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Playful Cat Breeds with High Energy

Est. read time: 10 min.

Whether you’re looking for a feline companion that’s always bursting with energy or simply spirited enough to entertain your children for a few minutes at a time, we’ve rounded up a list of the most playful cat breeds to bring into your home.

How do you keep energetic and playful cat breeds satisfied? You need to have time to devote to this type of kitty. Exercise them daily with interactive playtime, and provide the means for them to entertain themselves when you’re not available. Here are some items to get you started:

Shelter cats

shelter cats playing with toy

Shelter cats encompass many different breeds, but the majority of them are as playful as any purebred you’ll come across. In fact, most shelter kitties are even more eager to burn some energy, likely having been cooped up without a space of their own. Spend some time at your local rescue, and you’re guaranteed to identify at least a few lively felines.


Abyssinian kitten inside cat tunnel

If you’re looking for a low-key and docile cat, you won’t find that in the Abyssinian. This cat will keep you on your toes. They are extremely inquisitive and performative, so you will find yourself laughing often and closing many cupboard doors.

When playtime comes around, this breed can usually find ways to entertain themselves, but they love when their family gets involved. Pulling a toy on a string, playing fetch, or even just tossing crumpled balls of paper at your Abyssinian will satisfy their activity and attention requirements. Puzzle toys are great for the highly intelligent “Abys”.


Balinese cat with toy

Likewise, the Balinese is not for someone who is looking for a very hands-off cat. They are outgoing and playful cats that really enjoy being around their people. You’ll need to give a Balinese cat a lot of time and attention, as well as find ways to keep their interests piqued. 

They prefer for their humans to be involved in playing and creating fun new games to solve. Playscapes, interactive toys, cat furniture, and food puzzles will keep your Balinese entertained so you can actually get some work done. 


Bengal cat in cat tower

As one of the most adventurous and energetic cat breeds, the Bengal cat is also highly intelligent. If they get bored, they’ll let you know by getting into cabinets and toilets, destroying tissues, and hiding things that belong to you. They need stimulation for most of the day to prevent destructive behaviors. (Providing them with cat furniture is a great first step!) 

These cats are very active. Might you find them sunbathing every once in a while? Of course. But you are more likely to find them chasing after dust bunnies, perching on every ledge they can find, and swatting at strings and toys.


Bombay cat

Young Bombay cats seem to be bursting with energy at all times. They love to jump and chase shadows, climb to different heights, and follow around their humans. They are bubbly and affectionate, requiring lots of playtime and exercise.

As they grow, their energy levels lessen… slightly. They remain playful throughout their lives, and love to have another animal friend in the house. They get along well with cat-friendly dogs and other cats. If your other animals match your Bombay’s energy, you will see a beautiful friendship blossom.


Burmese cat

The Burmese cat has the lifelong personality of a kitten. Regardless of age, they will be just as playful and rambunctious into adulthood. They will go-go-go until it’s time to sleep, wake up, and go-go-go again. 

Because the Burmese cat is so energetic and playful, you’ll need to commit to more time spent engaging in mentally stimulating puzzles and physical activity. You won’t just be lounging around with a Burmese; you’ll need to help entertain them and give them play options. With cat trees, scratching posts, and plenty of toys, your Burmese will easily fill their downtime (that they would otherwise devote to mischief-making).

Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex cat

You couldn’t ask for a more fun-loving kitty than the curly-coated Cornish Rex. They love to make everything into a game and appreciate when humans are involved. Whether you are pulling a toy, pointing a laser, or throwing a ball, the Cornish Rex will be happy you’re there.

These cats like to get up as high as possible, so having cat trees and shelves available can save your precious knick-knacks from being pushed off mantles. 

Devon Rex

Devon Rex kitten

Though small, the wavy-haired Devon Rex cat has a big personality. Because they are outgoing and playful, they’ll want you to engage with them all day long, pulling mice attached to strings and shining lasers for them to chase. 

The Devon Rex is highly intelligent and likes to be stimulated through play and enrichment activities. They will definitely climb and inspect every nook and cranny in your space, so be prepared to have plenty of cat trees and perching areas for them.

Egyptian Mau

Egyptian Mau cat

The ancient Egyptian Mau cat is known for their high energy levels. These cats are incredibly fast, the quickest of any domestic housecat—they can run up to 30 mph! They love to play games, especially games that involve hunting. 

They have a wild side, and they can become bored and potentially mischievous if they don’t get enough energy out. While they can play on their own, they really prefer if their humans are interacting with them.

