Affectionate cat breeds are ideal if you’re looking for a new feline fur baby who won’t be shy when it comes to showering you with cuddles. Offering gentle companionship and an abundance of purrs, cuddly lap cats are wonderful for our mental health and make loyal and devoted family members.
Some of the world’s most exotic cat breeds are well known for their affectionate behavior, curiosity and tendency to curl up on any available lap, but you don’t need a rare cat breed to build a trusting and deep relationship with a pet. Almost any cat can become a loving and dependable companion with the right care and attention, and many cats in shelters are just waiting to be adopted into a new and loving family to display their charming personalities.
It’s worth noting that while certain cat breeds are known to be more affectionate and cuddly, each cat has their own unique temperament and personality. While they all love a good snuggle, some also have a fair bit of energy, so learning how to play with a cat will ensure their physical and mental health stays in tip-top condition.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up our favorite affectionate cat breeds — and if you value a cat with a sharp mind as well as a big heart, you’ll be pleased to learn that many of them regularly feature on lists of the most intelligent cat breeds too. Cuddly and super bright? Now that’s a winning combination!
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PetsRadar’s pick of the most affectionate cat breeds
Originating in California in the 1960s, the Ragdoll is the epitome of the laidback lap cat. Bred to be affectionate, Ragdolls make ideal pets for anyone looking for a lovable and low-maintenance furbaby. Ragdolls are a cross between a Persian and a Berman, and their name comes from the fact that they tend to go floppy when picked up and cuddled. Ragdolls are known for their piercing blue eyes and fluffy coats. Their friendly and gentle nature makes them ideal for homes with children or other pets, and they have a soft and delicate meow that will melt your heart.
If you’re looking for a sweet-natured kitty who will greet you whenever you return home and follow you wherever you go, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat the Ragdoll.
If you want your love and cuddles to come in the form of a highly energetic, talkative, and intelligent cat, then the Siamese is a winner.
With striking blue eyes and sleek bodies, the Siamese is exceptionally social and likes conversing with people. An ancient breed that has been around for hundreds of years, Siamese cats crave companionship and are quick learners.
This curious cat loves exploring and getting into everything, and they need a lot of stimulation and playtime during the day to ensure they’ll be tired enough to snuggle up on your lap in the evenings.
3. Maine Coon
Maine Coons are family cats who like to be with their people. Huge in size and personality, these gentle giants are super affectionate towards humans and love hanging out where all the action is.
Sweet tempered and gentle, the Maine Coon loves to play, chase, and hunt. Outgoing and highly intelligent with a predisposition towards curiosity, Maine Coons are non-aggressive and get on well with both humans and other animals.
With a fondness for quality time and snuggles, the Maine Coon will lap up attention wherever they can get it.
4. Scottish Fold
Named for its unusual ears that fold forward and downward, the Scottish Fold is a well-adjusted breed who bond quickly with their humans.
Highly adaptable, these kitties can handle almost any living environment from a noisy house full of kids to a quiet single-person apartment.
Charming and easy-going, Scottish Folds love affection and their homebody nature means they prefer to be indoors with their owners. Chatty, with a soft and chirpy voice, these cats love gentle play and puzzle games. You might recognize this breed as being popularized by music star Taylor Swift who has two.
The Persian is one of the most popular cat breeds, probably because it's best known for being calm and docile. Not the most active of breeds, these furkids prefer lounging on your lap or the sofa with occasional bursts of spontaneous activity.
Persians adapt well to changes in routine and are good with people of all ages. They prefer a serene and quiet living environment but will be happy with children around as long as they’re gentle.
They’re not attention seekers and their undemanding temperament means they can be easily left alone for periods of time, although they tend to be happiest when receiving affection.
With their silky coats and stunning blue eyes, Birmans aren’t just gorgeous, they’re super loving too. Bred as companion cats, this elegant breed loves affection and is heavily people-orientated.
Smart, friendly, and quiet, Birman cats are adaptable and tend to be friendly with everyone and everything, including other animals. They love exploring their homes, but their highly curious natures mean they’ll get into everything, so you might want to keep an eye on them.
