Are there any rare cat breeds? I had asked myself that question many times. So I decided to do a bit of research. To my surprise, I found several cat breeds that are considered to be rare.
But what makes a cat breed a rare cat breed? First of all, rare feline breeds are hard to find. In other words, you will find less "specimens" (namely cats) of that breed. Another characteristic of rare breeds of cats is that they are, usually, unique and unusual. The almost-hairless Sphynx is, for example, one of those rare breeds with unusual physical traits.
In many instances, you will find little information about the newest breeds. There are some rare cats, however, that are quite well known, but they are still rare. Two examples are the British Shorthair and the Havana Brown.
Many rare feline breeds are hybrids, but there are a few that are the result of natural genetic mutations (like the Sphinx, for example).
. The Burmilla cat first originated in the United Kingdom in 1981. Interestingly, this breed is the result of crossbreeding a Chinchilla Persian with a Burmese. These cats come in a variety of colors, including black, blue, brown, and lilac. Burmilla cats have strong, muscular bodies, and round faces.
Cheetoh. A hybrid of the Ocicat and the Bengal cat, the Cheetoh has the spotted look of its ancestors. Larger than the average cat, the Cheetoh can weight between 15 to 23 lbs. Despite its wild cat appearance, Cheetoh breeders say that cats of this breed are sweet and gentle.
Elf cat. This rare cat breed is a hybrid of the Sphinx and the American Curl. The result is a hairless feline with curled ears. These kitties are highly intelligent and affectionate.
Highlander. Another rare cat, the Highlander is a descendant of the Highlander Lynx. Neither cat, however, is genetically linked with the wild lynx. This is a very new breed: breeders started developing it in 2004, and they continue to perfect it. A highly intelligent cat, the Highlander has a very friendly, almost dog-like personality.
Kinkalow. A dwarf cat, the Kinkalow is a hybrid between the Munchkin and the American Curl. The result is a cat with short legs and curled ears. A new and experimental cat breed, the Kinkalow was developed during the mid 1990s. The breed has been recognized by the The International Cat Association (TICA).
Lambkin Dwarf Cat. A cute-looking cat, the Lambkin Dwarf (also known as Nanus Rex) is a cross between the Munchkin and the Selkirk Rex. Cats of this breed have very short legs and very curly hair.
Minskin. Another dwarf cat, the Minskin – a Boston native – is the result of crossbreeding the Sphinx with the Munchkin. This cat has short legs and very little hair. Because of its sweet disposition, the Minskin makes a perfect "lap cat". Breeders started developing this breed in 1998.
Ojos Azules. This is a relatively new (and very rare) cat breed. The best-known characteristic of Ojos Azules (Spanish for blue eyes) cats is their deep-blue eyes. Experts believe that this breed descended from a cat from a feral colony in New Mexico. This cat had dark blue eyes.
Serengeti. A relatively new cat (it was first developed in 1994), the Serengeti’s wild look makes it a favorite among many cat lovers. This breed is a cross between a Bengal (also a hybrid breed) and an Oriental cat.
Singapura. This breed is not only rare but it's also one of the smallest cat breeds. Its name (Singapura) means "Lion City" in Malay, and it's also the traditional name of Singapore.
As you can see, there are quite a few rare and unusual cat breeds. And there's more. However, many of these breeds are so new that many are not yet recognized by the cat registries.
Other rare cat breeds are:
Here’s another list of rare cats. Some of these breeds are not considered to be "full breeds". Some are just variations of established breeds. Others are considered too extreme (some are cross-breeds of other cross-breeds).
- Abyssinian Bobtail
- Albino Siamese
- Black Bengal
- Brooklyn Rex
- California Spangled
- Desert Linx
- Dragon Li
- German Rex
- Poodle Cat
- Russian Black
- Russian White
- Twisty cats
- Ural Rex
This is not, of course, a definitive list of unusual cat breeds. There is always a new rare cat breed that may be developing even as we speak. But these are some of the best-known of the rarest cat breeds.