There are few things more delightful than watching a frisky feline frolic, but some kitties are more sporting than others. Though every cat is an individual, and each one has his own level of playfulness, some are simply more inclined towards exuberance. That said, in today's article, we will discuss the top 10 most playful cat breeds.
A Word Before You Bring Home Your New Playful Cat
If you are in the market for a new furry friend, and feel like a playful breed of cat would be ideal for your home, make certain you know what you're getting into. We're going to make a big statement here and say that pretty much all cats like to play – and they should be encouraged to do so no matter what stage of life they're in. Even so, some cat breeds maintain that kitten-like, fun-loving attitude throughout the majority of their lives.
We can all agree that kittens are pretty fab, but let's be square: their high-energy antics can be a little bit exhausting. That said, how much time and energy are you willing to put into your playful kitty? Who else lives in your home? Do you have respectful children who would be willing to stand in when you can't interact? How about other mischievous cats or feline-loving pups? If you yourself are an energetic person, then great! If you don't have a ton of time or energy, then a playful cat breed can still work, provided you have the resources to keep your athletic little friend busy.
It's also wise to remember that a playful cat can sometimes be a destructive cat. Although it's important to play with your active kitty, it is also essential that you keep his environment suitably stimulating. So think, elaborate cat trees, interactive toys for solo-play, and plenty of scratchers.
The Top 10 Most Playful Cat Breeds
All warnings aside, living with any one of these playful cat breeds can be a real joy. Not only are they a delight to interact with, you'll also find that they tend to be people-oriented, funny, and brilliant. So now let's move on to the fun part... the kitties!
You can tell an American Curl from a mile away – what with those sweet, flopped-back ears and permanently surprised expressions. These cats are amongst the most mischievous of the playful cat breeds. Not only are they clever enough to open doors and play a rousing game of fetch, they also maintain an almost eternal kittenhood – with even the more mature felines going through excited spells of the “crazy cats.” They also tend to be quite curious, and will get into your business. Despite all of their enthusiasm, however, they are great family pets as they can be exceedingly affectionate, tend towards loyalty, and generally get along with all variety of people and pets.
With their long, silky coats and dreamy blue eyes, you may see a Balinese and think he's a sophisticated lap cat. In some ways you would be right, considering that these kitties are some of the more affectionate types; however, they are also every bit as high-spirited as their slinkier counterparts, the Siamese. In addition to being absolute sweethearts, this playful cat breed is known for being big goofballs, and boast a shockingly high amount of energy, even into maturity. This breed also tends to be quite curious, athletic, and wants to be at the center of their families. That said, you will need to be able to devote a lot of time to play sessions. If you don't, know that your Balinese will insist that you make the time!
Do a quick search for sporty kitties, and the Abyssinian will be at the top of just about any list. This breed of cat is known for a playful attitude and active mind. In fact, they are so busy and brilliant that Carolyn Osier – who wrote the book on all things Abyssinian – describes them as “one of the most intelligent animals ever created.” Like the Balinese, these kitties are known for their clownish antics, as well as their incredible energy levels and athletic bodies. They are also fantastic family cats, as they tend to bond strongly with their people, and like to be involved in day-to-day activities almost as much as they like a rousing game of chase.
If you want a cat that gives you a glimpse into the history of felines, then look no further than the Egyptian Mau. Not only do you get to see all of the physical charms of a tiny wild cat – from the vibrant spotting, to the Cheetah-style walk – you will also witness the muscular, sinewy form of a true hunter. Though, thankfully, he'll probably only be hunting for a toy mouse instead of, say, his daily meal. Unlike some of the other playful breeds of cats, Egyptian Maus aren't typically hyperactive; however, because they tend to form strong bonds with their people, have surprising athleticism, and a keen sense of agility, these cats can be incredibly fun to both play with and train. In fact, if you're looking for a kitty to hit the agility circuit with, a Mau might be your guy!
