Are you a cat person? You're not alone! According to the Humane Society, there are more than 86 million pet cats in the United States. A third of households have at least one cat, and half of those households have two. Many people love cats because of their self-possession and independence. Others like to have a buddy to snuggle with and pet when they're watching television. Others prefer the relative ease of owning a cat over a dog. Some like the energy and love of a kitten while others appreciate the mellow demeanor of older cats. If you want to join the millions of happy cat owners, here are some great breeds for kids and families.
1. American short hair. This is perhaps the best breed for busy families and those with young children. They do not need to be groomed, and they are very low-maintenance. They are social, playful, and energetic, and it is a good choice if you already own a dog. American short hairs vary in color and patterns. Another reason they are great for young children is that they have a long life-span. They can live beyond 15, so your child can grow up with his furry friend.
2. Abyssinian. One look at this breed and you will understand why Egyptians worshiped cats. This is an elegant, regal cat with a slim build that loves to play. It is also quite social and curious, making it ideal for children. It tends to be shy around strangers and prefers to stay home. Their coats are medium-length, dense, and silky; perfect for petting!
3. Maine coon. A bit more high-maintenance, the Maine coon needs to be brushed every day. Other than that, these cats are mellow, affectionate, and social. They are also gentle giants; the Maine coon is one of the biggest domestic cats and is generally healthy and hearty. They are excellent hunters and can be great mousers. This is another great breed for families with other pets, as well as those that live in cold climates.
4. Ragdolls. These cats also have longer hair, but they need to be groomed less frequently than the Maine coon. Whatever time you invest in their coat, though, is well worth it. Ragdolls are known for being very gentle, docile, affectionate, and social. They make terrific companions for any age. This is a larger breed, known for its striking blue eyes and “floppy” manners.
5. Birman. Another beauty, the Birman, is ideal for families with multiple pets. They are social with people, but really enjoy the company of other animals. Birmans have deep blue eyes, and all kittens are born with white paws. Colors and markings develop later, so your kids may like to see the changes from kitten to cat. They require less grooming; they do not have an undercoat and shed less than Maine coons and Ragdolls. Just brush your Birman once or twice a week and enjoy the silky fur.
With cats, it is important to look at the characteristics of the breed but also the demeanor of the cat itself. Besides inborn traits, like hair length, colorings, and/or energy levels, make sure to look for a pet that is:
Dogs may be “man's best friend,” but cats can be the best friend to your child and family. Instead of giving a stuffed animal or baby blanket this year, why not present your child with a cat? They are lovable, social, and fun, these breeds and others may be a perfect fit for your home.