They can be territorial, but not aggressive, and like to be involved in whatever their owner is doing. Birmans love cuddles and being held, so if you’re after a snuggly fur baby, this is a breed worth considering.
Like its close relatives the Burmese and Siamese, the Tonkinese has a friendly and affectionate nature that makes it an ideal family pet.
Highly inquisitive and intelligent, Tonkinese cats are quieter than Siamese but still vocal and highly active. They adore humans, so they need a companion if they’re going to be left alone for long periods of time.
Easy to train and teach tricks to, the Tonkinese loves playing with toys and games. They can be quite demanding of attention and like to follow their humans from room to room.
8. Russian Blue
Affectionate but not clingy, Russian Blues are calm and smart kitties who can be shy at first but grow to be playful and loving once they feel comfortable.
Happy living in families, they tend to bond deeply with just one person and become experts at reading their pet parent’s emotions. When they sense their owner is sad, they’re always there with a cuddle and demonstrate unwavering loyalty to their chosen human.
Russian Blues are social but also enjoy quiet time and solitude, so they will often retreat to their bed or a safe nook to sleep and recharge. They can be left alone but have a high need for play when they’re around people.
With beautiful eyes that are always wide and curious, the alert Bombay loves observing its surroundings and watching the world go by. Placid but delighting in play, this breed enjoys exercise and laps up affection.
Never tiring of being cuddled and petted, the Bombay can be demanding of their owner’s attention, and will happily jump up on their lap to get it. Content to sit for hours once they’ve worn themselves out, this breed will alternate between curling up on your lap and stretching out in order to have their muscular bodies stroked.
If you love being followed around the house by a kitty who enjoys chatting, and you’re at home most of the day to provide the companionship a Bombay needs, then this breed will make the perfect companion.
While it can be easy to judge a book by its cover, this is definitely one such time where looks can be deceiving. The Sphinx doesn’t look like it would be a lap cat and yet, despite its hairless appearance, this little guy makes quite the cuddly and warm companion.
Incredibly loving and with a high need for companionship, the Sphynx is happiest wherever its people are. Bald yet beautiful, this breed is friendly, intelligent, and outgoing with lots of energy and curiosity. It can be playful and mischievous, but when it tires, it loves nothing more than snuggling up to its owner.
Abyssinians are incredibly playful, but they're also incredibly attached to their owners. One vet, Joan O. Joshua, suggests that they can get a "dog-like attachment" to their owners and may become increasingly more dependent on human contact. That means that they'll love to be by your side, cuddling up while you work or watch TV. But don't worry, Abyssinians are also considered the clowns of the cat world, and are incredibly playful and silly with funny vocalizations.
12. Devon Rex
If you want a cat that will act like a dog from play time to cuddle time, the Devon Rex is the cat for you. These adorable looking elf-like cats will spend time perched on your shoulder, eat by your side, and follow you around the house, vocalizing the entire time. They love children for both cuddle and play sessions, so they'll make an excellent cat for families. They can also be very playful, so expect to have to tire them out a bit before they get cuddly.
13. Domestic Shorthair
Domestic Shorthairs are cats of mixed ancestry that don't fall under a particular breed. Often called moggies, some may refer to them as the "mutts" of the cat world, undeservedly so because these felines can be just as wonderful and affectionate as a pure breed. You can often find Domestic Shorthairs in your local rescue shelter.
Rescue cats of any breed can often be some of the sweetest, cuddliest cats around. Whether they're abandoned by their owners, found as kittens, or friendly strays, rescue cats can be incredibly affectionate, often forging strong bonds with their adoptive parents after an adjustment period. If you're looking to find a cat that is grateful to be in a warm home and cuddled up on a couch with you, a rescue cat may be the way to go.
Another incredibly affectionate cat breed, Burmese cats are renowned for their extreme levels of devotion to their owner, often remaining incredibly playful and clingy well past kittenhood. A result of breeding cats from the Thailand/Myanmar border with Siamese, Burmese cats come in a variety of colors, but are consistent in their intelligence and willingness to adapt to any social situation. They love busy households, and will often cuddle up to complete strangers. The flipside to this is that they hate being left alone, so they might not be the ideal breed if your lifestyle means that you’re out of the house for long periods of time.
