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10 Worst Cat Breeds for First-Time Owners (with Pictures)

Kathryn Copeland

May 21, 2021

So, you’re in the market for your first ever cat—congratulations! This is an exciting time, but you might be wondering not only what kind of cat you should look for but what kind of cat you need to avoid. Cats are known for their, shall we say, unique personalities and independent nature. But are there any cats that might be more challenging for a beginner?

Well, the short answer is yes. There are breeds that might be more difficult for the new cat owner because of a more aggressive nature, or maybe they are more high maintenance.

So, we’ve broken our list down into five cats that are pretty rambunctious and energetic and five that are considered high maintenance.

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Cats with Aggressive Tendencies

This first list was taken from a study about behavioral traits in cat breeds. It’s in order of the breeds that are more likely to be aggressive towards family members.

1. Turkish Van

Turkish Van cat
Image Credit: Gabriele M. Reinhardt, Pixabay
Lifespan: 13 to 17+ years
Temperament: Intelligent, social, playful
Colors: White with dark-colored head and tail
Size: Large

The Turkish Van tops the list as one of the more aggressive cat breeds. These are beautiful felines with medium-length coats that are easy to groom. They are highly intelligent and can even learn tricks. Part of the challenge of owning a Turkish Van is they can be quite mischievous and highly playful and expect to spend a lot of time with their family.

In the study mentioned earlier, Turkish Vans topped the list as being the most aggressive cats towards people and other cats. However, most of the aggression isn’t as strong today as it was present primarily in earlier bloodlines. They are definitely not lap cats as they are just too active and busy knocking things off shelves. Be prepared to clean up after and spend a lot of time with the Turkish Van.


2. Turkish Angora

turkish angora playing
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: Up to 20+ years
Temperament: Mischievous, loyal, affectionate
Colors: Multiple colors but commonly white
Size: Medium

The Turkish Angora is similar in most ways to the Turkish Van. They also top the list for most aggressive towards people and spend a lot of time leaping, playing, and romping. They are athletic cats that are known to be clown-like and will find ways to get into your cupboard and drawers.

The Turkish Angora is quite social and also has a strong need for company and attention. If you don’t mind a cat that might play tricks on you and will potentially wreak havoc in your home, you could consider the Turkish Angora for your new cat.


3. Korat

Korat cat lying on the grass
Image Credit: CLAUDIA BE, Pixabay
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, curious
Colors: Blue
Size: Small to medium

Korats are one of a few breeds that are a beautiful blue and are quite devoted and intelligent cats. They require a lot of your attention and can become withdrawn and depressed if they are ignored.

They will also become quite jealous if you give your other pets love and attention, so they might do better as the only pet. Although Korats do tend to get along with other pets otherwise.


4. Bengal

bengal cat
Image Credit: Uschi Dugulin, Pixabay
Lifespan: 12 to 20+ years
Temperament: Playful, intelligent, energetic
Colors: 9 colors, usually spotted
Size: Medium to large

Bengals were initially developed from crossing the Asian Leopard Cat (a small wild cat) with domestic cats, giving them their distinctive spots. This also makes them energetic and athletic cats that might appear to have an aggressive streak while playing.

But they are affectionate and curious cats that will spend most of their waking hours playing, climbing, and chasing things. Bengals also do not do well alone for a long time, so be prepared to have another pet to keep them company, or you’ll need to spend more time at home.


5. Devon Rex

devon rex
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 14 to 17+ years
Temperament: Active, playful, kinda needy
Colors: All colors
Size: Medium

If a Devon is bored, she might be prone to biting, so you’ll need to have plenty of cat toys available in addition to other diversions. These cats are full of crazy energy, and it will feel like you’ve encountered a hurricane the first day you bring one home.

Devon Rexes are yet another breed that is tremendously social and needs a lot of time and attention from their owners. If you work many hours outside of the home, you will need to consider bringing another cat into the household.


Cats That are High Maintenance

This list is for cats that need a LOT of maintenance. Now, this might not be a deterrent to some people, but in most cases, high maintenance cats can also mean issues for allergy sufferers.