If you want a fuzzy little buddy who will stay kitten-like in attitude even into his old age, you'll certainly want to consider a Cornish Rex. Like the American Curl, the Cornish Rex is absolutely full of beans, and retains the urge for a vigorous play session well into his advanced years. Furthermore, because he has some pretty unique, hairless feet, he tends to be a little less slippery than most cats. That means a couple of things. One, his zoomies tend to be a tad more sure-footed. And two, he is capable of opening doors and truly gripping onto items. So that pretty much means everything will suddenly become a toy, and nothing is off limits.
So what cat breed is the most playful? Well, a lot of people would argue that the Japanese Bobtail would win that distinction. Although these kitties tend to be a little quieter than some of the other playful cat breeds, they can also be incredibly vigorous at playtime. These lively little kitties are known for their love of games – including fetch – and are big-time runners and jumpers. Additionally, they are extroverted and eager to learn, so if you are also a big fan of games – say, puzzles or mazes – these unique little fellows would be an ideal addition to your home.
The Manx and the Japanese Bobtail have two things in common. Their stubby little tails and their love of play. The Manx cat isn't necessarily one of the most social kitties on this list – preferring to spend time with his chosen people over keeping the company of strangers – but don't mistake that quality for meekness. Instead, they bond thoroughly with a person or family, and when they do, they can really let loose. In fact, many people liken them to puppies when it comes to their unique play style. These felines often make great travel companions, as they can easily be trained to walk on leashes or go on car rides, which means that play sessions can be extended outside of the home. Great, right?
The large Maine Coon is one of the most unique breeds of playful cats. Despite this feline's impressive size, it is known to be one of the gentler types, which makes it an ideal playmate for children. Furthermore, this kitty is intelligent and curious, making it receptive to a number of games. Finally, in addition to the nickname of “gentle giant,” the Main Coon is alternatively referred to as the “dog of the cat world.” Why? Because they not only bond with their families in a similar way to their canine counterparts, they also enjoy a lot of the same leisure activities. For example, Maine Coons can be leash trained, and – quite surprisingly – don't mind a good swim.
If you're looking for an impossibly athletic – and delightfully goofy – cat breed, then the Siberian might just be right up your alley. These poofy little creatures are known for their acrobatic propensity, and aren't above cartwheeling, somersaulting, and jumping high into the air just to catch their favorite toys. They are also quite clever, and aren't opposed to a more sedate puzzle game or trick training session. One of the neat things about this playful cat breed is its energy level. Although they can bounce off the walls with the best of them, at heart, they are lap cats who just want to be near their people.
All right, so with their notoriously tiny legs, you simply wouldn't think a Munchkin could get around, but believe me... these guys can really get a move on! These kitties are pretty open-minded, meaning it's not uncommon to find them tearing through the house after anything they consider to be a toy, the kids, the other cats, the dog... anything. In addition to being big runners, these adorable little creatures are also massive hunters and stashers – so be prepared to have all of your small household items – everyone's toys, hair ties, socks – disappear, then magically reappear under your couch.
Although there are quite a few examples of playful cat breeds on this list, it's important to note that it is by no means exhaustive. Pretty much any kitty has the capacity for incredible playfulness, and, on the other side of that same coin, not every cat in each of these respective breeds will have the same active streak. The surest way to wind up with a fun-loving feline is to simply learn about him, as a unique individual, and match your play style to his. That way, no matter his breed, you're both sure to have a good time!
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Cover image by Buenosia Carol via Pexels under Pexels License
American Curl by Cljk via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0 - Edited for Size
Balinese by Fueling Creative Fire via Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0 - Edited for Size
Abyssinian by tsapenkodg via Pixabay under Pixabay License - Edited for Size
Egyptian Mau by Liz West via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 - Edited for Size
Cornish Rex by Alexandre Gonçalves via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 - Edited for Size
Japanese Bobtail by Jonik via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.0 - Edited for Size
Manx by Michelle Weigold via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 - Edited for Size
Maine Coon by Heinz Hummel via Pixabay under Pixabay License - Edited for Size
Siberian by Lilllio via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 - Edited for Size
Munchkin by Tasy Hong via Wikimedia Commons under CC0 1.0
Thank you to all of these talented photographers!