Another breed that is commonly described as ‘dog-like’ to signify the level of affection that they bestow on their owners, Siberian cats are incredibly dedicated, and will be guaranteed to follow you around the house (especially if it’s cold). They love human attention – we genuinely don’t know if it’s possible for them to get bored of human companionship, although they’re also pretty quiet with it. They’re the kind of cat to go in for quiet chirps rather than bombastic purrs. They’re incredibly trusting, and will get on with not only most people, but different animals too.
Coming across as a larger version of their cousin, the Ragdoll, the Ragamuffin shares a lot of similarities: they possess an especially piercing gaze, are friendly with children, and have a sweet and gentle nature. Being around humans seems to be a need for them rather than a simple like, so they probably benefit from being around households where at least someone is present most of the time. The only drawback is their trusting nature makes them not especially streetwise, so if you let them outside, make sure you keep a very close eye on them.
17. British Shorthair
This perennially popular pussy is known for having a laidback nature, so if you’re looking for a companion who goes with the flow, this could be the one for you. Affectionate and loyal, these sturdily built cats have a thick, velvety coat that’s perfect for stroking.
British Shorthairs are also known for being great family pets, so they may be an ideal choice if you have young children or dogs in the house. Super relaxed and adaptable to most environments, yet playful and curious, they are loyal, lovable and gorgeous to look at too.
18. Exotic Shorthair
Often called ‘teddy bears’ because of their thick, plush coats and cuddly personalities, Exotic Shorthairs are similar to Persians in character. They have a sweet, gentle and laidback nature, enjoy a quiet and peaceful environment and can become completely devoted to their families. While they can be great with kids, they may not be as playful as other breeds, and like nothing more than simply hanging out with their humans, enjoying a scratch and a sleep.
These long-haired cousins of the Abyssinian cat breed are striking in appearance and playful in nature. Curious and energetic, Somali cats love to explore their surroundings. Super-bright too, there’s nothing they like more than learning new games such as fetch or working out the best cat puzzle feeder to get their favorite treat.
Despite their intelligence, they are a very affectionate cat breed who bond well with humans who can give them plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Somali cats love to follow their humans everywhere (a bit like a dog!) and are very expressive during interactions, using their melodic voice to communicate with you and get your attention.
20. Cornish Rex
This curly-coated cat is known for its mischievous and playful nature. Bursting with energy, the Cornish Rex loves to play, climb and chase, with a kittenish nature that lasts well into adulthood. But they also adore a human cuddle and make a great companion, seeking attention and affection with little chirps, trills, and miaows as they follow you about the house.
21. Selkirk Rex
These friendly and tolerant cats love to spend time with humans, vocalizing their affection with soft meows and plenty of purring., Like the British Shorthair, they are laidback and easygoing, with a lovable and sociable nature.
The Selkirk Rex is also an inquisitive, playful and curious breed, making it a great choice for families with children.
Also known as Colorpoint Persians, these calm and gentle lapcats have the same luxurious coat as their Persian cousins but with a Siamese pattern. Despite being calm and somewhat reserved in nature, they form strong bonds with their favorite humans and can be a dependable companion in a quiet and peace-loving household with plenty of affection.
This sensitive and loyal cat enjoys the company of humans and can form a strong bond with the right individual. They enjoy a peaceful environment so may be better for one or two-person households. Despite their reserved nature they generally get on well with other pets and like nothing more than to observe their surroundings with a calm and watchful gaze, while having a cuddle of course.
Visually striking and with a relaxed and easy-going nature, LaPerm cats love to be physically and mentally stimulated. They tend to be gentle, loving and loyal in nature and have a reputation as lap cats, enjoying plenty of cuddles and affection from their owners.
Outgoing and curious, this breed is perfect if you have other pets and children, and want a cat that’s sociable and lively, as well as adorable.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past three years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with a very mischievous Cocker Spaniel and a super sassy cat, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.