All cat breeds are amazing. And there are according to the latest statistics a total of 73 breeds are recognized and can be kept as pets. However, not all breeds of exotics can be kept in certain countries or regions as many can be larger than the typical domestic breeds.
So before purchasing an exotic breed, check your local laws and regulations. Although 73 breeds are recognized by cat associations and appear at shows it is estimated that throughout the world there are over 200 breeds. The domestic breeds, of course, outnumber all other breeds as pets.
1. The Sphynx
Bred by Egyptians centuries ago the Sphynx is generally known by many cat fanciers. Hairless with a large head and enormous eyes they do have a “Sphynx-like” look to them and the eyes are mournful. Care of course does not include brushing but they can have skin problems and need vet care. Also, invest in a good cat coat if you live in a cool climate. The Sphynx is considered a very intelligent cat and can be taught tricks easily.
2. Egyptian Mau
The Egyptians loved cats and believed they were good luck so breeding was done quite a bit. The Mau is known as the Pharoah cat too as the Pharaohs adored this breed. It is gentle and calm, with short hair, and therefore little grooming. It is also loveable and very petite in body size but a breed that can live up to twenty-plus years.
3. Nebelung Cat Breed
There is such a breed but not seen often although recognized by cat associations. It can be affectionate to people it knows and has long silky hair so good grooming will be needed. Mostly silver grey it can resemble the Russian Blue but is not quite as dark or short-haired. The origin of this breed is not known.
4. Bengal Cats
This is a strange breed as it is considered an exotic breed in some areas and banned for its size and strength yet recognized by cat breeders as a domestic. Also known as the Leopard Cat it resembles a leopard. Strong, sturdy, athletic, this breed needs a lot of exercising and does best in homes with other cats as it becomes anxious when bored and therefore gets into trouble. Beautiful to look at but needs a seasoned cat owner.
5. The Turkish Van
One of the MOST unusual breeds in the world. Very few exist and not many individuals have heard of it. Aloof, water-loving, not very affectionate, it is not a cat for most individuals. Colors vary and it has a mid-heavy coat. Of course, the origins are in ancient Turkey.
6. Ocelot Cats
As the name implies it does look like a wild ocelot. Not to be put off though, as it is as playful as a dog, and acts more like a dog than a cat. Its spotted coat is short and needs little grooming. Loves all people, kids, and other animals and does make a wonderful pet even for new cat owners. Surprisingly enough it was bred in the USA for the first time. Will even play fetch!
7. The Abyssinian
Another Egyptian variety looks like a small mountain line. It is also very playful enjoys everyone and everything and acts like a kitten all through its life no matter what the age. Sleek coated is a pleasurable variety.
8. Toyger Breed
A mini-looking tiger with stripes. No real known origin but loveable, friendly, and personable. Adores affection and is a great family pet. It can roar like a tiger however as it meows loudly and constantly.
9. Savannah Cats
Another throwback to a wild cat that is no longer wild. Spotted and with a short coat, this cat is the most curious of all and will find trouble if it can. Needs a lot of mental stimulation so interactive toys are a must. It is quite large but loveable however is the same as having a toddler in your home. Of course, the plains of the Savannah area where it was first bred.
10. Japanese Bobtail
This breed of course has a bobtail and was first bred in Japan. It is often referred to as the “rabbit cat” as not only does it resemble a rabbit from behind, it also hops and jumps rather than strides. A truly unique breed that is also playful.
11. Devon Rex
A curly-haired breed that is not often seen even in cat shows. Big ears, curled tail, and very odd looks for a cat were first bred by a woman in the 1960s who wanted a unique cat. Not much else is known on origins.
12. The Caracat
Another truly wild breed from Africa and Asia and is regulated although kept as a pet by many. Florida and Ohio in the USA allow this breed as a domestic animal and some parts of Canada and other regions of the world. It has large twirled ears but as a true predator will act predatory and caution is needed with this large animal.
13. Peterbald Cats
As the name implies they are bald as a billiard ball. Webbed feet allow them to pick things up with their feet and they are a close cousin to the Sphynx. Again a good vet is needed as skin problems do develop and a warm coat is needed.
14. The Scottish Fold
Hailing from Scotland, of course, it is a wrinkly cat that has dozens of folds throughout its body. Keeping a Scottish Fold clean is a priority, and regular brushing and bathing are needed. These cats have scrunched faces and are cute as a button and gentle yet somewhat skittish.
15. Munchin Breed
The most controversial of all breeds. It is known as the Daschund cat as it has short legs and was bred for this purpose. However, this is a deformity and can lead to serious bone damage and density issues throughout the body. It is not accepted by some verified cat associations although many individuals do purchase these for the uniqueness of the look. But it is a type of dwarfism and these are small cats overall.
16. Pixiebob Cats
Another somewhat controversial breed. Like the typical bobtail in look and stride and of course, a short tail, it is also bred for a smaller stature, and this type of breeding for what is genetic flaws can still be viewed as negatively by some vets and cat associations. In addition, many Pixiebobs can also be Polydactyl cats.
17. Khao Manee
A pure white cat endemic to Thailand, it has a white silky coat and is one of the oldest cat breeds. Eyes can be of a rainbow of colors with some possessing two different colored eyes. A simply gorgeous breed that is not seen much outside of Thailand.
18. Teacup Persian
Of course, this is a Persian cat but of the utmost controversy as the breeding down makes these cats so small they can fit in a teacup and the size of hamsters. This is considered unnatural and the health problems are myriad because of the small size. The danger of injury is also high especially with young children in a household since the bone structure is so delicate. If owning one a good vet who specializes in distinct breeds like this should be on hand.
Summary on Unique and Exotic Breeds
- You will need to be committed to an exotic or unique breed
- They require special care and knowledge
- They will most likely be more costly with vet care
- Exotic cats may not make the best family pets
- Unique breeding is frowned upon by cat associations and vets in some cases
- Some breeds are illegal in some areas of the world or localities
- There can be dangers to a unique breed of cat
- You might not get the love and affection you crave
- You will also with many need a whole lot of patience as the energy level is high
While unique breeds are sought by many cat fanciers some breeds do inherit health problems because of the breeding for a unique look. Cats are Alpha Predators and their ancestry does not lend itself to specialized breeding as can be done with dogs and other animals.
Cat behaviors are not ever bred out
So cats without the proper bone structure or bodily specifications do face problems either early on or as they age. Some of the breeds listed here are simply what can be defined as “vanity breeds” and this type of breeding is discouraged. Especially in the case of the breeds that are bred for small stature and bone structure, cat behaviors such as climbing, running, and jumping will still exist. But these cats will need careful watching.
Knowledge is key and buying a cat breed out of vanity is never encouraged
Anyone who buys a unique breed should only do so from a reputable breeder and do a lot of research into the care of such an exotic breed. Love should always rule with every pet, not your pride!
Jonathon is an entrepreneur and cat-lover. He is married to Joy and they share their home with their 2 feline-friends, Franklin & Ollie. Jonathon is a self-admitted “Crazy Cat Guy”