14 of the Rarest Cat Breeds

Cat lovers know that felines come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours. They also know that cat personalities differ wildly too. Some are friendly and want nothing more than to follow you around or sit on your lap, while others prefer their own company.

The U.S. Cat Fanciers' Association, which is considered the main pedigree certifying organization, recognizes 44 distinct purebred breeds.

The list below, compiled using popular petting websites, features some of the less-common breeds. Take a look at some the rarest...


The LaPerm is one of the rarest cats in the world and is named after its unusual, curly fur. The breed, which is known to be very affectionate, emerged around the early 1980s in the U.S. as a mutation of cats bred for pest control. They later became popular because of their looks.

LaPerm cat
Close-up of a LaPerm cat from the side Oxico/Getty Images


The Ragamuffin is a large, fluffy cat that is descended from the ragdoll cat. It was established as a separate breed in the mid-1990s. They're friendly but known to be lazy, making them ideal for people wanting an easy-going indoor pet.

Minuet cat
A Minuet cat. eyfoto/iStock


Originating from Thailand, the Korat cat is a silvery-blue colour. It first appeared in the U.S. in the 1950s and arrived in the U.K. in the 1970s. Although it looks similar to a British Shorthair cat, it is not as stocky.

Row of three Korat cat kittens
Korat cat kittens like these will grow to have strong and muscular bodies. iStock


The Sokoke is of the rarest breeds. It is a lean, medium-sized cat with a long, graceful body and slender legs. Sokokes were found as a naturally occurring native breed in the greater Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Preserve area in Kenya.

korat cat
A Korat cat at the Merseyside Cat Club Championship show in 2017 Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage via Getty Images

American Wirehair

American Wirehair is a larger cat and has a harsh, wiry coat. Each individual hair is crimped or hooked and they require grooming at least once a week. The breed emerged in 1966, when one wire-haired kitten was born in a litter of New York farm cats.

An American Wirehair cat
American Wirehair cats' coat has been compared to the wire coats of dog breeds, such as terriers. iStock

Ojos Azules

Ojos Azules—"Blue Eyes" in Spanish—are a very rare breed of cat originating from New Mexico. The first cat of that type was found in 1980 and the breed is known for their deep blue eye colour.

Ojos Azules cat
Ojos Azules is short-haired and has strikingly blue eyes Jose Lodos Benavente/Getty Images

Scottish Fold

These cats have a natural dominant-gene mutation that affects cartilage throughout the body, causing the ears to bend forward and down towards the front of the head.

The breed, first discovered at a farm in Perthshire in Scotland in the 1960s, is known for being good-natured.

Celebrity owners include Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, but vets have warned against their breeding as their genetic condition can cause them to have short and painful lives.

Colorpoint Shorthair

The variety was initially created by crossbreeding Siamese cats with the American Shorthair in the 1940s. However, only The Cat Fanciers' Association and the World Cat Federation are the only major groups that recognize them as a standalone breed.

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex has no hair except for down and is the result of a genetic mutation that originated in a litter of kittens born in the 1950s on a farm in Cornwall, U.K.

A Cornish Rex cat
Cornish Rex cats are known to enjoy playing fetch. iStock


The energetic and friendly Peterbald breed was created in 1994 in St. Petersburg, Russia, by a cat enthusiast. It was the result of an experimental mating of a Don Hairless and an Oriental Shorthair.

Peterbald cat
A Peterbald breed cat called Blob is judged at a cat show in 2019 in London John Keeble/Getty Images


A breeder from Kentucky began developing the Bombay breed in the 1950s by crossing a sable Burmese with a black American Shorthair. The Bombay was bred to resemble the black leopard found in India.

A Bombay cat
Bombay cats were bred to look like the rare—and much, much bigger—black leopards found in India. iStock

American Bobtail

American Bobtails are loving and intelligent cats that have a distinctive wild appearance. According to the U.S. Cat Fanciers' Association, they love to play fetch, are keen to learn tricks and form strong bonds with their humans.

American bobtail cat
An American bobtail cat. yhelfman/iStocks


The Minskin is a breed of cat derived from intentional hybrid cross-breedings between the Munchkin and the Burmese, as well as the Devon Rex and the Sphinx. They have sparse coats, short legs, large ears and prominent whisker pads. The breed was developed by Paul Richard McSorley in Boston in 1998.


The Burmilla breed was created by accident in the 1980s, when a Chinchilla Persian male and a Lilac Burmese bred and four kittens were born. The litter had an unusual black-tipped coloring and a breeding program was started to create the breed as we know it today.

A Burmilla cat lying down
Burmilla cats, like this one, generally have a sweeter, more open expression than the similar-looking Burmese. Getty Images