When most people are looking to buy their first cat, one of the most popular characteristics to look for is playfulness. Everyone wants a kitten that they can play with over one that runs and hides under the bed, but with more than 70 cat breeds, it can be difficult to sort through them all to find out which ones are the most playful, so we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve looked through all of the breeds and talked with several cat owners to create a list of playful cat breeds to help get you started. We’ll provide you with a picture for each listing to see what it looks like and a short description so you can see if it’s interesting enough to do more research.
Keep reading while we look at appearance, lifespan, temperament, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
The 21 Most Playful Cat Breeds:
|Temperament:||Loving and loyal|
The Siamese cat is a great place to start talking about playful cats because this breed’s friendly nature has been with us since ancient times. These cats have a colorpoint pattern to their fur, which means they have color on their faces, tail, and legs, but the fur on their backs and stomachs is often white due to a form of albinism that is part of their genes. These cats are lean, muscular, and agile, so they enjoy playing games where they get to climb and chase.
2. Cornish Rex
|Temperament:||Active and playful|
|Colors:||A wide variety of colors and patterns|
The Cornish Rex is a unique cat with almost no hair. Its body has a fine down covering that is available in a wide range of colors and patterns. This breed is known for its playfulness as it likes to stay active to keep warm. These cats will also like to sleep on your lap and climb in bed with you while you sleep. These cats prefer chasing games and like when you carry them around, so it’s a good choice if you have children.
3. Turkish Angora
|Temperament:||Affectionate and loyal|
|Colors:||Black, blue, red, and cream|
The Turkish Angora is an extremely popular choice for homes with children. This playful cat has long hair and is soft and cuddly. It loves its human owners’ attention and is generally quite calm, so it’s not easily frightened off by strangers or rowdy children. It’s usually one of four colors, including black, blue, red, and cream, mixed with white, and it loves to play with crumpled-up paper and catnip-filled toys.
4. Japanese Bobtail
|Temperament:||Loving and affectionate, intelligent, energetic|
|Colors:||Wide variety of colors and patterns|
The Japanese Bobtail is a unique cat breed in that it has a short stumpy tail. These cats are extremely recognizable and often attract the attention of children. Though they might look like they suffered an accident, their short tail results from their genetic makeup, and these cats are healthy, intelligent, and energetic. These loving and affectionate animals love to chase after the laser pen and excel at puzzles they need to solve to get food.
5. Selkirk Rex
|Temperament:||Lively, energetic, and friendly|
|Colors:||Black, blue, tortoiseshell, smoke, many others|
The Selkirk rex is an attractive breed that often has a messy appearance with mottled or smokey-colored hair though you can find it in many variations of color and pattern. These cats are friendly and will get along with other pets if they are left alone, and they usually live about 15 years with very few health problems. This cat will enjoy chasing the laser pen and will often run up and down stairs if you have them. If you do not have steps in your home, this breed may try to expend its energy jumping on the backs of chairs and other furniture.
|Temperament:||Playful and territorial but not aggressive|
|Colors:||Wide range of colors and patterns|
The Birman cat is fuzzy, cuddly, and available in various colors and patterns, though the colorpoint pattern is the most common. These cats love to play and will bat around a crumpled-up paper ball for hours. They are not much for running but will chase the laser pen for a few minutes if you bring it out, and they enjoy catnip toys. These cats can be territorial and prefer to be the only cat, but they never become aggressive.
7. Havana Brown
|Temperament:||Human oriented, playful, and curious|
As the name suggests, the Havana Brown cat is almost always a dark brown or black-brown color, with no white on the belly. These cats have large ears and can resemble a bad when they are still kittens and sometimes as adults. This breed seems to mature a little slower than other breeds, so they stay a kitten a bit longer, maintaining high energy and a desire to play. These cats are runners, so the laser pen is perfect. It will even bring back paper balls if you throw them.
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|Temperament:||Gentle and playful|
The Manx cat breed is another that features a bobbed tail. It’s a little stockier and smaller than the Japanese Bobtail and is also surprisingly heavy for its size. One downside to the Manx breed is that it’s susceptible to a certain heart problem that can end the cats’ lives in the first few years, but if the cat makes it beyond that, it stands a good chance of living to at least 20 years old. These cats like to carry their toys around and will bring you one when it’s time to play.
|Temperament:||Easy going and laid back|
|Colors:||Lilac, brown, black, blue, chocolate, red, and more|
Burmilla cats are a relatively new breed that got its start in the 1980s. It’s an excellent choice for people that live in an apartment because it has an easy-going and laid-back temperament. Don’t let its relaxed nature fool you though, these cats love to play and will often get vocal when it’s time to play with some rope or watch birds on the computer screen. These cats also excel at solving puzzles and can open doors and cabinets.
|Temperament:||Intelligent, extroverted, and active|
|Colors:||Ruddy, sorrel, blue, fawn, chocolate, silver, lilac|
Abyssinian cats have a unique body style and piercing gaze that many people find attractive. This breed is very extroverted and will often be the life of the party, showing off for guests, unlike other cats that might hide. These cats love to practice the hunt, so they will often lie in wait until you walk by so they can leap out at you. You will also see it similarly pouncing on its toys after it practices some stalking. The one downside to this breed is that they only live about 12 years old, which is several years less than many other breeds.
|Temperament:||Intelligent, curious, and people-oriented|
The Sphynx is an easy to recognize breed because it doesn’t have any hair and may not even have whiskers. While these cats may look mean, they are actually quite friendly, and their continuous search for heat will keep them on your lap or in your arms. These cats don’t run much, most likely due to their lack of whiskers, but they like to play and enjoy batting around catnip toys and paper balls. These cats can also solve the hardest puzzles with little effort and are sure to amaze your friends.
