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11 Worst Cat Breeds for First Time Owners

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

devon rex tabby cat is laying on a soft blanket

Many people, especially those who have never owned cats, mistakenly believe that cats are just cats and that there are no notable differences between cat breeds and their temperaments. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time with cats knows this isn’t the case, though.

Cat breeds can be just as varied as dog breeds, with huge variations in temperaments and maintenance levels. Let’s talk about some of the worst cat breeds for first-time cat owners!

The 11 Worst Cat Breeds for First Time Owners:

1. Bengal Cat

bengal cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: lshman000, Pixabay
Temperament: Playful, affectionate, energetic
Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
Size: Medium

The Bengal cat is an exotic and beautiful cat that often catches the eye of just about anyone who sees them. Owning a Bengal cat means more than just the appearance of a tiny leopard in your home, though! Bengals are high-energy kitties that require lots of playtime and attention.

They are intelligent, which can lead to them becoming bored easily, so finding ways to keep a Bengal entertained is important to prevent behavioral issues. These cats are not a good pick for beginner cat owners due to their high-maintenance nature and need for exercise and play, not to mention they are dog-like in many of their behaviors.

2. Savannah Cat

savannah cat looking up
Image Credit: kuban_girl, Shutterstock
Temperament: Adventurous, playful, curious
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Size: Large

The first big consideration with the Savannah cat is that they are not legal to own in all areas due to their close relation to the African Serval. Savannahs are like Bengal cats on steroids, with a larger stature and a wilder personality. These big cats are dog-like in many of their behaviors, often enjoying games of fetch, swimming, and going for walks on a leash.

They are a high-maintenance breed that requires lots of interaction and playtime. They can be stubborn and are problem solvers, making some of them escape artists or adept at getting into places they shouldn’t be. They are trainable cats, but it can be difficult to train them simply due to their strong personalities and a stubborn streak.

3. Sphynx Cat

grey sphynx cat
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock
Temperament: Outgoing, social, affectionate
Lifespan: 8 – 15 years
Size: Small to medium

The Sphynx is a distinctive breed due to its hairless appearance. These cats are rapidly growing in popularity, thanks to social media posts exhibiting their fun personalities and unique appearance. However, the Sphynx can be quite a high-maintenance cat. These cats require regular baths to maintain the health of their skin, although most of them are not any more interested in a bath than the average housecat is.

They are also prone to some serious conditions, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), so it’s important to understand the potential for veterinary costs associated with this breed. They are a loving breed that makes great companions, though.

4. Scottish Fold Cat

red scottish fold cat on a dark background
Image Credit: Alexander Sobol, Shutterstock
Temperament: Social, curious, even-tempered
Lifespan: 11 – 15 years
Size: Small to medium

The Scottish Fold is another distinct-looking cat breed, thanks to its cute, folded ears. These cats are social and curious cats that enjoy play and attention but are also generally considered to be even-tempered cats that are content to have downtime, too.

However, the biggest downfall of these cats is that they tend to bond with only one or two people, showing extreme preference toward these people and avoiding others. They are often not suitable for homes with other pets and tend to have a low tolerance for the shenanigans of high-energy housemates.

5. Korat Cat

Korat laying on sofa
Image Credit: Gino Santa Maria, Shutterstock
Temperament: Laidback, intelligent, loving
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Size: Medium

The Korat can make a fantastic cat in some homes due to its laidback and loving personality, along with its intelligence and quiet nature. They are committed to their people and love the time and attention of their owners.

These cats are not suitable for homes where people are gone for long periods of time as they can become stressed and depressed by being left alone. This makes them relatively high-maintenance. They can be jealous and not very tolerant of other animals in the home. Overall, the Korat is not a good fit for most peoples’ homes.

