Is there anything more satisfying than a purring kitty curled up on your lap? If you’re looking for the perfect lap cat, you’ll likely be interested in the most affectionate cat breeds.
Although there are many affectionate breeds out there, not all kitties want to be lap cats—they may prefer to snuggle up next to you or a few feet away instead. Either way, you’ll be lucky to have a devoted feline companion by your side.
Why do cats like to cuddle?
Ever wonder, “why does my cat sit on my lap?” Snuggling up to a warm, comfy human—particularly one who takes care of them—is a learned behavior stretching back to a cat’s earliest days. Kittens rely on their mothers for shelter, warmth, and milk, primarily by skin-to-skin (fur-to-fur) contact.
Luckily for us, many kitties never grow out of this desired closeness. You may notice an especially content cat kneading on you—another throwback to kittenhood, when they kneaded mama cat to stimulate milk.
How to make your cat a lap cat
Some cats can be perfectly affectionate without wanting to spend time on your lap. And while you should never force your kitty to do something they don’t want to do, there are ways to gently encourage them to try out your lap.
Here a few tips to get you started:
- Choose a calm environment. Kitty will feel more comfortable in a space without excessive noise or activity.
- Keep it a little chilly. Most cats are drawn to warmth, particularly in colder weather. Your lap might be just the heat source they’re looking for!
- Cover your lap with a soft blanket. As soft as your winter bod might be, a cozy blanket works even better as an introduction to lap cuddles.
- Place their favorite cat bed on your lap. While it’ll be a bit more awkward than a blanket, setting your cat’s favorite cat bed on your lap might entice them to settle down. If they’re comfortable sitting on you this way, you can eventually try replacing the cat bed with a soft blanket.
- Groom them on your lap. If kitty loves a good grooming session, try brushing them on your lap to create a happy association.
- Reward them with treats or catnip. Once you’ve had a successful lap cuddle (even if it only lasted a few seconds!), reward kitty with a couple treats, catnip toy, or playtime session. This will further create positive associations with the behavior.
Most affectionate cat breeds
Curious or looking to adopt one of the most affectionate cat breeds? Take a look at our list below.
We know, we know—shelter cats aren’t a specific breed. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t emphasize just how many super affectionate shelter kitties are in need of homes. You might luck out and find a purebred cat in a shelter, but millions of available mixed “moggy” cats are likely to offer up as much love and affection as you can handle.
Learn more about how to adopt a cat.
As their name suggests, the Ragdoll cat is a soft, floppy pile of love. The large kitty is famous for their affectionate and mellow nature. They’re often recognized by their luscious long fur and shining blue eyes, but it’s their personality that deserves the real credit. Hold one in your arms and they’ll go limp with love.
Ragdolls enjoy playtime, but they are more than happy to snuggle up on the sofa with you after a long day. These cats are friendly towards other animals and very tolerant of children, making them great family pets.
Siamese cats are celebrities of the feline world, and they know it. Luckily, all that stardom doesn’t diminish their off-the-charts level of affection. Besides traditional cuddling, the Siamese cat shows love to their family in many ways: They like to entertain their humans with playful antics and vocalize their feelings all the livelong day. Yes, they are chatty cats.
These kitties thrive on attention, meaning if you are someone who is not home often or doesn’t have another pet, your Siamese might struggle. But what’s better than one Siamese cat? Two!
If you’re looking for super affectionate with a healthy dose of drama, meet the Sphynx cat. These hairless kitties are anything but independent—they will follow you from room to room, eager to show their love. They want to play and interact with you, but they also enjoy cuddling on your lap under a fuzzy blanket.
They are energetic, active cats that need to be entertained and occupied. Many people describe the Sphynx breed as behaving more like dogs than cats in how affectionate and needy they are. If the Sphynx wants your attention, you’ll hear about it.
On the flip side, the Scottish Fold cat is as undemanding as they come. They are distinguishable for their folded ears, yet it’s their sweet, loving nature that truly sets them apart. Scottish Fold cats do well in family environments because they are friendly and well-tempered. They don’t always need to be active, and will want to curl up next to you and cuddle.
Scottish Folds are always happy to show affection, yet they don’t need to be constantly coddled or paid attention to. They can find ways to entertain themselves—just don’t be surprised when they check in to see if you are ready to snuggle.
The Bombay cat is another breed on our list that is highly affectionate and highly outgoing. This panther-like kitty is known for both looking and acting like a shadow, following their humans from room to room. They are more than happy to jump onto your lap and sprawl out, begging for scratches and cuddles.
These cats thrive on attention; you will need to dote on them to keep them happy. The Bombay cat will become withdrawn and anxious when left alone for too long. They do better with another furry friend or staying by your side all day long.
As one of the Bombay cat’s parent breeds, it’s no surprise that the Burmese cat is just as people-oriented and eager to please. This ancient breed gets a lot of attention for their unique coat coloring, which ranges from dark brown to warm beige. But really, their personality is the best feature of all.
The Burmese is a silly, sociable, and loving lap cat, despite their stark appearance. They are all about interactivity, so you should be prepared to spend lots of your time hanging out with your Burmese. They love to play and learn tricks, but they want you to be part of the fun.
Some consider the Balinese cat to be the “long-haired Siamese,” although most regard this hypoallergenic kitty as a separate breed. And like the Siamese, the beautiful Balinese cat is extremely loving and vocal. They are playful and youthful throughout their lives, and their favorite place to be is near their humans.
A Balinese kitty will likely form one extremely strong bond with someone in the household, followed by other bonds that are strong but not as determined. If you’re the chosen one, feel very thankful! The more people and pets around, the happier your Balinese will be.
Like their cousin the Ragdoll, the Ragamuffin cat is one of the cuddliest breeds you can find. This silky-coated cat isn’t just sought out for their looks, but for their friendliness and adaptability. They are great family pets because they love attention and are tolerant of children.
These are gentle, affectionate kitties that want to be in your arms, on your lap, and by your side—wherever you’ll have them. They will warm up to new people and other members of your family, not really finding just one person to attach to. If someone gives your Ragamuffin attention, they will happily take it (or demand it).
Legend has it that the ancient Birman cat got their stunning appearance from a blue-eyed goddess in the temples of northern Burma (present-day Myanmar). Despite their regal and impressive history, the Birman is anything but intimidating. In fact, they worship their families (and should be worshiped in return!).
Birmans are extremely affectionate and loving toward their humans, as well as curious about new people and situations. They don’t get spooked or disinterested easily, and love to be held. They are typically quiet and make a great, laid-back companion to anyone who is willing to return the love.
Other affectionate cat breeds
Really, you’re likely to find affectionate kitties within any breed (or mixed breed). In addition to the cats above, many pet parents report outstanding levels of love from the following breeds:
- Maine Coon
- Exotic Shorthair
- Selkirk Rex
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Russian Blue
Remember: All kitties are affectionate in their own (loving, funny, sometimes bizarre) way!
- Sphynx: Erin Agius via Unsplash
- Scottish Fold: Juan Gomez via Unsplash