Cats are known for their appearance, personality, or rarity of numbers. Some cat breeds have been around for centuries whereas others are relatively modern. Explore 15 of the most rare cat breeds from around the world below.
The name "LaPerm" means "wavy and rippled", which is fitting due to the breed's unique coat that can feature ringlet curls or long corkscrew curls. The coat can also come in almost any pattern. This breed is very intelligent, and many can be taught to fetch or walk on a leash. LaPerms are extremely active and enjoy being in an outdoor environment. These cats weigh between 5 to 8 pounds and usually reach full maturity by age 3.
This cat is also known as the "Minuet" and is a relatively modern cat breed, created by crossing a Persian with a Munchkin. Their appearance is of a fluffy, medium sized cat, and they weigh between 5 to 9 pounds fully grown. These cats are human oriented, very intelligent, and inquisitive. Some breeders say the cat's temperament is perfect for families, due to their affectionate nature. This breed originated in the United States in the mid 1990s. The breed is known to develop very few health issues and can live between 12 to 14 years of age.
Ragamuffin cats are known for their friendly, fun personalities, as well as their rabbit-like fur. Their eyes are considered large for a cat, a feature that sets them apart from other cats. The Ragamuffin's origins are known to be from the United States and they have been established since 1994 as a separate breed from it's predecessor, the Ragdoll. This breed of cat is perfect for families with young children or owners with other pets due to their somewhat docile personality. This breed is considered an indoor breed because of their trusting nature and naivety.
This feline is perhaps the oldest breed of domestic cat featured on this list. The Korat usually sports a blue-grey coat and is considered heavy for it's size; this is due to muscle as the Korat is known for a very low body fat percentage. This cat made its way to England as early as the late 1800's, and was named the "Blue Siamese", although they were not from the Siamese breed. The Korat is known for its intelligence and the strong bonds they can form with humans. A significant feature of the Korat is its heart shaped head and large green eyes. This cat is also known as the "good luck" cat, being presented to newlyweds or highly esteemed people in society.
The Sokoke are athletic, medium sized cats that will grow between 5 to 8 pounds and will have a thin, long appearance. This is another cat that has a "dog-like" personality, able to learn many tricks associated with canines. The Sokoke is known for intelligence, territorial tendencies, and enthusiasm when playing games or greeting it's owner at the door. The combination of these personality traits leave this breed as a desired pet. Due to its thin, short coat, the cats are low maintenance.
This breed was created by an accidental breeding between a Burmese and a Chinchilla Persian in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s. The breed has been recognized since 1987. The Burmilla is a medium sized breed, usually weighing 8 to 10 pounds. Personality traits include playfulness, sociability with children and other animals, and great affection towards it's owner. Since this breed was the result of a short haired cat breeding with a long haired one, the Burmilla can be long or short haired.
9. American Wirehair
The American wirehair is ranked as the most rare cat breed in the world. As the name suggests, their coat is a wire-type fur, meaning it is springy and resilient. This breed originated from genetic mutations from a litter of barn cats in Upstate New York sometime during the 1960s. The breed is extremely adaptable, playful and almost 'clownish' according to some. This cat lives between 14 to 18 years of age and has a medium to moderate activity level.
8. Ojos Azules
The Ojos Azules is a medium sized breed with stunning blue eyes. This breed was discovered among feral cats in Mexico, in the 1980s. This breed is very rare and known for it's friendliness and affection towards people. They weigh between 9 and 12 pounds which is considered medium-large. This breed is also easy to groom and maintain due to their short coat. These cats are not deaf as many white, blue eyed breeds are known for. The Ojos Azules is also known as an independent cat that needs moderate attention from its owner.
7. Scottish Fold
The Scottish Fold is perhaps the most easily recognizable on this list due to the way its ear folds down and forward, giving the appearance of an owl or teddy bear. This breed was discovered in Scotland in the 1960s by a farmer who spotted the stray cat one day and was interested in its unique look. These cats are especially loving towards their owners, and as with most felines, they remain extremely loyal to one person or family. Males will reach between 9 and 13 pounds in weight and females will weigh between 6 and 9 pounds. This cat is also very adaptable and are typically good-natured.
6. Colorpoint shorthair
The colorpoint shorthair is a variation of the Siamese breed that was created during the 1940s by breeding short haired cats with the Siamese and Abyssinian breeds. The breed loves puzzle-type toys and activities and due to it's intelligence, these will need to be varied as they will figure out many simple problems. Although the breed loves its owners, it can be shy when in the presence of strangers. Once the stranger has left, this breed is extremely vocal and attention seeking with it's owner.
5. Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex can almost be described as "dog-like", with the ability to fetch and play just like a canine. This breed has been recognized since the early 1960s and originated in Cornwall, England. The Cornish Rex has a very playful nature for it's entire life, possessing many traits a kitten would even into old age. This breed also adores people and loves being handled and cuddled. The Cornish Rex also has a habit of opening cupboards and drawers as well as wanting to be in the highest point of any room.
The Peterbald cat is a relatively modern and rare breed from Russia. It will traditionally have one of 3 different appearances; a hairless version, a variation with a peach fuzz like coat, and a longer haired version that sports a soft, down-like coat. These felines are incredibly intelligent, affectionate, and playful. These cats will exist in harmony with other pets and children, but will remain devoted to its owner throughout its life. Due to the nature of this cat's personality, it is a very sought after breed worldwide.
The Sphynx is perhaps the most well-known breed on this list due to its appearance. This breed has a lack of a fur coat, which is almost leather-like in texture. The known origin of this cat is in 1966 in Toronto, Canada and was created through selective breeding. A hairless male kitten mated with a short-haired female and their litter bought a few hairless kittens. This was the first time that a hairless breed had been "created". The Sphynx is very sensitive to sunlight, as well as the cold, needing sunscreen in the summer and some sort of clothing in cooler environments. Due to the lack of fur, which consequently lets oils and dirt build up, the Sphynx needs bathing on a very regular basis.
2. Devon Rex
The Devon Rex originated in England in the 1960's from a genetic mutation of two stray cats mating. Devon Rex are known for their large ears and intelligence, as well as jumping abilities. Their unique appearance extends to large eyes and wide heads, some even nicknaming them "alien cats". This breed is usually extremely loyal and affectionate to one person. The Devon Rex can be taught many tricks associated with canines such as fetching and walking on a leash as well as more complex games such as tag.
1. Norwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian Forest Cats are large cats with medium to long fur coats. These cats can be rugged animals, but prefer human company or the company of other animals. Females of this breed usually weigh between 7.5 to 10 pounds and males are slightly bigger at 12 to 16.5 pounds. As the name suggests, the breed originated in Norway. These cats are extremely popular in Scandinavia, and have been a very popular breed in France since 2003. The Norwegian Forest Cat is also known for being semi-active which means they will usually experience a short burst of energy, followed by a long nap. This cat is perhaps most well known for it's sailing journeys with Nordic Vikings to modern England around 1000 years ago.