6. Bombay Cat

bombay black cat portrait
Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock
Temperament: Active, social, adaptable
Lifespan: 9 – 15 years
Size: Medium

The Bombay is a handsome, strong cat that loves climbing and lots of playtime. They are highly social cats that form close bonds with their family and enjoy the company of their people. The biggest downfall of the Bombay is its rough and aggressive play style. While they are just playing, they can get carried away and may be prone to biting and scratching as part of their play routine. It’s important for Bombays to have strong owners who are committed to working with them on proper play and behavior.

7. Persian Cat

Persian senior cat on the bed
Image Credit: Pixabay
Temperament: Sweet, laidback, quiet
Lifespan: 12 – 17 years
Size: Medium

The Persian is one of the most popular cats due to its quiet, sweet temperament. These cats are pretty laid back and are likely to avoid the more active parts of the home. They require quiet places to escape and, while they do enjoy playing some, they are generally not particularly active cats.

The biggest issue for new cat owners with Persians is their high-maintenance grooming needs. Their dense coat requires daily brushing to prevent mats and skin infections, and their faces require regular cleaning due to their flattened shape.

8. Turkish Van Cat

white Turkish Van
Image Credit: Katzenfee50, Pixabay
Temperament: Playful, active, intelligent
Lifespan: 12 – 17 years
Size: Medium to large

The Turkish Van is an uncommon cat that is known for its fun-loving nature and high level of intelligence. These cats can be quite needy and require a lot of attention from their people. They are social and do not do well left alone for long periods of time.

One study put Turkish Vans at the top of the list for aggression toward other animals and people alike. As time has gone on, some of this aggression has been bred down, making them a far more manageable housecat, but these cats still require quite a bit of time and attention from their family.

9. Turkish Angora Cat

White Turkish Angora
Image Credit: TheCats, Shutterstock
Temperament: Mischievous, sweet, loyal
Lifespan: 12 – 18 years
Size: Small to medium

The Turkish Angora is another uncommon cat breed that you don’t see every day. They are known for their mischievous but loyal and loving nature. They are quite social with their people and are known as athletic cats that require lots of playtime. They are intelligent and good at solving problems, making them prone to getting into trouble.

Like the Turkish Van, the Turkish Angora ranked high on the list for aggressive tendencies, so proper socialization, training, and boundaries are necessary for this breed. They also require routine brushing to maintain their silky coat.

10. Himalayan Cat

Chocolate point doll-faced himalayan cat
Image Credit: Anne Richard, Shutterstock
Temperament: Affectionate, loyal, friendly
Lifespan: 9 – 15 years
Size: Medium to large

The Himalayan is a devoted, loving cat that can be quite suitable for many homes, especially homes where someone is home most of the day. They tend to be quiet cats that enjoy the companionship of their people.

The issue with Himalayans that most first-time cat owners are not prepared for is the high level of grooming maintenance required by the breed. Himalayans have similar needs to Persians, with daily brushing being necessary and routine cleaning of the face and eyes due to their flat faces.

11. Devon Rex Cat

devon rex cat in a gray background
Image Credit: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock
Temperament: Bold, social, active
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Size: Small to medium

The Devon Rex is a unique cat breed with a distinctive head shape and a soft, curly coat. These cats are playful and bold. They require quite a bit of playtime every day and may become mischievous and rambunctious when bored.

They do not do well left alone all day and are better suited to homes where someone is home most of the time. When bored, these cats may turn to biting or misbehaving for attention. It’s important to keep them entertained to reduce behavioral issues and excess energy.


Choosing the right cat involves more than simply choosing a cat that you find aesthetically interesting. Some cats have high grooming or time needs, which can lead to issues when these needs are not met. If you choose a high-energy cat breed that requires lots of playtime every day, but you work 12 hours a day, then your cat is likely to end up bored and misbehaving or under-socialized.

Choosing a cat that fits your home’s routine and fits in with the people and other animals in the home will help you ensure that your new cat settles in well and doesn’t end up overly stressed by the transition to a new place. It will also help reduce behavioral issues you may encounter with a cat whose needs aren’t being met.

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Featured Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock

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