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12 Best Cat Breeds for Emotional Support (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

May 25, 2021

Don’t be alone in grief or solely rely on medication when you can get a cat to help with your mental health. Get yourself an emotional support cat to lift your spirits and brighten up your life.

But before you settle for one, think of which cat breed you’d love by your side as some cat species make magnificent emotional support animals (ESA) than others. Finding one that matches your personality will help you get the most out of your pet.

So, what cat breed fits your personality the most? Keep reading and find out.

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Best Cat Breeds for Emotional Support

1. Persian Cat

Persian cat_blue-chinchilla-with-green-eyes_OksanaSusoeva_shutterstock
Image Credit By: OksanaSusoeva, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 8-11 years
  • Temperament: Dignified, docile, quiet, sweet, relaxed, easy-going
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Color: White, blue, black, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, silver, brown, seal, blue-cream
  • Size: Medium-sized, 7 to 12 pounds

Persian kitties are all about sharing love and affection with anyone that deserves it. These cats have been a classic favorite ESA, and there’s a good reason why.

First off, these cats never get over-excited quickly but instead prefer a calm life in small spaces. This quality makes them your best bet if you live in a small apartment. Plus, Persians do not crave strenuous activities and too much running and would instead want you to pamper it.

Although they appear shy at first glance, Persian cats can drop their shyness and reserved nature as soon as they get to know you. You can get all the affection and love you need from this cat breed, especially since it is content to cuddle and soak up all the physical contact you can offer.

Even though they require a bit of maintenance to avoid mate and tangles, most owners are quick to admit that it’s a worthy sacrifice.


2. American Shorthair

American short hair_theskaman306_shutterstock
Image Credit: theskaman306, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan:15 to 20 years
  • Temperament: Even-tempered, average intelligence, friendly, trainable, active, playful
  • Care Level: Low
  • Color: White, black, red, orange, blue, cream, chocolate, brown, sable, gray, beige, tabby and white, bicolor, tortoiseshell, cameo, van
  • Size: 8 to 10 inches, 10 to 15 pounds

Even though these cats are not clingy, they have no problem cuddling and listening to your concerns (in exchange for pettings, of course).

The American Shorthair is a versatile breed, ready and willing to live anywhere. Plus, these felines are good with kids suitable for children who need extra love and emotional care.

This breed is a plus because it doesn’t require much grooming, thanks to its short, dense coat. You’ll get along with it very well if you have other household pets or want a playful furry explorer and hunter.

If it’s not exploring, hunting, or climbing, an American Shorthair will be just as happy taking a nap on your lap without being all over your face. And, no—you don’t have to worry if you leave this cat alone for the day. It will still thrive without destroying your home.


3. Bengals

bengal cat walking on plank outdoor
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 10 to 16 years
  • Temperament: Intelligent, curious, playful, loving, affectionate
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Color: Spotted in chocolate brown, charcoal, or brown with marbled patterns (rust, golden brown, sand, buff.
  • Size: 17 to 22 inches height, 8 to 17 pounds weight

You can never call a Bengal cat delicate. Bengals are one of the most athletic, intelligent, independent, and active cat breeds there are. They possess a somewhat wild appearance and will always coax you into playing fetch with you.

Despite being a large cat breed, Bengal is not as cuddly as other ESAs on this list and may not want you to hug it at all times. But this doesn’t mean these cats don’t demand attention. They are naturally curious and puffy explorers who’ll love going out for walks with you.


4. Siamese

Siamese_webandi, Pixabay
Image Credit: webandi, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 15-20
  • Temperament: Loving, affectionate, loyal, agile, curious, highly intelligent, energetic, playful, very vocal
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Color: Silver-gray, orange, brown, cream, blue, lilac, with blue eyes.
  • Size: 8-12 lbs

The Siamese cat is full of personality, and you’ll love her for it. Most people refer to these felines as “the dogs of the cat world” because of their dog-like characters. While they possess all the qualities that make cats great, they tend to be extremely loyal and loving.

Siamese cats are perfect ESAs for support and comfort for a good reason; they wouldn’t mind playing fetch games or going out for walks on a leash-they are incredibly playful.

Excuse these kitties for being too playful, vocal, demanding, and whimsical at times because they are also very affectionate and make great companions. However, since they are social creatures, these kitties require companionship and maximum attention in return, as they hate being alone for long.

If you can’t promise to be available throughout, get it a family dog or another Siamese cat for company.


5. American Bobtail

american bobtail-cat_Shutterstock_Mary-McDonald
Image Credit: Mary McDonald, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan:13 to 15 years
  • Temperament: Confident, friendly, playful, devoted, social, easy-going, highly intelligent
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Color: White, black, blue, red, fawn, lavender, cream, chocolate, cinnamon.
  • Size: Medium-Large

The American Bobtail is a recently discovered breed and most notable for doing everything on its terms. It can drown you with love and provide you with a warm and soft shoulder to cry when in distress only if it also wants affection. But once it has had enough, that’s it, and it doesn’t matter if you wanted a little bit more.

However, these breeds love games like fetch or hide and seek and often initiate them with their owners. And when they are not hunting and stalking their toys, they are a quiet breed and would love to go out for a walk with you.

Don’t expect a conversationalist, though; Bobtails aren’t so vocal. But they can still love you with great devotion if you understand their hot and cold affection phases and are okay with giving each other a little space.


6. Ragdoll

ragdoll-cat-sitting-on-a-climbing-frame_izmargad_Shutterstock
Image Credit: izmargad, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan:12-17 years
  • Temperament: Calm, affectionate, friendly, docile, dog-like devotion
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Color: Seal, blue, lilac, chocolate
  • Size: 17-21 inches height, 10-20 pounds weight

If you are emotionally disabled and require a large cat breed with wholesome affection and love, find a Ragdoll. Cats of this breed are not just some of the largest kitties to ever exist but also loving, mild-mannered, and the friendliest of all.

