If you’re a cat lover, you know each kitty has a unique personality: they’re stubborn, friendly, goofy, relaxed, wise, or all of the above! Some cats love to play all day while others prefer to lounge around, but no matter what type of feline friend you have, every one of them is lovable.
There are lesser-known breeds out there that come with their own collective physical and personal quirks. You probably haven’t heard of all these 22 rare breeds of cats before, but we guarantee you they’re all absolutely fascinating — and purrfect!
1. Selkirk Rex: This breed originating in Montana has only been around for about 30 years. It has curly long fur and a thick head and body. All Selkirk Rexes’ roots trace back to one single cat named Miss DePesto.
2. American Curl: While most cats flip their ears inside out by accident, this cat is famous for its shell-shaped ears. When they’re young, their ears are actually straight, but they curl gradually over time!
3. Devon Rex: Their name gives away their origin — these kitties are from Devon, England! They look bald but actually have a very thin coat that is very soft. They are incredibly intelligent, playful, and often called “a monkey in a cat’s suit.”
4. Scottish fold: These guys are chubby, fluffy, and very adaptable — and would you look at those little ears! They are often compared to owls due to their eyes and ears, but they’re incredibly friendly.
5. Khao Manee: These snow-whites are from Thailand. Their name means white gem, though they’re also referred to as Diamond Eyes because of their unique peepers. Devoted to humans, they’re quite popular among royalty and celebrities in Asia.
6. Munchkin: They’re named quite appropriately due to their short little legs, high enthusiasm, and wobbly walking. Its nickname, for obvious reasons, is “sausage cat.” The name “munchkin” is from writer L. Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
7. Sphynx: They were accidentally created in Canada in the 1960s, and their skin shows the colors/patterns of where their fur would be — if they had any! They’re named after the Egyptian statue that’s half cat, half human, perhaps due to their human-like skin.
8. American Wirehair: This may look like your regular run-of-the-mill kitty cat, but its fur has a different texture from a domestic shorthair. In 2002, there were just 39 of these babies registered, and in 2018, there were only 22!
9. Savannah: No, this is not a cheetah! It’s a cross between an African Serval and a domestic cat. They have a unique ear shape and can grow up to 25 pounds, which is 2-3 times as heavy as an average house cat!
10. Lykoi: Also known as the werewolf cat, the Lykoi has become a Championship Breed. Their bodies are mostly covered with hair, but their faces are often completely hairless. Scientists at the University of Tennessee tried to find the reason why, but the Lykoi’s coat pattern remained a mystery.
11. Cornish Rex: Instead of regular fur, this breed has a down-like fluffy coat, but they lose their hair as it thins with age, much like humans. They’re similar to the Devon Rex, except they have different genes and are originally from Cornwall, England. They can also live longer than most other breeds!
12. Japanese Bobtail: Their small tail is genetic and unique to each cat, like a fingerprint. Despite most cats needing their tails to jump, this breed is incredibly athletic and agile, making them prime candidates for cat shows, which are fairly popular in Japan.
13. Donskoy: This is a new breed, recognized by the World Cat Federation in 1997 and by The International Cat Association in 2005. Despite their lack of a coat, they do require frequent grooming, but their friendly demeanor makes it all worth it.
14. Laperm: The LaPerm emerged around the early ’80s as a spontaneous mutation of cats bred for pest control in Oregon. They may be extra furry, but these cutie pies are actually hypo-allergenic!
15. Ukrainian Levkoy: The breed is actually not recognized by any major international cat fancier and breeder organizations, only Ukrainian and Russian clubs. What’s especially rare about them is that male and female species look different.
16. Lambkin: The name derives from their short-legged counterparts, Munchkins, and the fact that their fur looks like the wool of a lamb. The breed didn’t exist until 1990, so they are still extremely rare.
17. Minskin: This Sphinx mix was created (after many, many attempts) by Paul McSorley in Boston, Massachusetts. By early 2005, about 50 cats meeting the Minskin vision existed and were registered by The International Cat Association.
18. Pixie-bob: In 1986, a woman from Washington rescued a male cat, which was very large, had a bobbed tail and was reported to have been sired by a bobcat. When it mated with the neighbor’s cat, she kept one of the kittens and named it Pixie — hence its name.
19. Russian Blue: This cat’s fur is so gray it almost looks blue in the right kind of light. While the Russian Blue is somewhat hypoallergenic, they are incredibly vocal, so make sure that works for you if you plan on getting one.
