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15 Rare Breeds of Cats You Never Knew Existed

15 Rare Breeds of Cats You Never Knew Existed

The number of recognized breeds of cats in the cat world ranges between 44 to 73, depending on which international cat association is taken as reference.

To the average cat lover, beyond the recognizable ones such as Siamese cats, Persian cats, and Shorthair, the usual method of identification is just the color of the cat. However, rare cat breeds are significantly different from domestic cat breeds. The rarity of cat breeds is determined by the number of registrations by breeders and owners.

Explore this article to learn about the world's rarest cat breeds.

15. Sokoke

Origin: Kenya

Height: 7 to 11 inches

Weight: 6 to 11 pounds

Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years

Temperament: Friendly, inquisitive, and social

Description: The Sokoke cat is commonly referred to as the African Shorthair. Although friendly and social, the Sokoke cat tends to enjoy human companionship on its terms. Some international cat associations refer to the Sokoke as one of the rarest cat breeds. In addition to being incredibly rare, Sokoke cats are also athletic and acrobatic. These rare cats prefer warmer climates and aren't suited to life as feral cats. The Cat Fanciers Association marks the Sokoke as the rarest cat breed in the UK.

14. Turkish Angora

Origin: Turkey

Height: 9 to 14 inches

Weight: 8 to 15 pounds

Life Expectancy: 9 to 14 years

Temperament: Loyal, Friendly, and Intelligent

Description: The Turkish Angora is a rare cat breed that originated in the Turkish Mountains. They are very active cats and tend to be the center of attention. They are social and friendly with humans as well as other pets. The breed loves to bond with specific individuals. The rare cat breed almost went extinct due to aggressive crossbreeding to grow the Persian breed but is now thriving with renewed global interest and popularity.

13. Norwegian Forest Cat

Origin: Norway

Height: 9 to 12 inches

Weight: 12 to 16 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years

Temperament: Loving, Bold, and Social

Description: These large cats are affectionately referred to as "wegies" and Skogatt in Norway, where the breed originated. They are easily identifiable with their green eyes and lush fur coat. The rare breed loves affection and attention from their family members while also undemanding. The Norwegian Forest cat also has a mellow meow and isn't as high pitched as the Siamese cat. They are great family pets when provided with a loving environment, attentive grooming, and secure places for the cats to climb on to.

12. Havana Brown Cat

Origin: England, Thailand

Height: 9 to 11 inches

Weight: 6 to 10 pounds

Life Expectancy: 8 to 13 years

Temperament: Playful, Curious, and Independent

Description: The Havana Brown Cat is perfect for pet owners looking to add a feline friend to their family unit. The medium-sized cats tend to usually be by themselves and hold a certain degree of affection for their toys. Although independent, the Havana Brown cat can become attached to one specific person. The coat colors of this rare cat breed are often the most distinct factor, with only them having the all-brown coat, making it feature among the rarest exotic cats.

11. Korat Cat

Origin: Thailand

Height: 9 to 13 inches

Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Alert and Loyal

Description: Korat cats are named after the Korat province of Thailand, where the breed originated. The Korat cat is known to bring great luck to its owners. The rare species of cats are distinctively recognized with their bright green eyes and alert senses. The Korat cat loves attention, and when deprived of attention, they tend to pout and retreat to dark corners.

10. LaPerm

Origin: United States of America

Height: 6 to 10 inches

Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Adaptable, Affectionate, and Inquisitive

Description: The LaPerm breed developed due to genetic mutation to a litter of kittens in an Oregon farm in 1982. They thrive in a loving environment since the LaPerm is a highly doting breed. They are up for different social activities.

9. American Bobtail

Origin: United States of America

Height: 9 to 10 inches

Weight: 7 to 16 pounds

Life Expectancy: 11 to 15 years

Temperament: Affectionate and Friendly

Description: The American Bobtail survived in the wild for years before its population fell due to crossbreeding. The bobtail cat tends to have a dog-like personality. One can train this wild cat to fetch due to its adaptability. Their wild appearance and extreme playfulness make them appear to be feral cats with strong but loving personalities.

