Cats are one of the most common household pets in the world; however, not all cat breeds are quite so common. So, which are the ten rarest cat breeds in the world?
The rarest cat breed in the world is the Sokoke cat. These cats were at one point considered a hybrid, but that theory has been proven incorrect. However, while none are quite as rare as the Sokoke, there are lots of other rare breeds such as the Devon Rex cat, Kurilian Bobtail cat, Norwegian Forest cat, and more.
Some of these cats are made in a lab as hybrids between other types of cats, and others are just not bred very often.
Additionally, some cat breeds are only common in select parts of the world, while they are rarely seen in other areas.
In this article, we are going to dive into just what makes these cats so rare, and other interesting details about these ten fascinating breeds.
10 Rarest Cat Breeds In The World
Cats are super popular throughout the world. Chances are you either own a cat or know someone who does. In fact, you probably know several people who own cats!
It’s common to see cats wandering around residential areas all the time.
Because we see cats everywhere, it is hard to imagine that there are some cats that are so rare it is hard to find one, let alone get your hands on one.
But just what makes some breeds of cats so rare?
Well, there are a couple of different ways a cat could be considered rare:
- Some cats of certain pedigrees are considered exceedingly rare. Some cats can only be specially bred or made in a lab because of the type of hybrid they are, so there are only so many in existence.
- If you aren’t too sure if your cat is considered rare, take a look at the CFA and TICA rare cat breed lists.
Whatever the reason, these rare cats can make awesome pets or show animals, but they also tend to come with a rather hefty price tag.
Below are the 10 rarest cat breeds in the world:
The Sokoke cat is considered one of the rarest domesticated cat breeds in the world.
They originate from the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Preserve area, which is on the coast of Kenya.
These cats were first introduced to the rest of the world in the 1970s and 80s but only got their preliminary recognition from the GCCF in 2015, so they are still considered a relatively new cat breed.
There are only a few breeders registered, so it can take quite a while to bring a Sokoke cat home, but once you do, you will have on your hands a very sociable and energetic cat.
Sokoke cats love to exercise and play for hours at a time and quickly become bored if left alone for too long.
They are shorthair cats that weigh between six and ten pounds, and they tend to live for about 15 years (source 1).
Devon Rex Cat
The Devon Rex is a very small (less than 8 pounds) short hair cat that tends to live between 9 and 13 years.
These animals have very short and fragile curly hair that should not be brushed because it tends to just break off.
The good news is that they shed very little as long as they are properly cared for and therefore are considered to be less allergenic than other cat breeds.
These cats are super intelligent and friendly, which means they make great pets, but most people love them for their looks.
Devon Rex cats are described as elven or even alien-like in their appearance because of their big eyes, large areas, and face shape.
They also tend to have stunning eyes because of how large they appear on their small heads (source 1).
Kurilian Bobtail Cat
These cats look small and soft, but they are actually made of pretty solid muscle and can weigh up to 15 pounds!
One interesting thing about the Kurilian Bobtail cat is that they actually continue to grow until they are five years old, which is significantly longer than a lot of other cat breeds.
This cat is considered a natural cat breed, which means it developed without assistance from humans.
While these cats are absolutely adorable, many people (especially in the United States) give up on trying to find them.
You may have to go as far as Italy, Great Britain, or even Russia to get one.
If you do find a breeder that you trust, you can expect to pay up to $3,000 to get one kitten depending on factors like:
On the plus side, they do live rather long lives (up to 20 years.) (source 1).
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest cat originates from Norway, where they are called skogkatt, which literally means “forest cat.”
They are believed to be descendants of other domesticated European cats introduced by the Romans and therefore are not considered to have any wild ancestor.
Nevertheless, these cats have been around for a long time as they are often mentioned in Norse mythology, where they are described as large, long-haired cats.
Norwegian Forest cats are very active cats and they like to play both as kittens and as fully grown adult cats.
Because they are long-haired cats, they do require a good bit of grooming.
While they mature slowly, they have a fairly average lifespan of only about 12 years (source 1).
Minskin cats look very similar to sphynx cats because they have little to no hair.
One of the reasons this cat is so rare is because it is a fairly new breed that was not developed until a couple of decades ago.
At the time, a man in Boston, Massachusetts, decided that he wanted a cat with the coloring of Siamese cats, short legs, and dense fur patches only on the tail, ears, and legs.