20. Teacup Persian: These miniature versions of Persian cats are so small, they can fit into teacups as kittens. It may not officially be its own separate breed, but these little ones are hard to find, and thus a pretty rare type of cat. Watch out, though — cats this small might have a few health problems!
21. Peterbald: This large-eared feline has a hair-losing gene and can be born bald or furry. Those born with hair can lose it over time. They are extremely friendly to kids and other pets.
22. Bengal: Unlike most cats, they love water and do not mind splashing around in a bath. They are incredibly intelligent, as they can solve puzzles, turn lights on and off, and even learn how to ride a skateboard!
When it comes to showing your pets love, the most effective method is often feeding them. With a one-track mind on their next meal, even the most standoffish pet can be won over.
YouTube / Animal lovers
To make sure they never run out of treats for their furry friends, many pet owners will stock up on every type of chow imaginable. As of late, however, a few independent folks are taking a different approach.
Recent years have seen a sharp uptick in people making their own pet food. Supporters provide a myriad of explanations as to why they got into it. They say it’s cheaper, it’s healthier, and that it’s a great way to more closely bond with your animal.
YouTube / Pure Living For Life
Besides viral recipe blogs, chefs have published full-on cookbooks explicitly for the purpose of preparing pet fare. Odds are that many of these cooks don’t put as much effort into their own diet!
In The Vintage Kitchen Shop
But is this homemade gourmet kibble worth it? Pet owners can squabble all day long about whether or not it’s easier to just buy the store brand, but experts are introducing an additional point to the discussion.
Jennifer Larsen is a research veterinarian at UC Davis, where she’s taking a hard look at cat and dog nutrition. She and her team have closely examined over 100 popular pet food recipes, which have led to some strong conclusions.
Obviously, pet owners want nothing but the best for their companions. There’s no shame in embracing your inner cat fanatic. Still, Jennifer warns that many of these recipes are actually endangering felines.
In many cases, the recipe writers skew their concoctions based on what’s appetizing to humans. But even if your kitty licks her lips at your dinner, that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy option for her.
Reddit / Char10tti3
Evolutionarily, cats are hunters. They need the specific nutrients provided by fresh meat, or carefully designed pet food. Felines simply cannot adapt to other diets, even if there are no warning signs at first.
But rest assured, nutritional deficiencies will manifest themselves before long. Jennifer and her team have identified the full range of consequences, which run from annoying to potentially fatal.
For one thing, homemade cat food often contains fattier ingredients than animals are used to. They’ll certainly enjoy these meals – often meowing for seconds and thirds — but this diet can lead to severe obesity.
Bothell Pet Hospital
At the other end of the spectrum, cats are falling ill due to a lack of nutrients. Vegan diets lead to all kinds of health disorders, with the worst recipes including ingredients that are toxic to cats.
At the same time, Jennifer recognizes that she can’t persuade all pet owners to stop making their own cat food. But they should, at the very least, ensure that they follow certain guidelines.
South Boston Animal Hospital
It turns out that dogs aren’t the only ones who enjoy gnawing on a good bone! Bone meal serves as cats’ primary source of calcium. That’s a must for strong bones and healthy teeth.
Vegetables are acceptable in smaller quantities, though felines don’t really need them to stay healthy. Just made sure to avoid cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli, as they cause bloating.
Many pet owners instinctively season their pets’ food the same way they’d prefer their own. But for cats, it’s better to leave the spice rack alone. Some common flavoring ingredients are pure poison to cats.
Chocolate Covered Memories
For instance, prominent fangs and a hypnotizing gaze aren’t the only traits that cats share with vampires. They also can’t tolerate garlic, so make sure not to ever put it in a kitty dish.
Jennifer wants pet owners to know that regulating a cat’s diet is complicated. You want to make sure they’re only biting into healthy foods. Otherwise, you could really be regretting your kitchen adventure.
Flickr / Tnarik Innael
She says that, ultimately, “Extensive training and expertise is necessary in order to fully understand the various aspects of this process.” So you’re probably best off leaving it to the experts and buying high-quality food from your local store.
While diet is certainly important, pet professionals have determined that there are other aspects of animal health that most of us are completely ignoring. After all, it’s not just about a cat or dog’s physical state.
Sara, a sweet-natured rescue dog, was proof enough of that. She loved her new human, enjoyed playing and going for walks, and was typically well-behaved… until her owner, Colleen, left the house. That’s when she started acting up.
In a haze of worry and fear, the poor dog would start barking endlessly, pant up a storm, pace around like a madwoman looking for her owner, and chew on the furniture. It wasn’t healthy.
