Looking for a list of rare cats to satisfy your curiosity?

5 BLACK CAT BREEDS YOU’LL FALL IN...
5 BLACK CAT BREEDS YOU’LL FALL IN LOVE WITH

I’ve got you covered!

Below, you’ll find 23 amazingly uncommon kitties that you definitely won’t see in everyone else’s house!

We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s just dive right in!

23 Rare Cat Breeds That You Don’t See Every Day

Quick note: I included the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) ranking for the domestic cat breeds that they recognize.

I also included the average cost of kittens for each breed. However, keep in mind that this is a rough range. Some breeders can charge much more, while others may charge less.

Cost also depends on whether you want a “show cat” or an “average house cat.”

As always, I encourage you to check animal shelters and rescue groups before buying from a breeder. Even rare cats can end up in shelters.

1- American Wirehair

The American Wirehair cat gets its name from its “steel wool” wiry coat that looks remarkably like that of the Wirehair Terrier dog.

While first discovered (the breed sprung from a natural mutation versus an intentional one) in 1966, it didn’t earn full recognition by Cat Fanciers until 1978.

They’re currently considered the rarest cat breed, mostly because they’re so new.

These cats are considered easy-going, good-natured, and tolerant of children. While they do love playing with their people, they’re also fine with spending some downtime alone.

CFA Rank: 45, making it the least common official breed on the CFA list.

Average cost for kittens: $850-1200

2- Bombay

Given the name, you may think that this domestic cat breed originated in India. In fact, this breed was born right here in the United States. In Louisville, Kentucky, to be precise.

These shorthaired black cats were bred by Nikki Horner to look like pint-sized panthers, complete with striking golden eyes and muscular bodies.  They are known to be inquisitive, loving and social.

If you look at most black cats, you’ll find that their pads and noses are pink. That’s not the case with the Bombay. They are black literally from head to toe.

Perhaps the best description of all for the comes from Cat Fanciers’ Association, who writes, “It has been said that if you want a dog, a cat or a monkey all rolled into one mischievous package, then the Bombay is the breed for you.”

Based on my experience with Bombay cats, this description fits perfectly. They’re incredible with amazingly unique and playful personalities.

CFA Rank: 37

Average cost for kittens: $500-1200

READ MORE: Napoleon Cat Personality and Facts

3- Burmilla

The Burmilla cat breed originated in 1981 in the United Kingdom as a result of breeding Chinchilla Persian cats and Burmese cats.

However, they weren’t recognized by Cat Fanciers’ Association until 2011. Today, the CFA breed standard includes both long and shorthaired Burmillas.

These stunning beauties are medium-sized cats with elegant bodies and inquisitive eyes. They are known to be affectionate, independent, and playful.

The Burmilla comes in a variety of colors ranging from black to white. In fact, if you’ve ever heard someone talk about a lilac Burmese, chances are they were actually talking about a Burmilla!

CFA Rank: 39

Average cost for kittens: $600-1200

Check: All About Munchkin Maine Coon Breed

4- Chartreux

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The Chartreux cat breed originated in France and can be traced as far back as the 17th century.

These medium-to-large cats have water-resistant short coats and fast reflexes. They are known to be engaging, intelligent, and friendly.

They get along well with just about everyone from children to seniors. They’re even fairly dog-friendly!

Plus, since they’re relatively quiet compared to other breeds, the Chartreux is fairly unlikely to serenade you at 2 AM.

CFA Rank: 34

Average cost for kittens: $750-2000

 

5. Cheetoh Cat

Although not yet recognized by any official organization, the Cheetoh is currently considered one of the rarest cat breeds mainly because it’s so new.

Carol Dryman first created the breed in 2001, by mixing a Bengal and an Ocicat. She wanted to create a very friendly feline with a wild animal appearance.

While the name sounds like it’s inspired by a tasty cheesy snack, it’s actually a spin on “cheetah.” One look at the breed’s spotted short hair and it’s easy to see why.

