Wanted: weird, reclusive roommate who poops in a box
August 5, 2013 1:44 PM   Subscribe

I've been living with my parents while fixing up my home. They have two dogs and a cat. It turns out that I love having cuddly, friendly buddies around. I'm going to be moving home this weekend and want a buddy of my own. I've always wanted a cat, but I want one that is super friendly. Do you own or have experience with Sphynx cats? Are they as affectionate and dog-like as websites claim? Or any other breeds known for being affectionate? My adult son and I live together and have opposite schedules, so the cat would almost never be alone
posted by 1066 to Pets & Animals (46 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It's not really breed specific, it's kitty specific.

I have friends who had a Sphynx kitty and she was a LOVE. She would sit on my lap and we'd share a Baily's and Coffee.

My Malcolm kitty is shy of strangers but he follows Husbunny around the house meowing at him, wanting cuddles and he'll snuggle on the blankie with him while watching TV. It's very cute when he gets on his back, paws in the air, whinging for tummy rubs.

Eartha kitty is more stand-offish. She hangs with me at the foot of the bed, when I'm home, she's my shadow. She's not a lap-cat though. She likes pets, being brushed with the Furminator and occassionally, I'll get this, an invitation to rub the belly.

Eartha is pretty dog-like in some respects. She comes to the door to see who is ringing the bell. She follows tradesmen around the house to see what they're doing. She likes our company.

Malcolm may take longer to warm up, but of the two, he's more affectionate.

My recommendation is to go to the shelter and talk with folks. Explain that you want a uber-friendly kitty. I'm sure they can find you a match!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:51 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

It really depends on the specific cat. I recommend going through a rescue group that fosters the cats - that way you can talk to the foster family about the cat's personality.

Petfinder is a great resource for adoptable kitties and rescue groups.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:52 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Certain breeds may have tendencies towards [behavior], but that does not mean that any cat of that breed will display [behavior]. Visiting the SPCA and various rescue groups and meeting cats will really be the best way for you to find the particular cat that fits *you*.

My friends downstairs acquired three cats via a rescue group; the kittens had lived with people and other cats and been socialized and they are all very friendly.

We adopted two cats from the SPCA; one is very friendly to everyone, and the other is scared (at first) of everyone except his particular people.

So: gear yourself up for a few enjoyable weeks (or days) of meeting cats and letting cats meet you!
posted by rtha at 1:54 PM on August 5, 2013

My friend is into sphynxes. Since I've known her she has had three, and all have been friendly (two with everyone, one with people she knows). The first two slept under the covers (as is common) but she trained them to sleep at strangers' feet, which was amazing in the winter when I petsat. They do not help much with allergies, they don't get fur everywhere but they do leave oily streaks and need to be washed. And they're certainly eye catching. If you want a Sphynx, there are often rescues available and you can find one that has the personality you want.
posted by jeather at 1:55 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I believe Maine Coons are generally known for being very affectionate and dog-like (and the other end of the spectrum, kitty-hair-wise!). BUT--I think Ruthless Bunny is spot-on, and you're going to do better targeting cats rather than breeds.

I suspect you haven't seen the Friends episode about Rachel and the Sphynx cat? That's a great example right there of not being able to believe everything you hear about a breed.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:56 PM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

My cat is a Russian Blue and she is amazing. Her personality is definitely dog-like, she plays fetch and hangs around people all the time. She will follow us from room to room to chill with her peeps, loves to cuddles, and one of her favorite things to do is walk around the house on my husband's shoulder.

This is all breed-specific, we got her because my husband wanted a friend and not, as he put it, an asshole cat.
posted by lydhre at 2:01 PM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Agreed on targeting cats rather than breeds; your local shelter will probably be able to find you an affectionate puppy-cat without too much trouble among their wards. But I'll also note that I grew up with a Maine Coon and she's incredibly cuddly, affectionate, follows everyone around all the time, lays next to the table during all meals (but doesn't beg for food), and generally comports herself as so friendly that it can get kind of annoying sometimes when you don't want a 16-pound critter bodyslamming you for petting every 20 minutes. "I love you and I will headbutt you with all my tree-climbing muscles until you acknowledge how much I love you."
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:09 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's not really breed specific, it's kitty specific.

This. I have two very friendly cats - Matty is super friendly off the bat, Marlowe is a little hidey at first but eventually comes to play. I even taught Matty to do tricks.