That first Minskin made an appearance in 1998, and by 2005, there were only about 50 of them.
There are significantly more today, but they are still fairly rare and hard to find.
These fun-looking cats tend to live between 12 to 15 years as long as they are cared for properly (source 1).
Egyptian Mau Cat
You have probably heard that cats hate water, but that is actually not true with this rare cat breed.
Egyptian Maus love to play with water, and they are extremely intelligent, so you will likely find that your Egyptian Mau figures out rather quickly how to turn the faucet on to play whenever she wants!
These cats do have high energy levels, but they are also known to love curling up for a good snuggle.
They do shed a moderate amount, but regular brushing can help limit that.
They come in three different colors (silver, bronze, and smoke) and weigh between 8 and 12 pounds.
Egyptian Maus tend to live between 12 and 15 years (source 1).
The Tonkinese cat is a mix of two Southeast Asian breeds: the Siamese cat and the Burmese cat.
They were bred in an attempt to make cats with a loving nature and high intellectual level but a much less piercing voice than Siamese cats are known to have.
The first breeding of these cats was actually a mistake, and they were not intentionally bred until the 1950s.
Furthermore, the breed did not receive recognition from the Cat Fanciers Association until 1984.
These cats weigh between 6 and. 12 pounds.
They tend to be loving but very active cats that like to be right in the center of all the action.
Finally, they have relatively long lifespans, with most living between 15 and 18 years (source 1).
The Chartreux cat is a short-haired french cat, as you may have assumed from the name.
Throughout history, they were mostly used as hunting cats because of their dense and water-repellent fur.
However, they are also known to make excellent house pets and can help keep mice and other pests away from your home.
These cats have unique coloring as they have an almost blue coat.
Females tend to be smaller, weighing between 6 and 9 pounds, while males are a little larger, weighing between 10 and 14 pounds.
They tend to take around three years to reach physical maturity and have a large range of average lifespan (from 8 to 13 years (source 1).
They are originally from the United States, so you will not have to go to Europe or Asia to find one, but they are still rather difficult to find because there are very few registered breeders that breed purebred Laperms (source 1).
LaPerm cats have very unique-looking fur.
They can almost look a little scruffy or scrappy when you first look at them because they have very loose and bouncy curls.
Most common cat breeds have straight and often dense fur, so these cats are truly unique.
Many owners love how light and airy their fur feels when you pet them.
LaPerm cats are also known to be very playful and very talkative, so if you are hoping for a quiet cat, you might want to keep looking!
LaPerm cats tend to weigh between 5 and 8 pounds.
They have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, depending on a variety of different factors.
Turkish Van Cat
The Turkish Van cat has relatively long hair, but they actually have very low grooming needs and do not tend to shed a lot, so they are a lot less allergenic than other cats on this list.
These cats are highly energetic and love to play both on land and in the water, which is part of what makes them so unique.
They have very soft coats with very unique coloring.
Turkish Van cats are almost all white, but they have coloring (usually red or brown) on their face and tail.
Additionally, they have very bushy tails compared to the rest of their bodies.
They also often have two different eye colors (one blue and one amber.)
If you are looking for a unique-looking cat, this rare cat breed might be the perfect option for you (source 1).
In conclusion, while you do not need to get one of the ten rarest cat breeds to have an awesome and unique cat, it can be fun to know a bit about or even own one of these cats that are so hard to find.
As you begin to deep dive into rare cat breeds, you will learn about all sorts of different factors that make a cat considered rarer or more valuable.
Even within these ten rare breeds, certain cats with specific coat coloring, eye colors, or patterns are considered even rarer.
If you do decide that you want one of these rare cat breeds, start by looking for reputable breeders.
If there is one in your area, that is great, but chances are you will have to look out of state and even potentially outside the country.
Once you find a breeder, make sure you get your name on their list because it could be years before they have a kitten available for you.
What Is the Rarest Cat Color?
The rarest cat color is albino. Albino cats are so rare because it requires two recessive alleles in the C gene in order for a cat to be completely albino. It is very rare for a cat to have both recessive genes.
Where Are Rare Cat Breeds For Sale?
If you are looking to buy a rare cat breed, you will need to find a breeder.
In order to be the most confident that you are getting the cat of the pedigree and breed that you think you are getting (plus a cat in good health) is to find a breeder that has some sort of recognition from a cat breeder association.
Once you find a breeder that you like, you will need to begin the process to get on their list for the next available kitten.