Rare Cat Breeds

Every cat breed is unique with its own loveable quirks whether it is in terms of appearance or when it comes to their personality traits. Some are more unique than others mainly due to how hard they are to come by. There are quite a number of rare cat breeds that not many people know about. Let’s take a look at 23 of these rare cat breeds that you never realized you needed in your life. 

By far the rarest cat breed is the Cyprus Cat. This is mainly due to the steady decline in demand over the decades. Other rare cat breeds are the Ojos Azules and the European Burmese.

23. Cyprus Cat

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

The Cyprus is a landrace cat breed found almost exclusively in Cyprus. They are relatively common in their home area but incredibly hard to come by anywhere else in the world.

These cats are very outdoorsy and energetic and need someone who will be able to keep up with all these demands. For this and many other unknown reasons, the Cyprus is actually one of the least popular cat breeds in the world.

22. Ojos Azules

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

Ojos Azules is Spanish for blue eyes which is definitely the most striking feature with these rare beauties. While most other blue eyed kitties are white, this cat breed stands out having both blue eyes and colored coats.

Other than research purposes, these cats are rarely intentionally bred which is a bit of a shocker considering how beautiful they are.

As a result, they are quite rare and not often found outside their native home of New Mexico.

21. Chartreux

Image from House Carers

The Chartreux is an intelligent, calm, and affectionate cat predominantly found in France. These rare kitties were actually only introduced to North America and other parts of Europe as recently as the 1970s.

Unfortunately, they have not picked up much steam outside their home country and are quite hard to come by. They are also going up against a stiff competition with similar-looking cat breeds like the Russian Blue, Korat, and British Shorthair cats.

20. Serengeti

Image from Instagram:@spotted_felines_sarah

The Serengeti is a cross between a Bengal and an Oriental shorthair. While the shorthair is one of the most common cat breeds there is, purebred Bengals are not very easy to find in most parts of the world.

In addition to this, there are numerous other wild cat-like cat breeds that are a lot more common and popular including Savannahs and Ocicats. Therefore, the Serengeti’s demand is painfully low.

19. Peterbald

Image from Instagram:@peterbald_cattery

Whenever we think of hairless cats, Sphynxes are the first to come to mind. However, there are many other awesome hairless cat breeds in which case the Peterbald is worth considering.

These cats are relatively new to the scene having only been developed in 1994 by Russian cat breeders. It is still relatively rare due to its recent entry into the market.

However, given their friendly personalities, high intelligence, and unique aesthetic, it is just a matter of time before they are giving sphynxes a run for their money.

18. Snowshoe

Image from Bissell

Snowshoes cats have a very rare mutation that causes white paw coloration on Siamese cats. This gene appears randomly and is hard to replicate results even with selective breeding of Snowshoe cats. As a result, these cats are quite rare.

As a Siamese cat variation, it is in a lot of ways very similar to the original cat breed. It has the same point markings on the face, ears, and above the “snow shoes”. They are also quite intelligent and social.

17. American Bobtail

Image from Instagram:@gunner_bobtail_kitty

American Bobtail cats appear in quite a number of cat breed lists for their unique aesthetic from biggest cat breeds to long haired breed rankings. Despite their prolific appearance in these lists, American Bobtail cats are not very many including in America itself where they are from.

These cats are definitely worthy of a bit more attention and adoration than they get. They love human beings and contact and are known to get along especially well with children.

16. Tonkinese

Image from House Carers

The Tonkinese is a mix between a Siamese and Burmese cat breed. It takes after the Siamese cat more often than not with point markings. However, it may have more diluted versions of this iconic aesthetic which makes them a bit more unique.

Unfortunately, the original breeds and their other hybrids are more popular than these kitties. In fact Tonkinese cats are so rare that short of making special breeder requests for a custom kitty, you may have to import them.

15. Chausie

Image from Instagram:@ceyloncat

The Chausie is an intelligent and outdoorsy domesticated cat breed with both domestic and wild cat ancestors. What stands out the most with this cat breed is their size. While not as large as gentle giants like the Maine Coon, Chausie cats grow very tall and large weighing up to 16 pounds.

These cats are also quite reserved and independent. For this reason and the fact that they are quite high maintenance, they are generally not very popular.

14. Bambino

Image from Instagram:@svet_lana_bugrova

The Bambino is a combination of two of the most iconic cat breed aesthetics. The first is the Sphynx which gives Bambinos their hairless and wrinkly skin as well as their large ears. The second contributing breed is the Munchkin which gives the Bambino its dwarf frame.

While this is definitely a unique-looking cat, it has a lot of frame and coat-related health issues and is therefore not very often bred unless demand is high.

13. Minskin

Image from Instagram:@stanislavbalzac

The Minskin is in a lot of ways similar to the Bambino with common ancestors like the Munchkin and Sphynx. However, the Minskin includes other contributing cat breeds including Devon Rex and Burmese cats.

While it does have the same frame and a few facial features as the Bambino, the Minskin is not entirely hairless. Instead, they have a thin, curly rex-type coat.

While this unique combination does make Minskins devastatingly cute, they also contribute to the breeds rarity as it takes too much effort to develop them.

12. Napoleon

Image from Instagram:@running_munchkin_cattery

The Napoleon cat is arguably one of the cutest there is. With their cute, dwarf build and fluffy coat, you will have to hold yourself back from cuddling them into oblivion. They get their build from their Munchkin parent and the fluff and face from the Persian.

While most Munchkin hybrids usually only have to worry about stature-related health issues, the Napoleon is at risk of diseases from both sides. It could be breathing difficulties or kidney issues from the Persian or bone and joint problems from the Munchkin.