See, due to Sara’s rough past, she suffered from a great amount of separation anxiety. It didn’t matter how long Colleen was gone, Sara would go into a frenzy. One time, she even rubbed her nose raw on the couch!
Of course, nobody wants to see their dog in any kind of pain (mental or physical), so Colleen tried everything she could to help her dog out. She got plenty of advice from other dog parents and started training and treatments.
She tried long walks, CBD oils, and crate training didn’t make a difference at all. Even prescription drugs for anxiety like Prozac didn’t put the pup’s mind at ease.
“It evolved into my having to be with her constantly, leaving her with someone else, or having to take her to doggie daycare whenever I left,” Colleen said. Luckily, she thought she finally found a solution to her pupper’s problems.
It was actually her cousin who came up with the idea. “Why don’t you try making some sort of dummy of yourself, so Sara thinks you’re always with her?” she suggested.
The plan sounded great… but then the dummy arrived. The creepy looking thing, Collen figured, wouldn’t fool her dog for a second.”My Sara would not fall for such simple deception!” she thought.
Still, she wanted to give the dummy a shot — anything to soothe her beloved dog’s anxiety. So she began making the dummy (nicknamed Dolly) look and smell more like herself by dressing it in her clothes.
Visuals were one thing. But dogs, Colleen knew, are all about smells. So, to make sure the dummy smelled as realistic as possible, she put Dolly in her bed. Those blankets and sheets were Smell City.
With Dolly looking and smelling the part, Colleen started placing it around the house. That way, Sara would constantly cross paths with the dummy, becoming more familiar with it.
The first place Dolly posted up? The bathroom. Colleen didn’t want it to be in a place Sara frequented because, well, if she figured out it was just a dummy, the plan kind of fell flat.
To her surprise, the plan worked! Just a glance at Dolly seemed to be enough to put Sara at ease, even for several hours. For the one of the first times ever, Colleen came home and found Sara sleeping on the couch, cool as a cucumber.
Then, one day, Colleen came home and couldn’t find Sara anywhere. She checked the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom… Finally, she opened the bathroom door and found Sara sleeping at Dolly’s feet. Something she’d never done before!
In a way, Colleen was right: Sara was too smart for the dummy. She didn’t think the uncanny thing was her mom. Still, those familiar smells coupled with a familiar, human-like object, gave the pooch comfort.
Even with Sara’s newfound comfort, Colleen didn’t plan on pressing her luck: long vacations were off the table. Still, she was elated with the results: “It has worked better than many other methods so far,” she said.
And, of course, Colleen didn’t use Dolly as an excuse to shirk mom duties. She and Sara still cuddle up on the couch and spend every minute possible together. They’re best buds, after all.
For dog owners who don’t want a dummy of themselves at home, a DIY therapeutic wrap is making its rounds on social media. It helps dogs chill out during a time of high stress or anxiety. To make it, all you need is a piece of fabric the length and width of a scarf.
Then, wrap it around your dog at their chest and their withers. If you are unfamiliar with the term “withers”, that just means at the base of the dog’s neck. It might seem like something intimidating to try, but the truth is that it’s a breeze!
The half-wrap makes them feel cozy and protected. This is the next best thing to having your arms around them. Imagine how secure your dog would feel being in your arms at all times. That’s exactly what the half-wrap does.
They aren’t just helpful. They can also be very stylish. Although using fabric scraps from home (ones that smell like you are a smart idea) or athletic bandages works just fine, you can also special order a half-wrap online.
Making a half-wrap shouldn’t take much time, but you could also just buy one for your best friend. Many people with nervous dogs (and cats, too) swear by the ThunderShirt when it comes to making sure their animals feel calm.
We normally think of small dogs as being the ones who get nervous, but every dog, no matter its size, can get a little anxious. When dogs get older, they can get confused. The half-wrap helps soothe them.
If you are nervous that trying a half-wrap on your own dog will be too much of a hassle, then you can always practice at home with a stuffed animal. They don’t squirm like your pup, but they’re much more patient with beginners.
Once you become a half-wrapping pro, getting your dog quickly swaddled and quickly comforted will be an absolute snap. It can even help calm down antisocial dogs during walks where they might encounter other dogs.
While most dogs might find being half-wrapped a little bit strange at first, they adjust it to very quickly! The key is to make it be a comforting and sweet activity you two share together, not something they associate with already feeling stress.
Keeping that in mind, the surefire way to half-wrap your dog successfully is to anticipate when he might be in stressful situations and to make sure he’s all bundled up tight before that stress or anxiety gets a chance to strike!