Personalities of 12 Popular Cat Breeds

Determining What Breed of Cat Will Fit Into Your Home

Purebred cats have fairly consistent personality traits, and aside from their beauty, those personalities are the factors that make them so dear to their human parents. If you are new to cat breeds and like the look of a particular breed, learn more about its personality characteristics to see if it makes a good fit for your home.

  • 01 of 12

    Persian Cats

    Photo of a white Persian cat
    © Corbis/VCG Corbis/ Getty Images

    Persians are generally known to be "people-pleasing" cats. Here are some descriptions of the Persian personality:

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "Their sweet, gentle, personalities blend into most households once they feel secure in their new environment. "Their quiet, melodious voices are pleasant and non-abrasive. They communicate delightfully with their large expressive eyes and make charming pets for all ages."

    The International Cat Association
    "Persians are extremely...MORE intelligent and this helps them adjust easily to both the home and the show ring. They communicate with you with their expressive eyes and expect you to understand their wishes - they will also look at you incredulously when you misunderstand them, after all, you are supposed to be intelligent!"

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "The Persian personality a docile, gentle, affectionate cat, excellently suited for an indoor life. Although placid, they are playful in their own way. "

  • 02 of 12
    Bengal cat photo
    Sean McGrath/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

    While the Persian is the perennial favorite breed in CFA, the Bengal Cat (which isn't recognized by CFA) is the favorite of TICA. Below are some common personality traits of Bengal cats.

    The International Cat Association
    "Bengals are busy by nature. They are very affectionate and can be a 'lap cat' whenever THEY want to be, but in general, their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing and investigating. When a Bengal is in full play mode, it's rather like trying to hold on to...MORE running water! They'll often save the cuddle time for when they want to sleep. Many Bengals enjoy water and may join you in brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Some Bengals are vocal while others are more quiet and selective about using their voice.

    Bengals will also, in general, ALWAYS want to be where you are. After all, that's where the action is! And Bengals are all about 'The Action'."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "Well-bred Bengal cats are active, intelligent companions. Buyers should ask how many generations removed Bengal kittens are from wild blood; the best companion cats are at least four generations removed. Most pet Bengals are wild only in looks, not in personality. They do well with other pets their own size or larger, but due to their closeness to wild blood, they may not be as kind to small pets such as hamsters or small birds. "

  • 03 of 12
    Main Coon Cat
    Jorbasa Fotografie/ Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0

    Maine Coons seem to live up to their nickname, "The Gentle Giant," both in their size and their personalities.

    Read what these admirers have to say about the "Coon's" personality:

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "The Maine Coon is well known for its loving nature, kindly disposition and great intelligence. Maines are especially good with children and dogs and have always been a popular and sought after companion."

    The International Cat Association
    "Maine Coon owners enjoy the...MORE breed's characteristic clown-like personality, affectionate nature, amusing habits and tricks and willingness to 'help' with any activity. They make excellent companions for large, active families that also enjoy having dogs and other animals."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "The Maine Coon personality is laid-back, gentle, loving, and communicative. They often take the role of 'supervisor' in their homes, making sure nothing passes without keeping tabs on progress. "

  • 04 of 12

    Exotic Shorthair

    photo of an exotic short hair cat
    Mes meilleures photos/ Moment Open/ Getty Images

    Exotic Shorthairs are "cousin" to the Persian breed, without the time required for maintenance. Let's find out if there is a consensus about their personalities.

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "The Exotic is an ideal breed that produces a quiet, sweet, peaceful and loyal companion. They are easy going and not much seems to disturb them. In general, they are extremely affectionate. They quietly beg for your attention by just sitting in front of you with an irresistible look focused on...MORE your eyes. They will jump in your lap to curl up for a nap or push their wet nose right into your face."

    The International Cat Association
    "The easy-going Exotic Shorthair is an affectionate, gentle cat with the quiet manners of the Persian. Quietly endearing, Exotics request your attention with an irresistible gaze and then hug you when you pick them up. They will follow you from room to room in order to be near you and then jump in your lap for a nap when you settle down to read a book. Their shorthaired ancestors have given them a love of play and they will jump to catch a toy or sit studying how to get the toy you put out of reach before they were finished playing."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "Like the Persian, the Exotic personality is a docile, gentle cat with a soft voice. They are sweet-tempered pets who enjoy sitting on laps and the refined comforts of home. "

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12
    Siamese cat
    Jessica Kraffe / EyeEm EyeEm/ Getty Images

    Who can ever forget the movie, "Lady and the Tramp" with the Siamese Song, "We are Siamese if you please. We are Siamese if you don't please?" 

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "This ancient breed is able to communicate like no other. The Siamese voice is legendary. They speak both with their voice and with their body. They are the quintessential 'people' cat, for they love to be in your lap, on your bed, at your table—and in your heart! "

    The International Cat...MORE Association
    "The Siamese is the perfect pet for someone who wants lots of interaction and activity. They are wonderful with children and other pets. They are very loving, loyal, intuitive, demanding and social. It has been said by many who have owned Siamese that one should have two—so that they can entertain each other while their owners are away. Otherwise, one must be prepared to drop everything upon returning home in order to spend half an hour or more 'hearing about the day'. Siamese are very intelligent and have a lot to say...they always have the last word. "

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "The Siamese personality is vocal, lively, and overtly affectionate. The breed can be very demanding and should not be left alone for long periods of time. Daily play and interaction are critical to a Siamese's emotional and mental well-being. Active feline companionship will help keep a lonely Siamese happy, but there is no substitute for human interaction as well. This breed is not for those looking for a quiet companion—Siamese ​cats are intelligent and if you don't give them something to do, they will find something to do instead!"

  • 06 of 12

    Abyssinian

    Photo of an Abyssinian cat
    Rebecca Siegel/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

    The Abyssinian is a lively, active, inquisitive and fun-loving cat. See how the experts describe the Aby's personality:

    Cat Fanciers Association
    The Cat Fanciers' Association describes the Abyssinian as "people-oriented, but not a lap cat" "loyal," and manipulative.

    The International Cat Association
    The TICA uses alliteration to describe the Aby's personality, "active, awesome, agile, astounding, alert, animated, affectionate, amusing, athletic, astute, amiable and...MORE attentive."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "The Abyssinian personality is friendly, outgoing, interactive, and inquisitive, sometimes dangerously so. They are fearless and can get themselves in trouble if not properly supervised. They wake up with a "to-do" list and don't rest until everything is checked off. Abyssinians can be very stubborn and difficult to distract once they have an idea."

  • 07 of 12

    Ragdoll Cats

    Photo of a Ragdoll cat with blue eyes
    Peter Munks/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

    The Ragdoll Cat is aptly named. She collapses into an armful of blissful beauty, as long as she gets the attention and affection she craves. Ragdolls make lovely furry family members, as the experts will attest

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "They are known to run to greet you at the door, follow you from room to room, flop on you, sleep with you, and generally choose to be where you are. Many Ragdolls have been taught to come when called and play fetch."

    The International Cat Association
    "The...MORE Ragdoll is a relaxed, happy cat and, like a child's ragdoll, many of these cats will go limp in your arms and flop like a stuffed doll when cuddled. Generally, the Ragdoll cat is a loving, quiet cat with a very laidback disposition. If you are looking for a very active cat or a talkative cat, a Ragdoll probably is not the breed for you"

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "The Ragdoll cat breed is best known for its docile and placid temperament. The Ragdoll personality is exceptionally gentle and easy-going. "

  • 08 of 12

    Birman

    Birman cat photo
    Giulia Chironna / EyeEm/ Getty Images

    Birmans are great favorites with the people who live with them, as their personality is so versatile. They can be active and playful with their humans, but capable of entertaining themselves quietly when alone.

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "The Birman personality is marvelous​—gentle, active, playful, but quiet and unobtrusive if you are busy with other things."

    The International Cat Association
    "The Birman is a great family cat. It dwells peacefully within a single cat home or a home with...MORE many cat friends. With a constant response from his owner when the cat meows, the Birman will become quite a talker." "With lots of love, good food, fond grooming, and proper health care, the Birman makes the greatest buddy, friend, confidant, and all around purrfect pet."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "The Birman personality is docile, quiet with a strong people orientation."

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    American Shorthair

    American short hair cat
    Don Mason/ Corbis/ Getty Images

    The temperament of the ASH is like its body structure and appearance: moderate. They are very middle-of-the-road. Not too active, nor too sedate, the ASH is a wonderful cat to live with. Normally, they are not vocal and often will communicate in sweet chirps and squeaks. Many will open their mouths to meow and no sound comes out - a silent meow. They are great couch or bed cats and will happily follow their caregiver from room to room.

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "Looking for a cat that will be a...MORE gentle companion, a playmate for your children, and a full-fledged member of the family? Look no further than the American Shorthair. This breed is known for its longevity, robust health, good looks, quiet disposition and amiability with children and dogs."

    The International Cat Association
    "Americans are good-natured, easy-going cats, popular with families, as they are known to be very tolerant of children. They can be calm but are also playful even into old age. Female cats tend to be busier than the males; males are more easygoing. In general, they are intelligent cats and quite interested in everything around them."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "The American Shorthair personality is easygoing, resilient, adaptable, clownish, and loving. They tend to be more interested in being near their people than on them, but many will "cheat" and drape over a handy arm or leg of a favorite person."

  • 10 of 12

    Oriental Shorthair

    Oriental shorthair cat
    TaniaVdB/ Pixabay

    The Oriental's personality will delight you if you give him the companionship he craves. Orientals are loyal for life - you can't ask for much more than that, or you don't deserve an Oriental.

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "In the busiest moments, your Oriental will find a way to interrupt your activities; a little nudge while you eat, a close examination of your toothbrush prior to use, or some help tying your shoes before you leave in the morning. It's understood you'll need...MORE help deciding which items to select from the refrigerator! In the calmest of times, they'll share the warmth of your lap, provide a comforting purr, and nuzzle your chin when you need it the most. "

    The International Cat Association
    "Orientals, like the entire Siamese breed group, are lively, intelligent, sociable cats who love to play. Many of them are fetchers, returning their favorite fetch toy tirelessly to the hands of their human. They each have their favorite toys, this one loves catnip sacks; that one, rattle mice; another adores wads of crumpled paper. They can amuse themselves for hours with an empty cardboard box. They do not grow out of their love of play, remaining kitten-like all their lives. No cupboard or high shelf is safe from these inquisitive, high jumping cats. Many Orientals are talkative cats, telling you about their whole day and commenting on what you are doing. They have strong and distinctive personalities."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "Like the Siamese, the Oriental Shorthair personality is an outgoing and people-oriented. They are talkative, playful, acrobatic, and energetic. They do not like being left alone for long periods of time and should not be an 'only child'. "

  • 11 of 12

    Sphynx

    Hairless Sphinx cat
    Robert Ginn/ Taxi/ Getty Images

    Sphynx cats are companionable, intelligent, friendly and outgoing-- all those qualities one looks for in a pet.

    Cat Fanciers Association
    "Sphynx lovers consider them to be exceedingly rare and unusual, and because of this most breeders have waiting lists for their kittens. BUT...Once you have had a Sphynx throw their arms around your neck and give your face loving wet kisses, you too will be hooked on this wonderful breed. The Sphynx are extremely inquisitive and love to be the center of...MORE attention. They perform silly antics for your entertainment and are sometimes downright clumsy.. .on purpose it seems. They make great show cats because of this ''look at me" attitude and they are easy for judges to handle. They prefer human attention but enjoy the company of dogs and other cats. They have an abundance of energy and mischief and are always with you, on you or showing off for you. "Love Mooch" is the perfect term for these amazing cats."

    The International Cat Association
    "Sphynx are highly active and will entertain themselves for hours and some Sphynx even fetch toys. Many Sphynx owners describe their cats as elf-like or childlike due to their inquisitive and intelligent nature. Sphynx are loyal and dedicated to their owners and make very affectionate companions for everyone."

    Fanciers Breeder Referral List
    "Sphynx personality is affectionate, happy, and companionable. They are sociable, alert, and very curious and enjoy the company of humans and other pets. "

  • 12 of 12
    Photo of Black Cats O and U Cuddling
    Domestic Black Cats O and U Cuddling. Photo Credit: © E of the Vowels

    A list of popular cat breeds would not be complete without including the very popular domestic cat, which the majority of my readers enjoy as family members. It is impossible to quantify a common personality trait of domestic cats because so many different factors are involved. However, rare is the case where a domestic cat, given responsible care, companionship, and loved as a family member, will not respond with the unconditional love they are so famous for.

    The Domestic Cat Has Mixed Reception...MORE Among Cat Registries

    While it is unlikely that CFA will ever accept domestic cats in their registries, due to lack of background breeding information, that registry does have a show category reserved for the "Household Pet," which we know as the domestic cat. It is gratifying that one of the terms of entry be that the cat cannot be declawed, and if it is 8 months old or older, it must be spayed or neutered.

    "They are judged instead for their uniqueness, pleasing appearance, unusual markings, and sweet dispositions. "

    TICA's Household Pet Class

    This class is one of four "Non-Championship Breeds" recognized by TICA:

    • Household Pet
    • Household Pet Kitten
    • Advanced New Breeds (which presently includes only the Chausie
    • Preliminary New Breeds, with eleven new breeds at the time of this writing.

    We are only concerned with the Household Pet class, which is very liberal, including domestic cats and "oops litter" (mixed breed cats, as well as all special needs cats. From TICA, "They can be bold or shy. They can be playful or regal. Some HHPs are uncomfortable in the show environment, and should be allowed to stay home where they are happier."