With so much on the line, not very many cat breeders are willing to develop Napoleons.

11. Black-footed cat

Image from Instagram:@savetheblackfootedcats

The Black-footed cat is actually so rare that it is considered vulnerable with the reducing numbers teetering it closer to endangerment and extinction.

This is mainly due to their predominantly wild cat status. While they can easily be domesticated and trained to be companion pets, this doesn’t happen enough to create demand for intentional breeding.

They are also very close to critically low numbers as a result of being hunted for wild game meat as well as for their coats.

10. Chantilly-Tiffany

Image from Instagram:@ripley_tiffany_chantilly

Things have been so bad for the Chantilly-Tiffany cat that it was once believed to be completely extinct. While intentional breeding efforts have restored numbers to a decent point, their limited demand is not a good long term sign.

It is really a shame that there aren’t more of these long-haired beauties in our homes. This is because they are incredibly affectionate almost to the point of clinginess especially when treated well.

9. Egyptian Mau

Image from Instagram:@panda.the.mau

The Egyptian Mau stands out on our list for two things. The first is an unfortunate fact which is that this is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world. In fact, there are less than 200 Egyptian Maus registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy each year.

The second thing it is known for is more positive and this is the fact that Egyptian Maus are among the strongest and fastest of all domestic cat breeds. This has a lot to do with their muscular, compact frames.

8. Sokoke

Image from Instagram:@neo.elgatitosokoke.y.miguel

Unless you are really big on keeping up with cat breeds, this is one of those cats that is so rare you may never have heard of it before. These cats were developed in the late 70s in the United States using landrace ancestors from Kenya.

The original breed itself is not found outside Kenya unless exported. The standard Sokoke on the other hand, though domesticated and unique in aesthetic, is also not very common within and outside the United States.

7. Kurilian bobtail

Image from Instagram:@yuliya_drus

The Kurilian Bobtail is from the Kuril Islands and it is very difficult to find them outside their native home and neighboring islands or coasts. They are very similar in appearance to the American Bobtail and the Manx with their short to non-existent tail.

Despite the similarities, there is no direct relationship as the Kurilian is a landrace breed.

With the other two alternatives discovered earlier, the Kurilian bobtail does not have much demand in other parts of the world.

6. Korat

Image from Instagram:@aprillitar

Like the Chartreaux, the Korat suffered a lot from existing competition in terms of aesthetics by cat breeds with similar coat characteristics and color.

Despite being one of the oldest, natural cat breeds, the Korat did not make it to the United States until the mid-20th century. It was also not an instant hit with very few breeders picking it up.

As a result, the regional gene pool for the Korat cat breed is very low thus the low cat numbers.

5. Havana Brown

Image from Instagram:@sheeeva

The Havana Brown is a thing of real beauty with its chocolate-colored, glossy coat. In addition to generally being a rare cat, it also happens to have the rarest solid coat color which makes it perfect for cat owners seeking unique breeds.

The issue with Havanas is the fact that their development over the years has proven problematic with numerous genetic issues from different hybrid combinations. As a result, not many breeders are willing to give them a try.

4. LaPerm

Image from Instagram:@miki.sumiyoshi

The LaPerm has a very unique aesthetic with its curly coat and whiskers. What makes it even more interesting is that it is probably one of the widest spread breeds on this list of rare cats. They can be found everywhere from the United States and the United Kingdom to Japan and New Zealand.

Despite their presence far and wide, their demand is not very high mainly due to the coat that makes them so unique.

3. European Burmese

Image from Instagram:@burma_airine_diaz

There are 2 types of Burmese cats. The American variety is more popular because it has more of a regular cat appearance with everything from the head shape to the fur color.

The European Burmese on the other hand is quite rare. They are not as popular and this is only getting worse. They have smaller, almond-shaped eyes, a long and lean build, and unique oval-shaped paws.

And while they are not as common, they are just as friendly and affectionate as their American counterparts.

2. Burmilla

Image from Basepaws

The Burmilla cat is mainly rare in North America but is thriving in European countries like the United Kingdom as well as in parts of Asia.

The unique-looking cat is a hybrid developed from a Burmese and a Chinchilla cat. These contributing cat breeds are quite rare themselves. It is therefore no wonder that the Burmilla is not doing so well in global numbers.

They are also generally not in very high demand which is a shame given how sweet they are.

1. Turkish Angora

Image from Basepaws

Turkish Angoras are rare but only relatively so. This is because while they may be a little hard to find in their purebred forms in most parts of the world, they are quite common in Turkey. 

In fact, they are considered national treasures in Turkey. One look at these kitties with their long, silky, white fur and elegant frames and it is not so hard to see why they are so highly valued.

What Is The Rarest Cat Color? Chocolate brown is the rarest coat color in cats. There are a few cat breeds that are predominantly this shade of brown including the York Chocolate and the Havana Brown. There are also a few other cat breeds that have varieties including chocolate brown coloring or complete chocolate brown coats although these are quite rare.

What Is The Most Expensive Cat In The World? The Savannah is arguably the most expensive cat in the world. They can go for anywhere between $10,000 to as high as $25,000 depending on the age and the specific breeder. This is due to the exotic hybrid status with wild cat roots. They are also quite expensive to maintain due to their large builds and subsequently higher resource demands.

Are All White Cats Rare? Cats with all white fur are relatively rare. While the gene required for white coat coloration and blue eyes is quite rare, it is a dominant allele. This means that only one parent needs to carry the white coat gene for kittens to potentially be born all white.

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Pete Decker