Meow! The Hardest Cat Breeds to Own

Are you thinking about getting a cat? If so, you need to be aware of the different breeds of cats and which ones might be best for first-time owners. Cats can make great pets, but not all breeds are suited for everyone, and some breeds are challenging, even for experienced owners.

Savannah cat
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While cats are generally easier to take care of than dogs and require less attention and time, there are still some breeds that should be avoided. Certain cat breeds are prone to health issues and need experienced owners. Cats are great pets, but these are breeds that first-time owners shouldn’t buy or adopt.

Bombays

We never knew there were so many breeds of cats, but the Bombay is one of the most beautiful breeds. Bombays look like miniature panthers because of their dark, shiny coats and bright yellow eyes. Besides the physical similarities, Bombays might think they are panthers, too, because of the way they play.

Bombay Cat
Source: Wikipedia

Although Bombay cats aren’t prone to aggressiveness, they tend to play rough. Owners can expect plenty of scratches and bite marks. This breed will act out if they are scared by loud noises or other unexpected things. Unfortunately, this is not the best breed for families with small children.

Persians

Persian cats have a very distinct look and are a beloved breed for several reasons. They are a loyal and loving breed that make great emotional support animals. Persian cats are great, but they have their downsides. Due to their flat faces, they need regular cleaning to avoid infections.

World-famous Persian and Van cats
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If you are even slightly allergic to cats, Persian cats will bring out your allergies in the worst way. This breed has an excess of the protein responsible for allergic reactions in their coats. If you are around a Persian cat, don’t be surprised if you are very red-eyed and itchy.

Savannahs

Savannah cats are stunning because they look like miniature leopards. However, they are illegal to own as pets in many places due to their close relation to the African Serval. Savannahs are larger than most breeds and require lots of stimulation and playtime, but don’t try to pick them up to cuddle.

Savannah cat breeding in Fernwald
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This breed doesn’t like to be held and will let you know in an aggressive way. Savannahs are independent, so they need plenty of space. Although they can be trained, it will be challenging because of their stubborn personalities. Be sure to stock up on bandages because they are known for scratching.

Siamese

Whenever we think of Siamese cats, we start singing the song from Lady and the Tramp. While this breed is sometimes on a “best breeds” list, Siamese cats can also be challenging for inexperienced cat owners. These cats typically bond with one person and can be aggressive toward other family members.

Sarsparella, a tortie point Siamese cat
Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

If another family member or small child tries to interrupt their cuddles with their chosen person, it can be scary. It’s nearly impossible to break them of this habit if you don’t understand how to train cats. Siamese cats are also prone to many health problems and need lots of stimulation.

Egyptian Mau

This lesser-known breed is stunning, but they can be pretty difficult. The Egyptian Mau wants to be the center of your world and demand attention. This breed is prone to resource guarding, so don’t try to take their toys or treats unless you want some serious scratches.

Close-up of a Bronze Egyptian Mau cat
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The Egyptian Mau is usually withdrawn and can have a mean streak. They form strong bonds with their families and usually act out toward guests. This breed likes things on their own terms and dotes on the people they care about. They aren’t great for families that like to entertain.

American Wirehair

The American wirehair might look cute and cuddly, but they do not like being pet and picked up. This breed is independent and doesn’t enjoy cuddling all the time. American wirehairs act out if they are uncomfortable and won’t give you a warning beforehand.

Larry the cat is pictured at Downing Street, London
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They can be especially aggressive towards strangers, so you might have to put them in a separate room when guests come over. Because of their aloof nature, American wirehairs don’t do well in families with small children who don’t understand they cannot touch the cat.

Korats

Korat cats are a fairly rare breed because not many people are equipped to have them as pets. These cats love to be in a calm and quiet environment and can lash out if they don’t get what they want. They also don’t like being left alone for long periods.

Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Because they need so much attention, Korats are considered high-maintenance and don’t do well with other pets. They may be a good breed for single owners but bringing them into a busy family environment is not the best idea.

Singapuras

Many people are drawn to Singapuras because of their unique, alien-like appearance. They are different from any other cat breed but are easily scared by surprises. As a result, Singapuras use their claws and teeth to fight back. Don’t let their small size fool you.

The Singapura breed of cat
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Additionally, if Singapuras are not properly socialized as kittens, they tend to hide and stay away from humans. Some owners find themselves having a cat that they never actually see. You will only know this breed is still alive by seeing their food regularly disappear.

