There are all sorts of reasons to seek out a calm feline. Maybe your kids have moved out and you are relishing that newfound peace. Perhaps you have young children who need a playful and tame companion. Or maybe you live alone and just want a chill cat to match your laid-back lifestyle. If you’re looking for a kitty with a mellow demeanor, you may want to consider one of these calm cat breeds.
Before turning to a breeder, we encourage you to spend some time at a cat rescue or shelter—you’ll likely find a calm kitty there in need of adoption! Although many shelter cats aren’t exactly at ease (can you blame them?), be sure to spend some quality time petting and playing with them to coax out their true personality.
Kittens vs adult cats
Adult cats (typically considered 1 year of age or older) are much more likely to have calm temperaments than kittens. Any kitten you adopt will probably seem rambunctious, but in a few months’ time you’ll notice them slowing down a bit. How much they slow down is often dependent on breed.
The American Shorthair is the “Goldilocks” of cats that strikes the perfect balance between calm and playful. This breed started out as barn cats that kept the original American colonies clean and rat-free and eventually became well-respected house cats, transitioning to a more relaxed lifestyle.
This is a good-tempered and adaptable breed that will fit right in with your family. These cats love to be around their people, but they won't beg for attention. Instead, they will climb onto your lap when they want to, and otherwise spend their time prowling and observing. They make for a superb companion and are often considered lower maintenance than other cat breeds.
The American Wirehair cat is very similar to the American Shorthair, save for a natural mutation that results in a springy, wiry coat. This uncommon coat is compared to sheep’s wool, and is visibly rough. Luckily, it’s not so rough that you’d want to avoid petting. Good thing, too, because the American Wirehair is affectionate and deserving of lots of cuddles.
This breed is devoted to their family and moderately active. They are sociable but calm; they enjoy the attention they receive, but don’t feel the need to demand it. This kitty is ideal for a family.
The Birman cat is simply gorgeous, with a lush, silken coat, a bushy tail, and bright blue eyes that are a thing to admire. But it’s not just their stunning stature that makes this breed worthy of note. They are one of the more active breeds on our list of calm kitties, yet they’re also docile and easygoing.
These cats exude composure and confidence—perhaps due to the centuries they spent as companions to temple priests in ancient Siam (modern-day Thailand). Their natural curiosity leads to many explorations in the home, but usually without trouble. The Birman simply achieves a level of equilibrium not often seen outside of, well, monkhood!
The British Shorthair is a medium- to large-sized cat with a short, dense coat and a powerful build. This breed has a kind and gentle disposition that is ideal for families with small children. Smart, attentive, and low-key, the British Shorthair can be reluctant around strangers, but warms quickly to familiar faces.
They are a very laid-back breed; they like to sit and survey a room just as much, if not more, as chasing a laser for hours. When they play, they aren’t loud or destructive, making them great pets for people who live in apartments or have small children. Even though they are on the larger side of cat breeds, they are very nimble and graceful.
The Exotic Shorthair cat is cherished for their relaxed and easygoing attitude. They are not rambunctious, but can entertain themselves with cat toys around the house or find contentment simply curling up in the sun. They’re also much easier to groom and care for than their long-haired counterparts, Persian cats. (Must be why they’re called the “lazy man’s Persian.”)
These cats tend to enjoy all company. They are tolerant and laid-back, ideal for families and social people. They may take a bit of time to open up, but it’s not like an Exotic Shorthair to become agitated or annoyed. If anything, they will just remove themselves and find someplace quiet to relax.
The Himalayan cat is a cross between a Persian and Siamese. In temperament and coat length (not to mention grooming requirements), they are more like the Persian. This means they are docile and quiet, yet loving and cheerful.
If you like sleeping in on Sunday mornings, taking naps in the sun, and watching late-night TV, the Himalayan will be your new best friend. They will gladly curl up on the couch next to you or find a sunspot to lay in. Like the Siamese, they crave the attention of their humans. This breed is very people-oriented and feels most at home when their families are around.
