rarest cat breeds

America's 20 Rarest Cat Breeds in 2023

Those of you looking for something unique and quite a bit more current in the feline world, we give you the most authentic list of rare cats utilizing statistics from breeders all over the United States. Stay tuned to find out how we validate this statement about the rarest cat breeds. 

Case in point, if there is a large number of breeders for a certain breed, then these cats are obviously abundant. On the other hand, when you can only find a couple breeders (or in some cases, none at all) for any particular cat breed in the United States, they are likely to be quite rare. Of course there are other factors involved such as exorbitant prices however, we maintain that our conclusion makes purr-fect sense!

That being said, we remain adamant to breeds in either The International Cat Association (TICA) or the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). All of the rare cat breeds in this article are registered in one or both of these organizations. Now, on to our list…


1. Nebelung

The Nebelung is a relatively new and rare cat breed developed by Cora Cobb, with its origin in the United States. It’s a semi-longhaired, medium sized cat with an overall calm and quiet demeanor. The original pairs were bred in the 1980’s using domestic black cats and two Russian Blues, resulting in a outstanding combination of the two breeds.

These cats are basically a Russian Blue with longer hair, large eyes, and a muscular body. Their regal and mystical appearance is hard to ignore as these are truly majestic cats. The name Nebelung is derived from the German word “Nebel”, which means “mist” or “fog”. This is due to their shimmering grey and silver coats, giving them a foggy look.

Nebelungs are known for their independent and dignified personalities, as well as their patience and intelligence. They’re typically gentle and friendly, but can be a bit aloof with strangers. Most Nebelung cats enjoy plenty of playtime, so owners should take the time to give their cats engaging activities like puzzles and cat toys.

The Nebelung is possibly one of the rarest cat breeds in the United States even though it was born here. We have yet to locate any breeders for this elusive cat breed.

german rex cat breed

2. German Rex

Among the rarest cat breeds is the German Rex which was discovered in Germany in the 1930’s. This cat was found to be a result of a natural genetic mutation, giving it short curly fur. It is the first known naturally occurring curly-furred cat in the world and has since been bred for its distinctive look.

The German Rex is a smaller cat, with a wide head, big eyes and prominent whisker pads. It has a soft and wavy coat that feels almost like velvet. The breed comes in many colors and patterns, including tabby, calico, tortoiseshell, solid colors, bi-colored and pointed.

German Rex cats are known for their sweet, gentle and affectionate personalities. They’re very loyal and devoted to their owners, often greeting them with purrs and head-butts. This breed is generally gregarious with other cats and animals, as well as people they meet.

These cats enjoy playing and are quite active. They love exploring, climbing and jumping around the house. German Rex cats are said to have a mischievous side and will keep their owners entertained with their antics.

They could be considered the rarest cat breed in the United States as there are no breeders available at this time. You will likely need to contact a breeder in Europe to see if delivery is even possible for those interested in adopting one of these kitties.

brazilian shorthair cat

3. Brazilian Shorthair

The Brazilian Shorthair is a rare breed that was first discovered in Brazil. It has been around for centuries and is believed to be descended from the cats of ancient Egypt. This breed has a short, thick coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

The Brazilian Shorthair is an alert and active cat that loves to explore, always looking for adventure. Its personality is definitely outgoing and playful, making it a great choice for those who enjoy active cats. Unfortunately for now, these are one of the rarest cat breeds in the United States and currently only available in their home country of Brazil.

Brazilian Shorthairs are extremely intelligent, so they can even be taught tricks! They are naturally curious and love to explore, so providing them with plenty of toys and activities is a must.

The Brazilian shorthair is an ideal companion for households with children and other pets, as they get along well with both. They are also very trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement.

While they are quite abundant in their home country of Brazil, here in the United States, there are no breeders that we have found to date.

kurilian bobtail cat

4. Kurilian Bobtail

The Kurilian Bobtail originated in Russia’s Kuril Islands, an archipelago of volcanoes located between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. They are considered rare and one of the cat breeds in the world with no breeders located in the United States.

Unlike other cats, Kurilian Bobtails have a unique feature that sets them apart, they possess a kinked or curled-up tail. The kink can be either single, or double and oftentimes even triple!

The tail can be different lengths and shapes, but they all give these cats a distinct appearance.

The Kurilian Bobtail cat has a strong hunting instinct as well. Unlike other cats, they have an uncanny ability to remember where their prey is located, making them excellent hunters. Being very independent and curious cats, they will often seek out new places to explore.