With both of them, when I got them I specifically played with them a bit, made sure they weren't the touch-my-tail-I-bite-you kind of deal, and that they were energetic and fun to play with.

I also think it's a not always true stereotype that cats are isolated and don't like people - they're domesticated pets, and are bred to live around people. It's just this sort of weird cultural mythology about the cat that they're brooding loners while dogs are friendly idiots. It's true in some cases, but in my case I spend a LOT of time interacting with them when I'm home and did when they were young as well, which has a lot to do, I think, with how friendly they are.

I've also heard male cats, even neutered are more friendly. This is true with my boys but I've seen friendly female cats and aloof male cats as well so again, not universally true.
posted by sweetkid at 2:14 PM on August 5, 2013

My beautiful baby Angel was considered a domestic long hair cat, but then a vet decided she was so friendly and fluffy she was secretly a Norwegian forest cat, who I guess are known for their friendliness.

The moral of the story: sometimes rescue cats with no breeds are so awesome their vets decide they must be fancier pantsier than a former stray. Breeds don't matter -- personality does.
posted by spunweb at 2:16 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

IMHO, any calico or tortoiseshell kitty I have ever seen has been wonderful. Sweet and funny. Never met a needy one.

I've been owned by maybe 15 cats over many years, but am currently catless. Waah! Still, someday I shall have another and when that day arrives, if some hero doesn't appear to talk me out of it or if the nursing home I am in forgets to sedate me that day, I shall ONLY have a calico or tortoiseshell kitty. Their color scheme is sex linked, so they are all female, and perhaps that is why I like them so? Whatever, you want an opinion.

So here are two.... one is that you have to be insane to think any cat who is friendly to you is doing it for any other reason than a SETUP!!! They have an agenda! No one knows what it is, but by damn, there is a plan mark my word!!! World domination of something. Something big.

The other is to get my favorite cat. I don't know you but my advice is universally flawless. Don't even waste time reading the rest of this drivel. You are obviously a human of great compassion and intellect and nothing makes that point louder than heeding the advice of an old man. Do it. You know you want to.
posted by FauxScot at 2:18 PM on August 5, 2013

You might want to look at mixed-breed shelter cats before you go hunting for a specific breed - in part because it's so much easier. Most breeds of purebred cats just aren't very common; if you have your heart set on a particular breed, you may need to get on a waiting list for kittens or rescues, or travel quite some distance to pick your new cat up. But shelter cats are everywhere, and you can visit some today and get a sense of their personality. And a lot of shelters, especially no-kill shelters, will get to know the cats' personalities and want to match them to the right people.

Both my "generic" cats are goofy, playful, and affectionate; one of them even fetches. If either of them were a specific breed, I'd probably go on and on about how cats of that breed are the best cats forever and ever amen. Cat confirmation bias. I may not be able to find another cat exactly like mine, but there's enough variety in the general cat population that I'm pretty confident I'll find other goofy playful cats.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:18 PM on August 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

I've heard oriental cat breeds like the Siamese are more dog like. I know the one oriental cat I had liked to play fetch and would follow me around the house talking to me, and would run to greet me at the door chattering to me the whole time, he'd also follow me around the farm we had at the time and watch me work. Heading across a paddock being followed by 2 dogs and a cat meowing/bitching away at you to slow down because he wanted to smell something and you didn't wait is something you don't forget.

Of course animal personalities vary a lot within breeds and I'd nth heading to a rescue 15 minutes in the cat room playing with the various cats will give you a good idea of which cat is friendly and snuggly and which ones are a bit more reserved. They have so much choice in shelters at the moment you are sure to find one that is perfect for you.
posted by wwax at 2:20 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

nthing it's the personality, not the breed. That being said, our [neutered] male cats have historically been "dog-cats" in the yoga household. Our female cats have been moody & standoffish, which is why we now have males. We also have 2 dogs - everyone gets along well.

Mrs yoga says tortie's are typically cranky/swipey/bitey as well as some dilutes. All ours have been young adult rescues - good ol' tabby cats, either stripey or mackerel.

Have fun in the search!
posted by yoga at 2:24 PM on August 5, 2013

IMHO, any calico or tortoiseshell kitty I have ever seen has been wonderful. Sweet and funny.

