Best Indoor Cat Breeds: Cat Breed Selector

Last Updated on February 18, 2021 by Julia Wilson

At a glance

  • Persian
  • Exotic shorthair
  • Burmese
  • British Shorthair
  • Ragdoll
  • Burmilla
  • Russian Blue
  • Scottish Fold
  • Singapura

With more and more families living in high-density housing, an ever-increasing amount of cars on the road, more awareness about the dangers to both cats and wildlife, and many local councils imposing cat curfews, more and more pet owners are choosing to keep their cats indoors.

Any cat is suited to live indoors, especially if this starts from kittenhood and they have adequate company and environmental enrichment. Some breeds which do better indoors than others, especially laid back/placid breeds who are happy to spend their day snoozing and their nights curled up on your lap.

Persian and exotic

  • Activity: Low
  • Coat: Longhair (Persian), Shorthair (Exotic)
  • Weight: Males 5-6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4.5 -5.5 kg (9.9 – 12.1 lbs)
  • Grooming: Once a day (Persian), weekly (Exotic)

One of the oldest and well-known cat breeds, the Persian is a large, heavy-boned, longhaired breed with a broad-round face,  short nose and round expressive eyes. Persian cats have changed considerably in appearance from the original Persian which was a favourite on the show bench in the 1880s. 

The exotic is essentially a shorthaired Persian, with a thick and plush coat. Persians and exotics occur in all coat colours and patterns, however, the pointed Persian is known as a Himalayan. 

Both the Persian and exotic are two of the most placid indoor cat breeds who get along well with children and other pets as long as they are not too boisterous. Persians are happy to spend hours lying in their favourite place, without the need to constantly be with someone. That’s not to say they don’t love attention when it is offered. The long coat of the Persian will require regular grooming.

Burmese

  • Activity: Moderate
  • Coat: Short
  • Weight: Males 4.5 – 5.5 kg (9.9 – 12.1 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Grooming: Once a week

The Burmese cat is a small to medium-sized breed with large yellow eyes and a lean, well-muscled, athletic body. Despite their appearance, Burmese cats feel surprisingly heavy when picked up and are affectionately referred to as a ‘brick wrapped in silk‘. The close-lying coat can be found in a number of colours which include brown (sable), which is the most common colour, chocolate (champagne), lilac, grey, fawn, and tortie. 

Burmese cats are a great all-rounder, with a sweet and playful nature, affectionate but not clingy. Burmese cats get along great with children and other pets and make great companions. This is a breed of cat who thrives on attention, and as long as they are around people, they are happy. 

British Shorthair

  • Activity: Low to moderate
  • Coat: Short
  • Weight: Males 5.5 – 6.5 kg (11 – 14.3 lbs), females 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs)
  • Grooming: Once a week

The British Shorthair is a large, stocky cat with a dense coat. Blue is the most well-known coat colour, and the breed is often referred to as the British Blue, however, all coat colours and patterns are accepted. 

British Shorthairs are a calm, laid back, placid and low maintenance cat who are generally more independent than other breeds. This makes them suitable for indoor life where they are happy to amuse themselves.  

Ragdoll

  • Activity: Low to moderate
  • Coat: Medium
  • Weight: Males 5.5 – 6.5 kg (11 – 14.3 lbs), females 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs)
  • Grooming: Two to three times a week

The Ragdoll is relatively new to the cat fancy who is said to have originated from a heavily pregnant cat called Josephine who was hit by a car and underwent a remarkable change in personality. 

Ragdolls are a large and muscular but elegant cat with deep blue eyes and long silky coat. There are four coat patterns, pointed, mitted and van bi-colour which occur in seal, chocolate, lilac and blue. Pointed Ragdolls have a light coloured body with darker points on the nose, ears, legs and tail, while mitted Ragdolls have additional white mittens on the feet. The van bi-colour has an inverted white V on the face, with darker points on the ears, legs and tail. 

Ragdoll cats are one of the most popular breeds of cat, and for very good reason, Ragdolls are placid, relaxed, loving and sweet-natured cats with an almost dog-like personality which makes them the perfect companion for households with children and other pets. The Ragdoll name is because it is said they flop when they are picked up, do not feel pain and will not fight back if threatened. While many Ragdolls are relaxed and will flop when picked up, they feel pain just like any other cat. 

Burmilla

  • Activity: Moderate
  • Coat: Short
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Grooming: Once a week

The Burmilla came about due to an accidental mating between a Burmese and a Chinchilla but is now a breed within its own right. Burmillas are a medium-sized cat with a muscular build similar to the Burmese. Gooseberry green eyes are lined with black eyeliner around the rims. The ticked coat is plush and thick. 

