Welcoming a new cat into your home is a fun and exciting experience. Chances are, you’ll want to get a cat that fits well with your personality and lifestyle.
Maybe you’re looking to become a first-time cat parent or just want a chill cat that will get along well with the other pets in your house. Or maybe your job keeps you out of the house most of the day and you'd like a companion that can amuse themselves without trashing your home. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of adorable low-maintenance cat breeds to choose from.
Easiest cats to take care of
While all animals deserve a level of care and devotion that transcends that of an accessory or toy, whether or not a particular breed is easier to care for than others can be down to the specific criteria you're seeking.
We'll cover a range of breeds and what makes them lower maintenance in specific respects. Remember, it's vital to find the right fit for your lifestyle before committing to a forever family member like a cat.
The hairless cat breeds like the Sphynx are often the first choice for want-to-be cat owners who are concerned about allergens. While there are no truly hairless cats, the Sphynx’s fur feels more like peach fuzz to the touch.
This unusual characteristic also means that the breed has less of the dander that can spark an allergy attack, making them hypoallergenic.
While Sphynx are considered low maintenance due to their absence of shedding, this breed does require specific care that can make them more high maintenance in some ways than their fluffier counterparts:
Skin Care: Without fur, Sphynx cats need regular bathing to remove the buildup of oils on their skin, which can otherwise cause skin problems.
Temperature Sensitivity: They are more sensitive to temperature extremes due to their lack of fur. Owners must ensure they are kept warm in cold weather and protected from sunburn in the summer.
Dietary Needs: They have a higher metabolism and may require more food than other cats to maintain their energy levels.
Ear and Dental Care: They often produce more earwax and may require more frequent ear cleanings. Regular dental hygiene is also important.
Social Needs: Sphynx cats are very social and demand a lot of attention and interaction from their pet parents.
In summary, while Sphynx cats do not require brushing or deal with shedding, their need for regular skin care, attention to diet, temperature management, and social needs cannot go neglected.
The British Shorthair is noted for their undemanding personality and easygoing temperament.
Healthy: British Shorthairs are generally healthy and robust cats with fewer genetic health issues than many other breeds, though they should be monitored for weight gain to avoid obesity-related health problems.
Easy Grooming: The breed’s short, dense coat is easy to maintain. A weekly combing should be sufficient to remove dander and debris and to distribute skin oils for a healthy coat.
Balanced Temperament: Affectionate but not needy, the British Shorthair may be your ideal companion, especially if you are looking for low maintenance cats able to amuse themselves and stay out of trouble while you’re away from home.
Like the British Shorthair, the Russian Blue is known for its easygoing temperament. They're also the models of the cat world, with a stunning grey coat that turns heads wherever they roam.
Independent: Not the type to follow you from room to room or to demand cuddle time when you’re doing dishes, the Russian Blue is content to amuse his or herself most of the time and they don't mind if your work schedule keeps you out of the house for much of the day.
Coat Maintenance: The Russian Blue’s smoky gray coat requires only a brushing once or twice a week to maintain its thick luxurious appearance.
Smart and Clean: These beauties are usually easy to litter train due to their intelligence and cleanliness. They appreciate a clean environment and are fastidious about their litter box habits.
Anecdotally, some people believe Russian Blues are less likely to trigger allergies due to their coat characteristics, though this is not scientifically proven. However, they do produce less Fel d 1, the primary allergen present in cats, which might be beneficial for mildly allergic cat parents.
The Scottish Fold, so named for the way their ears fold forward and lie close to the head, is an adorable addition to any home. Their short stature makes them unlikely to attempt any grand leaps, and their calm and adaptable personality makes them perfect companions.
Coat Variations: Scottish Folds have a coat that comes in both short and long lengths. The short-haired variety requires minimal grooming, usually just a weekly brushing to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils. Long-haired Scottish Folds will need more frequent grooming to prevent matting.
Adaptable but Social: The Fold is a real sweetheart that can get along with other cats, dogs, and kids. While they can be independent at times, Scottish Folds are quite social and do not like being left alone for long periods.
