This post may contain affiliate links, or we may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post. For more information on this, please visit our legal page.
Unlike dogs, people rarely ask about cat breeds because usually, the answer is a domestic short or longhair (or you have no idea) meaning a combination or mix.
But since I love cats and it is cat week after all, I thought we could take a look at some of the rarest cat breeds that you can have, what they look like and some characteristics (physical and mental) that are attributed to them which can help with identification as well as helping to determine if they would fit in with your family.
As with any animal, you should not look to purchase based entirely on breeds and some might not suit your circumstances! Either way, enjoy some of these rare domestic beauties and what they have to offer!
About: An intelligent and playful breed that is full of energy but doesn’t do well being confined so should always have a garden area. It is believed that they originated in Egypt but were transported to England by the Romans. They live around 10-15 years and are extremely affectionate so can be integrated early on with other pets and children (when done properly). Plus they are inquisitive so hide the wires!
Defining features: The most common color is golden brown with ticked brown coats and are relatively short hair. Abyssinians also have fairly wide ears in comparison to their faces (as pictured above) and can resemble mini lynx or pumas.
Fun Fact: These kitties love heights and will appreciate a garden with climbable trees.
About: The first Scottish fold cat was traced to a Scottish farm in the 1960’s and although have reduced in popularity in Europe and the UK they have become particularly popular in Canada and the US. This well mannered and docile breed are not very demanding and are an easy breed to keep because they are happy with the usual clean food, tray and an area to sleep.
They love human contact and are perfect with kids and other pets and they have quite small voices so are not very vocal. A similar straight-ear variation is recognised in Austrailia as a separate breed and is also known as the Scottish Shorthair.
Defining features: Down and forward pushed ears, short hair(pictured)
Fun Fact: in 1978 the Scottish Fold was granted championship status by the CFA which is one of the largest registries of pedigree cats.
About: These social cuties are some of the perfect companions because they like other pets, children and humans but that means they do not do well when left on their own for longer periods (watch out for your furniture). Minskins are a combination of the Sphynx breed and the munchkin which is, in part, where they get their name. As a result, they have shorter legs and stocky bodies (similar to the shape of a corgi) but this does not seem to negatively impact their health.
You should take extra precautions with letting Minskins outdoors because their short (or non-existant) fur makes them particularly sensitive to temperature changes and their short legs hinder them from jumping too high which means they often climb and get stuck. In addition to this, they can be a target of theft because of their unique, trusting nature.
Defining features: Very short fur (some have none at all), large round eyes and ears.
Fun Fact: Minskins shed very little and can be an alternative to those with allergies to dander (although you should always talk with a doctor first!)
About: This shorthair breed originated in Thailand and has slowly been entered (fairly recently) into Britain. Their name means “White Gem” and this is because a Khao Manee is all white with eye color variations (pictured) although some kittens may be born with darker marks on their head and face, these should fade by their 1st birthday.
This breed in particular, is an excellent lap cat that is not overly concerned with going outside but enjoys companionship which means if you are not around most of the time you need to get two. They are an excellent breed for the elderly because they require minimal maintenance but give a lot of love.
Defining features: Short fur, completely white, multi-color eyes (sometimes multiple colors per eye!)
Fun Fact: Having a Khao Manee, like the one pictured is considered to be lucky in Thailand
5. British Shorthair
About: These are one of the oldest breed of English cat and can be traced back to the Roman era! They are recognised as a breed internationally and by The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and are loved by breeders around the world but are still considered a minority in the breeding world.
As far as cats go, the British shorthair can be quite clumsy and often prone to weight gain. Although they are calm, affectionate cats that can be introduced to other pets they are not usually fond of being carried and may not suit smaller children.
Defining features: “rounded”, shorthair, large round eyes
Fun Fact: Although they are commonly “blue” they also come in a variety of other colors and patterns and not all blue cats are true British Shorthairs.
About: While you may have heard of the Sphynx breed before due to their unusual look they are still quite rare. They commonly don’t have whiskers, are wrinkly and most often hairless which makes them the perfect indoor cats because they are sensitive to temperature changes and the sun. They are highly intelligent and very affectionate and tend to form a close bond with one or two people that they interact with the most.
They need a lot of attention and cuddles and require quite a lot of upkeep due to the lack of fur. You should expect to bathe a Sphynx once a week because their body oil builds up on their skin and they are prone to getting dirty ears as there is no hair to trap or protect it. In addition to this they have sensitive digestive systems so should not be fed from the table or highly fatty foods as this will not agree with them.
Defining features: hairless, pointy rounded ears, commonly have wrinkles
Fun Fact: Sphynx do not usually get on with the Siamese breed (or other cat breeds for that matter) except their own.
About: This muscular breed is full of energy and is the perfect outdoor cat because they have weather resistant, thick coats. The “bob” part of their name derives from the wild bobcats that they share some physical features with however there are no genetic similarities with the wild cats, especially with modern breeding.
They have fairly long legs and can get quite large but are friendly and happy to curl up and sleep off a long day (or night) running around so would suit busier families.
Defining features: Usually tabby, thick fur, “wild” look
Fun Fact: Many pixie-bobs naturally have more toes which is a cause of different bone structure!
About: The Serengeti originated in the US and is a cross between the Oriental Shorthair and Bengal cat breeds. It has a long neck and legs which makes them excellent at climbing and they are a highly active breed. They are also very vocal and although can get along with children and pets they can become temperamental if their situation drastically changes which means that adopting them as adults may not be suitable for younger children.
They form very close bonds with the humans that spend the most time with them and do not like to be left on their own very often but they are highly affectionate. Although they are an active breed they can settle into indoor living (as long as there is enough space) if they are given a lot of attention and will often choose to stay indoors with their chosen human, than go outside so would make them suitable for the elderly.
Defining features: Shorthair, graceful and lean, round-tipped ears, spotted patterns
Fun Fact: Like some wild cats the Serengeti tend to have “ocelli” on the back of the ears which give the illusion of eyes which were developed to ward off prey in the wild.
About: Often mistaken as Oriental Shorthairs, the Peterbald have similar features in the long nose and face. The breed carries the hair-loss gene at varying distinctions so they can either be born bald, lose their fur as they get older or have a very thin, fine coat as it depends on the genetics.
They are an incredibly curious and energetic breed that is also very affectionate so would suit a family with children who are willing to play with them frequently. They are also a very social breed who tend to anxious when left on their own so they would ideally have full-time owners or live in pairs.
Defining features: long and narrow head, slim, oval paws, bald or minimal hair
Fun Fact: Due to their webbed feet and unusual shaped paws they are able to grasp objects and can be taught to open doors.
About: One of the favorite rare breeds is the Egyptian Mau and this is because of its exotic good looks, it is one of the few naturally spotted breeds and is often very muscular, slender and good looking (think Ryan Reynolds of the cat world!). They are incredibly intelligent and can be taught a few tricks (in a controlled way!) and have above average reflexes, agility and the ability to jump and twist (more so than other cats).
This is a fiercely loyal breed that tends to latch on to one or two specific people and then follow them everywhere but does not like to be left alone, to the point that they can develop health issues related to stress and anxiety if they are left for too long without companionship. They are happy as indoor or outdoor cats provided that they have the companionship and attention that they crave but they do not adapt well to strangers in the house and can often act up so busy households should beware.
Defining features: Spotted coats, green eyes, shorthair, small-medium breed
Fun Fact: With excellent reflexes and agility they are happy to be handled and even ride on your shoulders or in your arms around the house.
Which one of the cat breeds is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.
If you found this interesting you may also like these Pinterest Boards:
*This post is part of #Catweek 2016*