The Cat Breed People Rarely Take Home


Cats are one of the most popular pets in American households. According to Pet Ownership Statistics in 2023, there are an estimated 94.2 million cats living in U.S. homes as pets. With so many adorable and lovable felines to choose from, most cat owners opt for breeds that are well-known and easy to find like Siamese, Persian, Maine Coon, and more. However, there are also many rare and less common cat breeds that make wonderful pets but are not frequently purchased or adopted.

While popular breeds like the Siamese cat make up 30% of registered pedigreed cats, the rarest breeds account for less than 1% of registered cats according to The Cat Fanciers’ Association. So which felines qualify as the least bought cats?

Least Popular Cat Breeds

According to registration statistics from cat breed associations, some breeds of cats are much less popular and rarely owned compared to more common breeds like Siamese and Persian cats. Here are some of the least popular pedigreed cat breeds based on registration numbers:

The Cyprus Cat is one of the rarest breeds in the world, with only about 200 pedigreed Cyprus Cats worldwide. It’s believed to be one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds originating from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

The Singapura is a very small breed that originated in Singapore. They are intelligent, playful and affectionate cats but only around 200 Singapuras are registered with breeders each year globally.

The Somali is essentially a longhaired version of the Abyssinian cat. However, they are much less popular than their shorthaired counterparts, with only a few hundred new kittens registered annually.

Why Some Cats Are Less Popular

There are several reasons why certain cat breeds are less popular than others:

Some breeds are seen as less trendy or fashionable. For example, the Persian cat was hugely popular in the early 1900s, but demand has declined as other breeds have become more fashionable like the Bengal and Savannah 1. Trends come and go, affecting breed popularity.

Certain breeds require more specialized care that many owners may not be prepared for. The Sphynx cat, for instance, needs regular bathing, skin care, and warmth due to its lack of fur. The Bengal’s energetic personality demands a lot of stimulation and exercise. These unique care needs turn some prospective owners away 2.

Some breeds can be prohibitively expensive, especially rarer breeds. A Savannah cat can cost $15,000 or more depending on its breed generation. The lower availability and high demand for certain breeds drives up the purchase price, more than many families are willing or able to pay.

In general, cat breeds tend to lack the distinctive features and personalities that make specific dog breeds clearly desirable. Most cats, regardless of breed, satisfy people’s expectations for cats as pets. This reduces interest and demand for particular specialized breeds compared to dogs.

The Rarest Cat Breeds

Some cat breeds around the world have extremely limited populations, putting them at risk of extinction. Here are some of the rarest cat breeds that are closest to vanishing:

The Turkish Angora is considered a national treasure in its native Turkey, but its global population is quite small. These elegant, longhaired cats trace their origins back over 1,000 years to Ankara, but extensive crossbreeding has diluted the pure breed. Only a few hundred are registered with breed associations. Top 10 rarest cats in the world.

Once the favored pet of Chinese nobles, the Chinese Li Hua neared extinction in the 1960s when the Chinese government declared pet ownership bourgeois. Conservation efforts helped rebuild their numbers, but less than 300 Li Hua cats exist globally today.

The striking LaPerm originated as a spontaneous natural mutation in the 1980s in Oregon. All LaPerms trace their ancestry back to a single curly-coated kitten named Curly. With just a few thousand worldwide, they remain one of the rarest recognized breeds.

As one of the oldest cat breeds, the Norwegian Forest Cat was threatened by crossbreeding and used in hybrid creation experiments. Their popularity revived in the 1980s, but strict breeding guidelines mean fewer than 1500 exist globally. Their long coats and calm personalities make them highly sought after.

Challenges of Owning an Uncommon Breed

Owning an uncommon cat breed comes with some unique challenges that need to be considered. Here are some of the main difficulties:

Difficulty finding breeders: Since rare breeds have a small gene pool, there are usually far fewer ethical breeders available. This can make finding a reputable breeder a demanding process that requires extensive research and patience. Many people find themselves on long waitlists just to have the chance to bring home one of these kittens.

Higher costs: Due to their rarity, unusual breeds often have significantly higher purchase prices. Initial costs may be in the thousands, and ongoing care and medical bills can also be greater than average. Owners need to ensure they can financially support an uncommon cat’s needs for the duration of its life.

Lack of vet experience: Veterinarians typically have less familiarity with the medical issues and needs of rare breeds. Diagnosing conditions can prove challenging even for cat experts. Owners should seek vets who specialize in less common breeds or are experienced with a particular type of cat.

