Fantastic felines: these are the 9 rarest cat breeds
Cats have been fascinating people for thousands of years. Over the centuries, many breeds have been developed or evolved naturally. TAG24 picked out 9 of the rarest cat breeds out there.
Sokoke - the African rainforest cat
The extremely rare Sokoke originally comes from Kenya. A real Sokoke comes with a certificate of authenticity, which is only granted if the cat can be proven to come from the Sokoke district of Kenya.
The medium-sized shorthair has a very distinctive coarse coat. It typically has a blotched brown-colored tabby pattern, which perfectly encapsulates its wild charm and adventurous nature.
And when we say adventurous, we mean it! The Sokoke is crazy about climbing and even likes to swim. These instincts don't make it an easy cat to keep. Constant exercise and stimulating activities are absolute musts for this fun-loving feline.
Burmilla - the silver beauty from England
A beautiful name for a beautiful cat – the Burmilla comes from England and it's instantly recognizable thanks to is trademark gradient look. The cat's undercoat and overcoat have different colors, which creates the striking, almost shimmering look.
Different color combinations are possible, from silver and white, to chocolate and brown. In some cases, even shades of blue have been observed.
The Burmilla is very people-oriented and it hates to be alone, so it thrives most in pairs. Nevertheless, it's not a fussy or difficult breed to deal with at all.
It is, however, quite expensive: an authentic Burmilla will set you back $800-$1,000.
Savannah - the demanding outdoorsy cat from Africa
The Savannah is a cross between the serval, an African wild cat, and various breeds of domesticated felines.
This ferocious-looking fur ball has established itself as a prestige pet in the US. Aside from its impressive size and the cheetah-like coat pattern, the Savannah's wild and free nature is making it increasigly popular.
Despite having domestic cat DNA in its gene pool, some experts doubt that the Savannah is suitable as a pet. This is partly supported by its character – some individuals are docile and well-behaved, others resist all attempts at introducing them to a house cat's lifestyle.
Unless you can take a walk on the wild side with the Savannah, it's best to consider a different breed.
Peterbald - the naked cat with a gentle disposition
If you're thinking that things might get chilly for a cat without a coat, don't worry: the rare Peterbald breed is perfectly comfortable in its birthday suit.
The Peterbald is among the few hairless cat breeds out there. These noble animals can trace their lineage back to a mix between a Don Sphynx (also known as Don Hairless) and an Oriental Shorthair.
Owners of Peterbald rave about their peaceful and curious temperament. Those are useful characteristics to have, as they tend to be the center of attention wherever they go. It's possible for a Peterbald to not be completely bald, but it never has more than a very fine and short coat.
This rare domestic cat breed should be kept exclusively indoors. And for those with allergies, don't let the lack of fur fool you: the Peterbald's saliva can still cause allergic reactions.
Kittens are usually priced around $1,000.
Khao Manee - the white jewel from Thailand
The extinct cat breed Khao Manee immediately catches the eye with its dreamy, pure white coat. This contrasts perfectly with its strikingly bright eyes, which come in a variety of colors, ranging from amber and yellow, to green or even blue.
The rare Khao Manee cat breed originated in Thailand, where it is considered a symbol of luck. Its name translates as "white jewel", so it's no wonder that these particular felines were mainly reserved for the Thai nobility. Since 1999, exporting them has been forbidden.
Their character is very similar to that of a Siamese cat, which is why the breed is suitable for households that also keep dogs or other pets.
Chausie - a wild cat for the living room
Another exotic cat breed is the Chausie, which is the result of breeders' wish to introduce a little bit of wilderness into the living room.
Like the Savannah, the Chausie is also a hybrid that has a healthy dose of the wild in its gene pool. It counts the ancient Egyptian jungle cat among its ancestors,
This untamed look is mainly reflected in the coat color, which can be black or brown, but also silver. The golden eyes complete an appearance that can seem quite ferocious.
The Chausie's personality is fittingly energetic. It loves exercise and adventure. Boredom and loneliness, on the other hand, are toxic for these beautiful animals – these are no languid indoor cats.
Depending on whether they are kittens or adults, the price of Chausie cats can range from $400 to over $1,000.
Bombay - the black cat with golden eyes
The Bombay cat may look like a miniature panther, but don't let that scare you off. This breed has an affectionate and sociable temperament. Its luxurious and shiny black coat, as well as the sparkling eyes, are also a big plus.
Bombay cats are relatively rare in the US. The breed has only been around since 1965, but its popularity is rising, due to its affable and fun nature.
These dark fur balls are also comparatively affordable, with prices around $600 – as long as you aren't looking for a show cat!
Tonkinese - the Siamese cat with something a little different
The Tonkinese cat, sometimes also knows as Tibetan, is a straightforward mix of the Siamese and Burmese breeds.
Although its ancestors are found in Asia, the Tonkinese was first bred in the United States, around the 1930s. This cat usually comes in one of four typical colors: medium brown, a pale beige, blue, or platinum.
The eyes can be golden-green, aquamarine or sky blue, depending on the genetic inheritance.
Because of its strong play instincts, this gorgeous feline can keep its owner very busy and demands a lot of attention.
Buying a Tonkinese from a certified breeder can cost well over $1000.
Ocicat - the tame house cat with a jungle look
The Ocicat is that truly rare breed that strikes the perfect balance between wild look and tame spirit.
It is a cross between the Siamese and Abyssinian breeds, a mix which resulted in its unique coat. Unlike the Savannah, Chausie, and Sokoke, the Ocicat is the perfect domestic cat.
Ocicats are considered undemanding and independent, but they do seek a close relationship with their owners.
This cat makes for a faithful companion in everyday life, and its unique appearance will draw a lot of attention.
An Ocicat will set you back at least $500.
In the end, it's important to remember that the pedigree isn't everything when it comes to finding the right feline companion for you or your family.
Cover photo: Unsplash/Lisa Algra