12. Devon Rex
|Temperament:||Active, energetic, intelligent|
|Colors:||Wide range of colors and patterns|
The Devon Rex is another cat breed with almost no hair and is similar to the Selkirk breed. The Devon Rex is the most popular of the rex varieties, and it’s available in a wide range of colors and patterns. T’s extremely active, especially for a hairless breed, and it loves to chase after the laser pen and pounce on catnip-filled cloth mice. It’s intelligent and can open doors and cupboards if it wants something or needs to get your attention.
Bengal cats are unique because they are the only domestic species to sport the rosette markings that give them the Benga appearance. These cats have muscular bodies and tend to be larger than most other breeds. It loves to play and is fearless toward other animals, so it will usually lie in wait and pounce on its housemates to practice hunting. People and even large dogs will fall victim to this game, and it could cause some trouble with other cats.
14. Turkish Van
|Temperament:||Playful, friendly, curious, intelligent|
The Turkish Van is another breed that features a unique coat only seen in these cats. The van pattern produces an all-white body with only a small amount of color on the head and tail. These cats are very playful and like to lay on their back and wait for you to pet their belly. It also likes to chase the laser pen and will engage in friendly chases with other cats if they allow it. It’s also curious and likes to stay under your feet whenever you do something in your home.
|Temperament:||Docile, outgoing, and affectionate|
|Colors:||Brindle, blue, cinnamon, coffee, chocolate, black, silver, and more|
As you may have guessed, the Munchkin cat breed is very small and rarely gets more than 8-inches tall, so it resembles a kitten its entire life. It also has a kitten’s energy, and it likes to run around after the laser pen and play with paper balls for hours. It also likes when you carry it, and it’s quite affectionate, often rubbing on your legs to get pets. It’s available in several colors and gets along well with other pets.
|Temperament:||Laid back, social, intelligent|
|Colors:||Sable, dark brown, champagne, beige|
The Burmese cat is related to the Siamese cat and has a laid-back personality that gets along well with most other animals. It’s intelligent enough to fetch the ball after you throw it and will solve most food puzzles. It has a long lifespan, and its fur usually has the colorpoint pattern seen in Siamese cats.
17. Maine Coon
|Temperament:||Friendly, sociable, gentle|
|Colors:||Black, white, red, blue, cream|
The Maine Coon cat breed is the largest domesticated cat in the world. It can often weigh more than 20 pounds and is available in several colors, including black, white, red, blue, cream, etc. Despite its large size, this cat is one of the most gentle of all breeds and is also among the most affectionate. Most owners describe it as doglike because it likes to follow you around the house and often waits at the door while you are away. Another peculiar behavior of this breed is that it likes to bump heads with its owner as a sign of affection. These large cats will chase after a laser and like to hide catnip toys to play with while you sleep.
|Temperament:||Talkative, intelligent, acrobatic|
The Balinese cat breed is another that is closely related to the Siamese breed, and it often has the same colorpoint color scheme. However, it has plenty of unique traits as well and is one of the longest living of all cat breeds, often reaching more than 22 years of age. It also takes a bit longer to mature, so it stays a playful kitten a bit longer. The Balinese cat is acrobatic, so it enjoys games that allow it to climb, run, and jump.
|Temperament:||Social, affectionate, and playful|
The Siberian cat is a fuzzy cat that’s great to snuggle with and pet. It has thick, dense fur that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. It’s quite social and is often the first cat willing to meet a stranger. It’s extremely playful and will often wake from a sound sleep to chase a string or dive at some bubbles.
|Temperament:||Affectionate, curious, and intelligent|
|Colors:||Natural, champagne, blue, platinum|
The Tonkinese is a short-haired cat related to the Siamese and Burmese. This cat is very affectionate and loves to play games of fetch and chase the laser. It’s also intelligent and likes to hide under furniture to scratch unsuspecting passerbyers. Its curious nature will often send it exploring your home where it might get into trouble, but you will usually find it sitting by your feet or on the back of a couch or chair.
21. Domestic Shorthair
The Domestic Shorthair is any American cat that doesn’t belong to a specific breed and can be a mix of any number of cats. These cats are extremely easy to find and cheap to purchase. While they may not provide you with the bragging rights of a pure breed, they will give you 15–20 years of friendly and loyal companionship. They are as playful as any other breed, and you can find them in more than 300 colors in patterns.
When looking for a playful cat, we highly recommend checking your local animal shelter for a Domestic Shorthair. Millions of these cats need a home. Many of them already have their shots and are spayed or neutered, so the cost is lower. These cats are just as attractive and playful as a breed that might cost $1,000 or more, so consider it carefully before you shell out the extra cash. If you have your heart on a purebred cat, the Balinese Turkish Van, Bengal, and Manx make great choices and will keep you busy while looking good. The other choices are also good as we selected these breeds because they are playful.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and found a few breeds that you are interested in purchasing. If we have helped you choose your next pet, please share these 21 playful cat breeds on Facebook and Twitter.
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Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock