Exotic cat breeds have unique features that are different than your average house cat. They all look and act different than our common furry felines. These 7 exotic cat breeds are great for cat lovers who want something a little more unusual than a traditional tabby cat. While some of these cats are found in nature and others were created by mutations, they are all beautiful in their own way!
When it comes to exotic cat breeds, the Savannah Cat is relatively new. The International Cat Association (TICA) first started recognizing the Savannah Cat as a breed in 2001. A Savannah is a cross breed between a domestic cat and a serval, a medium-sized, large-eared, wild African cat. Because of this, Savannahs can weigh up to 30 pounds. This large cat is said to be more social than your average house cat and their loyalty has been compared to that of a dog. You can teach this cat to walk with a leash or even play fetch! The Savannah is the perfect choice for a household that can’t decide between a cat or a dog. Savannahs are extremely hard to breed and it can take several years for a litter of kittens to be born. The cats that are produced directly from a serval/domestic cat cross are known as an F1 generation. They are 50% serval. F1s are the most expensive and their price tag can be around $30,000. You can get an F5 Savannah for around $2,000. Prices vary from breeder to breeder. Since it is such a difficult process, there aren't many breeders of Savannah cats but most will ship one to you for a fee.
The Sphynx is my favorite exotic cat breed. I have been dreaming of getting a pet Sphynx for years and just last month, I was lucky enough to finally get one. My cat, Xander, has the prettiest blue eyes and is very sweet and playful. He longs to be around his human companions and gets sad if you leave him alone. Xander loves to prance around the house and is constantly making me laugh. Although not all cats are exactly the same, I’ve been told Xander’s charming behavior is characteristic of most Sphynxes! While many people believe that the Sphynx was the cat the Egyptians worshiped, this is not true. While hairless cats have been reported throughout history, the breed we know and love today didn’t come about until the '70s. It took many dedicated breeders several years to get the Sphynx breed we have today. One of the biggest misconceptions about Sphynx cats is that they are completely hairless. Many have peach fuzz, whiskers, and hair around their ears and mouth. Another misconception about the breed is that they are hypo-allergenic. Many people who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to the oils on their skin and not the hair itself. So if you have a cat allergy and have been looking into getting a Sphynx, talk to your doctor first. Since Sphynxes are mostly hairless, they get hot and cold easily. At night, they love to cuddle up to you to keep warm. They absolutely cannot be an outside cat. They can freeze to death in the winter and get horrible sunburns in the summer. Since Sphynxes are “naked,” they also must be bathed weekly. While sphynxes may seem like a high maintenance breed, it all seems worth it once you have one. Xander won over my heart and I couldn’t imagine ever owning a different breed!
Most breeds of cat have 3 different types of hair in their coats: the guard hairs in the outer layer; a middle layer known as “awn hair”; and the down hair, which is the bottom layer. A Cornish Rex, however, only has down hair. This makes them the softest breed of any cat! Another distinct feature about their coat is that sometimes it can be curly. However, since Cornish Rexes have less hair, this means they are not suited for outdoor living. They love to find a warm place, such as your lap, to curl up next to and cuddle. The Cornish Rex breed has a gland in their paws that other cats don’t have that can sometimes create a cheesy odor. The breed is very intelligent and playful and will continue their “kitten behavior” through most of their long lives. Unlike most cats, Cornish Rexes have a galloping run. These cats love to race, play fetch, and some will even do acrobatic jumps! Rexes make the perfect furry friend for an active family.
The most notable difference of a Scottish Fold from other cats is their folded over ears. This is caused by a dominant gene mutation that causes the cartilage in the ear to bend forward and down. Their ears remind many people of an owl. If you love cats but find their meowing annoying, than the Scottish Fold is the perfect breed for you! They are very soft spoken and their purrs and meows sound different than most common breeds. They enjoy lounging around the house in unusual positions. My favorite is called the “Buddha Position.” They stick their hind legs straight out in front of them and then rest their paws on their belly. Unlike your typical independent house cat, Scottish Folds tend to bond with their human caregivers. They are known to be very loyal and affectionate. The fur on their coats can be short or long and come in a variety of colors. The eyes of a Scottish Fold are spaced further apart than your average feline, giving them a soft, innocent look. What’s not to love with a face like that!?
The first LaPerm was born in 1982. It was a spontaneous mutation, the rest of the litter was normal. When the kitten was first born, she was bald with tabby markings on her skin. Her owners, Linda and Richard, were concerned at first, but after time she developed a soft, curly coat – hence the breed name, LaPerm. Linda and Richard named their unusual cat Curly and gave her no special treatment. She lived as all the other farm cats did. They did not try to recreate the mutation to start a breed, but they did not get her spayed. As a result, Curly became pregnant and gave birth to 5 male kittens who all had the same mutation as their mom. This is how the LaPerm breed got started! LaPerms can have short or long hair and come in a variety of colors. LaPerms have been described as being a moderate cat. Their personalities have no real extremes, but some would say they are friendlier than other cats. Their curly fur does not have a silky texture to it as you might imagine. Instead, the coat can feel coarse from the curls. LaPerms have the reputation of being hypo-allergenic. They provoke a significantly lower level of allergic reactions than most other house cats, making this cat the perfect choice for those with a cat allergy!
Some breeders have found a way to breed Persian cats to be smaller than normal. As of right now, Teacups are not known as a separate breed from Persians. There is no standard for how small a cat must be to be classified as a Teacup Persian. They are still making my list, however, because many people do not know you can get this adorable cat breed in a miniature size! Persians are known for their beautiful, long coats and shortened muzzle. Persians are among the most popular breed in the United States. Teacup Persians are perfect if you are living in an apartment because of their unpretentious nature and small size. If you love kittens and wish they never had to grow up, then a Teacup Persian is the “purrrfect” cat for you!
Khao Manee, meanining “White Gem,” is an exotic breed of cat originating in Thailand. In some areas of the world they are known as “Diamond Eye.” Their eyes can be blue, gold, or they can have odd eyes – one of each color. Odd eyed Khao Manees are the most preferable of the three. Khao Mannes are known to be active, intelligent, and communicative. While Khao Manees are well-known in Thailand, they were not recognized as a breed in the west until TICA gave them the status “Preliminary New Breed” in 2011. Their fur is white and their paw pads are pink. Other than their eyes, the appearance of a Khao Manee does not differ much from a traditional house cat. They love to lie on your lap and will use their loud voices to get their point across if need be. They are known to be great family cats!
I am a huge cat lover so I love hearing about exotic cat breeds I didn’t know existed. If I could, I would own every cat on this list! Which of these cats is your favorite? Do you know about an exotic breed of cat that didn’t make the list? If so, tell us about it in the comments!
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