That glossy short hair also makes this breed incredibly easy to care for in terms of grooming.

6- Devon Rex

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One of the few rare cat breeds to make the top 10 list, the Devon Rex is an all-around wonderful cat that loves everyone- including dogs.

They’re often called the Pixie Cat, a name that’s suitable not just because of their appearance but also their personality.

Like mythical pixies, the Devon Rex is a mischievous, playful, and clever feline that will definitely keep you on your toes.

While easy to care for overall, that curly coat does require a bit more upkeep to keep it looking good. On the upside, though, they’re not heavy shedders.

CFA Rank: 7

Average cost for kittens: $700-$2,500

7- Egyptian Mau Cat

Black and White image of an Egyptian Mau cat with startling green eyes looking straight at camera

The Egyptian Mau is an ancient breed that originated- as the name implies- in Egypt. It was first brought to the United States in 1956.

These cats are small-to-medium-sized cats with short-haired coats. They are known for being independent yet loyal cats. While friendly with their people, they tend to be shy around strangers.

Their coat is relatively easy to care for, but they do shed a moderate amount.

However, what you spend in lint removers and vacuums you’ll more than make up for in vet bills. These are very healthy cats in general.

CFA Rank: 28

Average cost for kittens: $900-2500

8- European Burmese

The European Burmese cat breed actually originated in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1930. They are the result of breeding Red-point Siamese cats with British Shorthair cats.

These cats have a rounded, contour body with wide cheekbones and expressive eyes. They are known to be intelligent and loyal.

They’re also very affectionate and get along great with both kids and dogs. However, they are vocal, so if you don’t want a chatty cat, they may not be the right breed for you.

CFA Rank: 36

Average cost for kittens: $600-1500

9- Havana Brown

While the name makes you think they originated in Cuba, the Havana Brown cat breed actually comes from England. First bred in the 1950s, they are the result of breeding Siamese cats with domestic black-colored cats.

These cats are medium-sized with low-maintenance glossy coats and striking green eyes. They are known to be intelligent, gentle and playful.

They’re also fairly demanding cats, so not ideal for people who are never home. However, while demanding, they’re not very vocal overall.

CFA Rank:42

Average cost for kittens: $800-1500

10- Khao Manee

The Khao Manee has a few distinctions that make it not just one of the rarest cats, but also one of the most unique.

First, it tops the list of the most expensive cat breeds (just wait until you see the average cost below).

It’s also practically a national treasure in Thailand, where it originates. This affectionate kitty with its surprisingly loud meow plays a starring role in the Tamra Maew (a Thai book of cat poems).

If you dream of owning a heterochromia cat with two different eye colors you’re more likely to find the spontaneous mutation in the Khao Manee.

CFA Rank: 38

Average cost for kittens: $7,000–$11,000, and you’re highly unlikely to find one in an animal rescue shelter.

11- Korat

Like the Khao Manee, the Korat cat breed originated in Thailand, back in 1959, where locals considered them a “good luck cat.”

At first glance, it’s easy to confuse them with the gray cat, Russian Blue, with their similar shiny blue-grey coat and striking green eyes.

They also share some personality traits. Both are highly intelligent and easy-to-train cats that get along well with the whole family (sometimes even dogs, if they’re raised together).

However, Korats are smaller by quite a bit. They max out at about 10 lbs and 18″ long where the Russian Blue maxes out and 12 lbs and 25″.  Korats also require far less grooming than Blues.

CFA Rank: 40

Average cost for kittens: $400-800

12- Kurilian Bobtail

The Kurilian Bobtail is the stuff of legends, literally. Its history dates back hundreds of years to the Kuril Islands, located between Northern Japan and the Kamchatka peninsula of Russia.

They’re a naturally occurring breed of cat that’s adored by locals for their hunting prowess. However, their small litter sizes make them among the rarest breeds.

Although they started life as wild cats, they’re actually incredibly friendly and loving towards people, and even other animals.

They’re an active kitty with a stunning plush coat that ranges from solid to tabby.

