Manx cats make for wonderful family cats. Manx cats are known for their lack of tail, and this is just one of the reasons they are a good breed for children;  no tail means that children won’t have the temptation to pull!

7. Himalayan

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While Himalayan cats may look mean, they’re anything but. A mixture of a Persian and a Siamese cat, they have the mellow personality of a Persian with the blue eyes and striking coloring of a Siamese. Himalayan cats are both loving and affectionate towards their owners, both big and small. A major cuddler, they want to sit in their owners laps and be close to them no matter what they’re doing. They take well to indoor life, and are relatively low maintenance. 

Himalayan cats are one of the most affectionate cat breeds in the world, and therefore make wonderful pets. They’re great with children, so be prepared for a cat that will bond with your kids for life. 

8. Burmese

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Burmese cats love being around their humans, and remain playful and friendly well into their senior years. They have a frisky and mischievous demeanor, and love to play fetch and remain social, so don’t leave them home alone for too long! With a dog-like personality, Burmese cats will follow you around the house all day long, hoping to get a pat or stroke. 

A perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs, Burmese cats will serve as playmates for children for years to come. 

9. Ragamuffin

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Large, clingy, and affectionate, Ragamuffin cats love people and have personalities as large as their big and fluffy frames. Ragamuffins are docile, friendly, and have a sweet temperament. They provide their owners with serious companionship and enjoy playtime (and can even learn a trick or two!). You’ll often find your Ragamuffin cat waiting at the door for you, and later curl up on your lap for hours. Like most cats, they’ll play, run, jump, and sleep for many hours.

Ragamuffin cats form strong bonds with their families, making them the ultimate people-pets. Their pleasant demeanor makes them excellent pets for homes with children and other animals. 

 10. Cornish Rex

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Cornish Rex cats are active and playful, and love to play fetch. Extremely affectionate, they love to be around people and may even demand attention and companionship. They’re known for their curious and intelligent nature, with a bit of a mischievous streak. They tend to jump on high surfaces to survey their surroundings, and will get into just about anything – from closed doors to cabinets. 

With their playful and outgoing nature, Cornish Rex cats are a great choice for families with children, other pets, or frequent guests. They have a lot of love to give, and won’t hesitate to give it to the whole family. 

11. Persians

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Persian cats are low-maintenance with a high-maintenance look. They look like royalty, but they’re sweet and gentle, and can be playful or quiet and laid-back. They love to lounge around the house, but also adapt well to busy households. Undemanding, they won’t follow you around the house, but still love affection and petting. 

With their fluffy fur, your children might just mistake them for stuffed animals. Persian cats are great starter pets for young children who don’t need highly active pets to stay engaged. They can teach your kids about playing nice and taking care of a pets’ basic needs. 

12. Siamese

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As the most popular short haired breed in the United States, Siamese cats make great family pets. Gluttons for attention, they develop strong and loyal relationships with their family members, but may take some time to get comfortable with you. They’re also one of the most talkative breeds around, and will follow you around meowing away, or hop into your lap the first chance they get. 

Siamese cats love to enjoy human company, and are regarded as one of the best breeds for families with children. Siamese cats and kids can be best friends for life. 

13. Siberian

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Siberian cats are devoted but not clingy, and will follow you from room to room and patiently wait until you can curl up with them on the couch. With their athletic ability and high intelligence level, Siberian cats are energetic and adventurous problem solvers. They’re also skilled jumpers, with their strong hind legs that are slightly longer than their front legs. 

With their easygoing personality and relatively low maintenance demeanor, they make great additions to active households full of kids and other furry friends. 

Finding the right cat breed for your kids

Kitties are fun and can provide a lot of entertainment and companionship for families. With a mind of their own, they’re extremely loyal animals and provide lifetime friendships with a great deal of reward. 

All things considered, the decision on what breed to adopt is up to you and your family. When you find the purrrfect companion for you and your kids, Pumpkin’s cat insurance plans can help protect them from future illnesses and accidents – so your new best friend can live a happy, healthy life.

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​​*Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy. Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (Pumpkin) (NPN#19084749) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company (NAIC #21113. Morristown, NJ), a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information and pumpkin.care/insurance-licenses

Christina is a copywriter and a loving cat mom to an adorable Bombay named Zetta.