11 Rare Cat Breeds You Might Not Know

Depending on which source you use there are between 44 and 73 recognised cat breeds in the world. But what makes for rare cat breeds?

Each year the Cat Fanciers Association releases a report listing cat breeds based on the number of cats registered for each breed in the last year. This, of course, tends to correlate with the number of cats born under that breed each year.

The bottom of the list for breed births then become rare cat breeds. In its most recent report the Cat Fanciers Association recognized 45 pedigrees of cats.

There is no rule as to at which ranking a pedigree becomes a rare cat breed. So this post is based on 11 cat breeds which are near the bottom of the latest list.

Egyptian mau cat
Egyptian mau cat

11 Rare Cat Breeds

1. Scottish Fold Cat Breed

Scottish Fold cats, named for their unusual folded ears and striking, yellowish-orange eye colors, these kitties just love to be around people. These easy-going cats have a great personality and get along with anyone.

Scottish fold cat with yellow eyes
Scottish fold cat with yellow eyes

As active mousers, Scottish fold cats are playful, sensitive, and expressive. These joyful felines have a habit of posing in odd positions – sitting upright as if they were a meerkat, lying flat on the floor, or on their backs with their paws in the air.

scottish fold cat against blue background
scottish fold cat

They are moderately active and enjoy toys that test their agility and challenge their intelligence, like puzzle toys. Scottish fold cats crave attention and make great companions, so expect to play with them when you get home from work or school.

Grey scottish fold cat face up close
Scottish Fold Cat

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2. Norwegian Forest Cat

Larger than your average cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat Breed are rather elegant kitties. They have long legs and bushy tails that are often as long as their bodies.

Norwegian forest cat in the snow
Norwegian forest cat in the snow

When their coat has fully come in they are a sight to behold. They often come out in a full mane, fluffy chest, furry legs and even tufts of fur between their toes.

Norwegian forest cat with green eyes
Norwegian forest cat with green eyes

As a result, these friendly cats do require daily grooming. Their ears also often get tufts of fur which needs to be groomed. The Norwegian Forest Cat actually has a double coat with one being weatherproof.

tabby norweigan forest cat with green background
Norwegian Forest Cat

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3. Turkish Angora

Turkish Angora cats are known for their long, silky coats which often becomes longest around the cat’s neck. They are an adorable combination of large ears, almond shaped eyes and a small to medium sized head.

White turkish angora odd eye cat lying down seen from the side looking at the camera isolated on a white background

Originally from Turkey (you may have guessed this), the earliest records of the Turkish Angora cat are from the 16th century. However, the breed began to disappear in the early 19th century.

The Turkish Angora was bred at the Ankara Zoo to preserve its pedigree and breed was officially established in North America in the 1970s.

turkish angora cat

These friendly and gentle cats also have a more boisterous side and love run, jump and explore. He loves to play and will do almost anything to get your attention.

This cat breed will maintain the playfulness they exhibit as kittens throughout their lives. They will enjoy curling up next to you and on you on both the couch and your bed.

turkish angora cat

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4. American Bobtail

With a short tail, tufted ears and toes and a slightly short neck the American Bobtail cat breed screams cuddle me.

The American bobtail was a feral cat that was not bred until the 1960s.

3 ginger american bobtail cats
american bobtail cats

This playful breed is great with families and gets on well with strangers. Many compare his personality with that of a golden retriever dog. This is a devoted and loyal breed that also often enjoys going out on walks.

This intelligent cat breed loves a puzzle or a game and playing fetch. He is also a curious kitty who is quite easy going so well suited to travel and outdoor adventures.

Bobtail cat portrait

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5. Burmilla

Burmilla cats are one of the cutest and cuddliest kitties you’ll find. These adorable sacks of fur bring together, in one sweet package, a mixture of the Burmese and Chinchilla.

This breed originated in the United Kingdom in 1981 so it is a relatively new breed. The breed came about accidentally with the unexpected mating of a Burmese cat and a Chincilla Persian.

burmilla cat reaching out with paws
burmilla cat

With broad, shallow muzzles and massive, round eyes, Burmilla cats are among the most expensive flat-faced cat breeds – along with Himalayans and Persians. However, because of their well-defined chin, their faces don’t look as smooshed as the others.

Overall, these kitties are not only famous for their relatively flat-faces but also because they are beautiful, make great family pets, and love cuddles.

Burmilla cats require weekly brushing and are particular about bathroom hygiene, so find the best cat litter and keep their box spotless for them.

Burmilla Cat

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6. Devon Rex

The mischievous Devon Rex cat, also known as the pixie cat, is a loving and loyal feline breed. They make the ideal companions and welcome family and friends’ attention, as well as being great with kids and other pets.

Devon rex with dark face
Devon rex with dark face

This cat breed emerged in England during the late 1950s and is similar to the nearby Cornish Rex cat breed.

These felines are intelligent, active, and require regular stimulation. Devon Rex cats are jumpers, and their favorite place is at head level, so perches and cat trees should be provided.

Devon rex cat under plant looking up
Devon rex cat under plant looking up

The moderately active cat enjoys learning and playing fetch, so interactive toys will also help keep him occupied while you’re out earning money.

This indoor cat breed has slender bodies with long legs, large eyes, and high cheekbones. They shouldn’t be brushed as their fur is prone to breakage; instead, rub the Devon Rex cat gently with a cloth to keep them well-groomed, weekly.

Devon Rex Cat on dark brown sheet background with jug and wheat
Devon Rex Cat

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7. Eyptian Mau

A rare breed with a beautifully spotted coat, the Egyptian Mau cat is a historic breed. It has a medium-sized but muscular build, with longer hind legs. They are the fastest domestic cat breed in the world!