Because this breed is very loyal, they tend to form strong bonds with their owners. Don’t be surprised if your Kurilian Bobtail cat follows you around the house or sleeps in bed with you! They are very affectionate and can easily become spoiled if given too much attention.

Trying to find a Kurilian Bobtail breeder in our country? Unfortunately you will need to hop across the pond to Europe in order to bring one of these adorable kitties home.

australian mist cat

5. Australian Mist

The Australian Mist is considered rare, as this breed was only recently developed. Despite being a relatively new cat breed, this feline has quickly become a favorite among many cat owners. The Australian Mist was bred to be affectionate and loyal, making them a wonderful companion for anyone who wants a feline friend.

This cat breed has a unique appearance with their soft and silky fur that comes in various spotted or marbled patterns against misty hues like brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, gold, peach, and caramel. They normally have a round head and large green eyes.

In addition to their beautiful appearance, the Australian Mist is known for its independence. This breed is smart and highly trainable, so they can learn various tricks and commands easily. With a strong sense of curiosity, you’ll often find them exploring their surroundings with enthusiasm.

This is yet another of the rarest cat breeds in the United States. We’ve only found one breeder in Florida which is KatsMists Cattery.

cyprus breed

6. Cyprus

The Cyprus cat originated on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. These indigenous felines continue to live mostly on the Greek island while still remaining to be a very rare cat breed in the United States.

The Cyprus or Aphrodite Giant was born from local feral cats that inhabited the Cyprus area many centuries ago. It is an ancient breed and was discovered well over 4,000 years ago on the island. Cyprus cats are believed to have been a symbol of the goddess Aphrodite, who was said to come from Cyprus.

This cat breed typically has a slender yet muscular build with short or semi-long rather thick fur that comes in most colors and patterns. Even though most Cyprus cats are feral, they have been described as having a very friendly and outgoing personality with people they come in contact with. They are indeed very active cats and certainly the most common cat breeds on the Greek island of Cyprus.

When it comes to adopting or purchasing this extremely rare cat breed, there is only one breeder we know of and they are Aphrodite Cats located in South Carolina.

Fun Fact: A 9500 year old grave on the island of Cyprus was found with a cat buried next to the human. This indicates the earliest known record of cats being domesticated.

cheetoh breed

7. Cheetoh

The Cheetoh cat is a relatively new and one of the rarest cat breeds in the United States. Carol Dryman of Wind Haven Cheetohs developed this cat by crossing two different breeds… the Bengal and the Ocicat. Because of this, these cats are characterized by the unique cheetah-like markings on their coats, hence their name.

The Cheetoh cat is a very active and playful breed that loves to explore its surroundings. They are highly intelligent and make great pets for those who are looking for a feline companion. Cheetoh cats have short to medium-length fur having colors that vary from orange to silver with black spotted or striped patterns.

This breed may look wild, but they are actually quite gentle and affectionate with their owners. In fact, they have even been known to form strong bonds with other cats and animals in the home.

In order to bring home one of these exotic kitties, Wind Haven Cheetohs is the only breeder at this time and they’re located in Arizona.

american wirehair breed

8. American Wirehair

The American Wirehair is another one of the rarest cat breeds in the United States and was derived from a gene mutation that occurred back in 1966. This mutation caused the cat’s guard hairs to be crimped, giving them a unique wire-like look and feel.

These kitties also have legs that are slightly longer than those of other cat breeds, giving them an elegant and distinguished appearance. American Wirehair cats come in a variety of colors, including white, black, silver, blue, red, and cream.

These cats are known for their intelligence as well as their outgoing and affectionate personalities. American Wirehair cats are also very adaptable and can get along with other animals or children in the home.

The American Wirehair is indeed a rare cat and very difficult to find. As of this post, the only legit breeder we know of is Cacao Cattery in Texas.

serengeti cat

9. Serengeti

The Serengeti cat is one of the most recent and rarest cat breeds, created by crossbreeding between a Bengal and an Oriental Shorthair. This cat was developed in 1994 by Karen Sausman, a breeder from California. It is highly popular among pet owners for its exotic looks, intelligence, affectionate personality, and strong hunting instincts.

Serengeti cats appear much like their ancestors but with an added bonus, they are more tolerant of living in domestic settings than wild ancestors. They have slender bodies with long legs, large ears set on top of the head. Their short fur comes in several colors like yellow, gold, gray, and silver with widely spaced black spots. A solid black Serengeti is also available.

