Which Breed Makes The Best Lap Cat?

The idea for this post comes from a visitor’s comment. The lady wanted to adapt a Maine Coon and she asked if they were lap cats. I said, “not really”. But as usual it does depend on the individual cat. That is common sense because all the cats of one breed can’t have the same personality, likes and dislikes..

However, cat breeders do like to write about their cats in terms of appearance and character. There is a lot of information on cat breed personalities. I have brought it together on one page with respect to one aspect of character: whether the cat likes to sit on a person’s lap.

The source is Legacy of the Cat by Gloria Stephens and Tetsu Yamazaki. This source points to a cat breed’s potential for being a good lap cat. The book rarely says that a certain cat breed is a good lap cat because the author can’t. The author understands that it is about individual cats. That said I have selected the breeds that are most likely to have cats that like the human lap.

If you want to go right to the conclusion, the breeds that are likely to make the best lap cats are Siamese, Balinese, Oriental Shorthair and Oriental Longhair, Exotic Shorthair and Bombay based on my research. You will, no doubt, have alternative or additional views.

Siamese is a good lap cat

Siamese Lap Cat. Original photo of Jerry by Jerry Pank

A list of cat breeds that might have a higher percentage of lap cats amongst them:

  • American Curl – “craves human companionship”. Laid back.
  • American Shorthair – good with kids. Gentle. Sweet temperament. Good for apartment living.
  • Birman – easygoing, relaxed, tolerant, peaceful nature…
  • Bombay – described as “lap fungus”. That is a good recommendation for a lap cat don’t you think? They like sleeping on and in the bed, too, apparently.
  • British Shorthair – unflappable, suited to apartment life, males are particularly friendly with people.
  • Burmese – likes being around people and asks for attention.
  • Cornish Rex – craves attention.
  • Havana – craves and must have attention.
  • Korat – sweet and patient. Forms strong bond with owner.
  • Manx and Cymric – faithful companion especially for single people.
  • Munchkin – affectionate and extremely sweet.
  • Persian and Himalayan – both like a feeling of security so might tend to migrate towards a person’s lap. Gentle cat.
  • Exotic Shorthair – “affectionate lap-sitters”.
  • Pixiebob – form a strong bond with human.
  • Ragdoll- docile, calm, easy to handle, love human company.
  • Russian Blue – prefer the security of home. Enjoy company of their owners.
  • Nebelung – bond with human and are affectionate. Devoted.
  • Scottish Fold – adore human companionship and have gentle characters.
  • Siamese, Balinese, Oriental Shorthair and Oriental Longhair – Love sleeping on owner’s bed and sitting on their lap. Like being close to person. Oriental SH cuddles up to you. Perfect lap cat.
  • Singapura – adore human company.
  • Tonkinese – always underfoot. Love to be close to human companion.
  • Turkish Angora – like to share owner’s bed and pillow.

I have tended to avoid cat breeds described as “independent” and active. The Maine Coon is said to be independent minded. Although it needs to be stressed that this is a fairly hit and miss process. A good proportion of random bred cats are lap cats.

Associated: Top Cat Breeds For Seniors

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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10 Responses

  1. Ag says:

    Indoor Cats think that they are people

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    I agree with Liz, I don’t think any particular breed of cat is more likely to be a lap cat, it’s more the cat’s individual nature which influences them.
    We’ve always had non pedigree cats and both male and female, some have been lap cats, some haven’t, we just accept our good fortune and enjoyed the moment if they chose to sit on us.
    Neither of our 2 present cats are lap cats but both enjoy a cuddle under the duvet.

  3. Hairless Cat says:

    Hi Michael,

    I can understand trying to find a cat with certain traits. I don’t do it myself, but I think a lot of people do.

    Specific breeds have the reputation of having certain trait tendencies and you can probably find specific breeds that are a tiny bit more of this or that than with other breeds.

    But I can dispel that myth in a flash. Bottom line is that it’s much more about the individual cat and how it has been raised rather than “breed tendencies”.

    Breeders are responsible for spreading and massively over exaggerating the “breed tendencies” myth. Their motive is to get more sales. They aren’t the only ones who do it. Lots of cat organizations do it.

    I’ve seen more than one Siamese that was quiet and polite when that breed has the reputation of being relatively vocal and demanding.

    I’ve seen Persians that were vocal and busy-bodied when that breed has the reputation of being laid back.

    I’ve had siblings where one fit the mold of the breed and the other was the opposite.

    Cats learn from their surroundings just like people do. They get molded by how well they are socialized, the examples and boundaries set while they are young, and by how well they are treated.

    Sure, they have genetic tendencies but it’s clear as day to me that genetics take a back seat; nurture dominates nature.

    “Best Lap Cat Breed” is a myth.

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    • Michael says:

      Love your comment too, Liz. I absolutely agree with you. Perhaps cat breeders like to package their cats as a product and that includes appearance and personality. For me, it a sign of a failing in the concept of selling cats, a living, feeling creature. People need to be a little more responsible when breeding cats.

      The public, too, like to package cats as products. It is too complicated to say all cats are different.

    • Marc says:

      Hairless Cat Girl – I just saw your site for the first time 🙂 It’s great and very informative. I only realised you have a site because I went to a POC post from some time ago and it was mentioned in the comments. Hairless cats are fascinating. Great site 🙂

      • Hairless Cat says:

        Hi Marc,

        Thanx for the nice compliment. I really appreciate that coming from a smart guy and a cat expert like you 🙂

        You might consider creating a cat site yourself. I enjoy working with my site tremendously and I am confident that you would enjoy making one. You love cats and talking about cats. I know you’d do an excellent job.

        =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

  4. “THE TRADITIONAL PERSIAN CAT” has been immortalized in the initial “007 James Bond” movie franchisee as the eternal “VILLAINS LAP CAT”. According to my observation of my cats , the “Traditional Persian cat” is a good lap cat with a deceptive aggressive nature, hence portrayed as the “Villains Lap-cat” in films.My traditional Persian cats never ever spare any living organism smaller then them, catching house gecko’s and even snapping at insects.Otherwise they spend the entire day sleeping on chairs or sofa’s in the house.Deceptively docile, the ultimate aggressive lap cat.

    • Michael says:

      Love your comment, Rudolph “aggressive lap cat”. The thing about the Persian is that they seem so domesticated and docile but all cats are top predators. They are amongst the world’s best predators and that applies to the fluffy Persian too.

  5. Marc says:

    I always thought the Ragdoll was ‘supposed’ to be a lap cat type of breed. But when I hear character descriptions from breeders or breed experts they all seem to give most cats the same short list of character traits. Occasionally they will say a breed is more active and less lappy, but generally most seem to be good indoor lap cats. It’s probably complicated by the fact that a good selling point for a breed is being a lapcat since people like lap cats. So if a breed is not particularly then it might be best just not to mention it at all.

    • Faith R says:


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