Huh. I have a calico who's nuts. She's a love when she wants to be and I adore her, but she doesn't like to be picked up at all and isn't often a lap cat, and she has no compunctions about giving you a smack if you're not treating her right. She's temperamental and throws things if we try to keep her inside longer than she wants to be inside. (Seriously--she'll stand on a shelf, look straight at you and go wham! with her paw on a CD, or a vase, or whatever she thinks might make a good impact.) She's chatty and whiny, and completely quirky. And I've heard from other sources that calicos are often like that--there seems to be some kind of crazy bred in with the coat color. Could well be an old wives' tale--at least based on FauxScot's opinion, it would be--and that goes right back to saying that it's not the breed, it's the cat!
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:27 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I picked a Tonkinese kitten when I was looking for a super friendly pet and I was not disappointed. They're half Siamese, half Burmese and this tends to result in a smart, sweet, friendly cat. My gal sleeps curled in my arms, fetches me things, smells the feet of all guests, and is ridiculously cute. My whole family has Tonkinese cats and to a one, they are delightful.
posted by *s at 2:38 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've also met a lot of kooky calicos. And if they're named Sassy, the odds of them trying to bite me go up exponentially.

You may do well with a big dumb orange boy - I've heard from a lot of rescue people that orange males tend to be goofy and friendly, and mine does nothing to challenge that stereotype!
posted by PussKillian at 2:38 PM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I have a Maine Coon who is adorable and very loving, but only towards me and possibly one more person, so long as they don't move too much or make much noise and are around all the time. That second person has changed a few times, but really, two is his maximum.

My other two domestic longhaired mixed breed maybe? cats are sweet, but also a little more independent. They want cuddles on their schedule. One is extremely needy, and one is a little more feisty.

I don't think breed enters into it as much as personality of the cat in question. The Maine Coon was found in my aunt's field as a kitten, and the other two I got from a craigslist ad (they were having another baby and didn't want babies+cats+dogs so the cats were expendable). The most important thing is to spend some time with the kitty and make sure you bond and it seems like a good match. Breed is secondary.
posted by guster4lovers at 2:42 PM on August 5, 2013

You may do well with a big dumb orange boy - I've heard from a lot of rescue people that orange males tend to be goofy and friendly, and mine does nothing to challenge that stereotype!

My Marlowe is a strawberry blond ball of ridiculousness so I second that.
posted by sweetkid at 2:43 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is cat specific and I'm relaying what a friend did to select a friendly, outgoing, sociable cat.

This friend previously had a pure breed cat that was pretty but was aggressive and a doorstop. So for the second cat they went to the shelter and decided to implement a behavioral test that they read about in a book: All the cats start at the same point and you call them. Do this a few times and see who gets there first (the sociable ones are supposed to be there). When my friend did this, she wanted a kitten and did the test with the herd of kittens. But an adult cat in the neighboring pen leapt out of its containers, ran over the kittens in its path, and got there first. They put the adult cat back and retried the test with the kittens - once again, the adult cat ran through the kittens and got there first.

They took the adult cat home, and it was the most affectionate cat that you can ever imagine.

I also once had a Siamese, very, very dog-like, friendly, came when I called it,but I attribute its behavior to its personality, not breed.
posted by Wolfster at 2:43 PM on August 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have had good luck by going to the cat shelter, sitting on the floor in the big cat room and taking whichever cat comes and sits in my lap. The only time I got a cranky cat was when I let them talk me into taking a 2nd one because it was "friends" with the first one.
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:44 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Since cat-specific instead of breed-specific seems to be the consensus, I'm definitely willing to go through the SPCA. Rescue groups around here tend to be ridiculous. A friend got a rescue pet after three months of interviews and multiple home visits, and I'm just not willing to put myself through that.

