Cats | Animals | Pets

13 Rare And Unusual Cat Breeds To Fall In Love With

Sir Rex Gandalf / bengalthor - Instagram

In a world that's split straight down the middle between cat people and dog people, I confess that I can't pick a side.

I've never actually owned a cat - just a lot of dogs - but it's always been one of my dreams.

And when you obsess over cat pictures on the internet as much as I do, you come across some very odd breeds.

While we think of housecats as being "all the same," there are actually some unusual and striking breeds out there.

1. Peterbald

Peterbald
Purrfect Cat Breeds

Who's this skinny fellow with the big eyes?

The Peterbald is actually a mix between Oriental Shorthairs and hairless cats.

They come in a variety of hair lengths, but usually have a dusting of fuzzy fur over their faces and legs.

Their other unusual trait is their feet - which have webbed toes perfect for picking up objects and opening doors.

2. American Curl

American Curl
Nikolas Titkov - Wikimedia

These curious cats have long tails but short, Mickey Mouse-style ears.

A cat with a genetic mutation was bred with other felines to create this striking and strange breed.

Curls are actually born with straight ears, which twist in the first days after they're born.

3. Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex
Pixabay

Sometimes called "sheep cats," the Selkirk Rex is famous for its soft curly hair.

There are a handful of other curly-haired cat breeds (including ones on this list) but the Selkirk is unusual for its long, full coat.

No, it's not a perm, they really look like this.

4. Japanese Bobtail

Japanese Bobtail
Jonik - Wikimedia

Hmmm.... something's missing...

This cat breed with a rabbit-like short tail is famous in Japan, and has appeared in the country's traditional art for centuries.

The iconic statues of cats with their paws up - which you'll often find in Japanese restaurants - represent the bobtail.

5. Bengal

Bengal cat
bengalthor - Instagram

This striking cat breed is a combination of the Asian leopard cat with common housecats.

While it has spots like a leopard and stripes like a tiger, the Bengal is still friendly and playful.

Along with their fur, Bengals are well-known for their bright green eyes and their habit of "chatting" with their owners.

6. Ukranian Levkoy

Ukranian Levkoy
Animal Wised

Ironically, these bald cats hail from one of the coldest regions on the planet.

A mix of two already strange breeds, the Levkoy has a few peculiar features:

They have a dog-like muzzle, curly whiskers, almond-shaped eyes and folded ears.

7. Maine Coon

Maine Coon
Dominique Jacholke - Wikimedia

This huge, bushy cat is one of the largest domesticated breeds, and also one of the world's most popular breeds.

Called the "gentle giant," Coons are much friendlier than they look - but they're also famously good hunters.

They're perfect for snuggling with two layers of warm fur and dog-like social skills.

8. Munchkins

Munchkin Cat
Tasy Hong - Wikimedia

Named for the pint-sized characters from The Wizard of Oz, Munchkin cats have unusually short legs.

A cat with a genetic mutation was bred to produce a line of stubby-legged cats, but they're as controversial as they are cute.

While Munchkin owners say their cats don't have any mobility issues, vets say they often suffer from deformed spines.

9. Sphynx

Sphynx cat
Jens Meyer / AP

The most famous of the bald cat breeds, Sphynxes have been bred since the 1960s.

In fact, a Sphynx isn't really bald. Its body is covered in very fine hair, and has the texture of soft leather.

The cat's skin still also shows the marking their fur would, so Sphynxes still come in a variety of "patterns."

10. Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold
Peter Perepelkin - Wikimedia

Here's another breed that started with a genetic mutation - this one makes the cat's ears fold forward.

Some owners say that this makes the Scotty look like an owl, but otherwise they're pretty close to a regular Russian Blue.

The Levkoy is a crossbreed between Scottish Folds and bald cats.

11. Werewolf Cats

Lykoi cat
Christine Auverdin Boulanger - Wikimedia

Also called Lykois, these cats have cats earned their name because the "mask" of colored fur on their face reminds owners of Lon Chaney's most famous role.

In fact Lykois are partly hairless, with thin, short hair patches that grow straight out from their body.  

Despite their scary appearance, Lykois are actually incredibly friendly - just watch out for nights with a full moon.

12. Khao Manee

Khao Manee
Lunile - Wikimedia

Thai for "white gem," these cats certainly live up to their name.

Not only do they have soft white coats, but also stunning gold or blue eyes.

Some cats even have both, in a beautiful case of heterochromia.

While the Khao Manee has been famous in Thailand for hundreds of years, they've only become popular in the West in the past decade.

13. Cornish and Devon Rex

Cornish and Devon Rex
The Cornish and Devon RexAlexandre Gonçalves / Nikolas Titkov - Wikimedia

These two breeds of slim, short-haired cats have different coat lengths, but they're both adorable.

Like a whippet, they have wiry bodies and large, veiny ears.

While they don't have much fur, the curly Rex hair is said to be the softest of any cat.

Plus, they're brainy enough to learn tricks like a dog.

Which of these unusual breeds is your favorite?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com