Every year, we hear about the most popular breeds of cats. Numbered among them are almost always the Persian, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, and Siamese. But even people who are aware of less common breeds, such as the Singapura or the Somali, are unlikely to know about these five super-rare cats.
This is a natural breed — it wasn’t created by breeders. It appeared as a spontaneous mutation — native to the Kuril Islands, an archipelago located between Japan and Russia. This cat is an excellent fisher and hunter, but a gentle companion for humans and known for high intelligence. The breed is not recognized by The Cat Fanciers’ Association — and nor is it in our list of cat breeds, like the others on this list — but short-haired and long-haired varieties have championship status in The International Cat Association.
This breed was created by crossing a Bengal cat with an Oriental Shorthair. The Serengeti has no wildcat blood, as the Bengals who were foundation stock for the breed were several generations removed from the original wildcat cross. Although Serengetis can be shy at first, they open up quickly and love to “help” their people. Like Bengals, they are very high-energy and agile, so they need plenty of exercise. The Serengeti has Preliminary New Breed status in TICA and isn’t recognized at all by the CFA.
This Napoleon has long fur and short legs, which are the hallmarks of the breed predecessors: a cross between a Munchkin and Persian. They are round-headed and thick-bodied cats, and while the round features give an air of innocence, they are just as capable of mischief as any other cat. They are described as gentle, affectionate, and outgoing. The breed has Preliminary New Breed status in TICA and is not recognized by CFA.
The German Rex gets its famous wavy coat from a mutation on the same gene as the one that causes the Cornish Rex‘s unique texture, and these cats have many of the same personality traits of their English cousin, as well. The breed originated as a natural mutation, too, and people didn’t start deliberately breeding for the Rex trait until the late 1950s. The German Rex almost died out in 1970s, but they are experiencing a renaissance these days thanks to a group of breeders in Germany and other European countries.
And the rarest breed of all is …
In 1984, a family discovered a very unusual feral cat colony in New Mexico: Some of its members had piercing, dark-blue eyes. One of these cats, a tortoiseshell kitten, was bred to unrelated males, and all the kittens had blue eyes. TICA recognized the breed in 1991, but even at that time there were only 10 of these cats known to exist. Because of its rarity, little is known about the breed’s personality, although these cats have been reported to be friendly and affectionate. The few Ojos Azules breeders are working with geneticists to see if the breed is even viable.
In case you’re curious which breeds round out the top 10 rarest cats, they are Peterbald, Burmilla, Sokoke, Minskin, and California Spangled Cat.
Do you have any of these rare-breed kitties? What are they like? Please share your cat’s story in the comments.