How do cat rooms work? Do we just show up and ask to be left inside or make an appointment? What do we look for to help determine if a cat is truly affectionate or just curious?
posted by 1066 at 2:46 PM on August 5, 2013

Response by poster: Y'all are awesome and answering my questions before I even think to ask them. My only question left is how do the cat rooms work?
posted by 1066 at 2:49 PM on August 5, 2013

It varies by shelter, but the one I usually go to has some cats in cages and some in big rooms where you can sit and play with them. You have to sign in and then they let you in the cat room. Although I did also get a sweet cat once that wasn't in the room because he was a little skittish around other cats but he loved people, so they had him in somebody's office at the shelter.
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:49 PM on August 5, 2013

It can vary from SPCA to SPCA, so call 'em up and ask them what their procedures are. The people who work and volunteer there will also be excellent resources for asking which cats they've noticed are this friendly or that friendly.
posted by rtha at 2:49 PM on August 5, 2013

I picked my superduper clingy boycat because he seemed absolutely desperate for attention--rubbing his face on the bars whenever I walked by. One of the workers at the SPCA mentioned he liked belly rubs, so that was about it. He hadn't been adopted because he was a bit older than a kitten and had a kind of goopy eye (a bit of antibiotics cleared that right up). Cats, unless pregnant, don't really feign desperate-for-loveyness so any interest in you at a shelter should be a good sign.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:52 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

This question seems mostly answered, but I just wanted to chime in that Sphynxes are the most loving, talkative, playful, adorable little chowhounds you can find. (Although they do require frequent bathing and ear cleaning, as someone suggested above.)
They can be quite expensive and hard to find, but we found both of our girls (separately) on craigslist for a reasonable price.
posted by PrettyKnitty at 3:20 PM on August 5, 2013

My cats have differed wildly in personality and I'm not sure that you can judge what that will turn out to be with a kitten or even an adolescent. You get what you get and you love them, regardless. Our current was feral-born and did nothing but hide the first few days but is now the most ridiculously loving cat I've ever met. If you are open to adopting an adult or young adult animal, though, you may be able to get a better idea going in.
posted by Morrigan at 3:28 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I always adopt adult cats at the shelter, and to find one of the wonderful friendly kitties who have graced our lives over the years, I always go hang out with them at the shelter. Ideally there's a room where you can play with the prospect kitty and get to know each other, but failing that, you really learn a lot from communing with them in their cages. Go for behavior -- the cat that comes up to the door, that is interested in you, that purrs loudly when touched, etc. is the cat you want.

I am very, very partial to gray tabbies myself but it is all about the behavior.
posted by bearwife at 3:31 PM on August 5, 2013

We have two tuxedo cats. The female (who belonged to my fiancé before we met) is simultaneously stand offish and needy. Also very very vocal. The baby is a giant belly with a cat attached. He follows us around, plays fetch, and is extremely dog like. He's also dumb as a brick, but loves us to pieces. I had a tuxedo growing up that was my best friend. She was dog-like to the point that she would walk me to the school bus in the mornings. Basically I have a weakness for Tuxedo cats. I dont know about other adoption agencies, but when we got the baby, they let us alone in the room with him to play as long as we wanted.
posted by picklesthezombie at 3:31 PM on August 5, 2013

You may want to look into FIV+ cats. The are often unwanted because of the disease but seems to me that they have loving, friendly personalities (frequently). My dude is about the friendliest cat ever; non-cat people are often won over by how sweet he is. He doesn't require that much more in care, just paying early attention to teeth and illnesses.
posted by emkelley at 3:49 PM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

I haven't met a Sphynx yet but if you find a Ragdoll you will sometimes wish you'd chosen a less affectionate cat. They are known for being dog like. You'll never be alone again.

But everyone else is right. Any cat can be super affectionate, it's all about the individual. I've also adopted the meanest cat in the shelter and he became a lot more affectionate over time.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:09 PM on August 5, 2013

Yeah, definitely ask the people at the shelter. I told my shelter-guide I was looking for a lap cat, and she lit up and said she had the perfect cat for me. She still took me around to all the cat rooms, but when we got to the one where Dexter was, she picked him right up and put him in my lap. He immediately started with the face rubs, and the rest is history. He is the lappiest cat who ever lapped. They know the cats, so let them know what you're looking for.
posted by natabat at 4:11 PM on August 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

i had a super friendly white american tabby. i've been told tabbies are very friendly. have fun with your new kitty.
posted by wildflower at 4:41 PM on August 5, 2013

I'm sure different shelters do it differently, but at the shelter where we got our cat, they had two categories of cat 'set ups.'

The shyer cats that took a while to get used to people or weren't good with other cats were in individual cages. I'm sure many of these cats would have been great once they got to know you, but we didn't check out those cats so much because we were looking for a really people-friendly cat who would be good with visitors, etc.

