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10 Best Low-Maintenance Cats

A low-maintenance cat requires minimal time, effort, or money while being happy and healthy. When choosing a low-maintenance breed, consider the feline's grooming requirements, social needs, energy levels, and overall health.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: December 30, 2023 | 8 min read

A cat sleeping on top of an open book.

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People mistakenly bring cats into their homes, thinking they are all low-maintenance. Felines don’t require formal training. You don’t have to take them out to potty multiple times daily. Plus, they do a great job of self-cleaning. In this way, cats are low-maintenance.

But here’s a secret: cats are not as low-maintenance as you’ve been led to believe. They require mental stimulation, physical activity, grooming, and lots of TLC. Felines that don’t get their needs met will often act out by scratching the furniture, refusing to use the litter box, hiding, or generally trashing your home.

The good news? Plenty of cats are, in fact, low-maintenance, requiring less time, effort, and money while still getting all of their needs met.

5 Criteria For A Low-Maintenance Cat

When choosing a low-maintenance cat, consider the following factors:

  1. Coat Type: Typically, cats with short coats are easier to maintain since they aren’t as likely to tangle and mat. While many consider hairless breeds low maintenance, these cats require frequent baths—typically once weekly—to remove oil buildup and prevent acne.
  2.  Shedding Level: All cats shed, but high shedders require more grooming to avoid hairballs around the home.
  3.  Social Needs: Felines need opportunities for play and companionship. Some cats are more adaptable and independent, while others are very people-oriented and will feel lonely if left alone for too long.
  4.  Energy Levels: Kittens and some breeds of cats are naturally more energetic than others.
  5.  Health Issues: Breeds that develop naturally without human intervention tend to be healthier. Those felines prone to health problems will require more vet visits and may require specific food, supplements, and exercise.

10 Low-Maintenance Cat Breeds

American Shorthair

American Shorthair cat sitting on blue rug.

The American Shorthair is an all-around low-maintenance cat, making them a good choice for people of all ages and lifestyles. These cats have no special grooming, social, or nutritional requirements. They are known for their longevity and robust health—the breed’s average lifespan is 15 to 20 years—though they can be prone to heart disease. 

The International Cat Association (TICA) calls the American Shorthair one of the most adaptable breeds for any household, from singles and seniors to families and multi-pet homes. American Shorthairs are generally easygoing in personality, with moderate energy levels and independent natures. They are calm yet playful, good-natured, and known to be very tolerant of children. 

American Shorthairs are great for senior citizens or first-time pet parents because they are non-demanding; they can keep themselves entertained throughout the day by watching outdoor activities from the windowsill and enjoying regular naps. Many American Shorthairs are lap cats, while others prefer to sit nearby to be in your company.

American Wirehair

American Wirehairs are known for being affectionate, easy-going, and athletic. These felines love human interaction but aren’t demanding attention. They are quiet and reserved yet very loving to their family. They make great family pets for all ages and adapt well to quiet homes just as well as busy homes with children and other pets. 

The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) notes that most breeders find the American Wirehair low maintenance and disease-resistant. However, they are often crossbred with the American Shorthair, so they may inherit health conditions common to Shorthairs—in particular, a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HMC), which causes thickening of the heat walls. 

Grooming the American Wirehead is generally very easy. These can have unusually wiry coats with fragile hairs, so infrequent brushing is best for this breed. The American Wirehair Breed Council recommends using a lint roller to collect loose hair from this feline’s coat. Some American Wirehairs have sensitive skin that is susceptible to allergic reactions or infections. To reduce skin irritation, schedule regular baths to remove debris, loose hair, and excess oil. 

Birman

Birman Cat lying down and close up of face.

The Birman is an even-tempered, tolerant breed that gets along with everyone. This feline is calm, gentle, and relatively quiet. While your Birman will love your attention, they won’t be demanding either. Still, they can be clingy and will happily follow you from room to room to get their quality time. The Birman is a lower energy breed that doesn’t require too much physical play—though all cats need regular playtime for their overall well-being.

Despite the Birman’s medium-to-long hair, their coat is easy to maintain and sheds only moderately. The Birman has what is known as a single coat, so they’re less prone to matting. Usually, a quick brush or combing once or twice a week is enough to maintain their silky coat.

While considered a healthy breed, you must ensure your Birman eats a quality diet to avoid certain health conditions. Birmans are susceptible to developing gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, kidney disease, and urinary tract conditions.

Bombay

Black Bombay cat with bright yellow eyes.

The Bombay is best known for their all-black fur that has the gloss and shine of patent leather. While the Bombay can groom themselves, occasional grooming with a soft-bristle brush will encourage a super-shiny coat. Their no-fuss, short coat is low shedding, requires little grooming, and is not prone to developing mats.

Along with grooming, the Bombay is also low-maintenance regarding their health and dietary requirements. This is an overall healthy breed. Health problems that affect this breed include HMC, respiratory issues, and excessive tearing of the eyes. Bombays have a long lifespan—they can live as long as 20 years.

Unlike some other cats on this list, Bombays are high energy. This intelligent, clever breed requires lots of toys, puzzles, and playtime to avoid boredom. Without sufficient entertainment, the Bombay is inclined to make their own fun, which may involve playing with your houseplants or knocking items off high shelves. These cats can be easily leash-trained or taught to play fetch. They are chatty, social, and dependent. They are great family pets and happily co-exist with other pets.