Japanese Bobtail

Japanese Bobtail cat

Japanese Bobtails are playful, outgoing companions that sport an adorable look with their short “pom” of a tail. Though typically small, they are strong for their size and need proper exercise to maintain good health.  Luckily, because these cats are so active, they tend to have an easy time staying healthy without much help from you.

Japanese Bobtails are intelligent and love to learn new ways to interact with their humans. They like puzzles, playing fetch, chasing lasers, and learning tricks. This breed is even a fan of competing in cat shows.


Munchkin cats playing

Despite their short legs, Munchkin cats aren’t shortchanged on energy. This little breed is active, spunky, and extraordinarily clever. They like to come up with games—for instance they will find your favorite shiny objects like a magpie and hide them throughout the house. 

They have a lot of energy to burn and benefit from having another lively companion. The Munchkin cat gets along famously with kids and other animals. Once they realize they have a friend in the house, they will be nudging them to play and run around all day.


Ocicat in front of tree

It’s no surprise that the spotted Ocicat is so playful—they’re a cross between two other energetic cat breeds, the Abyssinian and the Siamese. 

Ocicats are very bright and appreciate enrichment games and learning new tricks. They will quickly catch on to their names and come when you call them. You might even be able to teach them how to play fetch or go out on walks (leashed, of course). If you work with your Ocicat and make new activities into games, they will have a great time. 

Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthair next to cat tree

The Oriental Shorthair cat wants nothing more than to spend time with and impress their families. This breed loves to learn new things. They want to play games with you, learn how to fetch, chase a mouse on a string, and even master simple tricks like sit and spin. (Make sure to give your natural entertainer a round of applause.) You will never be bored with an Oriental Shorthair around your home!

To give your Oriental Shorthair the best life, they should have plenty of toys to keep them entertained. They can climb and jump gracefully, making your refrigerator and the top of your cabinets very enticing locations to perch on. (That’s why you should encourage them to use cat trees.)


Savannah cat on a leash in grass

No domestic cat breed can compete with the Savannah in terms of sheer wild presence. Although F1 Savannah cats (one generation removed from the African serval) are much too costly for most cat parents (unless you have $20,000 lying around?) and may even be illegal in your state, later generations are worth spotlighting for their intelligence and energy.

These large cats require a lot of exercise, play, and interaction. They can jump up to 8 feet in the air and are (unsurprisingly) known to frequent high places. They also take well to walking with a leash in the great outdoors. 


Siamese kitten

The Siamese cat is energized by attention and affection. They thrive on family playtime and conversation. Basically, they need to be entertained and want their families to participate in their games. They get along great with other pets with similar energy levels and children who want to form a bond and interact properly with them.

This breed is quite active and can get bored quickly if you aren’t fulfilling all their needs. Having plenty of toys and tall cat trees for your Siamese to explore will help to keep them engaged. Of course, spending time with your cat is most essential. 


Siberian cats on cat tree pyramid

The ancient Siberian cat is native to the forests in Russia, so they are skilled hunters and survivalists. Though domesticated now, living with a Siberian cat means you should play and simulate frequent hunting trips with toys on strings.

Siberians are extremely active and need to get proper exercise every day. They are intelligent and will learn tricks if you take the time to teach them. One game they tend to love is fetch. If you aren’t able to be around your Siberian all day, provide toys to allow them to entertain themselves. Siberians like to climb, jump, and explore, so having plenty of spaces and levels for your cat to work with can add to the stimulation. 


Sphynx cat

Despite their strange looks, this hairless cat breed is anything but cold and reserved. In fact, Sphynx cats are extremely energetic and will want to play with you all day (and night) long.

Having plenty of activities for your Sphynx will ensure that they get all the exercise they need in a day. They will want to climb on a cat tree, chase mice on a string, and play directly with their humans. They have a mischievous side to them; this means they might run around causing trouble if you don’t give them enough stimulation throughout the day. 


Toyger cat

If you’re looking for a playful cat that will keep you entertained, the Toyger will do their absolute best. Be prepared to reciprocate the entertainment, though! Toyger cats are highly intelligent and need to be occupied, or else they will become bored. Interactive toys around the house can be a clever way to keep your Toyger busy.

The Toyger is also easy to train. They can learn basic commands, how to walk on a leash, and even how to play a game of fetch with you. 

Other playful cat breeds

We’d be remiss if we didn’t call out a few additional playful cat breeds, including:

It doesn’t take much to find a playful kitty. Start by checking your local shelter or rescue organization!