People often refer to Ragdolls as “puppy dogs” because of their dog-like personalities. They are remarkably tolerant with kids, trainable, and can learn tricks like rolling over and playing fetch just like dogs.

Easy-going and loving, Ragdolls are your go-to cats if you need a shoulder. They love snuggling, being picked up, cuddling, and always maintain good behaviors around kids and guests.

However, they never know when to turn their affectionate off, so don’t be surprised if they’ll always seek your companionship and follow you around the house when demanding more love.


7. Maine Coon

Maine Coon_KlausHausmann, Pixabay
Image Credit: KlausHausmann, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
  • Temperament: Sweet, gentle, playful, friendly, social
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Color: All cat colors
  • Size: 30-40 inches height, 9-18 pounds weight

Be forewarned, Maine Coons are of the largest domestic cat breeds. They are big, fluffy, and often comparable to medium-sized dogs. Maine Coons are just about the best stress-relievers known to man, mainly because they enjoy socializing, are trainable, and quickly bond with strangers and children.

Most impressively, though, Maine Coons are furry and intelligent enough to read their owner’s moods. This makes them the best to hold and keep close, enabling them to cure just about any mental problem (as long as you occasionally offer them a treat or two).

However, you may need extra time for daily grooming because their copious fur requires regular maintenance. Despite this, the pleasure of hugging and snuggling will pay off for any off-moods.


8. Manx

Manx
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 9-13 years
  • Temperament: Eager to please, gentle, intelligent, playful, loyal, endearing,
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Color: White, blue, red, cream, black, silver, brown, blue-cream, tortoiseshell
  • Size: 8-12 lbs

If you’ve ever seen a gentle cat without a tail but with a playful disposition, it must have been a Manx. A lack of a tail may make this cat breed unable to express emotions, but they love playing fetch and are vocal, which means they can hold a conversation in their sweet and unique kitty voice.

Although these cats are eager to please and can be loyal, Manx cat breeds love to play favorites. They often choose a single family member to shower with their full attention, making the others feel left out. Just ensure you are the one it lavishes all its attention on, and you’ll have all the mental care you need.


9. Russian Blue

Russian Blue
Image Credit: VS_star, Pixabay
  • Lifespan:15-20
  • Temperament: Quiet, intelligent, shy, easy to love, affectionate, loyal
  • Care Level: Low
  • Color: Dark-grey
  • Size: 7-12 pounds

Russian Blues are empathetic and quiet breeds that know what it feels to be broken and overwhelmed. These cats are suitable for introverts because they are less demanding and not the “all-in-your-face” kind of ESAs.

Although they prefer to keep to themselves most of the time, you can count on them whenever you need them the most. The kitties are delightfully affectionate, great athletes with remarkable climbing skills, and offer good company.

Just remember that these felines love routine and hate crowds and unknown guests-meaning they are likely to get attached to one person only (it should be you).


10. Abyssinian

Abyssinian
Image Credit: EvgenS, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 9-13 years
  • Temperament: Social, vocal, loving, affectionate, playful
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Color: Ruddy, blue, cinnamon, red, fawn.
  • Size: 8-12 lbs

Abyssinians are sociable cats just like American Shorthairs and are among the oldest breeds in existence.

These cats are the best companions you can get because they are so dependent on love and affection that you may find yourself offering care and concern instead.

These cat breeds are usually too attached to their humans, will be thrilled to always keep you around them, require plenty of attention, lots of activity, and they’ll always let you know.

So, if you desire to feel wanted and appreciated, Abbysinians will make you feel like you are their whole world, which you are!


11. Exotic Shorthair

Exotic shorthair cat
Image Credit: Ewa Studio, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: Up to 15 years
  • Temperament: Quiet, lively, friendly, loving, loyal, playful, social
  • Care Level: Intermediate (because they are codependent)
  • Color: All colors and patterns, including black and white, chinchilla silver, tabby, and tortoiseshell
  • Size: Medium

This breed must be the most huggable, so don’t be shocked if you find yourself almost squeezing it like a stuffed animal. Exotic Shorthair cat breeds have big eyes and flat faces and just as adorable as their Persian cat cousins.

Sources suggest that these cat breeds thrive on human affection, are codependent, possess a consistent demeanor, and hate loneliness. This won’t be an issue if you want a friend by your side all day without finding it over-bearing.


12. Sphynx

Sphynx
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 8-14 years
  • Temperament: Curious, intelligent, energetic, acrobatic, friendly, loving, humorous
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Color: White, black, silver, golden, blue, red, brown, tortoiseshell, cameo, blue-cream
  • Size: 12 lbs

Some people may suggest that these cats are the least beautiful in the cat world, but that doesn’t speak for their gentle souls. Sphynx cat breeds are hairless, with a suede-like coat. Unfortunately, a lack of fur makes these kitties have a low body temperature.

These felines will love you and want to be around you all the time because you are warm, but you can still consider it as affection. Sphynx cats are most likely to follow you loyally wherever you go, and do not be surprised if they climb up and snuggle with you if you break down and cry.

Your house will never lack love and affection with a Sphynx in it, of course, if you are willing to share your warmth.

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Summary

If you ever find yourself in need of a friend and emotional support, the cat breeds in this list can come through for you in so many ways than you ever thought. Perhaps, the only thing you can offer in return is a little petting, treats, and love.

Of course, you shouldn’t choose a cat over getting professional care, but coming back home to a snuggly cat can help hasten your mental wellness.


Featured Image: Cat Box, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.