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15 Rarest Cat Breeds in the World (With Pictures)

It can be very difficult to track cat breeds because of their propensity to get about and the fact that a single litter of kittens could potentially have two or more fathers.

But there are certain cat breeds that most of us can identify. The Siamese and the Bengal are quite unmistakable, and the majority of us would know them if we saw them. But what about the Serengeti, which was created by crossing the Bengal with the Oriental Shorthair? Or the Tonkinese, which is a mix of the Siamese and Burmese?

While all purebred cat breeds can be considered somewhat rare because approximately 95% of all cats are moggies, below is a list of 15 of the rarest cat breeds found today.

The 15 Rarest Cat Breeds

1. Tonkinese Cat

tonkinese cat
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

With aquamarine eyes and coat colors that are described as champagne, blue, and platinum, this is obviously an elegant breed. The breed is demanding of attention, so if you’re looking for the kind of cat that you only see at mealtimes, then you should look elsewhere. The Tonks tends to be quiet, is not prone to heavy shedding, and is incredibly playful.

He’s great with kids, accepting of strangers, and will usually get along with other pets. As long as they pay him some attention.

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2. Minskin Cat

The Minskin is a relatively new breed of cat that was created by crossing the Sphynx and the Munchkin: two breeds that are already unique in their own way. The Minskin adopts the hairlessness of the Sphynx and the short legs and diminutive stature of the Munchkin. This is another breed that is considered friendly and affectionate, and they will get along with all family members including children.

Although the Minskin is an active breed, they obviously can’t jump as high as other cats because of their shorter legs.

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3. Burmilla Cat

Image Credit: canaros, Pixabay

The Burmilla is an experimental breed, even in the UK where it originates. Legend has it that the world should thank a cleaner for leaving a door open for this breed. Upon doing so, a Burmese female escaped and met with a Persian male. The resulting offspring were considered so attractive that an intentional breeding program was started to replicate the results.

It is considered a friendly and relatively placid breed that will get along with most people.

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4. Devon Rex Cat

Red Devon Rex
Image Credit: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock

The Devon Rex is one of a number of Rexes that hail from the UK, but this is the rarest and arguably the most unusual. Often referred to as the Alien or Pixie Cat, he has an elven face and large eyes. The breed is very playful and can be quite mischievous. They are renowned for being the jokers of the cat world, and if you are looking to try and train a cat, then this is probably a good breed to try it with.

They are also intensely possessive of their owners, so you will not get a minute to yourself when you own a Devon Rex.

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5. Turkish Van Cat

Turkish Van
Image Credit: platinumportfolio, Pixabay

The Turkish Van obviously comes from Turkey, and they are so highly prized in the country that exports of the breed were actually limited for many years. They have gradually started to make their way around the world, and it is easy to see why. As well as its beautiful looks, the Turkish Van is also known for being intelligent, loyal, and very affectionate.

Again, this could be another choice for a trainable cat, although you could also argue that the Turkish Van is far too intelligent to do tricks for humans.

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6. Kurilian Bobtail

Kurilian Bobtail Cat
Image: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock

The Kurilian Bobtail is another cat that is rarely seen outside his homeland. This time, it is the Russians that are keeping a close eye on their prized feline. According to the International Cat Association (TICA), less than 100 of this breed are currently located in the US and considering their stunning looks and unique tail, that will come as something of a surprise.

While they are beautiful, that beauty does come at a cost. The Kurilian Bobtail is a very heavy shedder, so interested owners will have to be prepared to pick cat fur off their clothes, furniture, and everywhere else.

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7. Sokoke Cat

Sokoke on grey_coulanges_shutterstock
Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock

Originating from the Sokoke region of Kenya, this breed is a rare domestic cat that was once thought to have been bred with a wild cat. In fact, they make loving pets, despite their wild reputation and their wild looks.

The arched back of the Sokoke comes from the unusual positioning and size of their hind legs. It can make them look like they are walking on tiptoes, but this simply hides the fact that they are always ready for action and not afraid to get a little rough when called upon.