While owning an uncommon cat breed has many potential rewards, prospective owners should weigh the unique difficulties involved and prepare themselves accordingly. Doing proper research beforehand is key to being a responsible and successful rare breed owner. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3

Benefits of Owning a Rare Breed

Owning a rare or uncommon cat breed can be incredibly rewarding. Here are some of the main benefits:

Stand out from the crowd. Many people opt for popular breeds like Siamese or Persian cats. Choosing a rare breed is a great way to have a unique cat that will get attention. Your one-of-a-kind cat can be a conversation starter and help you make an impression when people visit your home.

Conserve rare breeds. Some uncommon cat breeds are endangered or approaching endangered status due to their dwindling numbers. Choosing a rare breed can help increase its numbers and preserve the breed’s existence. As an owner, you’ll be playing an important role in protecting genetic diversity.

How to Find a Rare Breed Cat

There are a few ways to find a rare cat breed if you have your heart set on one of these unique felines.

One option is breed-specific rescue organizations. Many uncommon breeds like the LaPerm, American Curl, or Devon Rex have dedicated rescue groups that take in purebred cats in need of new homes. These groups typically thoroughly screen potential adopters to ensure a good fit. Adopting from a breed rescue allows you to provide a home for a cat in need while still getting the breed you want.

Reputable specialty breeders who focus on breeding and preserving rare breeds are another route. Do extensive research to find ethical breeders who health test their cats and place kittens in loving pet homes. Be prepared for waitlists, as litters of rare breeds are infrequent. Breeders can advise which breed traits may suit your lifestyle.

Attending cat shows like those organized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association can be a way to meet breeders and see unusual breeds in person. You may even find retired adult show cats in need of pet homes. However, be wary of impulse pet purchases and ensure reputable sourcing.

While it takes more effort to find a rare cat breed, the search can be very rewarding. Partnering with a responsible breeder or rescue ensures a good match so both you and the cat enjoy a lifelong bond. [1]

Making the Right Match

When choosing a cat breed, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and experience level to ensure you select the right fit. An outgoing and active family may do better with an energetic and social breed like the Abyssinian, while a quieter household may prefer a more independent and low-maintenance breed like the Russian Blue. First-time cat owners should opt for breeds known to be affectionate and eager to please, like the Ragdoll, rather than more aloof or challenging breeds. Make sure to research each breed’s activity levels, grooming needs, health issues, and temperament prior to making a selection. The goal is to find a cat whose natural behaviors and needs best align with your lifestyle and experience caring for cats.

Providing Proper Care

Owning a rare or uncommon cat breed comes with the responsibility of providing specialized care to meet the breed’s needs. It’s important to do thorough research and follow breed-specific guidelines for nutrition, grooming, health, and other care requirements.

For example, some breeds like the LaPerm require extensive grooming to manage their unique coats. Others like the Ocicat have dietary needs with higher protein requirements. Consult with reputable breeders to understand the ideal diet and supplements for your cat’s health.

Work closely with a veterinarian who has experience with your specific breed. They can advise you on preventative care, screening tests, vaccinations, and other standard health practices tailored to your cat. Monitor your cat’s activity level, weight, coat, appetite, and litterbox habits to catch any issues early. Having a vet familiar with the breed can help identify and treat any genetic conditions.

Providing the proper environment is also key – some active breeds need more space to roam while shy breeds need hiding places. Follow guidelines on ideal temperatures, litterbox setup, scratching posts, and enrichment toys. With the right dedication and preparation, rare breeds can thrive under attentive ownership.


When selecting a cat breed, it’s important to look beyond popularity and carefully consider whether a breed’s characteristics and care requirements align with your lifestyle and expectations. While some rare breeds like the LaPerm and Peterbald offer distinct looks, they also come with higher grooming needs and other quirks.

If seeking out a rare find, make sure to thoroughly research the breed’s temperament, exercise needs, health issues, and special care requirements. Work closely with ethical, responsible breeders committed to furthering the breed through health testing and placing kittens in loving forever homes. Avoid backyard breeders or pet stores.

With dedicated, knowledgeable ownership and proper preventative veterinary care, many rare breeds can thrive and enjoy long, healthy, active lives. But it’s crucial to select the right cat for your household. Seek out breeds already inclined towards behaviors and traits you find desirable, rather than attempting to change a cat’s innate nature.

While eye-catching looks may initially draw you to uncommon breeds, ensure your choice also suits your lifestyle. With thoughtful preparation and understanding of a breed’s uniqueness, even rare finds can make marvelous companions.

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