Known the world over as “gentle giants,” Maine Coons are one of the most popular cat breeds for good reason. And while they are certainly playful (especially as kittens), their easygoing nature always prevails, making them wonderful kitty companions to have by your side.
The Maine Coon is a large cat with long fur that makes them appear even bigger. Despite their sometimes intimidating size, they are affectionate and loyal to their families. You can feel confident having your children or other pets around your Maine Coon, because they are highly adaptable and tolerant. If they want to cuddle, they will curl up next to you. Otherwise, they’ll want to be in the same room with you without demanding your attention.
Norwegian Forest cat
The Norwegian Forest cat might appear too majestic to be humble, but this breed is surprisingly laid-back. They aren’t in constant need of attention, and work well within big families because they are adaptable and patient with children. If you want a cat that will be tolerant and impactful in your family, they are a great choice.
With their calm demeanor comes a sense of protection. It’s in a Norwegian Forest cat’s nature to watch over their family, so you might notice your cat patrolling the parameters of the house a few times a day. You couldn’t ask for a more breathtaking guardian!
The Persian cat takes tranquility to the extreme—they’re often called “furniture with fur” because they aren’t especially active. These fluffy cats are perfectly content to snooze the day away or simply gaze at their humans from across the room. That’s not to say they aren’t charming or don’t have moments of playfulness—they certainly are and do!
While friendly and easygoing, the Persian cat doesn’t bond with everyone who walks in the door. You have to earn a Persian's trust. These kitties love attention once they’ve figured you out, but they won’t harass you for it.
The Ragdoll cat is calm yet extremely affectionate. They often go limp in the arms of anyone who holds them. Although these cats can grow to be quite large, they are known for their gentle and placid temperaments. They’re sometimes called “puppycats,” but they certainly don’t have the energy level of a puppy! These cuddly, low-maintenance cats bring the right amount of serenity to your home.
Ragdoll cats are friendly and attentive, with moderate activity levels. Do they like to play? Most definitely. But they are more than happy to snuggle up on the sofa with you after a long day.
As a cousin to the Ragdoll, the Ragamuffin cat is also quite docile and loves to be held like a baby. In fact, the biggest difference between the Ragdoll and the Ragamuffin is that the Ragamuffin comes in more colors and patterns!
A highly affectionate cat that is often thought of as a teddy bear, this breed is ideal for families, especially those with other cats or dogs. A very calm and agreeable breed, the Ragamuffin can be trained to walk on a leash and play fetch. This sweet-natured cat loves to follow their humans around, but not to the point of becoming a bother.
The Scottish Fold is a good cat for beginner pet parents because they are so laid-back and relaxed. They are easily adaptable and connect with the people around them. These cats don’t have overly energetic personalities and instead enjoy cuddling up next to their families.
They are intelligent cats that entertain themselves for a while before wanting to see what their human is up to. They will want to play every day, but you can always count on them for a snuggle. If you’ve had a bad day, your Scottish Fold will come to your rescue.
Due to their mellow nature, the Selkirk Rex cat makes for a great family pet. If you’re looking for a kitty that likes to lounge and have a nice relaxing night in (every night), this lovable and relaxed cat breed is calling your name.
While the Selkirk Rex enjoys a good game every now and then, they aren’t the type to beg for your attention or throw toys at your feet. They are very laid-back and don’t require a lot of exercise.
If you’re looking for a cat whose meows won’t keep you up at night, or whose aggressive playing won’t wear you or your family out, then any of these calmest cat breeds will fit perfectly into your family!
- American Shorthair: Joey Huang via Unsplash
- American Wirehair: © Heikki Siltala / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-3.0
- British Shorthair: Josh Couch via Unsplash
- Maine Coon: Sergei Wing via Unsplash
- Ragdoll: Pkovzz via Unsplash