It’s impossible to imagine our lives without cuddly and purring marvels that have a unique power to heal our bodies and hearts. Since ancient times, cats have been loved and respected, they were not only pets but also the guardians of houses and protectors from evil forces. The population of cats as pets is growing, and more and more families are choosing exotic cat breeds with unique appearances and personalities.
How many types of cats are there? In fact, there are 40-70 different breeds of cats – though that number depends on who you ask. The CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) recognizes 42 pedigree breeds of cats, while TICA, the International Cat Association, recognizes 71 cat breeds.
Most of these breeds of felines are known to any cat enthusiast, but there is a group of extremely rare cats, and usually, they are found only in certain regions of the world. Some of them were bred artificially, some are indigenous to the places in which they live historically.
These felines are usually hard to find, often they are available in limited numbers, and involve long waiting lists with breeders or catteries. All of these unique cats have different personalities and distinctive appearances. Below we have prepared a list of rare cat breeds that every cat fanatic should know.
Rare Cat Breeds
Norwegian Forest Cat
Hailing from Norway, the Norwegian Forest cat is known for his distinctive appearance that helps him survive in the freezing winters in Scandinavia.
These felines feature a double coat that covers their chest, legs, paws, and ears. Their head is triangle-shaped with almond-shaped eyes. The Skogkatt (the name of these felines in Norway) occupies its place in Norse mythology. Thus, it is known that these fearless warriors accompanied Vikings in their sea adventures.
This rare cat became popular in the USA in the 80s due to its outgoing and playful nature. If you are looking for a furry cutie, then the Norwegian Forest cat is just for you. However, don’t forget that beauty requires sacrifice, and these cats need daily grooming.
These little cuties are absolutely unique because they are a mix of the Burmese, Munchkin, Devon Rex, and Sphynx. They have all the advantages of each breed and are known for their short bodies, a sparse coat, short legs, big ears, and prominent whisker pads.
Apart from their unique appearance, they have a playful personality and act as dog-like cats (actually, they are compared with Corgi). This breed was developed by Paul Richard McSorley in 1998, but it was recognized by the International Cat Association (TICA) only in 2008.
American Bobtail Cat
The American Bobtail is a large domestic cat breed, bred from wild North American cats in the 60s of the last century, and in 1989 recognized by three cat associations, including the Cat Fanciers Association.
These felines have a wild appearance – they are large, have fluffy fur, and have a short tail that can be straight, kinked, or curved. These cuddly companions are easy-going, they make new friends easily, bond with their family, love playing fetch, are keen to learn new tricks, and walk on a leash with pleasure. Overall, this rare cat breed is strong, healthy, and can live up to 15 years.
These cute felines with captivating spirits are smart, cheeky, and playful. They have large ears and almond-shaped eyes. Short-haired mischievous felines from Singapore are also affectionate and friendly, they get along well with other pets in the household that makes them perfect indoor cats.
These intelligent extroverts will make perfect playful companions because they love chasing balls or enjoy tap dancing. Singapura cats prices range between $800–$2,000, depending on a breeding program and the reputation of cat breeders.
Egyptian Mau Cat
The Egyptian Mau is one of the oldest breeds in the world. These are the Egyptian Mau cats that are depicted in murals in the pyramids and these felines were loved by the Pharaohs. The oldest domestic cat breed appeared in the USA in the 1980s and won thousands of hearts due to its cheerful and loyal personality.
They have a medium-sized muscular body and long hind legs, their coat is short and can feature various patterns. These fearless hunters are elegant and graceful, they will gladly spend time outdoors following their hunting instincts. Besides, they feel absolutely great chilling atop bookshelves or fridges.
On top of that, this exotic cat breed is the fastest domestic cat breed and is known as a “speed demon”, with speeds recorded up to 30 miles per hour!
If you want to become a pet parent of this Egyptian cat breed, be ready to pay a decent sum because the Egyptian Mau price is between $800 and $1,200.
This cat breed appeared as the result of a natural genetic mutation and was discovered in Canada in 1966. Sphynx felines resemble aliens due to their large ears and almost hairless bodies.
Therefore, these felines are perfect for people who are prone to cat allergies. At the same time, due to a lack of fur, they get cold easily and are prone to sunburn. Aside from their unique appearance, Sphynx cats are extremely social, affectionate, and playful. They are loyal to all family members and love children, so they are a great choice for big families.
The Havana Brown cat was bred in England in the middle of the last century by crossing the Siamese cat and black British felines. Recently, the popularity of the Havana Brown cat has grown, but still, it is considered rare.
This rare cat is known for its charm and loving nature. The color of the coat is a deep chocolate shade, which matches perfectly with the shining green eyes. A feature of the breed is their exceptional curiosity.
They have a puppy-like demeanor, so they will gladly follow their pet parents all-around home. Besides, they explore their environment not only with their sense of smell but also with their paws so that they can feel the objects. These loyal pets are great for families.
This is the rarest cat breed in the world because it can’t be cannot be bred in other countries. It has appeared accidentally in 1966 in New York as a result of a random mutation in a litter of domestic short-haired felines.
American Wirehair cats have got their name due to their sparse fur, but their wiry coat is prone to damage. Besides, their whiskers are also crimped. These affectionate felines enjoy both playing with family members and soaking up in the sun.
The breed appeared a little over twenty years ago as a result of crossing the Don Sphynx and the Oriental Shorthair cat. The appearance of Peterbald cats is quite unusual – they have a small wedge-shaped head, a long and straight nose, small eyes, long bodies, and tails.