Scottish Folds

It’s easy to see why people fall in love with Scottish Folds so quickly. Their folded ears and smushed faces give them a uniquely cute look, but don’t let their adorable faces fool you. Despite being even-tempered and content, Scottish Folds typically bond with a single family member.

Domestic Cat, Scottish Fold
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They favor anyone who brings them food and water and don’t have use for anyone who doesn’t come with gifts. Scottish Folds don’t usually get along with other animals, so bringing them into a home with other pets won’t be a good idea.

Bengals

Bengal cats not only look like wild cats, but they often act like wild cats too. They are notorious for being fierce and don’t like to be held. Bengals are aggressive because they are more closely related to wild cats than other breeds.

Bengal Cat
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This breed needs plenty of stimulation and exercise because they have an abundance of energy. If you are set on owning a Bengal cat, expect to be stalked every time you walk around the house. They can make great pets for experienced owners but aren’t great for first-timers.

Sphynx

The Sphynx is unlike any other cat breed because they are hairless. Many people want to own a Sphynx because of their unique appearances and fun personalities. However, this breed is high-maintenance despite the lack of hair. They need regular baths to keep their skin healthy.

Sphynx cat
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Baths are very important, but they don’t like baths any more than the average house cat. The Sphynx is prone to health conditions, so owners need to consider potential veterinary costs. They might make great companions, but you have to know the ins and outs of the breed.

Turkish Van

Turkish Van cats are uncommon but are known for being fun-loving and intelligent. Although they are sweet, this breed needs plenty of attention from their owners because they are social. Therefore, Turkish Van cats do not do well when left alone.

Kittens of Van cats to be adopted
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Despite being social, Turkish Vans do not like other animals and tend to become aggressive toward other pets and strangers. Although breeding has made them far more manageable, they still need plenty of love and attention from their families. This breed is not for you if you are looking for a low-maintenance cat.

Turkish Angora

Like the Turkish Van, the Turkish Angora is another uncommon breed. They tend to be mischievous but loyal and loving. Turkish Angoras are social cats that need plenty of playtime. Because this breed is highly intelligent, they can solve problems and are prone to getting into trouble.

Angora cat
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Although the Turkish Angora has many positive traits, they tend to be fairly aggressive. Therefore, proper socialization and training are key to having a well-tempered cat. They also require regular brushing to keep their coats silky smooth. It’s sometimes too much work for a novice cat owner.

Himalayan

The Himalayan cat is a striking breed because of its icy blue eyes and fluffy coat. This breed is great for many homes due to their affectionate, loyal, and friendly nature. They make great pets for people who are home most of the day because they enjoy companionship.

Himalayan Cat
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However, Himalayan cats are tough for first-time owners because they require a high level of grooming. Their coats are thick and luxurious, requiring regular brushing to avoid matting and knots. Their flat faces and eyes also need cleaning to prevent infections.

Devon Rex

The Devon Rex is certainly an interesting-looking cat because of its distinct head shape and soft, curly coat. This breed is playful and daring, needing playtime daily to stop them from becoming mischievous and rowdy. When they are bored, Devon Rexs get into trouble.

Faerydae The Lone Ranger, a male Devon Rex
Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

If you are looking for a low-maintenance cat you can leave alone, it’s probably best to avoid this breed. They do not like to be left alone and will misbehave for attention. They need frequent entertainment to avoid behavioral issues. The Devon Rex is a needy breed for first-timers.

Balinese

In case you didn’t know, Balinese cats are long-haired Siamese cats. They are intelligent and can be trained to do basic tasks (if you have the patience to train them). Because Balinese cats are smart, they can be mischievous if they become bored or are left alone for too long.

Balinese cats, Felis catus
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This breed is known for being vocal, which can annoy owners who don’t have the patience for constant meowing. Sadly, Balinese cats are prone to health issues, including retinal atrophy, asthma, and lymphoma. They do well with families if you understand the needs of the breed.

Manx

This UK breed is unique because they are known for having short tails. The Manx is a sweet, easygoing breed loyal to their families. They often pick a favorite family member to follow around the house, but they sometimes have an independent streak.

Manx Cat
Source: 4pah.com

However, this breed is prone to many health issues. Due to the tailless gene, this breed can develop Manx Syndrome, resulting in damaged spinal cord nerves. This leads to problems with the bowels, bladders, and gastrointestinal tract. It can lead to heft vet bills, which is why people avoid this breed.

American Bobtail

Like the Manx cat, American Bobtails are known for their short tails. Although they make loyal and loving companions, this breed does best with older children and cat-friendly pets. They tend to act more like dogs than cats, but this breed has many health problems.

