10 Very Rare Cat Breeds

Mychelle Blake
Contributor: Lori Soard
Peterbald kitten stretching in a funny position

If you're the type of person that marches to the beat of your own drum, you may be interested in one of the more unique, rare cat breeds for your next pet. You won't see these breeds in the veterinarian's office or at a friend's house, but they can make exceptional pets and show cats.

List of Rare Cat Breeds

Just how rare of a breed are you interested in? Although they are well known, even British Shorthair cats can be a bit rare and hard to find. However, there are a few breeds that are really unusual and lesser known. Although some of these breeds are registered with the Cat Fanciers' Association, not all are recognized by them. Nevertheless, there are breeders that specialize in these breeds, and new breeds are being created and discovered to this day.

Lambkin Dwarf Cat

These cute little elfish looking cats will quickly steal your heart. Their short legs and long body are reminiscent of Dachshund dogs. Their tails are particularly long, and many are marked with points and often feature blue eyes. The Lambkin's coat is curly. This breed was developed by crossbreeding the Munchkin and the Selkirk Rex, and it first appeared in 1987. The breed is also called Nanus Rex.

Kinkalow

The Kinkalow is another rare dwarf cat. This breed is considered experimental at the time of this writing, but it's recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA). The breed is created by crossing Munchkins and American Curl cats. The result is a breed that has the body type and short legs of a Munchkin, but has the curled back ears of the American Curl. They can come in a variety of color patterns.

Highlander

This breed is not very well known, but it's slowly increasing in popularity. One of the most pleasing things about this type of cat is that it acts like a dog, follows its owner, and even plays fetch. The breed recently began development in 2004 and comes from Highland Lynx breeding stock. Since there are wild cats in the Highlander's genetic history, these felines are a bit larger than some other breeds yet still very domesticated. Highlanders can have either short or long hair and just about any variation of colors imaginable. The very tips of the ears curl back, and the cat has belly spots.

Serengeti

This breed is a spotted feline that was established in 1994. This cat looks very much like a Serval, but only domesticated cats are used in the breeding program. The breed is a mix of the Oriental Shorthair and the Bengal cat. It is often mistaken as a Savannah cat, but Serengetis have friendlier personalities due to their lack of "wild cat" blood. Colors include:

  • Ebony (silver or smoke)
  • Tabby
  • Black

American Wirehair

Looking for a breed that is born and bred in America? You may want to check out the American Wirehair. This breed was founded in the state of New York in 1966 when some barn cats were born with mutations in their fur. This mutation has not been discovered in any other area of the world, making this cat truly unique and truly American. The most distinguishing characteristic of the American Wirehair is its fur which is coarse and wiry.

Lykoi

The Lykoi cat is an unusual breed that was developed from a naturally occurring mutation found among some feral cats. The mutation gives the cat the appearance of a "werewolf." The name "Lykoi" means "wolf" in Greek. Lykois were accepted into the Cat Fanciers Association in 2018 in the Miscellaneous Status group and have Championship status in The International Cat Association. Lykois have a roan color coat and the most popular color is black roan although they can come in other colors and patterns. As of 2018 it is estimated that about 350 to 400 Lykoi are available internationally.

Havana Brown

Despite their name, Havana Brown cats are actually related to Siamese and Russian Blue cats that were crossbred by British cat breeders in the 1950s. Their name comes from their chocolate coat's resemblance to a Cuban cigar. These are sleek, agile cats with a silky, shiny brown coat. It is believed that there are less than 1,000 Havana Brown cats in existence today. They are known to be highly intelligent cats that need a lot of attention and human interaction.

Korat

Korats come from Thailand and were considered a very lucky cat in their native country. They are also one of the world's oldest cat breeds. Like the Havana Brown, the Korat's short coat comes in one color which is a blue/grey shade with silver tips that can appear shiny as the cat moves. The Korat's eyes are a brilliant emerald green although a Korat's eyes can take up to 4 years to develop their full green color. Korats are difficult to obtain outside of their native home and they are known to be quiet, sensitive cats.

Burmilla

These beautiful cats were created from accidentally crossing a chinchilla Persian to a lilac-colored Burmese cat. The result is a cat with a shimmering white coat described as silver. That cats fur literally shimmers as it moves. It does come in other coat colors but the silver/white is the most popular. There are short-hair and long-hair varieties of the Burmilla. Their eyes are always a shade of green, and they also have a dark lining around their eyes, lips, and nose that makes their facial features stand out. Burmilla cats are very hard to find in the United States and most can be found in the United Kingdom where the breed was created.

Peterbald

At first glance the Peterbald appears to be a Sphynx cat, but they are in fact a crossbreed of the Oriental cat and the Donskoy. The breed was created in Russia in the 1990s. Peterbalds can range from 70 percent hairless to completely bald although some individuals can have a normal short coat and others can have a "brush" which is a wiry coat. Peterbalds require regular baths to keep their skin healthy. They have a reputation for being very affectionate and attached to their humans and are great cuddlers, no doubt due to their lack of fur.

Additional Cat Breeds That Are Rare or Extremely Rare

Some additional rare cat breeds include the following.

Rare Cat Breeds
Abyssinian Vobtail Aegean American Keuda
American Miniature Bohemian Rex Black Bengal
Brooklyn Rex Caracat Cheetoh
Cheub Dragon Li Elf Cat
Chausie California Spangled Kurilian Bobtail
Minskin Sokoke Templecat
Nebelung Egyptian Mau Devon Rex

Researching Rare Cats

These are just a few of the many breeds that are in development at any given time. Some breeds are rarer than others. Sometimes the coloration can be rare such as that of an Albino Siamese or a flame point. Remember that some breeds have particular personality traits, so be sure to research each breed thoroughly to be certain the cat will be a good fit with your home life. For example, a highly energetic cat may not be on your wish list. Whichever breed you choose, be sure to buy from a reputable breeder and spend some time getting to know the cat or kitten before making a commitment to take it home. Getting a new cat is a commitment of at least 15 to 20 years in most cases, so it's best to be sure you are a good match.

10 Very Rare Cat Breeds