The Kurilian Bobtail isn’t recognized by CFA, but they are by TICA.

CFA Rank: Not Recognized

Average cost for kittens: $700-3000

13- Minskin

Another breed that makes the “rare cat list” mostly because of how new it is, the Minskin isn’t yet recognized by CFA, and is still listed as an experimental breed by TICA.

Often called the Corgi of the cat world, the Minskin is a hairless munchkin cat breed with short legs, beautiful big round eyes, and oversized ears.

They were developed in 2000 by  Paul McSorley in Boston, who wanted to create a short-legged hairless cat with markings similar to that of a Siamese.

Interestingly, Siamese is NOT among the breeds used to achieve this. The Minskin is a mix between a Munchkin, Sphynx, Devon Rex, and Burmese.

Although owners claim that this breed is very healthy overall, keep in mind that Munchkin cats, in general, are still relatively new.

The very first one was introduced only 30 years ago, which is really only about two generations ago.

CFA Rank: Not Recognized

Average cost for kittens: $1500-5000

14- Ocicat

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The Ocicat cat breed originated in 1964 in Berkley, Michigan. They are the result of breeding Siamese cats with Abyssinian cats.

The result is a lynx-like feline that’s as active as his wild lookalike.

These cats are large-sized cats with muscular bodies. They are known to be devoted, intelligent, and outgoing.

While they do shed a lot, their short smooth coats don’t require a ton of maintenance. They get along well with everyone in the family, dogs included.

CFA Rank: 22

Average cost for kittens: $800-1500

15-. Serengeti

Similar to the Savannah, the Serengeti was bred to resemble the wild Serval cat.

Karen Sausman wanted to create a breed that looked and acted like a Serval without actually being one. After all, as a conservation biologist, she knows that wild cats don’t belong in houses!

Unlike other Serval lookalikes,  neither of the Serengeti’s parents is actually a wild cat.

Instead, Sausman combined a Bengal with an Oriental Shorthair, making it one of the more responsibly created wild-looking domestic cat breeds.

These are generally healthy and active cats with vivacious personalities. While some are reserved around strangers, they get along well with other pets and children.

CFA Rank: Not Recognized

Average cost for kittens: $600-2000

16-Sokoke

Like the Kurilian Bobtail, the Sokoke is a natural cat breed, meaning that it arose on its own without any interference from humans.

They’re native to Kenya and were brought to Europe during the 1970s.

However, it was only after documentary maker Jeannie Knocker researched and introduced the breed to the US in 2001 that people really started hearing about it.

Today, they’re among the rarest simply because there just aren’t many people breeding them. They’re not recognized by CFA, but TICA accepted them in 2004.

CFA Rank: Not Recognized

Average cost for kittens: $500-2000

17 -Tonkinese

While the Tonkinese ranks just outside of the top 20, they’re still considered a fairly rare breed compared to many other domestic cats.

These curious kitties look quite similar to the Siamese, but with a bit of a plusher coat. Like the Siamese, Tonks are very intelligent, curious and affectionate felines.

They get along well with others, including people, kids, and dogs (and will even play fetch like one).

Grooming needs are fairly middle of the road. They do shed constantly, but they also do a pretty good job of caring for their own coats.

CFA Rank: 21

Average cost for kittens: $600-1500

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7wrKFJUKFk

18- Turkish Angora

The Turkish Angora cat breed originated in Ankara, Turkey, and can be traced as far back as the 17th century.

These cats have a solid body with a stunningly lush soft, silky coat. They are known to be agile, energetic, and outgoing.

These affectionate felines get along well with the entire family, dogs included (as long as your dogs are also cat-friendly, of course).

Given that super luxurious coat, you’d think they’d be heavy shedders with major grooming needs. However, they’re actually pretty low-maintenance moderate shedders.

They’re also pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to meowing. They’re not the most vocal cats but also not the quietest.