American Bobtail
Source: Wikipedia

Due to their short tails, American Bobtails are prone to issues that affect the spine. In some cases, these problems can cause neurological issues. The short-tail breeds may look interesting but will often need plenty of medical attention resulting in costly vet bills.

Japanese Bobtail

This breed is highly energetic, and they love to play frequently. The Japanese Bobtail might not be the best breed for people who want to relax on their own without being bothered by their cat. This breed loves to play with their cat friends, so they do well in homes with other felines.

A Japanese Bobtail
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Japanese Bobtails are perfect pets for those who want an energetic cat. They enjoy jumping hurdles and through hoops. This is an agile breed, but their short tails can cause health problems like the other short-tailed breeds.

LaPerm

While the Japanese Bobtail is an energetic breed, LaPerm cats are the complete opposite. They enjoy being lap cats because they love attention and will join you for a snuggle on the couch. LaPerms are generally people-loving cats. But they aren’t great for first-time cat owners.

The LaPerm
Source: aller-petfood.com

Their wiry coats usually require extra care because the hair is quite fragile. Their hair causes oil to collect on the skin, making it feel greasy. They might leave marks on the furniture if they aren’t groomed properly to disperse the oil. It’s a big challenge for inexperienced cat owners.

Selkirk Rex

The Selkirk Rex cat is quite unusual because it is only one of four cat breeds with wavy hair. They are great for anyone who has always dreamed of living with a teddy bear because they are large, cuddly, and fluffy. This breed is easygoing and intelligent, making them loveable pets.

Muddle the Selkirk Rex
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While you may wonder why they are on the list, the Selkirk Rex is not a great option for someone unprepared to deal with their high-maintenance grooming needs. Due to their curly coats, this breed needs regular grooming to avoid mats and tangles.

Cornish Rex

Like the Selkirk Rex and LaPerm, the Cornish Rex also has a curly coat. They are an interesting breed because of their long bodies, large eyes, and huge ears. While they tend to be friendly and energetic, the Cornish Rex doesn’t like to be left alone for long periods.

A Cornish Rex
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The breed is also prone to skin issues such as sensitivity and itching. They need regular baths to keep their ears and toes from getting greasy, which might be challenging for first-time owners. The Cornish Rex also likes to get into trouble, so you’ll have to cat-proof your home.

Tonkinese

The Tonkinese cat is a mix of the Siamese and Burmese breeds, meaning it shares many qualities with those breeds. They are a rare breed, which makes them hard to find at shelters. However, Tonkinese cats are playful, smart, and social pets.

Tonkinese of Burmese cat
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This breed is incredibly talkative, and they expect you to listen to them. Tonkinese cats can be stubborn in the quest to get attention. However, this breed does well when they have another cat in the house to play with. Therefore, it might not be the best breed for some homes.

Abyssinian

The Abyssinian breed is a distinctive-looking cat because of its unique fur and bright yellow-green eyes. Like most cat breeds, the Abyssinian is smart and curious, meaning they will explore every surface and space in your home regardless of accessibility. They need a lot of attention to keep them out of trouble.

An Abyssinian cat is taken by his owner to a pure-bred cat
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This breed is always on the move, so don’t expect them to curl up in your lap frequently. While the Abyssinian is a loyal and loving companion, these cats are susceptible to several health problems, including eye issues and kidney diseases. It could lead to high vet bills.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is one of the biggest domesticated cat breeds and can weigh up to 35 pounds. Although they are large, this cat is a gentle giant and quite social. They enjoy loud and busy households but are not great for first-time owners.

Brian, a silver Maine Coon cat
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This large breed requires frequent grooming, sometimes on a daily basis. The Maine Coon’s size can also be a challenge because they need everything from their scratching posts to their litter boxes to be large. It’s not the best cat breed for a home without much space.

Burmese

If you are looking for a dog-like cat, the Burmese cat might be the right choice for you. This breed is loving, social, and playful and enjoys spending plenty of time with their owners. They aren’t well suited for a home where they will be alone frequently.

Florence, a chocolate Burmese cat
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While Burmese cats have many amazing qualities, this breed is also the most likely to develop diabetes. This breed is also prone to facial abnormalities if they carry the “Burmese head defect” gene. In some cases, the gene can cause defects that prevent them from living a healthy life.

Birman

Originally called the “Sacred Cat of Burma,” the Birman cat is an ancient breed loved for its mild temperament. They are bred to be social, sweet cats and tend to have a “laid-back” attitude. These cats are stunning because of their bright blue eyes and lush coats.