These cats can also be quite vocal while communicating with people they know well – purring when contented or meowing when seeking attention! Due to their active nature and curiosity, it’s important to provide them with plenty of toys as well as activities so they remain entertained throughout the day.

We have only found one breeder which has Serengeti kittens from time to time and they are Kingsmark Serengeti Cats based in Arizona.

cymric cat

10. Cymric

The Cymric cat is a long-haired breed that was developed in Canada in the 1960’s. Its main characteristic is its semi-long coat, which gives it a plush and fluffy appearance. The breed is descended from Manx cats on the Isle of Man and don’t have tails due to a genetic mutation.

Cymrics are known for their intelligence and affectionate nature. They can be taught tricks like walking on a leash as well! This cat breed gets along well with other animals and children in the home but do require some grooming to keep their coats looking healthy.

This is a rare breed, even among pedigreed cats. While there may be Canadian breeders, you will only find one breeder in the United States who specializes in them. So, if you’re looking for this fluffy feline companion, you’ll need to contact Karello Manx Cattery in Pennsylvania.

javanese cat breed

11. Javanese

The Javanese cat is basically a long-haired version of the Colorpoint Shorthair and their origin is the beautiful Indonesian island of Java. It has been described as having the appearance of a Siamese but with long, flowing fur and luxurious plumes on its tail. The first documented records of the breed date back to 1898 when it was mentioned by British traveler Clements Markham in his book A Naturalist’s Journey Through the East Indies.

In the 1950’s, the Javanese cat was introduced to the United States and is now recognized by all major cat associations. The breed features a wedge-shaped head with large ears, almond shaped eyes and a slim body. It has a short single coat which comes in a wide variety of colors from light tan to silver and gray, with or without dark points.

These cats are known for their loving and devoted personalities, adaptability to different environments, and strong hunting instincts. Javanese cats can also be very vocal, making them great companions for those who enjoy chatting with their feline friends.

Yes, this is another rare feline as there is one breeder here in the United States. Located in Texas, SuBali & KLM is the only Cat Fanciers Association registered cattery for the Javanese.

Fun Fact: For the record, Sokoke cats (a hybrid breed) are actually the rarest domestic cat breed in the world according to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in the United Kingdom.

la perm

12. La Perm

The La Perm is a breed of cat that was first discovered in 1982 on an Oregon farm. The original La Perm, named Curly, had wavy fur due to a spontaneous mutation that gave her this unique feature. This breed has since been developed to have both short-haired and long-haired varieties.

The La Perm is known for its distinctive coat which can come in any color or pattern and range from tight ringlets to waves or ripples depending on the individual cat’s genetics. They are also characterized by their large ears, friendly personalities and loyalty; making them ideal companion cats.

La Perms are generally healthy cats but should be groomed regularly with special attention given to their curly coats as they require more frequent brushing than other breeds do in order to prevent mats from forming. They may also need occasional clipping if their hair becomes too long as it can cause discomfort for the cat when walking around or climbing surfaces with it weighed down by its own fur!

This is the last of the ultra-rare cats and if you’re looking for a curly haired companion to keep you company, get in touch with La Perm Kitties who reside in Washington state.

more rare cat breeds

Here's Even More Rare Cat Breeds

There are a few other beautiful rare cat breeds worth mentioning. While the previous list above was the most rare cat breeds, these additional kitties can still be challenging to locate as well. Least of all, you may be put on a long waiting list by your breeder of choice, so be prepared for the delay, which is typically a few months. Now on to more rare cat breeds…

These include the Chartreux cat, Korat, Minskin, European Burmese, Peterbald, Singapura, Turkish Van, and Burmilla cats. There are actually a very limited amount of reputable breeders for these rare cats however, potential pet owners can find them on this site using our cat breed list.

While some say the Norwegian Forest cat or Havana Brown cats are rare, we simply don’t find this to be true. Furthermore, exotic felines such as Toygers, Savannahs, and Bengals can be incredibly expensive but this doesn’t make them rare cat breeds just because people can’t afford them.

Final Thoughts

All cats have unique personalities and characteristics, but some breeds are more rare than others. Whether you’re looking for a loyal companion or an exotic pet, there are so many beautiful and rare cat breeds out there. However, it is important to make sure that the cat breed you choose is right for you.

Do the research, ask questions, and be ready to provide your cat with lots of love, care, and attention. Once you find your new furry family member and bring them home, you can begin a lifetime of wonderful memories!

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