According to the International Feline Federation, there are currently more than 48 cat breeds out there.
While many of these beloved furballs are commonly found in homes, some breeds are quite exquisite and unique.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at some rare cat breeds from all over the world, along with their special characteristics and traits.
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10 Rare Cats You Probably Didn’t Know They Existed
Kicking off the list with a relatively new cat breed, as it was only discovered about a decade ago and was recently recognized by various organizations. Lykoi originally means “wolf-like” in Greek, but the cat is also known as the “werewolf cat”.
These names are both inspired by the cat’s unique appearance, including the sparse fur coat and black markings around their eyes, mouth, and nose.
Lykoi cats are considered a medium-sized breed, with females weighing between 8 to 10 lbs while males are slightly heavier at 10 to 12 lbs.
They have a muscular build with a thin and long tail. Their fur can be short or medium in length, and it is typically black or gray.
2. Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex is a medium-sized cat with a unique appearance. Unlike many cat breeds, it only has an undercoat without a topcoat. As a result, they have a distinctive curly coat rather than a soft one.
Cornish Rex cats were first discovered in the 1950s in Cornwall, England. They are believed to result from a random mutation in a litter of domestic cats.
They are known for their affectionate and playful personalities, and they make great companions for people of all ages.
Additionally, since they only have an undercoat, they don’t shed or produce a lot of dander, making them hypoallergenic and low-maintenance.
3. Oriental Shorthair
The Oriental Shorthair is an elegant cat breed with a fairly slender build, long legs, and unusually large ears. They come in a variety of patterns and colors, including solid, pointed, tabby, and more.
The nimble cat breed was developed in the United Kingdom by crossbreeding several cat species, including a special breed from Thailand. This was in an effort to save the Siamese cat from extinction during World War II.
Oriental Shorthair cats are typically around 10 to 12 inches tall but they only weigh between 7 to 10 pounds. As the name suggests, the cat has a fine fur coat, which is easy to groom and care for.
The Savannah cat is a hybrid cat breed that resulted from crossing a Serval with a domestic cat in the late 1980s.
The cat was recognized as a new breed in 2001 by The International Cat Association and a championship-eligible breed in 2012.
The Serval genes give the Savannah a remarkably exotic look along with special color markings and various patterns, especially spotted ones.
The cat has hooded eyes and tall erect ears with a relatively long body, measuring around 12 to 18 inches and weighing up to 25 lbs.
Despite their imposing appearance, Savannah cats are intelligent and safe around humans. But you should keep an eye on them when dealing with smaller pets in the house.
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Minskin is quite a rare cat breed with a distinctive and instantly recognizable appearance. It has relatively short legs, compared to its long torso.
The cat is also known for its prominent whisker pads, large rounded eyes, and long ears. Their fur can be so short that they appear hairless, but you can also find them with medium-length fuzzy coats.
Minskins are typically small in size, weighing as little as 4 to 8 lbs. Despite the alert appearance, minskins are quite engaging and good with children and other pets.
The Sokoke cat is a breed of domestic cat that’s originally native to the Sokoke Forest of Kenya and considered by many as one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.
These cats are known for their distinctive markings, including a ticked tabby coat with distinct white markings on the chest and belly as well as dark markings on the legs and tails.
7. Khao Manee
The Khao Manee, also known as the “Diamond Eye” cat, is an ancient cat breed that hails from Thailand.
The rare domestic cat’s name translates to “pure white”, so it’s no surprise that the cat’s white fur coat is one of its distinctive features.
They have a body type similar to standard Siamese cats along with a long tail. Another special feature of the cat is “Heterochromia”, which is found in the rarest varieties of the breed.
8. Flame Point Siamese
The Flame Point Siamese is one of the rarest varieties of the Siamese breed. As the name suggests, these cats are characterized by their red colorpoint pattern rather than the regular dark one.
Apart from their unique appearance, these cats are fairly similar to most Siamese cats, so they’re quite engaging and chatty. They also love attention and will follow you everywhere around the house.
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The Bambino cat breed is considered one of the most adorable and exotic cat varieties in the world.
The breed was developed by crossing Munchkin with Sphynx and was recognized by the International Cat Association in 2005.
The rare cat combines some of the best elements of its parent breeds, including large ears, round eyes, and short legs. While some of them have short hair coats, most of them are hairless and wrinkly.
10. Pallas’s Cat
Lastly, we have one of the most unique cat species in existence. Palla’s cat, commonly known as “Manul”, is a wild cat breed found in various parts of the world.
This one is characterized by its puffy fur coat, which is usually dark gray. Unlike other cats on the list, Palla’s cat is completely wild and can’t be kept as a pet.
As you can see, there are plenty of rare cat species out there with distinctive features and unique patterns.
Keep in mind that many of these species are also quite pricey, so you have to keep that in mind if you’re planning to have them as pets.