While every cat is unique in personality and beautiful in his or her own way, most of them have pretty similar features. They may be different colors and patterns, but most have fur, four legs, and a tail! That said, about 5% of cats in the world are purebred – and some of them have some pretty unique features! Here are 10 of the most unique-looking cat breeds:
The Sphynx is a unique breed of cat that originated in Canada and is easily recognized by its lack of fur. Sphynx are known for their inquisitive personalities and are often referred to as “velcro-kitties” because they are always next to their humans. They are said to be the smartest cat breed, and have a reputation for being naughty!
In addition to the obvious lack of a fur coat, the Sphynx also often lack eyelashes and whiskers. They are also known for their medium to large ears, sturdy bodies, and long wispy tails. Their skin is the same color their fur would be, if they had it, and they are available in most of colors and patterns of a typical furry cat, including solid, pointed, van, tabby, and calico or tortie.
While Sphynx are on our list of unique-looking breeds, they are also one of the top 10 most popular cat breeds!
An American Curl is immediately recognized by its unique ears, which curl back from the face. They originated in California from a spontaneous mutation – two stray kittens with curled ears were found in 1981. One of the kittens disappeared and the other became the foundation cat for the breed. All American Curls can be traced back to Shulamith, the black kitten that survived.
They come in both shorthair and longhair varieties and a myriad of colors. They have very little undercoat and silky fur. In addition to their easily recognized curled ears, the American Curl also has large walnut-shaped eyes. Because of their playfulness, they are known as the “Peter Pan” of cats and are widely known for being very people-oriented.
Contrary to what many people think – Lykoi cats are not a new invention nor were they created in a lab by mad scientists! Their unique appearance is the result of a recessive natural mutation from typical domestic shorthair cats, that gives them the appearance of a werewolf.
Although these ‘werecats’ have been reported several times over the last 15 years or so, it wasn’t until two unrelated litters were found in Virginia and Tennessee that (after a lot of extensive testing) a breeding program began in 2011. That’s when they were named “Lykoi,” which roughly translates to “Wolf Cat” in Greek…a very fitting name for these unique cats!
Interestingly, Lykoi are the only breed of cat with roan fur color. Common in dogs and horses, roan refers to individual solid black and white hairs that give the Lykoi their distinct appearance, in addition to the hairless mask and lack of undercoat. Lykoi are known to be extremely loyal and very smart.
With its charmingly dwarfed appearance, the Munchkin is definitely not a cross between a Dachshund and a cat (like it’s even possible!). No matter what your eyes tell you, that low-riding trait was just a result of a recessive gene brought about by natural mutation. The modern version of the Munchkin breed was refined in Louisiana during the 1980’s when a short-legged tomcat was bred with a feral domestic Shorthair, eventually creating a population of adorable, short-legged mousers. Munchkin cats are small-sized felines weighing only about 5 to 9 pounds. Other than their short legs, the breed generally resembles any other cat with a short or long coat, either of which can be available in any color and pattern.
Munchkins are known to be outgoing and energetic, and tend to be faster and more agile than they look. Think they can’t jump up on your kitchen counters? …think again! They are surely capable of making their way to high places if they want to.
Considered to be the lustrous “greyhound” of the feline realm, the Cornish Rex is well-known for its characteristic curly coat commonly described as short, silky, and wavy. In fact, their coat is hailed as one of the softest and smoothest of any domestic breed in existence!
Slender and muscular, the Cornish Rex is said to bear a resemblance to the cats portrayed in ancient Egyptian art and sculpture. Highly intelligent, alert, and outgoing, this inquisitive and playful breed is one of the most lovable; always seeking out the companionship of family members and other pets in the household.
Usually described as “pixie-like” due to their large eyes and ears, this unique breed, the Devon Rex, is most recognized by its distinctive curly coat. They originated in Devonshire, England, in the late 1950s when a Miss Cox found that a stray cat in her care had given birth to a rather odd looking curly-haired kitten. Delighted with the kitten’s elfin features and wavy curls, she named him Kirlee – the founding father of this unique breed.
Devon Rex are very people-oriented – they are lap sitters, shoulder perchers, and tail waggers! Frequently named as the “poodle” of the feline world (both because of their personality and appearance), Devons are highly intelligent and creative cats; therefore any object that can be moved or picked up might become a target of their mischief.
The Scottish Fold is known for one particular standout feature: ears that fold forward, giving him the appearance of a furry owl. The result of a spontaneous genetic mutation, every Scottish Fold cat can be traced back to one Scottish cat named Susie who was found in 1961. Interestingly, when they are born, Scottish Fold kittens have normal straight ears that begin to bend forward two to four weeks after they’re born.
Scottish Folds are sweet, calm cats known to enjoy being around people. They like to play fetch and follow their humans around the house. Clever and quite dexterous, they’re seen frequently standing up on their hind legs like meerkats and going through the kitchen cabinets! Scottish Fold cats are good candidates for brain games, like food puzzles, to challenge them.
The first thing you’ll notice on a Selkirk Rex is that unique curly coat. The three Rex breeds have a curly coat in common, but the Selkirk’s body type and personality are very different from those of the Cornish and Devon Rex.
The breed began when a feral cat in Montana gave birth in 1987 to a litter of five kittens, one of which had an unusual curly coat. A Persian breeder named the kitten Miss DePesto and bred her to a Persian. The result of that breeding, Selkirk Rex, are known for having a sweet, very laid back personality and, of course, that unique curly hair.
These beautiful naked cats may look like they just landed on planet Earth from outer space, but the first Donskoy was discovered in 1987 in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don by Elena Kovaleva. She encountered two young boys playing soccer with a bag – and inside the bag was a kitten, squealing in fear and pain. She saved the kitten and named her Varvara. Little Varvara grew up losing her hair, and veterinarians treated the hair loss in vain. Years later, she gave birth to kittens who began to lose hair just as their mother did.
While similar in appearance, Donskoy are not genetically related to the better known hairless breed, the Sphynx. They do, however, have a similar extremely friendly and relentlessly inquisitive personality.
Originating in the Northwestern United States, the Pixie-bob was bred to resemble the wild Bobcat found in the area. Often times, Pixie-bobs are polydactyl, meaning they have extra toes. Their other striking unique feature is, of course, a bobbed tail.
Active and social, Pixie-bob cats are often called “dogs in disguise.” They are known for their loyal devotion to family, laid-back personalities, and dog-like ability to learn tricks, like walking on a leash or playing fetch.
What other unusual cat breeds would you add to the list? Let us know in a comment below!