10 Rare Cat Breeds You Need to Meet

Last updated: by Jessi Larson

When you’re considering a new cat, why not check out rare cat breeds?

These breeds are often unique looking with the coolest personalities and pedigree.

And best of all, if you welcome one of these cats into your home, you’ll have a pet like no other.

Here are the top 10 rare cat breeds you should look into when the time comes to add some fur – or skin, as you’ll see with a couple of these breeds – to the family.

Rare Cat Breeds

Some people are satisfied staying in the box, but you may want the unique and interesting. When looking for a new pet, some gravitate to the rare and exciting breeds – and who could blame them?

These 10 rare cat breeds are not your typical kittens. They’re often tough to find and have features unlike other felines.

American Bobtail

american bobtail cat breed

With a wild mane of hair, interesting markings and an intensity behind their eyes, the American Bobtail is definitely unique.

This uncommon breed of domestic cat was developed in the late 1960s. Since then, its popularity has grown, thanks in part to its characteristic bobbed tail, which started as a naturally occurring birth defect in feral cats.

This is a big, strong breed that has an excellent health history because of how they were bred. In fact, they aren’t known to have major breed-specific health issues, so they can live 11-15 hearty and healthy years.

But make sure to schedule grooming time on a consistent basis. Because of their long coat, they can tend to have mats. Regular brushing will keep those in check.

Chartreux

Friendliest cat breeds Chartreux

This rare cat would be the most likely to say “C’est la vie” thanks to their French origins and mellow temperament.

The Chartreux, also known as “the Smiling Blue Cat of France,” has a mysterious background. As legend has it, they once lived a quiet, contented monastic life. The modern-day Chartreux carries on the calm, sweet demeanor of their forefathers.

As far as rare cat breeds go, this one is actually pretty famous, at least in France. They are even considered the National Cat of France.

But only recently did they start to appear stateside. Because they are a newer breed to the United States, it can be hard to find a breeder, adding to their rarity.

If you can track one down, however, you’ll have a fluffy, calming friend for life.

Korat

Grey Cat Breeds - Korat

If you love a cat with cool coloring, you’ll appreciate the Korat. They boast a silver-blue coat and electric green eyes.

They originate from Thailand and because breeding restrictions have been put in place there, they are extremely difficult to find in the United States, placing them on many lists of rare cat breeds.

An ancient breed also known as “Good Luck Cats,” the Korat loves children and bonds strongly with their humans. It’s no wonder why so many people want to find them!

Because they are bred under many restrictions, it may be challenging to find a breeder. Also, keep your eyes peeled at shelters and rescues. You may just have some luck in finding your own Good Luck Cat.

Burmilla

burmilla cat breed

The always-good looking offspring of a Burmese and a Persian, the Burmilla is so sought after that the Cat Fanciers’ Association calls them a “rare treasure” and recommends they be kept indoors.

They have been the favorite rare cat breed of everyone from cat enthusiasts to royalty. That they were bred for their beauty is completely obvious upon first glance at the Burmilla.

The Burmilla has a light coloring, stemming from their parentage. The original Persian and Burmese that bred together were brown and lilac, leading to soft, ethereal looking kittens with eyes that seem to take up half their face. These features mean your Burmilla will look like a kitten their whole life.

LaPerm

LaPerm cat photo

As their name might suggest, the LaPerm is known for their wild, curly hair. This spontaneous genetic mutation happened on a farm in Oregon, making this one of the more attainable rare cat breeds in America.

This is a rare cat that is loved for its somewhat unkept look. The soft curls tempt you to run your fingers through them and the LaPerm wouldn’t mind that at all.

Ever the social cat, the LaPerm loves to clown around, wanting nothing else but to get a laugh. But keep an eye on them – this breed can get into mischief if left unchecked.

Norwegian Forest Cat

norwegian forest cat photo

Bred to survive the harsh winters of Scandinavia, the Norwegian Forest Cat maintains the hardy structure and waterproof coat of their ancestors.

Although they may look a little intimidating to a smaller cat, they are social and people-oriented, happy to be part of a family and in the middle of the action.

While this rare cat breed has a long history – said to have been introduced to northern Europe by Ancient Romans – they only became popular in the United States in the 1980s, so finding a responsible breeder near you may be challenging.

But, if you can find one, you’ll fall in love with their playful personality.

Sphynx

Sphynx cat

One look at the hairless Sphynx and you’ll understand why they are a favorite on lists of rare cat breeds. One of the more unique features is its natural hairlessness.

Among the few breeds of hairless cats, the Sphynx is unique in how social, affectionate and playful they are with their owners. All they want is to snuggle and give you love.

Because they are hairless, they do require regular grooming. Basically, they need baths and often.

Think about how your skin feels after you haven’t bathed for a couple days. It’s the same for the Sphynx.

Another consideration: the lack of hair leaves them exposed when confronted with direct sunlight, heat and cold.

They tend to already be cold, so forcing them to live in a cold climate may not be ideal. Regardless of where you live, you’ll want to stock up on some cat sweaters to keep them comfortable.

But don’t worry, if they need the extra warmth, they’ll come curl up in your lap.

Egyptian Mau

Grey Cat Breeds - Egyptian Mau

This is one rare cat breed that will definitely turn heads. As the only naturally-occurring spotted domestic breed, the Egyptian Mau is nothing short of stunning.