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8. Egyptian Mau

Egyptian mau on white background
Image Credit: MDavidova, Shutterstock

The Egyptian Mau is not only rare but is also a unique breed. It is the only breed of domestic cat that naturally has spotted fur. The spots were not bred into this breed, they occurred naturally, and the spots are actually only present on the very tip of the fur and not all the way down.

The Egyptian Mau also holds the honor of being the fastest domestic cat, having achieved a top speed of 30 mph.

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9. Norwegian Forest Cat

9Norwegian Forest Cat
Image Credit: Herz_Koenigin, Pixabay

The Norwegian Forest Cat has the natural tools to survive freezing temperatures in the forests of Norway. It has a double-layered coat and tufted areas around the ruff, the tail, britches, and the paws. They are also more than capable of climbing some of the highest trees in the forest.

While the Forest Cat has the tools to live in the wilds of Norway, however, this doesn’t mean that they want to. They love to be around their owner, although this will be on their terms, and they make a very well-adjusted member of the family.

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10. Serengeti Cats

The Serengeti cat is beautiful and graceful. He looks like a miniature leopard, but despite his wild appearance, he has a very friendly and amiable nature. He makes an excellent family pet and will usually get along with all family members, including children.

Although the Serengeti was bred from a Savannah cat, it has no wild blood in it, unlike its ancestors. He is, however, self-confident and very easily bored. When your Serengeti gets bored, he is likely to become destructive.

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11. Korat

Image Credit: 15claudia, Pixabay

The Korat comes from Thailand, where he is believed to be a good luck charm. His silver-blue coat and emerald green eyes are highly distinctive, and the stunning animals were once given as a gift, typically in pairs. Today, the Korat retains his beautiful looks, is easy to groom because his coat is short and he sheds very little.

Friendly and easy-going, the Korat does tend to be quite vocal, so he will let you know when he’s hungry. Or thirsty. Or that he entered a room. Or left one, in fact. Sometimes he will meow simply because he hasn’t done so in a while.

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12. Chartreux

Image Credit: LucasBouillon, Pixabay

If you’re looking for a cat that is less prone to meowing and vocalizing, then the Chartreux is a good choice. They do vocalize but they rarely meow, and when they do it is a very distinctive noise. This isn’t to say that they don’t find other ways to communicate.

The Chartreux is a fascinatingly entertaining cat with lightning-fast reflexes and a love of play. They become attached to humans quickly, including children in the family, so they make great family pets.

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13. Peterbald Cats

peterbald on the sofa
Image Credit: Natalia Belotelova, Shutterstock

The Peterbald is a recent addition to the cat world, having been first bred in St. Petersburg in 1994. He quickly became popular in his home city and that popularity is now spreading throughout the world.

Although the bald Peterbald is the easiest to recognize, this is just one subsection of the breed. Several variants exist with hair length ranging from completely bald to straight. Straight hair signifies that they are missing the gene that causes the cat to lose its hair.

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14. Ragamuffin

White and brown ragamuffin cat
Image Credit: Pikrepo

The RagaMuffin is closely related to, but not the same as, the Ragdoll. The RagaMuffin is a large, very clingy, and incredibly affectionate cat that not only loves their humans but needs to let them know this at all times.

The Ragamuffin is almost canine in its behavior, which is why they are sometimes called the “puppy cat”. They will go completely limp in your lap, when they are napping, and they not only go on walks on a leash but may also learn a trick or two.

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15. LaPerm

Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere

The LaPerm is named for its unique-looking hair. It is one of a few breeds with naturally curly hair, which is where they get the name LaPerm from. The tightest curls tend to be around the belly and the throat, with the rest of their coat looking wavy rather than curly.

The LaPerm is friendly and loving. He is also very curious, so expect to spend countless hours hunting around the house trying to find him.

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Although most cat breeds might be moggies or mixed breed cats, there are some truly unique breeds that display unusual and even completely unique physical characteristics. We have included 15 of the rarest breeds, but there are sure to be some new breeds that are still at the experimental or developmental stages and that will gain prominence in the coming years.

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Featured Image Credit: Temudjin, Pixabay