I have been a first time cat owner now for about one and a half years. I wasn't sure what it would be like but Ginge our AbyssinianX is a lot like our dog Skye a Sheltie. Ginge loves Skye so much she pines for her when she goes outside to play-she paws at the window and meows for her. When Skye comes in she greets her at the door and runs beside her. I was surprised at how affectionate Ginge is not just with the dog but with uses well. I got Ginge from the SPCA in 2011 and we really love having her.
Here's a pic of the two of them in Skye's dog bed.
Cats are no more character predictable by breed than horses are. You can get a laid back siamese, or a hyper one. Abbisyinians tend to be really active, but it's no guarantee. I have been told that Ragdolls are very mild and would not make a good choice for an indoor/outdoor pet, since they may not defend themselves well. They are long hair, so be prepared to brush your cat.
Ours are shorthair. Oscar is part Bengal (which are the best cats in the world!). He is very smart and very active, even for an old guy. The other, Elvis, is a polydactyl. He is dumber than a box of rocks, but as sweet as they come.
They hate each other.
If I could get any cat, I would like a Scottish fold, or this designer breed, the "Munchkin". Or a combo . .
My favorite breed is any one that needs a home at a local shelter, especially if they are risking euthanasia. I have never bought a pure bred cat and have had WONDERFUL companions. I also enjoy getting slightly older cats, as they have the most problems finding a good home. They will be less of a handful too.
One thing. Get plenty of scratch posts and stage them all over the house. Cats WILL scratch the furniture and shred your couch/chairs if they have no better alternative. I use clippers to trim the sharp points off of their claws. They grow quickly, so you need to check them often. Teach your cat to accept this chore. I was given one cat that will NOT let you touch her claws for trimming. Luckily, it is only a minor problem.
Keep your cat pans very clean, so they are never tempted to go to the bathroom elsewhere. They have sensitive noses and a dirty pan will offend them.
Spay or neuter ANY cat you get. A first cat is not one to try to get into breeding with.