This is a unique breed of cats since it can be either completely bald, without eyebrows and whiskers, or with short hair, which remains only on the head and paws. However, they are not hypoallergenic as their saliva is the allergen. This affectionate, docile, energetic, and friendly pet will never show aggression towards other animals or people.
The Peterbald cat is very vulnerable, he can hardly endure loneliness, and needs constant attention and communication with the owner. Therefore, this breed is not suitable for busy people. The Peterbald cat price is between $1700 and $3000.
In terms of size and color, this breed resembles a Russian blue cat, but the ancestors of this breed are from Thailand where they are believed to bring good luck; this official breed was brought to the United States in 1959.
Korat cats are one of the most beautiful felines in the world and only come in one color called silver-tipped blue, that is why they are sometimes called blue Siamese cats. They have a heart-shaped head and a long and muscular body. These felines are happy to play outdoor games or chill together with the owner.
This incredibly rare breed of cats has both long and short curly hair, which determines the informal name of LaPerm – the curly cat. LaPerm was a spontaneous genetic mutation in a common litter of striped felines in the 1980s on the farm, owned by Linda Koehl.
These farm cats are descended from freely interbreeding cats, that is why they retained a love for hunting and living in their natural environment. Besides, they are known for their playful personalities.
This large ancient breed with a muscular elongated body is one of the largest and oldest cat breeds. Turkish Vans have existed on the territory of modern Iraq and Iran since the Middle Ages.
These beautiful felines are active, intelligent, energetic; Turkish Van cats love to play with interactive toys and explore the world around them. Besides, a fun fact about these felines is that they love swimming. So, if you need a friend with whom you can relax by the pool, the Turkish Van will gladly accompany you.
They have a triangular head and a fluffy coat that is fully waterproof. The length of male cats is from 90 to 120 cm, their weight is 6-9 kg. Turkish Van female cats are smaller, and they usually weigh between 4.5 and 6 kg.
Translated from Greek, “Lykoi” means “wolf”, however, despite this, the birthplace of this breed is Virginia, the constituent state of the United States of America.
In 2010, the short-haired cat gave birth to unusual kittens. The owner of the cat Patty Thomas jokingly called them Lykois because of their unusual appearance, which resembles the characters from horror films. This wolf cat breed has a slim body, a wedge-shaped head, a bald muzzle, their ears are large and wide, and the eyes are walnut-shaped.
The color of these weird looking cats is black and gray. Their name emphasizes not only their unique appearance but also their unusual character. This relatively new breed is very kind and loyal towards its owners, and this rare cat breed also protects loved people if necessary, so sometimes he can be quite aggressive.
The Chartreux cat is the National Cat of France that has a history steeped in legend. There is a belief that this cat appeared in ancient Persia and arrived in France with knights who returned from the Crusades.
It is also believed that this cat took a vow of silence with the monks, that is why today this breed is so quiet and polite. These qualities are pretty rare in cats, aren’t they?
These felines have a short coat of a blue-grey color that perfectly matches their yellow eyes. In terms of personality, these felines are loyal and devoted pets that will gladly spend time with their owners or on their own. The uniqueness of this historic breed is emphasized by a price tag, which starts at $1,000.
Cornish Rex Cat
The Cornish Rex cat is a canine-like breed that originated in the 1950s in Cornwall, U.K. Their name is symbolic – Cornish signifies their motherland, while the “Rex” means a curly-coated rabbit.
These felines have tight and curly fur, big eyes like the Devon Rex cats have, and big ears on a triangle-shaped head. These cuties come in a variety of colors and patterns that look charming on curly hair.
This curly cat breed is known for its playful demeanor. Even if you are a dog person, you can be sure that these purebred felines will play fetch and catch with pleasure. Besides, the Cornish Rex cat is people-oriented and affectionate, so this excellent family pet will likely be your cuddle companion.
The history of the Bengal cat begins in the middle of the 20th century. This graceful animal has a bright pattern that resembles a leopard’s fur. This hybrid cat breed emerged as a result of crossing Bengal cats with various domestic pets, including Burma and Egyptian Mau.
Therefore, a new type of domestic cat with the appearance of a wild predator was obtained. Bengal cats have an elongated body, strong legs, a medium-length tail, short ears, and expressive eyes. The coat of these felines is short and thick, and it can be of various colors: from white to chocolate.
Even though these house cats look like leopards, Bengals are friendly, affectionate, outgoing, and curious felines. They love children, enjoy playing games with them in a pool (unlike other cats, they just love water!), and also learn new tricks easily.
Imagine that the cutest cat in the world curled up next to you… It can become reality if you buy the Turkish Angora – a bright representative of rare breeds.
These friendly felines feature a silky white coat, a fluffy tail, and may have gold, blue, or odd eyes. The Turkish Angora was bred at the Ankara Zoo to preserve this unique cat breed. Aside from being gentle, these white furballs have a boisterous side, and they love jumping and running.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the rarest cat to find?
All breeds listed above are very rare. Among them, there are both the most ancient breeds in the world and those that have appeared relatively recently. One of the rarest breeds is the American cat breed American Wirehair. On top of that, one of the most beautiful pedigreed cats is the Burmilla cat. Burmilla cats are a hybrid of the Chinchilla Persian and Burmese felines.
What is the most valuable cat breed?
The most valuable cat breed is also one of the rarest cats to own due to its unique lineage (it is a cross between the wild cat African Serval and the Asian Leopard). The Ashera cat is the most expensive cat breed in the world.
Are brown cats rare?
Brown tabby felines are quite common, while solid brown, chocolate, or cinnamon cats are quite rare.
So, all these rare cat breeds are great family pets who will steal your heart. However, don’t forget that a majority of these rarest cat breeds are hard to find, so be ready to be on a waiting list and pay a tidy sum.