The more easy-going cats were divided into two group rooms - one with the more playful, active, and often younger cats, and the other with more laid back, lap cat type kitties. We hung out in both rooms for a while. There was zero question in our minds about our cat when he came up to us - the other cats were nice, but this one just came up and plopped down in one lap and then the other and was so sweet. And, he's been great ever since. The workers at the shelter can also give you helpful tips on the cats' history and behavior at the shelter.
posted by rainbowbrite at 5:07 PM on August 5, 2013

Burmese are incredibly friendly and affectionate. As in, "Hello, I just met you, I love you". They are also playful, energetic.

Burmilla cats (half Burmese half Chinchilla)
are incredibly friendly and affectionate, but more laid back and relaxed.

Burmilla kitten playing fetch.

posted by Year of meteors at 5:50 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

My current cat would seem to be part siamese and part maine coon, with maybe a little tabby/tiger. She is incredibly mellow and affectionate with me (when she's not play chasing things) and loves to cuddle, follows me around the house, etc. She is a little skittish with new people, though. My cat growing up was a huge maine coon, and he was as attuned to me, maybe even a little more dog-like and definitely more sociable with strangers, if not quite as cuddly and a little more independent minded.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:08 PM on August 5, 2013

My Siamese/tabby mix is the lovingest cat I have ever seen ever. He greets me at the door every day, curls up to me on the couch, cries if he is in a different room than me. He seems to have bonded specifically to me, so maybe it is just him or maybe his breed is prone to imprint on one person.

He came from the shelter (please, please choose a shelter kitty). Spend some time with the cats there and ask the volunteers for advice. They spend the most time with the animals. Nnthing, in the end, your kitty will choose you.
posted by ainsley at 6:22 PM on August 5, 2013

the cat would almost never be alone

You don't need to worry about finding a cat that won't want alone time.

Cats have ways of being alone if they wish to be.
posted by yohko at 8:13 PM on August 5, 2013

One thing I haven't seen anyone comment on, that I observed in our cats, was that they became more affectionate as they got older. A warm lap is the best, because all that fur is just for show.
posted by annsunny at 8:36 PM on August 5, 2013

Oh no, all that cat fur has many uses. It can be used to stick to your legs as the cats rub against you the second you get out of a shower. It can be used to mark every last piece of clothing you have. It can be used to block up your computer fan. It can be used for crafts.

If you want a Sphynx, you can look for a rescue. They're really very affectionate and want to be with people all the time, as promised. But there are affectionate furry cats as well.

FYI: tuxedo cats are the most easily adopted cats while all black cats are the least, with tortie/calicos coming up close behind.
posted by jeather at 9:01 PM on August 5, 2013

My friend went to petsmart, (who have shelter cats) and got the ones who had been at the local shelter the longest. It was a pair of (not related) female torties. I named them Cagney and Lacey. (What?) They were 2-3 years old, so less adoptable, and they're lovely. Lacey is a play-biter though, but loves laps and and Cagney hates hugs or being held but loves sitting nearby with company and being petted.

I can't recommend a shelter enough, and a little bit older cat instead of a kitten. As for personality, it is really really dependent on the cat, not the breed, generally speaking. I had a orange tabby who was all kinds of awesome and followed me around, but didn't like sitting on laps-- my friend has and orange tabby who LOVES sitting on my lap. He's a really sweet, friendly, loving cat. I'd see if you can spend a little time with a cat, to gauge whether or not they will suit.

Thing is, all cats are generally affectionate in their own, little weird ways. For example, my cat would run over to me if I sat down on the floor, and curl up under my knee, or rest his head on my foot-- but he'd never climb on my lap of his own volition. If I picked him up or cuddled him, though he never fought or ran away. If I let go, he'd wander off though. I'd take him to the vet without a cage and just hold him, because he'd get less distressed that way, even with dogs there. I was the only one who could, though. He also really loved being petted on the head and he'd nudge your hand a lot. It was just his personality. Meanwhile, my friend's cat who loves laps, gets a bit bored of petting sometimes and wants to be left alone if you do it too much.

They will find a way to show you they love you, even if they aren't always lap cats or cuddle cats or such.
posted by Dimes at 9:34 PM on August 5, 2013

If you want a friendly, dog-like cat, get an Abyssinian.