CFA Rank: 35

Average cost for kittens: $900-3000

19 – Turkish Van

The Turkish Van isn’t just among the rarest cat breeds, but also among the largest. While they don’t quite reach the ranks of the Maine Coon, they can still top out at over 20 lbs.

That said, their weight actually ranges from 9-20 lbs, so you could end up with a mini-Van! (please laugh, it’s been a long day).

According to CFA, only about 100 Turkish Van cats are registered each year. In fact, the only official breed that’s rarer than them is #1 on our list.

Vans are very affectionate and energetic felines that tend to get along well with everyone.

CFA Rank: 44

Average cost for kittens: $800-1500

 

20. Ukrainian Levkoy

The last cat on our list is also among the most unique looking.

While adorable and sweet, the Ukrainian Levkoy isn’t recognized by CFA, and perhaps for a good reason. They’re a mix between a Scottish Fold and a Donskoy.

As you may know, some countries have banned breeding Scottish Fold cats due to health issues.

The same genetic mutation that creates those darling flopped ears also causes the breed to live short and painful lives.

The Levkoy is typically considered significantly healthier than the Scottish Fold, but they’re just too new a breed to be certain that they won’t face the same fate. The first Levkoy was bred just 17 years ago, in 2004.

Potential health issues aside, the Levkoys are pretty friendly, outgoing, and affectionate cats. They’re also INCREDIBLY smart. Some say they can even open cabinets!

CFA Rank: Not Recognized

Average cost for kittens: $400-800

21. LaPerm

One look at the LaPerm’s unique curly coat and it’s easy to see where this breed gets its name!

While it looks like a designer breed, the LaPerm is actually the result of a natural and totally spontaneous mutation.

A barn tabby named Speedy gave birth to a litter of kittens, one of which was actually totally bald. As she grew, she developed a coat that earned her the name Curly.

Later, Curly mated with other local cats and all of her children had her same coat. One thing led to another, and today the LaPerm curly-haired cats are officially recognized by both CFA and TICA.

However, they remain among the rarest of all breeds, so they’re still very hard to find. If you do find one, they can be very expensive depending on the breeder.

They’re affectionate, playful, chatty, and get along well with kids, pets, and even strangers.

CFA Rank: 43

Average cost for kittens: $900-12,000.

22. American Bobtail

The American Bobtail is another rare cat that arose entirely by accident after a couple named John and Brenda Sanders adopted a short-tailed kitty while on vacation in Arizona back in the 60s.

That cat- Yodi- got another cat pregnant (hey, it was the 60s, even cats believed in free love) and her children all had the same short tail.

The couple worked with a breeder friend and voila, the American Bobtail was born.

Today, the Bobtail remains a rare breed, which is a shame because they’re really wonderful pets. They’re smart, funny, and active breeds that can even be trained to walk on a leash.

Bobtails get along well with other pets and people, are pretty affectionate overall and don’t have any major health issues.

CFA Rank: 42

Average cost for kittens: $600-1200

 

23.  BONUS: White Norwegian Forest Cat

If you’ve ever read other lists of “rare cat breeds,” you may have reached the Norwegian Forest Cat and did a double-take. “Wait, what?” you thought, “I have TWO! They can’t be THAT rare!” I call this one a bonus for that reason…they’re not exactly uncommon.

However, while the NFC isn’t exactly among the rarest breeds on its own (this gorgeous guy falls somewhere in the middle between common and uncommon), a white Norwegian Forest Cat is definitely not something you’ll see often.

CFA Rank: 14 (for NFCs in general

Average cost for kittens: $300-1000

As a reminder, when you’re looking for one of these rare cat breeds, please check your local shelters and rescues first.

You’d be surprised at the breeds you can find there! I found my Bombay in a shelter.

Do you have any of these rare cat breeds? Share your thoughts on them below!

Deanna C
Deanna C

Deanna is a passionate cat lover and freelance writer. She lives with her Chi dog and a ragdoll cat. When she’s not writing, Deanna loves listening to country music or watching Dancing With The Stars.
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