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Best Family Cats

Cats and children are ideal together. Cats are playful, gentle, and can be quite energetic. According to the Humane Society of the U.S., there are approximately 86.4 million owned cats in the U.S.

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

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Domestic Short Hairs
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Domestic Shorthairs

"When looking to adopt a cat or kitten, the most important thing to think about is your activity level," says Stephanie Shain, Chief Operating Officer of the Washington Humane Society in Washington, DC. Domestic shorthairs come in an assortment of colors, and short-haired cats are easier to care for than long-haired cats.

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Two or More Cats

"Cats are not pack animals, and do not have to be around other kitties," says Michelle Warfle, manager of Cat World at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. "Two cats, however, are often easier to manage because they have each other -- especially if they are littermates.

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Siamese

If you like to hear a cat talk, get a Siamese. There are several Siamese cat rescues, and this breed is quite easy going and enjoys being fawned over.

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Abyssinian

Abyssinians look like miniature "big cats" and are extremely friendly. They are gentle around children and love to play.

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Norwegian Forest Cat

These are great cats for children who want a friendly playmate. The one caveat is that the Norwegian forest cat's coat is long and needs to be groomed -- especially during warm seasons, when shedding persists.

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Birman

If you want an easy-going, adaptable, go-with-the-flow kind of cat who adores attention, check out the Birman. There are a few rescue shelters that have Birman cats -- look for them at Petfinder.com.

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Maine Coon

Maine coons are big gentle cats with lots of hair. If your child is up for grooming, then this is a great breed. Maine coons can grow to be about 20 pounds -- and they look even bigger because of all that hair!

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Burmese

Burmese, not to be confused with Birman, is a people-oriented cat that is incredibly gentle with children. However, with this breed and others, small children should be supervised when they are around the family cat.

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Ragdoll

Just like a ragdoll, these cats will go limp when picked up. That doesn't mean they don't like being held. They adore attention from children and adults. They have long hair and need to be brushed often.

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Manx

If you want a cat without a tail, go for the Manx. They are quite social, friendly, and adapt well around children.

Michele C. Hollow writes the family-friendly pet blog "Pet News and Views."

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