From the breeder's guide, "“Abyssinians must be one of the most intelligent animals ever created.” This handbook for the potential Aby owner describes these cats as “a very people-oriented cat. Not a lap cat…but a cat that likes to be with people, a cat that wants to know what you are doing – that wants to help. There is probably no breed anywhere more loyal than the Aby. Once you have acquired an Aby as a companion, you will never be able to complain that no one understands you. Abys are very good at training people to do just what they want them to do.”

We have two, and they are exactly as it says on the tin, extremely intelligent, loyal, people-oriented, and curious. We had one that fetched like a dog when it was younger. The other has figured out how to open the toaster over and bread box to get to breast (it's strangely obsessed with bread). They both run to greet us when we get home, and in the morning, will fight each other for lap space.
posted by scblackman at 9:41 PM on August 5, 2013

Siamese cats are great, as are Maine Coons and British Shorthairs. I've successfully trained both Siameses and British Shorthairs to play fetch - or, more likely, they have trained me to play fetch.

Siameses tend to be lapcats, and they can also be very vocal, which may or may not charm you. British Shorthairs tend to not be lapcats, but they will contentedly follow you around and insisting on being next to or otherwise near you. They are much less vocal, on average.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:58 AM on August 6, 2013

All three of the orange boy cats I've lived with have been furry balls of chatty snuggly love whose hobbies included meeting me at the door when I came home and sleeping on my head at night. I've definitely had smarter cats but the orange boys were the loviest.
posted by mgar at 8:59 AM on August 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

So, I'm going to go against the wave of 'Not the breed, the cat' here. Caveats: I am an animal trainer/behaviourist, but I am not *your* animal trainer/behaviourist.

Studies show that there *is* a genetic link to temperament in cats. Temperament is genetic, heritable, and fixed, while personality is individual, nurturable, and malleable. Kittens with friendly fathers are more friendly than kittens with shy fathers, and while extensive handling can and does help warm up kittens with shy fathers, a kitten with a shy father will never be as outgoing as a kitten with a friendly father and the same amount of handling.

This is not to say that randombred kitties can't be wonderful, marvelous cats. I have an adopted DSH who is an incredibly friendly kitty who we found wandering the street 48 hours from starving to death at 8 weeks old. We handled him extensively from the moment we brought him into the house, but we got lucky because it's clear that he had the genes to go along with the socialization we did. If a friendly, outgoing personality is very very important to you and you want to adopt, I'd strongly recommend getting an adult cat whose personality has already been formed. Unless the father of the randombred kittens is known, you're going to be rolling the dice on temperament.

If you want a kitten *and* an outgoing personality, your best bet will be to go to a responsible breeder. I wrote a guide on finding a responsible breeder a while ago, and it's still good advice.

As for breeds known for outgoing personalities:

Sphynx are indeed very human-friendly cats. They like to be on their people, both for additional warmth and because they just like people. However, their hairlessness doesn't mean less grooming -- it actually means more. They need regular baths, sunscreen, ear cleaning, and clothing like sweaters actually aren't a bad idea.

Maine Coons are large, affectionate, and human-focused. They *are* long-haired, so they need daily brushing/combing and they can shed truly epic amounts.

Abyssinians and Somalis (long-haired Abys) are human-focused, high-energy, and intelligent. They like to 'help' with what you're doing and are very entertaining, but many people can find their energy level tiring.

Bengals are also deeply human-focused, intelligent, and energetic. Speaking as a longtime Bengal owner, they are definitely not for everyone -- they need more human attention than many cats, more mental stimulation, and more interactive play. I often refer to them as the Border Collies of the cat world, and they need a similarly dedicated owner. They generally love water, which is fun, and are highly trainable because they tend to be very food motivated.

Norwegian Forest Cats are affectionate and human-focused, though in my experience they tend to bond more heavily to a few people instead of being generally outgoing like Maine Coons, Abys, and Bengals.

There are other good breeds to for you to think about too, these are just the ones straight off the top of my head that I would recommend you check out. Feel free to MeMail me if you have questions.
posted by Concolora at 9:44 AM on August 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Like mgar, I have orange cats (2 brothers; orange cats are almost always male). They are like dogs, greeting people at the door and following us everywhere, looking for attention. I didn't know it when I adopted them, but apparently orange cats have a reputation for being the friendliest cats around. They even inspired a song (search "orange cats make the very best friends" on youtube).
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