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What is the most uncommon cat breed?

What is the most uncommon cat breed?

There are dozens of recognized cat breeds in the world, from the popular Siamese and Persian cats to more obscure breeds like the LaPerm and Minskin. While some cat breeds like the Siamese and Maine Coon are quite common, other breeds are relatively rare and not well known outside cat fancier circles. In this article, we will explore some of the rarest and most uncommon cat breeds, looking at their origins, characteristics, and how scarce they are in the general cat population. Discovering new and unique cat breeds is exciting for any cat lover or owner looking for an unusual companion.

Identifying Rare Cat Breeds

Determining exactly which cat breeds are the rarest and most uncommon can be challenging. Unlike dog breeds which have much more extensive pedigree records and breed registries, data on the numbers of specific cat breeds is limited. Two main factors influence a breed’s rarity:

– How new or recently developed the breed is – Newer breeds have had less time to grow in numbers and establish an extensive breeding population. Most rare breeds are relatively recently created hybrids or mutants of existing breeds.

– How localized the breed is – Some unusual breeds may be numerous in their country or region of origin but scarcely found elsewhere. Limited import and exposure holds down global numbers.

Combining these factors allows us to highlight the cat breeds that truly stand out as the most uncommon in the world.

Rarest Cat Breeds

Here are some contenders for the title of rarest and most unusual cat breeds:

LaPerm – With its unique curly coat, this breed originated as a spontaneous genetic mutation in the United States in the 1980s. They remain scarce even in America with only hundreds of LaPerms registered globally.

Ojos Azules – This recent hybrid of breeds including the Siamese has a distinct blue eye color. They are found in small numbers mostly in the U.S. and Europe.

Khao Manee – An ancient landrace breed from Thailand distinguished by its pure white coat and eye color. Few exist even in its native land.

Ukrainian Levkoy – Bred in the 1990s, this hairless cat with large ears has reporting numbering only in the hundreds worldwide.

Napoleon Cat – A hybrid between Munchkin and Persian breeds, this kitten-faced cat is virtually unknown outside its native Russia.

The Rarest of the Rare – The Khao Manee

Of all the rare and exotic cat breeds mentioned, the Khao Manee stands out as likely the most uncommon in global terms.


– Natural landrace breed native to Thailand, existing for centuries before modern cat breeding.

– “Khao Manee” translates to “white gem”.


– Pure white short-haired coat.

– Can have blue, gold, or odd-colored eyes.

– Moderate energy level.

– Average lifespan of 12-16 years.


– Even within Thailand, ownership is concentrated in a few provinces.

– Only a handful exist in Europe and North America.

– Total global population may be less than 300.

– Wild Khao Manee cats are extinct, only survive as pets.

Breed Estimated Global Population
Khao Manee Less than 300
LaPerm 400-500
Ojos Azules 500-1000

This table shows estimated population sizes for some of the rarest cat breeds highlighted. The Khao Manee is clearly in a league of its own in terms of scarcity.

Reasons for Rarity

Why are unique breeds like the Khao Manee so uncommon?

– Natural mutations like the Khao Manee’s coat color are rare.

– Isolation limits exposure and breeding.

– Many new breeds are created by individual breeders.

– Minimal commercial appeal discourages mass breeding.

– Importing exotic breeds is challenging.

Rarity ensures these unusual cat breeds remain largely unknown and mysterious. While cat lovers can feel lucky to encounter one, concerted breeding efforts are needed to ensure the survival of the rarest breeds.

Finding a Rare Breed Kitten or Cat

For cat enthusiasts interested in one of these rare breeds, obtaining a kitten or cat can be difficult. Here are some acquisition options:

– Contact regional breeders – Best source but waiting lists may exist.

– Check with cat breed organizations – May help locate available cats.

– Attend a cat show – Meet owners and breeders in-person.

– Import from country of origin – Expensive but sometimes necessary.

– Search cat adoption groups – Rescues rarely have rare breed cats.

– Monitor listings sites – Occasional rare breed cats do appear.

Patience and persistence is key to finding one of these uncommon breeds. Exotic Shorthair and Persian outcrosses may offer a close alternative.


While most cat lovers will only encounter common breeds, exotic and unusual pedigrees do exist out there. Of these rare cats, the Khao Manee stands out as the most obscure and scarce breed globally. Centuries of isolation in Thailand has kept their population minuscule. For a chance at owning one of these white gems, some effort is required. But the payoff of finding a rare breed can make a cat ownership experience truly unique.