Get to Know the World's Rarest Cat Breeds, From Hairless Loafers to Curly Exotics

Cats are the perfect cuddly companions for just about anyone. Low maintenance and enjoyable to be around, cats have a bit of a bad reputation for being slow to warm up to people. However, once they do warm up, they're even better at cuddling than dogs. Most cat owners are familiar with the sweet American shorthair and the beautiful Persian. Munchkin cats and the Scottish Fold are popular on social media, too. But if everyone had the same type of cat, life would be pretty boring. If you want to get a cat that no one will recognize—one that's primed to be a social media star—there are plenty of unique and interesting breeds out there.

The Cat Fanciers' Association officially recognizes 45 different cat breeds, each with their own set of unique characteristics. Of course, when it comes to choosing a new pet, consider if you want a hairless cat, a long-haired cat, or something in-between. Hairless cats are amazing, but they're not for everyone. Fortunately, with nearly four dozen breeds, there are plenty of options to choose from for your next furry friend. As you search for the best cat for your home, you may want to consider one of the more rare cat breeds. From LaPerm cats to Tonkinese cats, the rarest cat breeds are some of the most beautiful. Here's a look the world's most unique felines.

15 Rare Cat Breeds to Consider as Pets

1. Korat


The beautiful Korat cat is known for its bluecoat. They were first found in Thailand and are thought to be good luck. Korats only come in the silver-tipped blue color. According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, their head is made up of three heart shapes. One heart you can see looking straight at their face, while the second heart can be seen by looking at the top of their head. The third heart is their nose. The short hair on the cat does not fly off when they are being pet, so those with cat allergies find them easier to be around.

2. Sphynx 


The Sphynx cat originated because of a genetic mutation. The first cat was born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada, to a domestic cat. Interestingly enough, these cats aren't always hairless, and their hair pattern can vary over time. Also, since they do not have fur, they can get cold. But since they are relatively bright, they will find a spot to sit and keep warm.

3. Devon Rex

devon rex

The Devon Rex's signature look is its elf-like face and large ears. These curious cats and rare cats are full of personality and love being a member of the family. Overall, they are low-maintenance cats that are easy to care for. However, be careful where you set your morning bagel; Devon Rex cats are notorious food thieves!

4. Minskin

minskin kitten blue tabby color

Credit: Paulmcsorley

This rare semi-hairless kitty cat is a mix of the hairless Sphynx and the Munchkin cat, with a little Devon Rex and Burmese in there for good measure. The new breed first slinked onto the scene in 1998 when Paul McSorely decided to make a cat similar in color to a Siamese cat with shorter legs. He also wanted it to have thick fur on its ears, tail, and legs but have some traits of the Sphynx. It was a long process, and by 2005, there were 50 worldwide. In recent years, they have gained in popularity and were recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 2008. These unique cats have sweet, playful personalities, and they love to snuggle!

5. LaPerm Cat

la perm cat breed

The LaPerm cat was born to a barn cat in Oregon in 1982. The first one was born without any hair, but as the kitten grew, it developed curly hair. The owner tried to breed the cat to single out just the curly-haired variety. When she entered into a show with her LaPerm, people were fascinated, making this one of the most unique rare cat breeds.

6. Egyptian Mau

rare cat breeds

The Egyptian Mau has more of an exotic look. They are great companion cats who are friendly with the owner but can be reserved around strangers. Egyptian pharaohs and kings worshiped the regal-looking cats. They are the only domestic cat whose spotted fur pattern occurs naturally.

7. Chartreux


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This breed of cat hails from France. Early references to the breed date back to the 16th century. They are known as very quiet cats. Legend has it that the cats took a vow of silence along with the monks they lived with. It is speculated that they originally came from Syria and were brought to France during the Crusades. A breeding program was established for the cats in the 1920s in Europe, and the cats came to North America in 1970.

8. Burmilla


The Burmilla is a mixed breed cat, part Burmese and part Chinchilla Persian. The blend of the two cat breeds makes them quite friendly and affectionate. The Burmese cat is known for being rather needy and naughty, so the Chinchilla Persian's easy-going personality balances out the breed. The breed descended from a lilac Burmese and a Chinchilla Persian's accidental meeting. Cat lovers can choose from a long-haired Burmilla or a shorthair.

9. Sokoke

Sokoke cats sit together

?This rare cat breed came from Kenya and is full of energy. They love to run and climb as much as Abyssinians do. They are medium-sized cats with large green eyes and slender legs. Their coat is more of a tabby color, but some snow Sokoke's are pale with a few tabby markings.

10. Siamese Cat


Siamese cats are known for being expert communicators and for their intelligence. They are said to come from the sacred cats of Siam or Thailand. They are known as one of the original pedigreed cat breeds and were accepted into the CFA in 1906. They are known for their deep blue eyes that since in stark contrast to their fur.

11. Turkish Van

rare cat breeds


The Turkish Van comes from the countries of Iran, Iraq, Russia, and eastern Turkey. They came to England in 1955 and eventually to the United States in 1982. The cat is known for being primarily white with colorful patterns only on their heads or tails.

12. Peterbald


Peterbald cats are friendly and active. They usually are great companions for their owners and get along well with children and other animals. Their coat can be hairless, or they can have soft wavy hair. These kitties have a lifespan of 12-15 years.

13. Kurilian Bobtail

rare cat breeds

The Kurilian Bobtail is quite common in its native country of Russia. However, according to the International Cat Association, there are very few in North America. They have short bobbed tails with a large variety of colors. Since they were initially wild cats, the bobtail cat can live up to 20 years.

14. Serengeti


The Serengeti cat was bred to have a wild appearance similar to the African serval. Their coat has a soft silky appearance with yellow and gold coloring with black spots. Their eyes tend to be gold or amber in color. The cat's body structure is close to an oriental shorthair. They love to climb and run around at full speed.

15. Tonkinese


Tonkinese cats love to play games with their owners, including fetch and hide and seek. They love to meet new people and will be the first to say hi to any new visitors. The friendly cats are a blend of Siamese and Burmese cats and have beautiful aqua-colored eyes.

These rare cat breeds join the ranks of Bengals, the American bobtail, the Cornish Rex, the American Wirehair, and the Norwegian Forest Cat-all unique and beautiful cats with distinct markings and great personalities.

This article was originally published on September 3, 2021. 

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