Burmillas have the best of both the Chinchilla and Burmese. A little more playful than the Chinchilla but more laid back than the Burmese. They are playful, outgoing, friendly, affectionate and gentle and get along well with children and other pets.  

Russian Blue

  • Activity: Moderate
  • Coat: Short
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Grooming: Once a week

The Russian blue is an ancient breed who originated around Archangel, a port on the White Sea. English merchants brought these blue cats back to Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. Like many cat breeds, the Russian Blue was almost wiped out during the second world war and breeders crossed the few remaining Russian Blues with blue point Siamese to save the breed from extinction. 

Russian blues have a long, lean and graceful body with long legs and relatively fine bones. The head is broad with high set ears, and green, almond-shaped eyes. The plush double coat is short, silky and fine with an extremely soft feel. The most well-known coat colour is blue, but a number of breeders are now breeding black and white Russians. 

Russian blues are a quiet but curious breed who love to follow their owners around the house with whatever you are doing. They are playful, but not as active as other breeds and will happily spend hours sleeping in the same spot. Somewhat shy, the Russian doesn’t like loud noises and can find it difficult in homes with young children unless introduced as a kitten. Russian blues can be somewhat shy of strangers and may choose to disappear when visitors arrive. 

Scottish Fold

  • Activity: Low to moderate
  • Coat: Short
  • Weight: Males 5.5 – 6.5 kg (11 – 14.3 lbs), females 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs)
  • Grooming: Once a week

The Scottish Fold is a medium-sized muscular cat with a heavy bone structure. They have uniquely folded ears and a round face which gives them the appearance of an owl. The double coat is dense and feels soft to the touch. For health reasons the Scottish Fold cannot be mated with another Scottish fold as the gene in its homozygous form is lethal.  Permittable outcrosses include Scottish Straights, British Shorthairs or European Shorthairs. 

Scottish Folds are a calm, well-adjusted, intelligent and friendly cat with a docile nature. They get along well with other family pets and their chilled nature means they are happy to live in lively households with young children. The Scottish Fold enjoys the company of their human family but will not follow you around the house or demand attention like some other cat breeds. Most Scottish Folds are happy to stay on their own during the day without becoming stressed. 

Singapura

  • Activity: Moderate to high
  • Coat: Short
  • Weight: Males 4 – 5.5 kg (8.8 – 12.1 lbs), females 3.5 – 4 kg (7.7 – 8.8 lbs)
  • Grooming: Once a week

The Singapura is the smallest domestic cat breed with large eyes and a short, close-lying ticked coat. Don’t let their size fool you, they are a surprisingly well-muscled breed. The breed takes its name from the Malaysian name for Singapore where the Singapura originated, although there is some controversy about the origins of the breed. 

Singapura cats are still relatively rare which is a shame as they are a wonderful breed. We shared our home with a beautiful Singapura for 11 years, who grew up our small children. They are an extremely playful, friendly, easy going and often cheeky breed who will steal the hearts of cat lovers and non-cat lovers alike. Extremely devoted to their human family, Singapuras love to be a part of everything you do. They make exceptional pets for homes with children and other pets. 

Indoor cat requirements

Indoor cats need physical and mental stimulation to keep them occupied and entertained. Most cats like to climb, and we recommend a place to sit up high and watch the world go by. Daily play sessions are necessary to help them burn off some energy.

Wand-like toys that cats can stalk and pounce on are always a favourite, boxes to hide in, and toys which food can be hidden in are always a great hit with cats. Did you know you can even get cat-sized running wheels?

Frequently asked questions

Is having an indoor cat cruel?

No it is not cruel to keep a cat indoors as long as the cat has adequate physical and mental stimulation. 

Can you convert an outdoor cat into an indoor cat? 

Yes, it is possible for an outdoor cat to become an indoor cat with time and patience.

How long can an indoor cat be left alone?

This depends on the cat breed itself, some cats need the company of people or a feline companion while others are quite content to spend the day on their own. No cat should be left for more than 8 hours a day for health and safety reasons. If you are out of the house for extended periods, consider a second cat for companionship.

Can other cat breeds be indoors only?

Any breed of cat can be an indoor cat as long as pet owners provide plenty of opportunities to exercise and stave off boredom with play therapy and interactive toys and games. This list provides a number of cat breeds who are happy to live indoors but any cat can be a house cat. 

Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time. Full author bio Contact Julia