What are the Rarest Cat Breeds in the World?

Besides dogs, cats are considered to be the best pets to have around in the house. One of the major benefits of getting a cat as a pet is that it is low maintenance, as they don’t need to be trained, and you also don’t need to take them out for a walk. In addition, cats are also proficient in grooming themselves, so you won’t have to deal with their odor often. If you are having trouble with rodents in your home or apartment, you can get a cat, which will most likely be effective in keeping the place you’re staying in rodent-free.

However, the most important reason to have a pet cat is that they can help reduce stress and make you feel more relaxed at home when you are hugging or playing with them. While there are many common cat breeds for you to choose from, and you also have the option to adopt or foster stray cats, there are a few cat breeds that are regarded as rare and expensive. Here is a list of the rarest cat breeds in the world.


  • Originated in the United Kingdom
  • Average Lifespan of 10 to 15 years
  • Priced $500 to $700

Burmilla is a rare breed of cat that originated in the United Kingdom and was selectively bred in the 1980s. The Burmilla breed was born when two cats named Sandquist (Chinchilla Persian) and Faberge (Brown Tortie Burmese) accidentally mated.

According to the story, the two cats were supposed to breed with cats of their own breed in different rooms, but when the cleaner accidentally left the door that connected the rooms open, one of the cats moved to a different room and bred with the other cat. The four kittens that were produced after the accidental breeding were born in 1981, and they were the first official cats of the Burmilla breed.

American Bobtail

  • Originated in the United States
  • Average Lifespan of 11 to 15 years
  • Priced at $600 to $1000

The American Bobtail is an uncommon cat breed that originated in the United States and was developed during the late 1960s. The breed’s name comes from its country of origin and its noticeable short bobbed tail. The breed’s tail is said to be a result of a genetic mutation that prevented the cats from developing a full tail.

American Bobtail cats have already been spotted throughout the United States even before they were selectively bred in the 1960s. However, no records can prove how and why American Bobtail cats came to be. According to an urban legend, American Bobtails were born as a result of the cross-breeding between a domestic tabby and a wild bobcat. The first selective breeding for the American Bobtail was done by cross-breeding a short-tailed brown tabby male cat named Yodie to a seal-point Siamese female cat.

Turkish Van

Turkish Van with short coat

  • Originated in the Eastern Anatolia Region (Iran, Iraq, Eastern Turkey, and the southwestern section of Russia)
  • Average Lifespan of 12 to 17 years
  • Priced at $400 to $600

The Turkish Van is a naturally occurring domestic cat breed that was first discovered in the mountains of the Eastern Anatolia Region (present-day Turkey). Although it is primarily classified as a semi-long hair breed, a Turkish Van cat can have two different lengths of hair, depending on the season. In the months of summer, the Turkish Van would usually shed their lengthy fur in favor of a shorter coat that is suitable for warm temperatures because of its breathability. But, during the winter, the car will grow its lengthy hair back to prepare it for the colder months.

Before it was officially classified as a breed, the Turkish Van was already found in various communities and households throughout the Lake Van region of Turkey, which is the location where the breed got its name. It is still unknown how Turkish Van cats showed up in the region, although there are numerous works of art made more than 5000 years that depict cats with the same characteristics as the Turkish Van breed. In addition, it is also believed that Turkish Van cats actually originated in Europe and were transported to Eastern Anatolia between 1095 and 1272 by soldiers who participated in the Crusades. 

The Turkish Van only became known outside of the Eastern Anatolia Region in 1955, when a female cat named Van Iskenderun Guzeli and a male Turkish Van cat were given to British photographers Sonia Halliday and Laura Lushington. Through the efforts of Lushington to photograph, document, and make Turkish Van cats famous around the world, the breed was officially given a full pedigree status in 1969.


  • Originated in the United States
  • Average Lifespan of 10 to 15 years
  • Priced at $300 to $600

LaPerm is a cat breed that is mostly known for its signature curly fur surrounding its body. The fur of the breed can come in different colors, so there is no exact pattern that can be associated with the LaPerm since every cat of the same breed can look different from each other.

The LaPerm breed came from the United States, particularly in the home of Linda and Richard Koehl in The Dalles, Oregon. One of their cats, whose name was Speedy, gave birth to a kitten named Curly, who had very curly fur. Curly then became the first cat of the LaPerm breed. After noticing that curly-coated kittens were increasing in numbers, the Koehls started separating those cats so that they could also give birth to more kittens with the same fur. The Koehls then decided to form a new breed called “LaPerm,” with its name derived from its shaggy perm.

American Wirehair

American Wirehair cat breed

  • Originated in the United States
  • Average Lifespan of 14 to 18 years
  • Priced at $800 to $1200

The American Wirehair is a breed that originated in upstate New York and is considered the rarest breed of cats by the Cat Fanciers’ Association. The American Wirehair is regarded as a spontaneous mutation of the American Shorthair, which is a popular cat breed in the United States. The two characteristics that make the American Wirehair different from the American Shorthair are its wiry coat and its wavy whiskers.

This spontaneous mutation was first documented in 1966 when a random mutation in one of five newly born kittens occurred in Vernon, New York. The owners of the litter then called a local cat breeder named Mrs. Joan O’Shea to take a look at the odd kitten. O’Shea then purchased the kitten for $50, knowing that its mutation could create a new breed.

Those are five of the rarest cat breeds in the world, and if you want to own one or two of these breeds, you may need to spend plenty of money and communicate with a trusted breed that will give you healthy kittens. Regardless of breed, all cats deserve love and a home, so if you don’t have the budget to buy full breed cats, remember that you can opt to adopt a stray cat from local or nearby shelters.