They are thought to have first been a favorite pet of Egyptians and may be one of the oldest cat breeds alive today. Since the 1980s, they have risen more and more in popularity, thanks of course to their beautiful look, but also their natural companionship.

One reason they make such good companions is their natural tendency to be a conversationalist. They love to express their happiness and affection with soft meowing and vocalizations.

Keep your Egyptian Mau well-exercised – they are naturally a fairly active breed with a power jump. You may find them on top of cabinets or the refrigerator.

But when they aren’t jumping to great heights, they will gladly cuddle up and snuggle.

They also make great family cats, happy to keep the kids occupied.

Peterbald

peterbald cat photo

The Peterbald is the new kid on the block as far as rare cat breeds go. It was first bred in Russia in the early 1990s, so you could say this is the official cat of the Millenials.

Its parents were a Sphinx and a fine, short-haired Oriental, giving it almost a velvet feel thanks to its “peach fuzz” coat.

The Peterbald is also known to be a charmer. Their personality and unique look will win over the hearts of anyone they meet.

They are also incredibly athletic and that mixes with a confidence that leads to some incredible feats. Keep them well exercised and they’ll reward you with some snuggles.

Minskin

photo of minskin cat

Weighing in at 4 to 6 pounds and standing only 7 to 8 inches tall, the Minskin is the featherweight competitor on this list of rare cat breeds.

But the shorter legs and hairlessness are what draw people to the breed, which has exploded in popularity during the last decade.

They were bred in Boston by combining a Munchkin and a Sphynx, causing the unique pairing of traits. Just like their look, they combine the best of both worlds in personality.

The Minskin looks like a kitten forever and they’ll act like it, too, happy to play and always the confident socialite.

Because they have the short legs of the Munchkin, they may not be the best jumper but they are fast.

And just like other hairless breeds, they require special grooming and possibly some custom knit cat sweaters.

Final Thoughts: Rare Cat Breeds

All cats are adorable and special to their owners. But if you are a person that walks to the beat of their own drummer, lives far outside the box, and can’t be satisfied to simply fit in, these rare cat breeds are exactly what you’re looking for.

Not only that, they can all make excellent companions who will enjoy being your trusted companion.

With rare cat breeds, it’s especially important to find a responsible breeder and research the requirements for grooming and any health issues that you might run into with your rare feline.

Go ahead and be unique! These crazy cats will be right there with you.

Find a Name for Your Cat

If you decide to welcome one of these rare cat breeds into your home, you’re going to need a name. Fortunately, we have lots of ideas for you to choose from!

Since Find Cat Names launched in 2014, our site has provided thousands of fabulous names for new furbabies and helps over 6 million new cat owners every year. With these stats, we’re confident you’ll find the name for your cat on our site.

To start, try our online name generator. It allows you to sort by your favorite styles and themes to quickly find the perfect name.

You can also search through popular categories:

Try it out and see what you think!

Rare Cat Breeds – How to Pick the Right Furry Friend

When you’re looking for a cat but don’t know what breed to get, these eight easy questions can help quickly narrow down your search and find a four-legged friend who perfectly fits your lifestyle.

This guide will help you in choosing one of these rare cat breeds and give you a clearer idea of which one is for you.

1. Why Do You Want a Cat?

First things first, let’s talk about why you want a cat. This will guide you more than you realize!

For example, do you love cuddling up on the couch and want a furball to curl up in your lap and keep you company? Or do you want a low-key companion with an aloof and independent spirit?

Stop for a minute, close your eyes and think about it.

2. What Type of Cat Did You Have Growing up?

Believe it or not, the cat (or cats) you grew up with often have an impact on what type of cat you want when you’re older.

That’s certainly not to say you couldn’t pick a different type of cat by any means. It’s just that people often have a comfort level with the type of feline they were conditioned to growing up.

3. Do You Have Any Allergies?

Cats can be awful for allergies. But fortunately, there are many hypoallergenic cat breeds that make it easier for allergy sufferers.

Always learn more about the breed before bringing it into your home.

4. Who’s in Your Household?

Another important thing to think about is who is in your household.

Is it just you? Or do you have a partner? Roommates? Children?

This is incredibly important to consider. Especially if you have little ones in the house.

As you research rare cat breeds, find out beforehand if the cat is a good fit for your lifestyle and household.

5. Where Do You Live?

As you think about which cat breed is right for you, where you live is incredibly important.

The good news is that most cats do well in many different types of living environments. However, certain cats, like the LaPerm for example, need a little extra space to roam.

6. How Much Time and Energy Do You Have?

Cats certainly don’t require as much of a time commitment as other pets. (Here’s looking at you, dogs.)

But they still need someone to care for their needs and provide for them.

Potential parents should always make sure they have the time, energy and resources to care for a cat, no matter what the breed. But that level of care can increase depending on the cat.

Before making a decision regarding one of these rare cat breeds, make sure you understand their instincts and just how much mental and physical stimulation they’ll require.

7. What is the Cat’s Temperament?

Just like appearance, a cat’s temperament can vary greatly by breed. And it’s absolutely critical to find out how a cat will act based on their breed instincts.

Do your homework about a breed’s personality, and also get to know the individual cat before committing.

8. How Much Does the Breed Cost?

Owning a cat isn’t cheap, but some breeds are more expensive than others. Especially for some of these rare cat breeds.

Cost is a consideration, and it’s always a good idea to understand the full picture before bringing a cat home.

Things to consider include the initial expense, vet bills, food, grooming and supplies.