Affectionate: They thrive in environments where they receive plenty of attention and companionship, so when considering a breed for a busy schedule, these sweet cats may be lower on your list.
We mentioned their short stature, but keep in mind that this breed is prone to certain genetic conditions, most notably osteochondrodysplasia, a developmental condition that affects the cartilage and bone development, leading to arthritis and other joint issues. In fact, this genetic "abnormality" is what leads to their distinct, folded ears. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to monitor for signs of discomfort or mobility issues and to ensure they're living a pain-free life.
The prevalance of osteochondrodysplasia in Scottish Folds is linked to some controvery surrounding the breed at large. Critics, including veterinarians and animal welfare organizations, argue that breeding cats for a trait that can lead to such health issues is unethical. They raise concerns about the welfare of these cats, who may suffer from chronic pain and mobility problems as a result of their breeding. Some countries and breed organizations have taken steps to discourage or even ban the breeding of Scottish Folds due to these ethical and health concerns.
The American Shorthair is often considered a low-maintenance cat breed. Known for their robust health, easy-going temperament, and short, easy-to-care-for coat, American Shorthairs make excellent pets for families, singles, and seniors alike.
Easy-to-Groom:Their short coat requires minimal grooming. A quick brush once a week is usually enough to keep their coat healthy and reduce shedding.
Healthy: This breed is generally healthy with fewer genetic health issues than many other cat breeds. With proper care, including regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and a balanced diet, they tend to live long, healthy lives.
Good Temperament: American Shorthairs are known for their adaptable and easy-going nature. They are equally happy to play or relax by your side, making them great companions for both active households and quieter environments.
Independent: While they enjoy human company, they're also quite independent. They can entertain themselves when you're busy or away from home, making them suitable for pet parents with a busy lifestyle.
Overall, the American Shorthair's combination of low grooming needs, strong health, and adaptable personality makes them one of the more low-maintenance and versatile cat breeds, ideal for a wide range of homes and lifestyles.
Shelter or mixed breed cats: The ultimate low-maintenance companions
Adopting a shelter or mixed breed cat not only gives a loving home to a pet in need but also introduces you to a world of unique, low-maintenance companions. Here’s why they are often considered some of the best pet choices:
Diverse Genetics: Mixed breed cats from shelters tend to benefit from a broad genetic pool, which can lead to fewer hereditary health issues compared to purebreds. This diversity often results in robust health and vitality.
Grooming Needs: With a wide variety of coat types, you can find a mixed breed cat whose grooming needs match your lifestyle. Many mixed breeds have short to medium coats that require minimal grooming.
Adaptable Temperaments: Shelter cats often exhibit incredibly adaptable temperaments. They tend to be resilient and can thrive in various living situations, whether it’s a bustling family home or a quiet apartment.
Lower Costs: Generally, adopting a cat from a shelter is less expensive than purchasing a purebred. Many shelters also include vaccinations, microchipping, and spaying/neutering in their adoption fees, making the initial care more affordable.
Independence: Like their purebred counterparts, many mixed breed cats are independent creatures who can entertain themselves. They cherish their alone time as much as their interactive play sessions with you.
Unique Companions: When you adopt a mixed breed cat, you’re getting a one-of-a-kind companion. Their varied backgrounds contribute to unique personalities and appearances, ensuring your pet stands out.
Supporting a Good Cause: Beyond the practical benefits, adopting from a shelter supports the valuable work these organizations do to care for and rehome pets in need, contributing to a broader positive impact on animal welfare.
Shelter or mixed breed cats embody the essence of low-maintenance companionship, offering flexibility, health benefits, and the joy of knowing you’ve made a meaningful difference in the life of a pet. By choosing to adopt, you're not just getting a pet; you're gaining a family member with a unique story and a lot of love to give.
We hope this helps you understand what breeds might be more helpful to gravitate toward for your next feline companion. It's important to remember that "low maintenance" does not mean "no maintenance." All pets require love, attention, proper nutrition, regular veterinary care, and mental stimulation.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.