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We Bet You Haven’t Heard of These 15 Rare Cat Breeds

Many cat lovers know what a Siamese cat with blue eyes, American Shorthair, or tabby looks like. However, other breeds like a Sokoke, Scottish fold, or Minskin are much less common! These are a few of the rarest cat breeds in the world. Cat breeds so rare, you may not have ever heard of them before.

We generally hear people refer to their cat by color. How many times have you heard a friend say that their cat is orange when asked what kind of cat they have? However, these rare cat breeds are extremely distinctive, and some don’t have just one color to go by.

Take a moment to get to know some of the rarest cat breeds in the world.

1. Burmilla

Rare Burmilla cat breed

The rare feline breed Burmilla is glamorous as it sounds. Silvery markings across a shiny coat resembling eyeliner across fabric. The Burmilla cat was an “accidental” breed developed in England when a Persian cat was mixed. The Burmilla is very rare in the United States but has been gaining popularity in Great Britain.

2. Korat

Rare Korat cat breed

The Korat breed of cat has left its mark in ancient history. These cats lived in monasteries in the Kingdom of Siam in Thailand in the 14th century. The Korat cats were considered good luck. They were reserved for only members of the Thai government or foreign representatives as an enormous honor to own.

These cats have a beautiful coat that glistens blue and silver. Seeing a Korat in person is considered lucky, but they’re very rare, so keep a close eye out!

3. Ragamuffin

Rare Ragamuffin Cat breed

The Ragamuffin breed is a relatively new breed, having been introduced in 2003. With big eyes and thick, soft coats, they’re often mistaken as Ragdolls. However, Ragamuffins originated from street cats and are an offshoot of the popular Ragdoll breed.

This breed is surprisingly low-maintenance, despite being long-haired, they’re not prone to matting or clumping. These cats are also intelligent and playful. They’d probably love the Nina Ottosson cat puzzle challenges. Noted for their large size, friendly disposition, and strength, they’ll soon be well known, but for now still a very uncommon breed!

4. Turkish Van


Rare Turkish Van cat breed

Next up is the Turkish Van, which is a long-haired beauty that loves water, so don’t be surprised if you see them taking a dip in the river. These remarkable cats are originally from Eastern Turkey in the Lake Van region. They’ve been around since the 1800s and are recognized by the striking red of their tails and heads. This cat is so rare because, for years, the Turkish Government wouldn’t allow kittens to be taken from their country.

5. LaPerm

Rare LaPerm cat breed

This breed had humble beginnings, with a barn cat named Curly! The LaPerm is known for its soft and wavy coat, similar to a poodle’s. Curly passed along her curls and gentle temperament to her kittens and now LaPerm’s are great companions that can present in any color!

6. Sokoke

Rare Sokoke cat breed

This exotic shorthair cat has origins tracing back to Kenya. The Sokoke has a vibrantly striped coat and is known for its peaceful and easy-going disposition. They’re known by the people of Kenya as the free-roaming feral cats along the coast.

7. Minskin

rare Minskin cat breed

pc: Pinterest

Although the Sphynx is well known, along with the Munchkin, their cross is still incredibly rare. The Minskin has the hairless body of the Sphynx combined with the short stature of the Munchkin. These hairless kitties are known for being friendly and compact in size.

8. American Bobtail

rare cat breeds

The American Bobtail is a wild cat-looking feline that loves to play games. According to the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), they will play fetch or hide and seek for hours on end and make for great family pets.

“[Bobtail cats] are easily leash trained and love to go for walks with their people. An easy-going breed, they get along well with most dogs and welcome newcomers, whether they are two-legged or four-legged.”

9. Burmese

Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Burmese cat is a domestic cat that originates from Burma. According to the International Cat Association, this cat made its way to America in the 1930s and was bred with Siamese. They come in many coat colors. There’s even a lilac burmese!

10. Chartreux

Stephanemartin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This cat originated in Europe and France and is very affectionate. They are relatively quiet, love to climb, and are very clever. You don’t need to get this cat fancy toys, but hand them an interactive cat toy or puzzle and they’ll have a blast.

11. Cornish Rex

Alexandre Gonçalves, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

A result of a genetic mutation, Cornish Rex cats have curly coats and are very active cats with strong hunting instincts. Easily confused with the Devon Rex (both are from the United Kingdom), these cats require a lot of mental stimulation. If you have one of these guys, they are going to LOVE a good cat puzzle.

12. Peterbald

peterbald rare cat breed
Acracrabe, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The purebred Peterbald is a cat breed from Russia with very large ears. These intelligent cats are athletic, curious, and yes, bald. They can be totally hairless or have fur that’s like peach fuzz.

13. American Wirehair

Desaix83, d’après le travail d’Heikki Siltala., CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The Cat Fanciers’ Association lists this cat as a rare breed even though it has gained popularity. The American Wirehair originated in New York and was bred to keep rodents out of the house. So if you have a mouse problem, this cat is perfect for you.

14. Norwegian Forest Cat

WoIfgang de Groot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The CFA says these cats are known to have bursts of energy followed by long naps. A good scratching post is a must for a Norwegian Forest Cat.

15. Abyssinian

rare cat breeds
Oleg Royko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Much like the Egyptian Mauthese cats often have green eyes and love high places. They are very athletic and smart and require a lot of physical and mental exercise.

Did you know…?

Did you know that while these 15 cats are incredibly rare, if you happen to own a pedigreed cat you also fall into the rare category? According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, all pedigreed cats can be considered rare since just two to four percent of owned cats have pedigrees.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve heard of some of these rarest cat breeds before, or if you know of any others!