Also, keep in mind that pretty much every cat is high maintenance to some degree, particularly if you have an indoor cat. Lots of time spent grooming, playing, petting, and just generally paying attention, or you end up with a cat that’s depressed and potentially destructive.

6. Persian

Persian cat lying outdoor
Image Credit: Krzysztof Niewolny, Pixabay
Lifespan: 8 to 10+ years
Temperament: Calm, quiet, sweet-natured
Colors: Multiple colors and patterns
Size: Medium

Persians have fantastic personalities. They’re calm, gentle, and sweet cats that love to just lounge around with their family. They enjoy some playtime but prefer a peaceful and stable environment and need to be treated quite gently.

The high maintenance comes from grooming. Persians are notorious for needing grooming on a daily basis. They have a dense and wooly undercoat and a long outer coat, which needs brushing every day. These cats also need their faces and eyes cleaned quite regularly, and there are breathing issues because of their flat faces.


7. Himalayan

Himalayan
Image Credit: Michelleraponi, Pixabay
Lifespan: 8 to 11+ years
Temperament: Gentle, sweet, quiet
Colors: Pointed colors
Size: Medium

Like Persians, Himalayans prefer a quiet and calm household and enjoy lounging around with their family. They also will take time to play but will spend a lot of time sleeping in the sun or on your lap. They are quite friendly with everyone they meet and are adaptable to change.

However, again like the Persians, Himalayans also need brushing on a daily basis. They also need their faces and eyes cleaned regularly because of their flat faces.


8. Maine Coon

Maine Coon cat
Image Credit: Kanashi, Pixabay
Lifespan: 12+ years
Temperament: Gentle, friendly, intelligent
Colors: Every color except pointed, commonly seen as tabbies
Size: Large

Maine Coons are some of the biggest domesticated cats—some can weigh up to 35 pounds! Despite their rather intimidating size, these cats are the epitome of the gentle giant. Maine Coons are loving and gentle and are quite social and enjoy a loud and boisterous household.

They may be one of the largest cats, but they are also one of the furriest, which means lots of grooming —daily in some cases. Not only this, but because they are so large, everything they need should also be large—a large scratching post, litter box, and lots of food to fill those large tummies!


9. Sphynx

Sphynx cat
Image Credit: Igor Lukin, Pixabay
Lifespan: 15+ years
Temperament: Social, dependent, affectionate
Colors: Wide variety of colors and patterns
Size: Medium

Sphynx cats are those rather interesting-looking hairless cats that can work well for allergy sufferers. They are very outgoing cats that are friendly, loyal, and intelligent and generally get along well with dogs and children.

So, why are these cats on our high-maintenance list when they don’t have any hair and seem to have an amazing temperament? Well, having no hair means lots of attention to grooming. They actually need regular bathing because of their oily skin, which can also be reduced through a high-quality diet. Also, keep in mind that they need protection from the sun and the cold.


10. Siamese

Siamese cat
Image Credit: Andreas Lischka, Pixabay
Lifespan: 10+ years
Temperament: Very chatty, intelligent, affectionate
Colors: Pointed
Size: Medium

Unlike the other cats on the high maintenance list, the Siamese does not require a lot of grooming. They are high maintenance because they are very demanding of your time, and their chattiness might drive some new cat owners a little crazy if you’re not used to it. You also might find it charming. Siamese are friendly with people of all ages as well as other pets.

Siamese are pretty needy. If you spend a lot of time out of the house, you will either need another pet to keep your Siamese company or find another more independent cat. They prefer to have someone around to play and chat with every day.

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Conclusion

So, there you have it! 10 cats that might be a little more difficult for the first-time cat owner. Do keep in mind that we’ve generalized each breed of cat. While these breeds are known for displaying a certain kind of personality, not every cat will be alike. For example, not every Turkish Van or Angora will be aggressive. In fact, they tend to be quite affectionate!

Try to find your new cat through a rescue group and consider avoiding these breeds as your first choice as a newcomer to the cat owner world. But sometimes a cat will choose you, and no matter how challenging your new cat might be, she will become your best friend. After all, don’t all relationships have their challenging moments?


Featured Image: AntMak, Shutterstock

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.