Monday 30 January 2023

Best cat breeds for first-time owners?

I'm going to be brutally honest and provocative and say that the question in the title is a bit pointless and too narrow as it shuts out some great shelter cats with perfect personalities. I'll fully explain my thinking. It is a question that is probably not worth asking but because somebody did, I'm going to try and answer it honestly.

Pixie-bob cat breed is suited to first-time cat owners and kids. Image: copyright Helmi Flick.
Pixie-bob cat breed is suited to first-time cat owners and kids. Image: copyright Helmi Flick.

Placid personality

The first great difficulty with the question is what kind of domestic cat constitutes one which is ideal for a first-time owner? There's no definition of that. I don't think people have discussed it that much.

The implication is that a cat suitable for a first-time owner will be one which is calm, placid and pliable. A cat that can get on with different types of people and not be provoked into scratching or responding aggressively to mishandling from a person who is unsure about how to handle a domestic cat.

Better to choose a specific cat not a breed

If that long definition is correct then you're probably not going to find the answer in a specific cat breed. You will find the answer in a specific cat which has been socialised properly and which happens to have a personality which is ideally suited to a new cat owner.


That said, some cat breeds are generally gentler than others. Perhaps the two extremes might be this. The Ragdoll Cat is bred to be calm and placid. The first filial (F1) Savannah cat, a wildcat hybrid, is going to be far more active and intelligent and demanding.

Of these two, you would therefore pick the Ragdoll. One website claimed that there are 13 best cat breeds were first-time owners. That, in my view, is idiotic. There maybe one or two cat breeds such as the one I have mentioned which are pretty good.

But don't believe that all Ragdoll cats are going to be super calm and accepting of mishandling. Ragdoll cats are domestic cats like any other in many ways. They have the same desires and motivations as others. They are not plush toys.


Many years ago, I created a cat breed selector and within that application I have selected the Pixie-Bob as a domestic cat breed which is suitable for children. As children are likely to mishandle cats you might extend that assessment to new cat owners.

Not all newbies will mishandle cats

I've got to add a caveat. I'm making the presumption that all new cat owners are going to be mishandling their cats. This is not true. Many cat owners despite being novices to cat ownership are going to research domestic cats before they adopt them and therefore be quite possibly as good as anybody else in terms of cat caregiving.

That said, I believe I can stick with my original thought that the kind of cat breed which is suited to new cat owners is one which will hopefully be accepting of mistakes. That means a placid cat.


Incidentally, people think of the Persian as a part of the furniture indicating placidity but they are actually quite nervous cats predispose to a certain extent to inappropriate elimination i.e. peeing outside of the litter box. Therefore, being nervous, they are probably unsuited to a new cat owner.

Personal preference

Personally, I would go for the Ragdoll or a breeds such as the American Shorthair or the British Shorthair and the rare Pixie-bob as stated.

Shelter cat

Better still go and see the rescue cats at a nice animal shelter and ask for a cat who has coped really well with the stressful circumstances of shelter life and plump for him/her as a good companion for a first-time cat owner.

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