British Shorthair

British Shorthair cat with grey hair on a grey background.

British Shorthairs are quiet, easy-going felines that are content in their own company, making them excellent pets for active people and families frequently away from home. They thrive in a relaxed home and are great for first–time owners. They are affectionate without being cloying, intelligent without being mischievous.

Unlike long-haired cats, British Shorthairs don’t require tedious grooming. Their short, dense coats require once-a-week brushing for maintenance. Mostly, these cats do a great job of keeping themselves tidy.

The British Shorthair is considered a healthy breed; however, like other pedigreed cats, they have some breed-related risk factors and may be prone to congenital heart problems or kidney issues. These cats are not highly active, and overfeeding can lead to weight gain. Interactive toys like wands and lasers will keep your British Shorthair fit and trim.

Maine Coon

Black Maine Coon Cat looking up.

Nicknamed the “gentle giant,” the Maine Coon is known for being an affectionate breed with an easy-going temperament. These cats are intelligent and playful but aren’t demanding of attention. They have moderate energy levels and enjoy relaxing throughout the day with occasional periods of activity. 

Grooming the Maine Coon will require more maintenance due to their thick triple coat. Be prepared to brush or comb your Maine Coon two to three times a week, if not daily. View our picks for the best grooming tools for Maine Coons

As a breed that developed naturally, the Maine Coon is generally much healthier than other pedigree breeds. Common Maine Coon health issues are arthritis, periodontal disease, and obesity. These cats may also suffer from genetic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). 

Norwegian Forest

Norwegian Forest Cat walking outside in snow.

The Norwegian Forest is a mild-mannered breed that easily adapts to various home environments. Despite their large size, these felines are gentle and loving. There are better choices than the Norwegian Forest if you are looking for a lap cat. They enjoy being near their family but like to do everything on their own terms. 

TICA calls grooming the Norwegian Forest “fairly low maintenance.” This breeds molts once or twice a year but sheds very little in between molts. 

This natural breed tends to be healthy, with a lifespan of up to 20 years. As with many other breeds, heart disease is a potential health issue for the Norwegian Forest. These cats may also suffer from hip dysplasia and Glycogen Storage Disease, a rare inherited disease leading to abnormal glucose metabolism and a shortened life expectancy.

Friendly, calm, and exceptionally loyal, the Norwegian Forest is a good choice for families with children and other pets.

Ragdoll

Woman brushing a Ragdoll cat.

The Ragdoll is the world’s most popular cat breed—for good reason too. These cats are intelligent, amicable, and extremely docile. They love to play but are also content snoozing by your side or following you around the house, from room to room. This social breed is a breeze to live with as long as they get plenty of affection and quality time with their family. A lonely or bored Ragdoll may develop destructive behaviors out of frustration. 

Due to their long hair, Ragdolls require weekly brushing to avoid tangles. Still, their single coat isn’t prone to matting and is easy to maintain. Learn more by reading our article on how much Ragdoll cats shed.

Ragdolls are healthy felines that can live up to 25 years. They are susceptible to digestive, joint, urinary tract, and weight issues, so nutrition is critical for lifelong health. View our picks for best food for Ragdoll cats. While uncommon, HMC is another health issue that can lurk within this breed. 

Russian Blue

Russian blue kitten is resting on the rug in the living room.

The Russian Blue is an intelligent and independent breed. While these felines can be somewhat aloof, they are still affectionate in their own way. They generally do well as the only cat in the house and prefer a calm environment. They are a good choice for pet parents who don’t need a cuddly lap cat, as they’re not known for being particularly cuddly or clingy. Still, they are sweet kitties that can bond closely with their family.

The breed can be quite playful and has moderate energy levels. They thrive on a schedule, and they enjoy a scheduled playtime. They might respond poorly when confronted with new situations and act shy around new people. Otherwise, the Russian Blue is relatively low-maintenance. They don’t need any routine washing or brushing. Russian Blues are relatively light shedders and are considered hypoallergenic.

This breed is generally healthy. Their life expectancy is around 15 to 20 years, though they have been known to live up to 25 years. They may develop specific health problems as they age, such as diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, thyroid disease, and urinary tract issues.

Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold cat sitting like a human.

The Scottish Fold is generally a low-maintenance cat. They are calm, low energy, and not demanding or needy. They have short coats that require little grooming. Like all cats, they do best with high-quality food and exercise but don’t have specific dietary or activity requirements.

Scottish Folds are affectionate and love to be cuddled; however, they do need to be handled with care. All Scottish Folds suffer from osteochondrodysplasia, a genetic disorder of the bone and cartilage. This condition causes the breed’s characteristic folded ears, but it also leads to arthritis, thick and inflexible tails, spinal abnormalities, and short, stiff legs. Scottish Folds with severe cases may be unable to walk and often require euthanasia due to chronic pain.

Despite their health problems, the Scottish Fold lifespan is typically around 15 years. A wellness plan that includes anti-inflammatory supplements or drugs may be needed for this breed.

Other Cat Breeds To Consider

Are you considering other low-maintenance cat breeds? Check out our lists of the calmest cat breeds and low-shedding breeds. If you are looking for an affectionate, low-energy cat and don’t mind regular grooming, consider the Persian. Alternatively, the Abyssinian or Sphynx may be a good choice if you’re looking for an independent feline with a low-maintenance coat. Keep in mind that both of these high-energy breeds will require lots of playtime.

A cat inside a suitcase next to traveling litter box.

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