Egyptian mau cat
Egyptian mau cat

Egyptian Mau cats prefer heat and are quite sensitive to temperature. So if you live somewhere very cold, keep this in mind.

With a balanced temperament and a preference for activity, it’s best to have a large garden for your Mau cat. They’re very loyal and cheerful, and love snuggles. Smart enough to turn on the faucet, Egyptian Mau cats also love playing with water.

Two egyptian mau cats on a purple background perfect for egyptian cat names
Egyptian Mau Cats

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8. Tonkinese Cat Breed

This playful kitty maintains its playful instincts all of its life. They love to run, play fetch, answer the door, and more. Tonkinese cats are very social and much prefer company to being alone.

tonkinese cat dark face
Tonkinese cat with a dark face

The Tonkinese breed is believed to have been brought to the UK in the early 1800s and called Chocolate Siamese. In the USA, the Tonkinese breed was developed from the Siamese and Burmese breeds to provide a more moderate breed and to have aqua eyes.

This breed was developed in the 1960s and 1970s. These medium-sized cats can be quite strong and have short, silky hair.

Tonkinese cat with aqua eyes
Tonkinese cat with aqua eyes

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9. Chartreux Cat Breed

The Chartreux cat is known as one of the most polite breeds – not a word normally associated with cats! This is one kitty that doesn’t like to complain and will be not just your friend but a friend to any guests as well.

Gray chartreux cat with a yellow eyes on a couch.
Gray chartreux cat with a yellow eyes on a couch

This French cat can be traced back to ancient Persia and was believed to have come to France from those returning from the crusades. Many took up residence in monasteries, and this is believed to be the origin of the breed.

One of the reasons that the Chartreux is rare is that it is also an expensive cat breed with average prices for a Charteux kitten between USD $1000 and $1500.

Chartreux cat, 10 months old, in front of white background one of the rare cat breeds
Chartreux cat, 10 months old

This rare cat breed is a great option for a busy person who lives on their own or a busy couple/family. It likes to play but this desire generally comes in spurts. And this is a breed which is quite good at entertaining itself.

⇒ Thinking about what kind of kitty you would like? Check out my posts on the 9 Most Expensive Cat breeds, 10 Snuggly Flat Faced Cat Breeds, 7 Strange and Weird Cat Breeds, 11 Indoor Cat Breeds, 14 Cutest Cat Breeds, 12 Most Friendly Cat Breeds, 8 Fluffiest Cat Breeds, 11 Rare Cat Breeds, 13 Big Eyed Cat Breeds, Siberian cat colors, Maine Coon Personality and the ultimate Siberian Cat personality profile.

10. Peterbald Cat Breed

The Peterbald cat is a strange little fellow. With hairless, grey-silver skin, a slanted face, and large pointy ears, this Russian cat breed has certainly earned its place on this list.

Created from experimental breeding, this cat first popped its head out in 1994, at St. Petersburg. This is why it’s named Peterbald (I’m sure you can guess where the bald part comes from). And one of the main reasons that this is quite a rare cat breed.

Peterbald cat with red bow
Peterbald cat with red bow

Originally a cross between a hairless Donskoy and an Oriental Shorthair, these cats quickly grew in popularity in their home country.

Since Peterbald cats don’t have any fur to keep them warm, they need to be kept indoors during the cooler seasons, as they might otherwise get too chilly.

They require a little bit more cat care than other breeds because they need to be bathed weekly in order to keep their coats from getting oily and attracting dirt.

Peterbald cat in blue and white striped top
Peterbald cat in blue and white striped top

These cats have wonderfully affectionate personalities and are often found shadowing their loved ones. Peterbald cats love attention and are very active cats in general, as well as being very loyal and loving. Their personalities are regularly likened to that of canines.

So if you haven’t decided whether you’re more of a cat or a dog person, the Peterbald is a great choice of cat companion and it is unlikely that you’ll find many other examples of this cat breed in your neighborhood!

⇒ Got a new kitty on the way and looking for some names? Check out my posts on 12 Greek Cat Names , 11 Egyptian Cat Names, 12 Best Cat Food Names, 12 Bang On Irish Cat Names and the 16 Best Disney Cat Names

11. Sokoke Cat Breed

This lean, medium-sized tabby cat is often referred to as the rarest cat breed in the world. The breed was developed in the 1970s in Kenya.

Sokoke cats
Sokoke cats

The Sokoke breed is based on the khadzonzo breed which roam coastal Kenya freely. They were discovered by the West in the late 1970s. At that point they were nearly extinct.

These kitties are very active and like to climb. They bond closely with their humans as well as any other cats and can be quite vocal. They are better suited to warmer climates.

Sokoke cat yawning
Sokoke cat yawning

Please Note: This rare cat breeds post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on most of the links and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. This will not affect the price that you pay. I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.

Check out my Rare Cat Breeds Webstory

Peterbald Cat
Peterbald Cat

2 thoughts on “11 Rare Cat Breeds You Might Not Know

  1. Diane says:

    I have just last night seen the most beautiful cat I’ve ever laid eyes on. It was a very dark gray with black in between the gray in long, what I can only describe as thick stripes. It was also one of the largest cats I’ve ever seen. I’m hoping it comes back to eat the food kept on my patio for the cat I’ve come to think as mine. Although this cat was a feral cat the city took as a young stray, they spayed, and clipped an ear on her, and also vaccinated with her first round of shots. She has become very tame with me, all except she does not want to be picked up. I can pet her and she rubs all over me and comes when called. But will come in from patio, as long as the door is open just enough to get out. But if you know what breed I described at beginning, I’m very curious.

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