8. Devon Rex Cat

Origin: England

Height: 10 to 12 inches

Weight: 6 to 9 pounds

Life Expectancy: 9 to 15 years

Temperament: Sociable, Bold, and Neurotic

Description: The Devon Rex is among the uncommon breeds in the world. The pixie cat has a striking impish face, large ears, and a slender body. The Devon Rex breed is an active breed with a clownish personality, suitable for families of young kids.

7. Oriental Shorthair

Origin: United States of America, Thailand

Height: 9 to 11 inches

Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Sociable and Affectionate

Description: These cats have a long slender body, large ears, and a dark gray coat. Compared to other cats, they tend to bond closely. These cats are not considered rare compared to Sphynx cats, nor are they pedigreed cats. However, unlike the Sphynx cat, they are highly social and have a strong personality that draws people.

6. Peterbald Cat

Origin: Russia

Height: 8 to 12 inches

Weight: 7 to 14 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Loyal and Affectionate

Description: The Peterbald cat is a relatively new breed of owned cats. The Peterbald cats have a complex relationship with fur. Some cats tend to have short hair, peach fuzz, or no hair, which depends on the cat's lifetime. They tend to be loving and affectionate towards humans and other animals.

5. Scottish Fold

Origin: Scotland

Height: 8 to 10 inches

Weight: 6 to 9 pounds

Life Expectancy: 11 to 14 years

Temperament: Loving

Description: The Scottish Fold is a breed of rare cats coveted for their charming personalities and cuddlesome appearance. This beautiful cat has thick fore and hind legs, making them agile and active pets to have around the house. They crave human attention without being demanding.

4. Minskin Cat

Origin: United States of America

Height: 4 to 7 inches

Weight: 6 to 9 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Loving

Description: The Minskin cat is a mix between the Munchkin and Sphynx cat. Mixing the two breeds results in a dwarf-like cat with a fur-like coat. The Minskin cats tend to have round almond-shaped eyes and are pretty easy to maintain due to a lack of attentive grooming needs. They are loving and affectionate but also thrive in isolated situations.

3. Egyptian Mau

Origin: Egypt

Height: 7 to 11 inches

Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 11 to 13 years

Temperament: Loyal, Independent, and Doting

Description: The Egyptian Mau is a rare cat recognized as the national cat of Egypt and among the list of rare cat breeds. Egyptian Mau Cats have a regal and curious personality. They form a strong bond with their family while closely attaching themselves to one person. They can be slightly cold to strangers but are generally very loyal and approachable.

2. Burmilla Cat

Origin: United Kingdom

Height: 10 to 12 inches

Weight: 6 to 13 pounds

Life Expectancy: 7 to 13 years

Temperament: Easy Going and Social

Description: The Burmilla cat is a mix between chinchilla Persians and Burmese cats. They are long-haired cats that have a laid-back personality. Burmilla cats require minimal care and are the perfect domestic cat for seniors, kids, and families.

1. Burmese Cat

Origin: Myanmar and Thailand

Height: 9 to 13 inches

Weight: 8 to 15 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10 to 17 years

Temperament: Intelligent and Playful

Description: Burmese cats are incredibly social and quickly pick up activities such as fetch and tag. They are among a growing list of rare cat breeds that are gaining traction among "non-cat people" looking for feline companions with prominent and doting personalities. They are easy to groom and perfect as a first-pet for young families.


We hope this list of rare cat breeds has piqued your interest in the fascinating world of cats. These feline companions have prominent personalities and require a loving environment to grow and thrive in. The list is built in no particular order since there are conflicting sources of data and several layers of red tape due to the lack of registrations in some parts of the world. That being said, we hope this list finds you well and if you want to learn about nutrition tips for your cat, click here.


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