Almost everyone is familiar with common domestic cat breeds, such as the Siamese and Persian. However, there are a number of very rare ones that many people do not know about.
This article is about six unusual cat breeds you've probably never heard of. Some of these exotic felines have very strange names too. If you love cats as I do, you will probably find these animals to be quite interesting.
The Sphynx CatCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hairless_Sphynx_Cat.jpg
At first glance, these rather odd looking kitties would not likely be someone's first choice for a pet. They aren't exactly beautiful, particularly compared to many other breeds. This type of feline reminds me of Yoda from Star Wars.
The uncommon appearance can be quite misleading. A Sphynx is a fine pet. They are friendly cats who love others and will even come to the door when someone arrives. Strangers do not frighten them. The more people that are around to give them attention, the happier they will be. They love being the center of attention and like to show off.
The Sphynx is a fairly rare breed who originated in Toronto, Canada. A hairless kitten was born to an ordinary domestic feline. When the kitten was old enough, he was mated with the mother and another hairless baby was born. This resulted in the first hairless breed. Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2_week-old_Female_Sphynx_(Suki).jpg
A person who is allergic to felines will not necessarily be able to have a Sphynx for a pet. Many people mistakenly believe it is the animal's hair that triggers reactions. However, it is a protein found in the pet's saliva and sebaceous glands that is responsible.
They aren't entirely hairless, as they have a layer of "fuzz" on the skin. Oil build up on the skin tends to occur frequently since there is no way for their bodies to absorb it. This is why they should have a bath on a regular basis. You might think bathing a cat is a nightmare, but these lovable felines usually enjoy the procedure. It's as though they instinctively understand a bath makes them feel more comfortable.
Their skin temperature is a few degrees higher than other felines. A Sphynx is very vulnerable to sunburn in warm weather, and hypothermia in colder temperatures. Anyone who may want to adopt one should plan to keep the pet indoors.
The Devon Rex is noted for its very short and wavy coat, slender build, and unusually big ears. They originated in Devon, England about 50 years ago.
This cat has many dog like characteristics. They absolutely adore people, particularly the person they most identify as their "parent". Some people might consider a Devon to be too clingy. They do not have independent natures as some breeds do. The kitty will become anxious and upset is left alone for very long.
However, those who want a lot of companionship and affection from a pet will not be disappointed in a Devon Rex.Credit: Public Domain http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Devon_Rex_male.jpg
These animals love to cuddle on your lap and will sleep right beside you at night. However, they are far from being sedentary. The Devon Rex is a very active, inquisitive and intelligent cat.
They can even be taught to perform tricks which are normally only associated with dogs. A Devon is a show off and loves to entertain. They may be too energetic for some people to handle. These felines like to reach the highest places they can find, and may be found sitting in a closet or other out of the way place in the house.
The Sokoke looks like a slightly larger version of a typical tabby cat. However, this type of cat is actually one of the rarest breeds of felines in the world.
Their original home was in Kenya, where they roamed the streets and forests in the eastern part of the country. A Westerner who was living in the area in the 1970s observed the felines and was concerned about their long term survival. Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sokoke2.jpg
She recruited a cat loving friend who brought some of the animals to Europe. The plan was to take care of the cats at home and allow them to produce litters of kittens. They are a naturally occurring type of feline. The women wanted to keep it that way, so no cross breeding was ever done.
Meanwhile, other Sokokes were captured in Kenya and kept in pens while they reproduced. The kittens were then exported to other countries.
These cats have a tabby coat in different shades of brown. Their legs are longer than average with the front being somewhat shorter. This feature makes them very skilled at climbing and jumping.
The Sokokes are good natured cats who become attached to their owners. They are quite verbal but not excessively loud. Grooming is easy, because they have little undercoat.
This breed has no known health risks and tends to live about as long as most other types of felines. It is extremely challenging to find one to adopt because there are so few of them in the world.
More About the Sokoke
Khao ManeeCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Khao_Manee_%22ChaWee%22.jpg
The Khao Manee cat is most noted for its striking eyes. In fact their nickname is the Diamond Eye cat. It's no wonder, with their beautiful blue, green and gold colors. As you can see from this image, some of them have one of each color.
This particular breed is uncommon, but certainly not new. Khao Manees have been around for centuries in Asia. However, these felines have only been available in North America for about 15 years.
All of these kitties are pure white with fairly short hair and little undercoat. Grooming them is not difficult. They have an easy going temperament and are good with children. A Khao Manee is a naturally occurring type of cat.
The Savannah is the largest breed of cat. Some may weigh as much 30 pounds. This type was developed by breeding an African wildcat with a regular domestic feline in the 1980s. It was a controversial pairing that remains so today. Some states do not allow people to keep them as domestic pets.Credit: Public Domain
They are quite vocal and their hiss resembles that of a snake. This could be frightening to kids and people unfamiliar with their normal behavior. In addition, it costs thousands of dollars to adopt one. They a scarce breed so the number of available Savannahs is very low.
That being said, they can make good pets if you like an animal with a bit of a wild streak.
It is quite obvious what the most remarkable feature of the Scottish Fold is. No other feline has ears quite like this. They are also noted for having rounded faces and bodies. They originated in Scotland which of course explains how they got their name.
The folded down ears remind some people of an owl. All the newborns have straight ears. They begin to fold within the first month. Not every kitten will end up with folded ears. Those who do are usually the ones many people want to adopt.
A Scottish Fold cat has a sweet disposition and is easy to care for. They love attention but are not demanding. Like most unusual breeds of cats, they are expensive to acquire.
Their coats come in different colors and patterns, including tabby. The eyes can be various colors as well.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at unusual cat breeds. I have loved cats all my life and only recently discovered these rare types of felines.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kimi-kun_-_Scottish_Fold.jpg