Adorastar Utar Saint, a male blue tabby point Birman cat
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Although they are gorgeous, the Birman cat’s coat requires more grooming than the average breed. They need to be brushed every few days, which might feel like a lot of work for a cat owner. They are also prone to kidney and heart diseases like other cat breeds.

American Curl

This breed got its name because of the unique shape of their ears, which curl backward. The American Curl cat is a youthful and loving breed because they don’t reach full maturity until they are two or three years old. Therefore, they act like kittens for much longer than you would expect.

American Curl
Source: Wikipedia

The American Curl is energetic and intelligent, so they need plenty of mental stimulation. It’s best not to leave this breed alone for long periods. They are also prone to ear infections because of their unique shape. They must have their ears cleaned regularly.

Oriental Shorthair

When an Oriental shorthair enters a room, people like to stare because of their angular face and large ears. This breed is known for being very vocal with an unusual-sounding cry. They are very social and love to be around their families.

Oriental Shorthair kitten
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Some say they are “Velcro kitties” because they act like a shadow and never leave your side. Unfortunately, this breed is prone to Amyloidosis, which deposits a harmful protein into their organs and tissue, leading to organ failure or death. It usually occurs before the cat is five years old.

Pixie Bob

Like some other breeds on the list, the Pixie Bob acts more like a dog than a cat. They tend to be very protective of their chosen human, making them come across as mean and aggressive. Because they are larger, the Pixie Bob can be a bit demanding of love and attention.

Pixie Bob Cat
Source: thesprucepets.com

This breed will be vocal if they don’t get what they want. While the Pixie Bob can be a great addition to the household, you have to ensure that you have enough space for them to roam and time to give them love and affection. They are not independent like other breeds.

Cymric

A Cymric is one of those cats that looks like a loaf of bread from the right angle. These cats are tailless, which could lead to spinal issues like other tailless breeds. However, Cymric cats are delightful and fun to watch because they love to play.

Cymric Cat
Source: thesprucepets.com

Cymrics are mostly calm but need plenty of stimulation to get their energy out. If they become bored, this breed can be destructive and mean. You need to have time to play with them frequently, so they don’t start destroying your home as revenge.

Somali

This stunning breed is known for being active and enjoys playing independently. However, the Somali cat will meow when they want to play together. They are quite social but can be mean and scratchy if they are bored or ignored.

Somali cat Stacym Cacique Cachucha
Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

The Somali will make their issues known because they command attention. This breed is best suited for homes where someone has time to play with the cat often. They also need regular socialization, so they might do better in homes with more than one cat.

Ocicat

Because the Ocicat is related to the Siamese cat, they tend to get a bad reputation for being mean. The breed is friendly and energetic, requiring more attention, care, and socialization. The Ocicat will be friendly toward guests and will show how they like to be treated.

Thorsoak Epona Ransdatter, a blue Ocicat cat
Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

The Ocicat can be perceived as mean because they know what they want. If you are prepared to deal with this breed’s high energy and need for playtime, then they can be a wonderful addition to your home. It’s best to know all about the breed before getting an Ocicat.

Lykoi

The Lykoi is sometimes referred to as the Werewolf Cat because of its interesting wolf coat. This breed is considered friendly unless they are triggered. The Lykoi tends to act feral because they are a relatively new breed. They have strong hunting instincts and high energy levels.

Lykoi cat on display
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This breed can be a handful for those who aren’t well-versed in how to care for a Lykoi. They prefer the company of their regular humans and don’t always do well around strangers. This is an unusual-looking breed, and it’s still too new to know of many genetic health issues.

Exotic Shorthair

The exotic shorthair cat is similar to a Persian cat in appearance. They are easygoing and quiet, which makes them fairly low maintenance. Due to their passive attitude, this breed is perfect for apartment living. However, they aren’t right for some households.

An Exotic shorthair cat
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The exotic shorthair cat is great for some families, but they don’t do well in loud, busy environments. This cat is lazy, so don’t expect it to want to play all the time. If you are looking for a more playful breed, the exotic shorthair cat might not be right for you.

Ragdoll

The Ragdoll cat is known for being a great breed for first-time owners because they are chill and peaceful. They get their name because they tend to go limp when being held. Although they are easygoing, this breed isn’t great for anyone who wants an active cat.

Two ragdoll cats
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This breed is tolerant of children and other pets, but they don’t demand attention. They are the ultimate lap cat, which makes them perfect for an owner who wants to sit with their cat all day long. However, the ragdoll cat might not be the best fit if you aren’t looking for a lazy breed.